It is important to distinguish marketing activities from simply marketing communications, which is merely one of many marketing functions. Admittedly marketing communications includes all print (electronic or hard copy) promotional materials and, in part, any public presentation of products and/or services (for example business participation in trade shows, conferences, customer conferences, etc). However, the overall product plan (which is usually built by product marketing) usually specifies the resources available to marketing communications as well as the expected deliverables. Finally, the business plan itself sets the terms for product marketing, in other words, the product marketing objectives as well as the resources that will be provisioned to marketing (usually the budget) to attain targeted objectives.
Any so-called lead nurturing activity, as we see it, is a sales function. It is important to understand this distinction. Any activity like “lead nurturing” that is designed to deliver sales for the business, regardless of the length of time that may transpire from first contact to order, is a sales activity. In contrast, marketing communications activities (as a subset of the overall marketing strategy for a business) are designed to ensure that a marketplace recognizes, correctly, an intended presentation of products and/or services. Usually, marketing communications activities are implemented (and cost justified) to deliver specific levels of incoming inquiries from a targeted marketplace. Certainly it is appropriate to hold marketing communications accountable for failing to deliver planned levels of incoming inquiries, or for failing to deliver planned levels of incoming inquiries from representatives of a targeted marketplace. Nevertheless, we do not think it is appropriate to hold marketing communications accountable for legitimate inquiries that require “nurturing.” Inquiries need to be “nurtured” as the result of economic realities in 2012. The team needs to hang in for the long haul on these “nurturing” requirements, as we see it, is sales.
Tech innovators will benefit by keeping these distinctions in mind. Attending to these distinctions, we think, will lead to allocating as much of a businesses resources to product marketing in advance of a marketing communications effort as possible. After all, to follow our distinction along, the product marketing plan constitutes the best possible opportunity that tech innovators targeting enterprise business customers have to do better than the recently reported drop of 50% in the effectiveness of online and offline lead generation efforts from prior years (http://www NULL.meclabs NULL.com/training/publications/benchmark-report/2012-b2b-marketing/overview).
IMB Enterprises, Inc. maintains a keen interest in advising tech innovators in how best to maintain distinctions across a range of marketing functions. If you agree with our position and care to discuss your specific needs with us, directly, then please contact Ira Michael Blonder at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion. You may also email Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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