Marketing Strategy
Only about 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates according to Econsultancy.

Marketing is constantly changing, and so is the B2B buyer. When most people expected the sales cycle to shorten with the advent of technology, it actually lengthened a majority of sales cycles because businesses have so many options to choose from!

Not only does this impact your bottom line, but it also impacts the entire marketing lifecycle—from market understanding to monetizing your efforts online.

Top Challenges

Here are some of the top marketing challenges faced by companies today, according to HubSpot. (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)
Training Our Team
0%
Identifying Right Technology
0%
Proving the ROI of Marketing
0%
Generating Traffic & Leads
0%

The goal of any marketing strategy shouldn’t be to just see results from digital or just see results from traditional marketing; the goal should be to find what’s going to work for you. Here’s how we approach that:

  • Step 1: Audit what you’re currently doing and what you’ve done in the past.
  • Step 2: Identify what’s worked, what hasn’t, and what areas you need to address.
  • Step 3: Approach each area of need by logical progression or priority.

It sounds simpler than it is in practice—trust us. But the exercise itself is very insightful.

As we’ve gone through this exercise with so many of our clients, we noticed a pattern for our approach. In essence, we had developed our very own marketing lifecycle model, used as an auditing tool and as a guide for clients to use to build and grow over time.

Only 61% of marketers believe their marketing strategy is effective according to Hubspot.

Ladies and gents, we’d like to introduce the Sapphire Lifecycle Model.

Sapphire Lifecycle Model

Sapphire Strategy has developed the Sapphire Lifecycle Model as a way to audit current marketing efforts, identify the areas of need, and guide brands through the lifecycle so they can optimize their marketing performance.

The model is made up of the 10 facets of the marketing lifecycle, each which must be addressed individually to effectively understand, market, and monetize a brand.

Sapphire Lifecycle Model Marketing Understanding
1. Market Understanding
As the first facet of the Sapphire Lifecycle Model, market understanding is critical to making effective and strategic marketing decisions. It provides the foundational information you need as a business to position yourself optimally in the market.

Market understanding is made up of three elements: industry research, competitive analysis, and SWOT analysis. This facet is all about understanding the current state of your industry, who your direct and indirect competitors are, and what internal and external factors are at play.
Sapphire Lifecycle Model Branding & Messaging
2. Branding & Messaging
The second facet of the Sapphire Lifecycle Model is branding and messaging—the aesthetic and written standards for your brand.

Branding and messaging may seem very "on the surface," but it's really important to connecting with your customer base and becoming memorable.

The second facet requires two distinct exercises or sets of standards:

1. The branding guide, which includes the logo and how to use it; the primary, secondary, and tertiary colors; the designated fonts; and any other design rules when visually representing or utilizing brand assets.
2. The message house, which details everything from the mission, vision, core values, objectives, writing style, boilerplate, brand personality, and more.

Whether you're a new brand getting started, a brand that's revamping, or an established brand, it's imperative that the aesthetics and the messaging are in alignment.
Sapphire Lifecycle Model Product Marketing
3. Product Marketing
Before you can go-to market with a product or service, you need an in-depth understanding of your positioning, messaging, and customer development. What are you selling, who are you selling to, and why are you different?

Product marketing is fascinating in its own right because it touches marketing, sales, and the product, which makes it a combination of an inbound and outbound activity.

The role of product marketing—which should be reevaluated any time you add a new product or service, your products or services are changing, or your business as a whole is changing— should be to provide:

1. Standardized descriptions of your products or services.
2. Key differentiators and features of each product or service.
3. Identified buyer personas for each product or service.
Sapphire Lifecycle Model Marketing Strategy
4. Marketing Strategy
You might notice that the marketing strategy is the 4th facet and not the 1st; this is intentional. We need all of the foundational information from the first three facets before we can create an effective strategy that will yield results.

A good marketing strategy should be able to do the following:
1. Provides a cohesive plan for marketing communications and execution on a long-term and short-term basis.
2. Identifies distribution and promotion channels of focus that make sense for the brand.
3. Includes an effective mix of earned, owned, paid, and shared media strategies.
4. Provides detailed information about target audience, prospects, and current customers.
5. Identifies strategic content types that will appeal to those audiences.

When a marketing strategy can deliver those items, then it's a comprehensive plan that will help businesses reach their revenue goals.
Sapphire Lifecycle Model Measured Marketing
5. Measured Marketing
Simply put, the less you know about the results of your marketing efforts, the less likely you are to meet your revenue goals. According to HubSpot, 74% of companies that weren't exceeding revenue goals did not know their visitor, lead, MQL, or sales opportunities.

Every marketing activity should be tracked and measured. Identify your key performance indicators (KPIs) and what metrics are important to your team. Do you know how much of your revenue came from marketing? Ideally, you should be able to answer that question every month if you have the proper tracking mechanisms in place.

You also need to have mechanisms in place to view past performance and compare it to current or future performance. It will provide a benchmark so you can forecast more effectively and make better decisions are MQL and lead goals.

(Source: https://offers.hubspot.com/demand-generation-benchmarks-report)
Sapphire Lifecycle Model Technology Selection
6. Technology Selection
Technology has become an integral part to the ecosystem of our business operations. As such, the technology we choose can make or break the system we have in place and can affect if we scale.

Your tech stack should be selected carefully and with the future in mind. The 5th facet of the Sapphire Lifecycle Marketing is all about identifying which tools will support your business' overall marketing and sales functions—all while integrating with software of technology you use for other parts of the business.

When selecting technology, you should consider the following:
1. Will this streamline my operations?
2. Does this integrate with existing tools I use?
3. Will I be able to scale with this technology in the future?
4. What's the barrier of use for my team?
5. Do I already have tools in-house that have similar features?
6. If I have someone who completes a task this tool offers, what's the cost savings?
Sapphire Lifecycle Model Website Optimization
7. Website Optimization
According to Sirius Decisions, 67% of the buyer's journey is now done digitally. That means that your potential customers are going online to find out more about you. Where do you they're going first?

When social media first started getting popular, websites started to be dismissed as "brochures" and non-interactive. While they certainly couldn't provide the conversations that social media was, they provided useful information about companies that social media couldn't.

Regardless of whether the more meaningful conversations and interactions are going to happen off the website, your website is still a really important tool during the longest phase of the B2B buyer journey: the research phase. It needs to be responsive, branded well, integrated for search and social, and it needs to be optimized for conversions.

Think about how you interact with websites today. While you might not fill out as many forms or you might not spend as much time on them, do they still impact your decision? We thought so.

Source: http://www.themarketingblender.com/statistics-every-b2b-company-know-boost-sales/
Sapphire Lifecycle Model Content Authority
8. Content Authority
The 8th facet of the Sapphire Lifecycle Model is one of the most important and typically the most misunderstood. Content authority is not simply content marketing; it goes one step further.

Content authority is about making your content more effective over time. It's not focused on production; it's focused on being purposeful.

Content authority is a specialty of Sapphire Strategy. By understanding when and how to use the different content types, types of learners, personality types based on decision making, and useful promotional channels, our strategies and campaigns are tailored to suit the specialized needs of our clients.
Sapphire Lifecycle Model Social Influence
9. Social Influence
When brands can use their subject matter expertise to build authority, they can also use that authority to gain influence.

If done right, brands can use social media to increase their exposure and reach across a variety of targeted networks. Some brands have even expanded their sales territories because social media gave them an opportunity to connect with new markets.

Social influence allows you to utilize your subject matter expertise to drive a social following and rapport through strategic interactions and messaging. You can build a network of loyalists and a group of potential customers.
Sapphire Lifecycle Model Audience Monetization
10. Audience Monetization
True marketing actualization is when you're making money off of your audience online—where you can see true revenue streams from your digital efforts.

Audience monetization can manifest in a variety of forms, including having a subscription-based site, e-commerce to sell products or services, sponsored content, referral or affiliate programs, or creating a well-oiled lead generation machine via your online presence.

There's always an opportunity to monetize.
Sapphire Strategy Digital Marketing Agency Indianapolis
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