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Marketing Tactics

5 Enterprise Marketing Secrets From Ahead-of-the-Curve Companies Like Hubspot

Customer evangelism, helpful content and alignment of sales and marketing are just some of their ingredients for success.

TX Zhuo

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HubSpot-offices

Following the crowd has never been a way to emerge as a leader. However, learning from companies that have gone from small startup to enterprise success is just plain smart.

Related: What Exactly Does Neurons and Marketing Have in Common?

Enterprise applications are in the middle of an enormous growth spurt. International Data Corporation predicts that these businesses will generate $50.8 billion in revenue by 2018, amounting to a compound annual growth rate of 17.6 percent.

Companies such as HubSpot and Slack are grabbing headlines for their innovative offerings and impressive growth trajectories. What are they doing that’s so special? Here are five marketing lessons you can take away from these masters:

1. Be a first mover, like Yammer

Yammer office layout

Yammer office layout

Given the protracted sales cycle inherent in enterprise businesses, startups may need a long time to gain traction. Accordingly, it really pays to be early to market.

Before Slack or HipChat existed, Yammer was the premier enterprise social network. It gave people the ability to learn from co-workers and find the answers they needed without leaving their desks. By being the first offering of its kind, Yammer captured more than 80 percent of the Fortune 500 market and was acquired by Microsoft for $1.2 billion.

2. Identify new opportunities, like New Relic

New-Relic-office

New Relic office layout

Instead of just following a trend, New Relic is a company that decided to skate where the puck was going rather than to enter a saturated market. The company took a future-minded approach and built a product for an opportunity that hadn’t yet presented itself.

This endeavour required a lot of patience and persistence, as New Relic experienced slow growth in its first three years. But instead of pivoting, the team waited for the market to catch up. In the subsequent two years, New Relic grew to 35,000 accounts and secured $80 million in funding.

3. Engineer growth with customer evangelism, like Slack

Slack-office-layout

Slack office layout

Word of mouth is still the most credible form of marketing, and the best way to generate positive buzz is to build a customer-friendly business. Since launching in February 2014, Slack has surpassed 500,000 daily users and morphed into a billion-dollar company without spending a dime on marketing.

Slack attributes its growth exclusively to customer evangelism; people love using the product so much that they tell their friends about it. Though workplace chat services are inherently viral, Slack has maximised its customer love by allowing integration with dozens of applications and creating a clean, beautiful interface.

4. Build an inbound sales engine with helpful content, like HubSpot

HubSpot-office-layout

HubSpot office entrance

HubSpot built its business by literally using its own services. Instead of relying on traditional outbound marketing, the company gains consumer trust by providing valuable blog content, webinars and other industry resources. By bringing engaged customers to its turf, HubSpot generates high-quality leads at a lower cost every time someone reads one of its posts or uses one of its tools.

Related: The Ultimate Marketing Tool Library for Entrepreneurs

5. Align your sales and marketing, like HubSpot

HubSpot-relaxed-area

HubSpot relaxed area

Synergy and a clear division of labor between sales and marketing are absolutely crucial for enterprise startups. HubSpot calls this “smarketing.”

You too can implement this alignment by integrating your teams’ tools to help each party better understand which leads convert best. You can also have marketers sit in on sales calls and encourage your sales team to give marketers feedback on lead quality. HubSpot takes this idea of alignment to the extreme by giving its marketing team a lead quota its members must meet each week.

To boost your own startup’s credibility, good strategies include hosting webinars, gathering user testimonials and working to turn your biggest customers into brand advocates.

While the old adage “No one ever got fired for buying IBM” may seem outdated, it still applies to enterprise startups. Most potential customers want proof that your company is reliable and that other respectable businesses use your products.

What all five of these companies have in common in terms of great marketing strategy is simply a great offering. Being first to market and providing an inherently viral service is helpful, of course. But at the end of the day, if you deliver a product or service that people love to use, they’ll reward you with loyalty and unstoppable word of mouth.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

TX Zhuo is a managing partner of Karlin Ventures, an L.A.-based venture capital firm that focuses on early-stage enterprise software, e-commerce, and marketplaces. Follow the company on Twitter.

Marketing Tactics

Ask These 3 Questions To Determine Where To Spend Your Marketing Budget

Stretching your marketing budget is imperative, especially when there aren’t that many marketing rands to stretch.

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market-budgeting

As you grow your business, it’s important to be creative and efficient with your money. When it comes to marketing, there are a number of cost-effective ways to spend and save your money. So, if you’re worried about marketing on a limited budget, here’s some helpful info to know.

First, great marketing is about highlighting wants and needs and attaching them to desired outcomes. It’s possible to do that regardless of budget — and every company’s strategy will be different.

For example, when my consultancy worked with Dollar Shave Club to grow its platform beyond viral videos, we focused on establishing a unique voice, which led to creating an editorial component. When we worked with Arnold Schwarzenegger on his fitness and nutrition products, we focused on creating a core mission and understanding why he was involved in the product. And when we worked with Four Sigmatic to market its coffees and teas, we focused on customer acquisition and retention.

Related: 5 Ways To Market Your Business On A Limited Budget

3 Questions that Cut Through the Clutter

Those projects all started with the same three questions: What is the value and purpose of your product or service? Who is your target audience? And what is the best platform on which to reach them? That’s where you’ll want to invest most of your attention before you determine where to spend your money. (Notice my word choice: Your planning is an investment; where you spend is a cost.)

1. In general, we prefer to use digital campaigns

It’s easier to track what works and what doesn’t. Plus, digital creates multiple opportunities to engage. Think of it this way: 10% of your audience will buy, 10% won’t and 80% will be on the fence. Would you rather have one shot to convince that 80%, or multiple? By retargeting through something like Facebook ads or Google, or even creating a distribution channel like an email list, you can communicate repeatedly.

2. If you don’t have an audience, spend money fishing in small ponds where you know you can get a bite, and then set yourself up to communicate repeatedly

(This is where creating content as a form of acquisition or building an email list can be incredibly valuable.) Depending on your product or service, this could mean a very targeted ad to a small audience on Facebook — rather than attempting to reach millions — or setting up a pop-up shop, or getting a spot at a local farmers’ market.

Related: 4 Unique Marketing Ideas For SMEs On A Budget

3. If you already have an audience, turn them into super-fans who will bring their peers into your universe

Identify previous buyers and give them direct access to you through focus groups or calls. Reward them for their time with product or a gift certificate. When you show your consumer that you care about and appreciate them, it not only increases the likelihood of repurchase but also helps them personally invest in the soul of the business. Not to mention, their insights will help you understand why they bought and how to replicate that process.

Whatever you do — and no matter how big or small your budget — keep finding better answers to the core marketing questions and your success won’t hinge on any one platform.

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Marketing Tactics

Gen Z Is Coming! Are You Ready?

How do you market your company to this generation?

Stuart Scanlon

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young-generation

According to the CNBC, about 61 000 Gen Zers are on the verge of entering the workforce and consumer market in the US alone.

They are digital natives; they have grown up in a world of vines, txts (yes, we know) and internet. Their attention span is shorter than ever, they are more connected than any other generation, and they are brilliant multitaskers. Gen Z is a more tolerant generation but also more cautious; studies have found less risk-taking amongst this group and an increase in thoughtfulness and questioning authority.

So, on the one side of this coin, how do you market your company to this generation?

1. By being transparent

Be upfront about your business, what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. They have lost faith in corporations. Thus, you must stop relying on and hiding behind small print. Yes, you need terms and conditions to protect your company, but when it looks like a miracle weight-loss advert of the 80s (“Eat anything you want just take this pill. Ts&Cs apply.”), you’ll lose customers.

Related: Investing in Young Entrepreneurs

Gen Z consumers want to see you are real; they don’t want models or celebrities but regular people who can assist them in a manner that speaks to them. And they will hold your business is socially accountable. Instead of producing millions of T-shirts at the cheapest possible price, they want local, equality and free-trade, and they want to know what businesses are doing for the environment and society.

Gen Z won’t accept your claims at your word; they want to see evidence in your company culture.

2. By offering options

A jewellery purchasing study has found that most Gen Zers don’t have a preferred shopping platform. What this means is your messaging, availability and culture need to be spread evenly across all contact points – sales, call centres, website and digital advertising. In fact, many Gen Z consumers rely on mixing their contact points.

That being said, they want immediate action. If they see something they want online, they will go to the shop just to have the item right now. More than immediacy, they also want custom-made or made-to-order products and services. They shy away from traditional made-to-stock methods, which creates plenty of room in the production industry.

3. By being forward thinking

We have to always remember what was mind-blowing inventions to other generations are the norm for Gen Zers. They hold brands and businesses to high expectations, and instead of being loyal to brands, expect brands to be loyal to them. As Gen Z is more focused on individuality, they are also proving to be a generation with a high entrepreneurial output. All this shows that they don’t want the norm; they don’t crave what’s new today, they want tomorrow, sustainability and innovation, and they want it now.

On the other side of the coin, how do you attract this generation to work at your company? In much the same way.

1. By being transparent

As much as you are hiring them based on what they bring to the table, so too are they looking at what you can afford them. But, they don’t just want to hear you tell them about the benefits, they want to see it – and they are not after just money. Gen Zers want to be financially secure, but also one that is fulfilling; one where they find purpose in their jobs and company.

2. By offering options

Gen Z employees don’t want to work eight to five, they don’t want to be chained to a desk, and they don’t want to be micro-managed. Give them flexibility on how they want to conduct their work and how they can communicate with their colleagues. Create an understanding workspace for their needs and help them improve their skills – for instance, it’s been reported that a stumbling block for Gen Zers is communication. Growing up with emojis and text messages make face-to-face conversations, business calls and writing emails difficult for them.

Gen Z employees want to work hard and grow their skills. Even though they’re growing up in a super-paced society, they want to climb the corporate ranks at the given speed. What they crave, with urgency, is gaining value from their jobs.

Related: The Z Generation

3. By being forward thinking

They are lateral thinkers, and their creativity is not just outside the box but has broken the box completely. Gen Z is incredibly tech-savvy, and they will challenge the systems and procedures you have in place if these are not providing the needed speed and data required. Thus, they crave to work in an environment where they can push boundaries and ultimately help the company move forward. Hiring from the Gen Z pool can provide you with innovative insights into your business that can grow it towards tomorrow’s giants.

The only way to be sure you are future-proofing your business is by guaranteeing it caters for future customers and employees, by relying on forward-thinking enterprise resource planning software, for instance. Epicor ERP software ensures that their clients stay agile and innovative through trusting top minds to build and develop intelligent systems that open doors for Gen Zers. It’s Epicor’s innate tech-savviness that allows them to visualise the landscape of tomorrow and develop the software to support it today.

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Marketing Tactics

Free Sample Marketing Plan Template

You don’t need an MBA to write a marketing plan for your business. While no two businesses are alike, all solid marketing plans need to provide specific information. Use this sample marketing plan template to get you started on the right foot and cover all the essential information.

Tracy Lee Nicol

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139-sample-marketing-plan-template

Your marketing plan should provide a comprehensive blueprint of the business, its market and associated market activity, its position in the market, target and expected customers, offerings, competition, solutions and contingency plans.

Using a sample Marketing Plan Template can save you a lot of time in creating your own marketing plan.

Download a Sample Marketing Plan Template

Use the free templates below to help make sure you’ve covered all the important bits:

Download Our Free Marketing Plan Template Here.

PDF-download-marketing-template

Recommended Marketing Reads: 


Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa

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