How to grow sales on a downsized marketing budget

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article | How to grow sales on a downsized marketing budgetBusinesses are often quick to slash marketing budgets in times of disruption, and the response to the recent economic upheaval has been no different. Global ad spend is predicted to fall by nearly $50 billion in 2020, with major organizations like Google cutting marketing budgets in half for the rest of the year. Most companies are either in startup or turnaround mode and looking to reduce expenses while maximizing the impact of their remaining resources.

Though marketing is largely seen as a “nice-to-have” versus an essential business function, it’s actually a critical aspect of any business that works to drive sales. For organizations already struggling in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, freezing or scaling back on marketing can have dire consequences on business growth when it’s needed most.

How can business leaders confidently continue to invest in marketing during such a volatile time when both budgets and timelines are tight? The key is not necessarily to invest more in your marketing budget but to invest more wisely with strategic, data-based initiatives. That’s where segmentation comes into play.

By using data you probably already have on hand to group your clients or customers based on their value to your business, it’s possible to make the most of your digital marketing efforts to grow your revenue, fast. Though the concept of segmentation is nothing new, what is new is how quickly you can derive them and garner insights. In the past, investing in segmentation for your business could take months and millions of dollars. But with advances in technology, today it’s possible to get it done in days, not months or years, and take immediate action on the insights to boost your bottom line.

Whether you’re the leader of a startup without much digital marketing prowess yet, or a business that’s had to make marketing cuts in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, segmentation can help you spend less and make more by empowering your marketing team to:

1. Target the right people

Segmentation allows you to identify the shared characteristics of your best customers and create detailed personas to inform your approach. Most businesses will have several distinct high-value personas, which can be grouped by a number of segmentation techniques, such as demographics, geographics or psychographics (the way people think, feel or behave). For example, a luxury car dealership might segment its customers by the attitudes and beliefs that motivate purchases (the need for speed versus family safety), whereas a grocery retailer might segment customers by demographics such as their age, education or profession.

A common mistake is taking a cookie-cutter approach by spending the same amount of money going after your high-value customer segments as your low-value segments. By determining the margins each type of customer brings to your business, you can stop wasting resources on unprofitable segments and instead more strategically focus your marketing efforts on targeting the customer segments that will deliver the greatest ROI, such as lookalike or adjacent audiences to your high-value customers. What’s great about digital advertising is that you can be incredibly specific about who you target. All the major platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn allow you to display ads to return customers, go after new audiences who are similar to existing customers or target an entirely new segment based on criteria you select.

2. Adjust your messaging

It’s not only important to determine who you need to target through digital marketing, but also what you need to say to those valuable audience segments. Generic messaging will likely have your best customers scrolling past your ads or tossing your email in their junk folders, so take what you discovered in your research about your high-value personas and tailor your content accordingly.

How you communicate with one segment versus another may be wildly different based on several motivating factors. For example, young parents and well-off retirees might consider the same pieces of furniture from a high-end retailer, but their motivations for purchasing them are very different. While young parents are more likely to purchase furniture that holds up well to long-term wear-and-tear from kids and pets, retirees might be drawn to more expensive pieces because they feel they’ve earned nice things. Segmentation allows you to truly understand these unique (but equally high-value) groups and create different pieces of marketing content that speak directly to each one.

This may seem like an obvious step, but when is the last time you really performed a robust segmentation and used that to inspire your messaging? The information you uncover may surprise you — especially if you have never segmented in the past, or haven’t for a long while. We have experienced such a significant cultural shift recently that the usual wants, needs and motivating factors of your clients or customers may have shifted as well. It might be time to take another look at your segmentation to craft more impactful messaging.

3. Tailor your product offering

In addition to who you’re targeting and how you’re targeting them with your digital marketing content, segmentation can also inform what you’re offering. With consumer needs and concerns changing over the past several months, this ability to strategically pivot your products or services based on data is more important than ever before.

Perhaps your data reveals that one high-value customer segment desires a trimmed-down version of your product or service, while another prefers a more robust option. The best course of action might be to create a streamlined version and a premium version in addition to your core product or service, and then map these offerings to their corresponding segments throughout your sales and marketing efforts. But you won’t know how to make this pivot until you really understand your customer segments and determine what needs they have.

Transitioning from a one-size-fits all marketing strategy to high-level segmentation, with the eventual goal of one-on-one personalization, simply won’t happen overnight. It’s an evolution that will take time, patience and trial and error. But the good news is, if you’re asking the right questions and tracking what’s working and not working, your segments can actually get “smarter” and more effective over time. Likewise, your creative team will become more experienced crafting the right messaging for the right clients or customer segments at the right time. This is where the art and science of data segmentation can really come together to enhance your marketing strategy and content for greater ROI.

About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Rob RistagnoRob Ristagno is the founder and CEO of Sterling Woods Group and a keynote speaker focused on sharing new ways to use data to drive business results. Rob combines his expertise in data science with proven sales and marketing strategies to help established middle-market companies quickly generate new revenue by improving the way they gather and utilize data.

Rob earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Dartmouth College and his Master of Business Administration in general management from Harvard Business School. He currently lives in Newton, Massachusetts, with his wife, Kate, his daughter, Leni, and his black lab, Royce. For more information, please visit

6 Tips to Choose an Influencer for Your Brand

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article |Brand Influencer|6 Tips to Choose an Influencer for Your BrandWhen it comes to gaining new customers, word of mouth is one of the most efficient, yet ignored, marketing strategies used by businesses. Over 60% of customers search for reviews online before making a purchase, and 90% will believe a brand recommendation from someone they trust.

The trusted party could be a friend, family member, or even an influencer. In fact, trust is one reason why brands partner with influencers. You see, influencers often have a significant follower base of people who trust them. So, brands use this influence to reach their target audience. That said, here are six tips to help you choose the right influencer for your brand.

1. Do Your Research

Devote time into looking through the social media pages, especially the ones associated with your intended influencer. Understand their brand and what they represent by simply scanning through their social media pages. You need to understand what your influencer represents to ensure that their brand aligns with yours – directly or indirectly.

Going through their social media page will enable you to find out if they have ever been affiliated or partnered with a competitor at some point in time. For instance, it would be unwise for a company like Apple to contact an influencer who represented Samsung in the past.

2. Think Outside the Box

Just because you are promoting a specific item or service does not mean you have to narrow down your search for an influencer to one category.
By not making the target product obvious and focusing on other criteria, you are more likely to increase your subconscious buying chances. Professor Gerald Zaltman reveals in his book that 95% of purchase decisions are unconscious. Instead of putting yourself in a box, you can focus on their personality instead.

3. Use a Social Media/Influencer Marketing Agency

Influencers can make or break your brand, so you should carry out due diligence when picking one. If you don’t know where to start, you can choose one of the various services from, which is both a social media and influencer marketing agency. Alternatively, make use of a number of social media platforms to carry out the hunt yourself. Regardless of the path, you want to follow,

4. Create a Story

The most vital part of using an influencer to market is their story. While it is okay to acknowledge that influencers are creatives, it is also essential to express and guide the way you want your brand to be represented. However, do not go overboard with your demands.

Ensure you leave enough room for the influencer’s creativity to blossom. This will enable them to accomplish the main objective, which is to tell your story through their voice. So, pick an Influencer who is capable of conveying your story and is equally comfortable with your demands.

5. Be Honest

Some influencers may be reluctant to work with brands they do not know. However, if you take the time to create a pitch, explain why you want to work with them, and how your goals align, they are more likely to have a heart change. After all, you committed a lot of hours into carrying out your research to ensure they were the right fit.

The thing is, influencers are more efficient when they work with brands whose values align with theirs. So, it’s best to aim to show and express your genuine intentions to the influencer of your choice.

5 Stages of a Sales Funnel: Are You Adjusting Your Approach

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article |Sales Funnel|5 Stages of a Sales Funnel_ Are You Adjusting Your ApproachGetting your sales “up there” is always going to be an uphill climb. It’s even more disconcerting when you see everyone else around you succeeding.

So how do you make the best of it? By taking a look at the sales funnel, you can see what the different stages are and adjust your approach so that your profits can start to soar.

First Stage: Lead/Suspect

This first stage can be boiled down to a person you haven’t spoken to yet who matches the profile of your target customer. At this stage, you might want to pursue as many leads as you can in order to promote your growth and target the right demographic.

This means you’re going to have to put in the work to find as many reliable leads as possible so that you can have a reliable pool to pull from. The job couldn’t be easier with an award-winning B2B lead generation service provider on your side.

Second Stage: Prospect

A prospect is when an individual has showed some interest in what you’re offering, whether it’s a service or a product. You’ve already had a conversation and heard their concerns, which should have provided you with the information you need to improve/change what you’re offering. This kind of interaction will likely lead you toward the next step of your sales process.

Third Stage: Qualified Prospect

Getting as many opinions as you can is a good way to provide a well-rounded service/product, but a qualified prospect is much more valuable and more attention should be provided to such. It is also the most demanding stage of the sales funnel. A qualified prospect has the expertise and know-how to tell you what does and doesn’t work, because they have a need for what you are offering.

This is probably the lengthiest stage of the entire process, but exercising patience will help you get through to the other side.

Fourth Stage: Committed

This is when you’re committed to what you’ve re-edited again and again, getting rid of any red flags that may still give you cause for concern. At this stage, you should have provided the customer with a proposal that lays out all of the terms of the contract so that you can both move forward with the deal.

The only thing left for you to do is to has out the last few remaining details, as well as how delivery and payment are going to take place. Either party may want to offer contingencies on certain terms being met.

Fifth Stage: Transacted

This is the stage where the transaction has actually transpired and the contract has been signed by both parties. Fulfilling the contract requires steps to be taken by both parties in order to meet out all the terms laid out in it.

With this said, the salesperson can focus on the next opportunity and start working through the stages of the funnel from the beginning.

You should exercise caution in order to prevent a leaky funnel: where a sales opportunity isn’t progressing forward as it should. These opportunities should be removed in order to make way for new ones so that you’re not wasting your energies on unfruitful opportunities.

How To Easily Get More Eyes On Your Brand

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article |Get More Eyes on Your Brand|How To Easily Get More Eyes On Your BrandBusiness is all about creating a product and/or service, and keeping customers engaged with it/them. In short, that’s pretty much all there is to it. Of course, there are heaps and heaps of aspects that go with that sentiment, but it’s a pretty straightforward concept at the end of the day. One of those aspects that requires lots of work and attention, though, is the marketing side. As a business, you need to attract people and maintain those relationships for as long as you can.

When it comes to keeping the relationship flowing, you need to provide consistent content, show you care and be as reliable as you can – among other things. Attracting them in the first place can prove t be a tricky task, too, though. Making people notice you in such an impulsive and fast-paced world like today isn’t a walk in the park for most budding entrepreneurs. Our computers and apps have made things a little more convenient, but there are still some tricks that we need to pull off. Here are a few fundamental ideas if you’re looking for some inspiration:

Lookup All The Methods!

Before you make any moves in terms of forming strategies, you’ll want to figure out what’s best for you and your business. Some companies will suit certain methods, so it’s only right that you figure out what looks best on you. It’s also right to learn about how to market efficiently. You don’t want to spend hours of life (and quite a bit of money) on a campaign that doesn’t work. For instance, you might feel you want to learn how to advertise in china or something equally significant when all you really needed was a quick social media campaign. There are loads of ways to do it – you’re only bound by your creativity.

Get Your Social Accounts Built!

As we mentioned before, social media works very well. You should absolutely make sure you have the big social media platforms covered. This is because billions of people are operating on them each day, and you don’t want to miss out on any kind of lead. Social media is free and easy to work with, so it’s a real no-brainer.

Work With A Marketing Agency

Marketing agencies are fantastic little firms if you’re looking to boost your exposure and build relationships. Their sole purpose is to make companies a lot bigger and better, so you might want to hop into bed with them if you’re struggling to do so yourself. They’ll be able to help out with SEO, apps, competitions, and all kinds of different facets.

Do The Job Perfectly!

Finally, and very simply: get the job done. Word of mouth is an excellent means of marketing, so you’ll need to impress your customers/clients. If you can build a reputation, and make people want you more and more, then you’ll have the general public executing a marketing strategy for you while you kick your feet up. Free publicity!

Taking It Public: Top 5 Things You Should Know About PR Firms

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article |PR firms |Taking It Public: Top 5 Things You Should Know About PR FirmsCould your company benefit from a brand boost? Have you been having trouble getting your logo and product in front of your target audience?

If so, then you need to consider hiring one of the many PR firms on the market to help you start establishing your brand a little better.

If you’ve never ventured into the marketing world, however, the market for public relations firms can be a tough one to navigate. In this article, we’ll provide you with five things that you need to know about PR firms to better equip you to find the right fit for your needs.

1. PR is All About Storytelling

At the end of the day, branding your business is all about storytelling. Customers are engaged by stories, not by product features. The format of the story that your PR firm will tell will depend on your industry.
For instance, consider the fitness industry. Good fitness brands will be able to tell a story of how their customers who are dissatisfied with current fitness levels are able to more easily achieve their desired health.

2. Advertising is a Big Part of PR

One of the big parts of public relations is advertising. Whether it’s a billboard, Facebook ad, or Google search ads, advertising is crucial to most industries.

The right PR firm for you will be one that is experienced in implementing advertising campaigns for your particular industry. They should be able to prove with case studies and metrics of how they produced an ROI on those advertising campaigns.

3. Public Relations Can’t Save a Bad Product

Many companies turn to public relations firms to save their brand image after it is discovered by their general audience that their product or service doesn’t work as well as the competition.

However, public relations simply isn’t a cure for a bad product. PR can only attract customers to your company, but if you have a bad product then you can’t stop those customers from telling the world about it.

4. PR is Largely Digital in 2020

In 2020, pretty much everyone in your target audience is likely to have a smartphone or some way of reliably accessing the Internet. As a result, PR is largely digital.

Agencies like the Media Frenzy Global PR firm have significant digital marketing experience. Don’t use agencies that don’t have a similar level of expertise.

5. PR is An Art and a Science

Last but not least, remember that PR is both an art and a science. While PR firms can prove ROI with tangible numbers on things like social media advertising, it may not be able to do so with other things like general brand credibility. However, you should be able to see the results of a PR firm’s work as the level of respect your brand commands in the industry grows.

Which of the Many PR Firms Will Be Right for You?

Now that you know a little more about PR firms, you’re ready to pick the right one for you. Remember not to compromise and only pick a firm that has significant experience in your niche and is able to back up their abilities with a consistent track record of success.
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