NAED is hosting a series of Adventure Roundtable discussions to help you dig into your use of data for your marketing strategies. The first event is July 22 at 1 pm Central time. The series of three events will kick off with Mark McGready, Director of Strategic Analytics at SPARXiQ and NAED’s Data Insights Advisor, helping you use all of the tools at your disposal for three key activities:
- to take an audit of the changing business from before the pandemic to today
- to define and understand the upcoming market changes that will impact their business
- to build a tailored activity-specific plan of your goals and objectives in a post-pandemic world
After the presentation, attendees will break into smaller groups for virtual roundtable discussions on the topics.
There is still time to register yourself and your marketing department for the events. You can register for the events by clicking here.
tED magazine took the time to send McGready some questions to help you understand what will be addressed during the first event.
tED magazine: Explain the difference between organic growth in your business and revenue increase due to price increases, and how that impacts your marketing strategy.
Mark McGready: Organic growth is increased volume of product being sold, either with new customers or increasing sales to existing customers. Price increase growth comes from increase supplier costs being passed along to your customer. For example, your business might be growing by 10%, but if suppliers increased their pricing at the start of the year by 5% then half of your success comes from that increased price and your true organic growth is half of what it appears to be.
Price increase growth is not a bad thing – if you can pass on the price increase to the customer while maintaining your current margins you make more profit the same way, but understanding this difference is still important in gauging your sales force and your business health. 2021 has see several large price increases due to supply challenges, it’s unusual in that regard, so price increases are a much bigger factor this year than in normal years.
tED magazine: How are you looking at your data, and should you be comparing it to 2019 or 2020?
Mark McGready: The best answer is that you should look at both. 2019 is a true gauge of where your business was before Covid, and so as we move away from the impact of Covid and life gets back to normal you should compare to life pre Covid. That’s the best measure for understanding if your business is recovering and holding market share. Many businesses had different responses to Covid in 2020, some saw large decreases in revenues, and other saw little to none.
Year over year comparisons are still relevant, but everyone should take the gains they’re going to see in 2021 in the context of what happened in 2020.
tED magazine: It’s an interesting environment with the demand for work increasing fairly quickly. How should marketing departments be targeting customers, and what are the messages that are most important for the rest of this summer?
Mark McGready: In times of change companies have the best opportunity to gain or lose market share. Customers will be in a position to shop around and will be questioning existing services as they build their own post recovery business plans. It’s a classic ‘Interesting Times’ situation.
As such, marketing departments should be putting in renewed effort in targeting their messaging based on where things stand with their various customers. From ‘how else can we help you’ with strong existing customer to ‘come back we miss you’ to lost customers. This will be a time when relationships are renewed or new relationships are built. Marketing departments should be very active this summer honing their messaging to be situation specific.
tED magazine: Should your marketing strategy be in a constant state of change? As new data is analyzed and conditions vary, how often should you be re-assessing your marketing messages?
Mark McGready: Yes and no. Roughly 80% of it should be the things you’ve always done – new products, new services, new features and so on. 20% of the effort should be reactive to what’s happening to the business. And I come by those numbers as 80% of your customer base will likely just keep on trucking like it always has, many of your customers are long time relationships, but the 20% allows for attrition and addition and marketing should be responsive to those situations.
Great marketing teams will already have something like this in place, but it does rely on a sophisticated embrace of data analytics and building action plans surrounding those findings. Companies who become great at this will be able to focus their marketing investments on larger returns on investment, and so keep an advantage over competition.
tED magazine: How would you rate some of the most impactful influences on our supply chain right now? This would include, but is not limited to, supply chain shortages, a new way that our customers are working and buying, virtual business, construction delays, and warehouse and delivery operation changes.
Mark McGready: I think the number one issue we’ve had for the first half of the year has been price increases along with supply issues. The reopening happened quite quickly and I think it’s caught many off guard. However, these issues pass, and we should look to the second half of the year. Going forwards I think critical influences will be rebuilding relationships, working with new personnel, and understanding the buying preferences of customers. Working from home might be here to stay, so virtual relationships might become the norm with buyers, and with that an increased demand for meetings and support.
More than anything the market looks hot, and everyone should be set to prosper over the next couple of years as investments get approved and customers race to keep up with their competition. 2020 paused a large amount of capital, that’s just dying to be spent now. Anyone trying to hire a home contractor this summer understands just how busy things are. It should be a safe market to be investing in sales and marketing and ensuring your business is best placed to support your customers in the manner of their choosing – which might not be the way they operated in 2019. Understanding the needs of your customers is key, and voice of the customer surveys and feedback are essential tools to help discover what your customers need to keep buying from you.
tED magazine: How should marketing departments operate over the next 6-12 months in terms of creating and sharing messages internally so everyone associated with the operation understands and uses the correct messaging?
Mark McGready: Internal communication is as important as external, as the internal team are there to reinforce marketing efforts. Therefore sharing findings, strategy and results internally should be a key initiative. And I expect that there will be a need to stay nimble in marketing, which might mean changing strategies as the numbers and data changes. As such strong internal communications become even more important.
Marketing should get in the habit of communicating internally at least monthly, and in sharing what it’s doing and why it’s doing it. Marketing is there to stir up demand, if sales don’t know what’s being stirred there’s a good chance they’ll miss out when opportunity comes their way.
tED magazine: What are some of the key analytics marketing departments should be focusing on this summer?
Mark McGready: Organic vs price growth, new vs existing customers, customer wallet & mix share, customer buying pattern trending, quote hit rate and dividing your customers based on business opportunity are all important gauges of what’s happening in the company. Data analytics is about looking at a lot of sources and using them to identify the opportunity situations. If you think about all the warnings signs your car might have, it’s monitoring everything but only lets you know when something important surfaces – need an oil change or tire pressure is low. You don’t need to look at displays with all this data – your car will tell you which one is important. So to it is with data analytics. You should have lots of sources, but you share the important indicators. These could be measures like a drop in margin, or a change in mix, or a lower hit rates on open quotes, or flagging customers who’s purchase rate has dropped. There’s a lot there, and in truth what gets flagged should reflect the company strategy and business plan.
With data analytics you can’t expect every employee to be able to look at a spreadsheet and understand what to look for and how to respond. Rather the preference is to use your data analytics to identify that for them, and in turn tell them what it means and what they need to do. That’s the cornerstone of a data driven culture, which I think will be critical capability for all businesses in the years to come.