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The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Campaigns

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The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Campaigns

From P&G’s “Thank You, Mom” to American Express’s “Small Business Saturday” to Dos Equis’s “Most Interesting Man in the World,” marketing campaigns have a way of sticking with us long after an impression or purchase. Why is that? Well, campaigns make companies memorable. They promote a focused effort that guides consumers towards the desired action. They also give brands an identity, personality, and emotion.

Marketing campaigns can do the same for your business. That’s why we’ve compiled this guide — to provide a clear, concise approach to your next marketing campaign.

Keep reading to get started or use the links below to jump ahead.

Marketing Campaigns vs. Advertising Campaigns

Marketing is how a company raises awareness of its brand and convinces customers to make a purchase, while advertising is the process of creating persuasive messages around these broad goals.

In terms of campaigns, an advertising campaign might be one facet of a larger marketing campaign strategy.

Say shoe brand Nike launched a campaign surrounding the release of a new product. Its advertising would only reflect one facet of its marketing strategy.

The brand might also leverage email newsletters, social media, and paid search to meet its goal.

Now that we understand the difference between advertising and marketing campaigns, here’s a list of a few more types of marketing campaigns you might run.

Marketing Campaign Components

Multiple components go into the planning, execution, and results of a stellar marketing campaign.

How to Create a Successful Marketing Campaign

Creating an entire campaign is a big task, but the process is pretty straightforward.

Before you create what your audience will see, you must consider your end goal and the action you want them to take

I’ve organized this section as a marketing campaign template. All you need to do is answer the questions — as accurately and in-depth as possible — to ensure a thorough, successful approach to your next marketing campaign.

Planning Your Marketing Campaign

This step is crucial to the effectiveness of your marketing campaign. The planning stage will determine how you measure success and will guide your team when things go awry.

Featured Resource: Free Marketing Plan Generator

1. Set a purpose and goal for your campaign.

Let’s start simple. Why are you running this campaign? What would you like your campaign to accomplish for your business?

If you’re having trouble defining your campaign purpose, start broad. Take a look at the goals below. Which one is most aligned with your own?

This is hardly a definitive list, but it gives you an idea of general business goals that a campaign could help reach.

Let’s take this broad campaign purpose and turn it into a S.M.A.R.T. goal. We’ll use the third option as an example: Gather customer feedback or content.

The goal of my marketing campaign is to gather user-generated content from 100 customers via a branded hashtag on Instagram featuring our new product line by December 31.

The goal is specific (user-generated content), measurable (100 customers), attainable (via a branded Instagram hashtag), relevant (featuring the new product line), and timely (by December 31).

See how this broad campaign purpose instantly transforms into an actionable, attainable goal?

Pro Tip: Setting SMART Goals is simple when you have the right tools. Check out the free SMART Goal-Setting template below to get started on this critical piece of your marketing campaign.

Featured Resource: Free SMART Goal-Setting Template

2. Establish how you’ll measure your campaign.

This will look different for everyone depending on the channels you’re leveraging and your end goal. You might measure email open rates, new Facebook Page likes, product pre-orders, or a combination.

These answers will depend on your overarching campaign goal. Here are a few examples of metrics based on the campaign goals I mentioned above.

  • For promoting a new product or service: Pre-orders, sales, upsells
  • For increasing brand awareness: Sentiment, social mentions, press mentions
  • For gathering customer feedback or content: Social mentions, engagement
  • For generating revenue: Leads, sales, upsells
  • For boosting user engagement: Blog shares, social shares, email interactions
  • For advertising an upcoming event: Ticket sales, vendor or entertainment bookings, social mentions

If your campaign involves multiple marketing channels, it’s wise to define how you’ll measure your campaign on each medium.

For example, say I was running my user-generated content (UGC) campaign on social media, email, and on our blog. First, I’d define my key performance indicators (KPIs) for each medium, which may look like:

  • Instagram engagements (likes and comments) and profile tags
  • Email open rates and click-through rates
  • Blog views, click-throughs, and social shares

Then, I’d define my primary campaign KPI: Instagram branded hashtag mentions.

While the above KPIs indicate how well my campaign is reaching and engaging my audience, my primary KPI tells me how close I am to reaching my SMART goal.

Lastly, let’s think about another question: What does “success” look like for your company? Sure, it’s exciting to reach a predetermined goal, but that’s not always possible. What (outside of your goal) would constitute success for you (or serve as a milestone)?

Pro Tip: When determining how you’ll measure your campaign, consider setting up some checkpoints along the way. If your campaign involves boosting brand awareness and your goal is to reach 50 PR mentions by the end of the year, set up some benchmark notifications at 10, 25, and 40 mentions.

Not only will it remind you to keep pushing toward your ultimate goal, but it’ll boost morale within your team and remind you that your hard work is paying off.

3. Define your target audience.

Imagine constructing a bulletproof marketing campaign only to be met with crickets.

In that case, you might think you chose the wrong marketing medium or that your creative wasn’t witty enough. However, the culprit may be your audience.

The first step to resolving this problem is figuring out what stage of the buyer’s journey your campaign is targeting. Are you trying to bring in new customers, or attempting to gather feedback from existing clients?

Marketing your brand to those who recognize it, or are you introducing a new brand identity altogether?

Your marketing message will vary depending on whether your campaign audience is in the awareness, consideration, or decision stage. Even though your campaign may reach those outside of your target audience, it’s vital that you design your campaign with a specific target in min you know who it’s meant for.

Next, identify your audience’s interests and pain points. Here are some questions to ask yourself and your team to better understand your audience.

  • What are my audience’s general interests? What magazines do they read? What TV shows do they watch? How do they spend their free time?
  • Where does my audience hang out online? For what purpose do they use Instagram, Facebook, and other networks? Do they engage or merely browse?
  • What kind of content gets my audience’s attention? Do they respond to straightforward sales messages, or would they rather consume witty, humorous content? What cultural references would they understand?
  • What kind of problems do they have that my product, service, or brand could solve?

Becoming well-acquainted with your campaign audience will help you confidently answer these questions and any others that may arise during the campaign.

Pro Tip: To uncover more about your target audience, survey your existing customers as well as potential customers in your market. Then, use this data to create your buyer personas — you can even enter that data into a free buyer persona generator like the one below.

Featured Resource: Buyer Persona Generator

4. Set a concept for your campaign and get in contact with the right team.

Marketing campaigns require a mission, vision, and visual identity. Great campaigns are an offshoot of their parent brand, both visually and creatively — they stay consistent with the business brand but maintain their own identity.

When creating their campaign assets, some businesses use an in-house team while others opt for an agency. Another alternative is hiring a freelancer or contractor to complete a specific portion of the project, such as the copy or design.

Pro Tip: Depending on your specific campaign goals, I’d recommend starting with your in-house team and moving forward from there. They are the experts of your business and can speak to what your campaign needs to succeed.

This step will likely take the longest since you’ll be creating your campaign concept from scratch. Next, we’ll dive into how you’ll distribute your campaign assets and connect with your audience.

Featured Resource: Market Research Kit

Distributing Your Marketing Campaign

This stage is all about the public-facing part of your campaign, including what your audience will see and when. If you’ve combed through the previous section, you should have all the answers you need to guide you through this step.

5. Choose the channels on which you’ll run your campaign.

This choice depends on your audience preference, budget, and brand engagement levels, among other factors.

Take a look at the current media channels you use to promote your company. Which ones perform the best? Which ones allow you to pay for advertisements? Which ones have the best engagement? Most importantly, where are your customers hanging out?

Need a few ideas? Take a look at the PESO model, which breaks up distribution channels into Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned.

marketing campaigns: choosing your channel using the PESO marketing model

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6. Set a timeline for your campaign.

Establishing a deadline for your campaign gives you a much better idea of when, how, and how often you’ll promote it. Here’s how to do this:

  • Build a general campaign timeline, then mark your campaign start date and deadline on a calendar.
  • Take a look at your marketing assets and chosen promotional marketing channels and work backward from the campaign launch date. Based on your resources, how often can you afford to post and promote your campaign content? With this information, create a promotional calendar for each marketing channel.
  • Decide on a cadence for each channel and map out your scheduled posts, emails, etc. on your calendar.

Visually mapping your marketing campaign will help you evenly disperse your campaign promotions and publish equally on each medium. It’ll also give you an idea of where your time and energy are going so that you can look back when assessing the effectiveness of your campaign.

Pro Tip: If your promotional calendar seems full, don’t fret. Social media and email scheduling tools can alleviate the pressure of posting daily. Check out tools like HubSpot and Buffer to help you schedule and manage your campaign promotions.

Converting Customers Through Your Marketing Campaign

This stage — the conversion stage — is all about how your campaign can lead to a specific result.

7. Ensure your campaign is driving users toward a desired action.

Even if your campaign is effective and drives a ton of traffic, it still needs to complete its desired action. By “the desired action,” I’m talking about that SMART goal you initially defined. Let’s take a moment and reiterate that goal.

For my sample campaign, my SMART goal was “to gather user-generated content from 100 customers via a branded hashtag on Instagram featuring our new product line by December 31.”

This step is all about calibrating your marketing efforts and channels to lead your customers to complete your desired goal. This is done through conversion assets like calls-to-action, landing pages, and lead forms.

Pro Tip: Lead conversion assets can be used separately or in conjunction with one another, such as featuring a lead form on a landing page, or creating a call-to-action asking your audience to fill out a form.

8. Monitor the right metrics.

The campaign effectiveness metrics you’ll monitor will depend on what type of marketing campaign you’re running and what channels you’ve chosen. This section merely serves as a baseline list to give you an idea of what to watch.

Also, it’s tempting to focus on vanity metrics like generated traffic, click-through rate, and impressions. A bump in these areas is definitely a good thing, but since they don’t necessarily indicate a bump in revenue, they can’t be the only metrics used to measure the effectiveness of your campaign.

Pro Tip: Bookmark this link to all the marketing metrics to watch. It’s organized by marketing channel so you can quickly scan the list for new metrics to track for your campaigns.

Assessing Your Marketing Campaign

The post-campaign stage determines your success just as much as the planning stage. Measuring and analyzing your campaign data can provide unique insight into your audience, marketing channels, and budget. It will also inform future campaigns.

9. Establish success numbers and metrics.

The easy way to figure this out is to understand whether or not your campaign met the initial SMART goal outlined in step one. If it did, great! If it didn’t, you can dive into the data to assess why.

For example, if your goal was to increase organic blog views by 100K, any bump in views would be considered successful. But there’s a difference between a campaign that works and a campaign that’s worthwhile.

A worthwhile campaign gives you an ROI that’s proportionate to the time and energy you put into it.

Pro Tip: While it’s OK to celebrate any bump in pre-orders, leads, views, or engagements, don’t assume that’s enough. There’s a reason the very first thing to do is set a campaign goal. Sticking to that goal and calibrating your investment will ensure your campaign is worthwhile.

10. What will you do with the campaign data?

This step helps maximize your campaign’s business impact.

When you analyze and apply your data, its value increases tenfold — not only did it help you measure and assess your campaign results, but it’ll also give you direction and clarity on your audience, marketing methods, creative prowess, and more.

Let’s return to my UGC Instagram campaign.

In addition to meeting my goal of 100 posts with UGC, the data I collect in the process also offers insights into who my audience is, when and how often they post on Instagram, what language they use, and how they use my product.

Whether you collect lead information, pre-orders, social engagements, or offer downloads, your data can equip you to not only meet your campaign goal but also expand your marketing efforts as a whole.

Pro Tip: The campaign isn’t over once you’ve pulled that final report. Spend time with your team in a retrospective meeting. Ask yourselves questions like:

  • What could’ve been done differently?
  • How could we have saved money?
  • For anything that went wrong, why do we think it went wrong?
  • What did we learn about our audience or marketing channels?
  • What kind of feedback could we gather from participants or customers?

Great Marketing Campaign Examples (and Why They’re So Great)

This wouldn’t be a HubSpot Ultimate Guide if we didn’t share some examples from the pros.

1. The Lip Bar‘s “Something BAWSE is coming”

In 2022, The Lip Bar celebrated its 10-year anniversary. It also release a new product called “The Bawse Bundle.”

In early February, the brand launched a multi-channel campaign, from website and social media to billboards.

marketing campaign example: homepage of the lip bar websiteImage Source

The campaign is built around a story of resilience and perseverance, focusing on the CEO’s negative experience on the show Shark Tank.

Why The Lip Bar’s “Something BAWSE is coming” campaign is so great:

It accomplishes multiple things through a single campaign: It gives the audience a peek into the brand’s journey. It builds on that journey and beautifully connects it to a product.

So, not only can current customers share in this excitement because of the 10-year anniversary, new customers will be drawn in by the personal story shared by the CEO.

2. Meta (Formerly Facebook): “The Metaverse”

In Q4 2021, Facebook announced the rebranding of its parent company. The new name, Meta, comes with its own marketing campaign that introduces the world to a new concept called the “metaverse.”

marketing campaign example by meta

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The campaign is still in its infancy stages, but it has taken over social media networks, including the Facebook app itself.

The video posted to the new @meta Instagram account showcases an alternate reality in which people can interact in 3D.

Why Meta’s “The Metaverse” campaign is so great:

Reception of the campaign is still developing, but so far, it’s successfully stopped the world in its tracks — and that’s a recipe for success with just about any marketing campaign.

The idea of a Facebook rebrand had been speculated prior to the launch of the campaign which piqued the public’s interest. That meant even if they didn’t like the change, they would still be interested in seeing what happens next.

3. Popeyes: “Megan Thee Stallion Hottie Sauce”

If Popeye’s wasn’t sure that it hit the ball out of the park with the chicken sandwich marketing campaign, then it nailed it for sure with the Megan Thee Stallion Hottie Sauce collaboration.

marketing campaign from popeyes

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Arguably, Popeyes created one of the best chicken sandwiches on the fast-food market in 2019. At the same time, artist Megan Thee Stallion was becoming the hottest rapper in the industry.

So, it made sense that in 2021, the two would join forces to debut a remix of the successful chicken sandwich.

Why Popeyes’ “Megan Thee Stallion Hottie Sauce” campaign is so great:

This marketing campaign was intentional about targeting the younger crowd with not just chicken sandwiches, but merchandise, too.

Popeyes was able to tap into this segment of the market and increase sales while continuing to capitalize on its success without the campaign coming across as stale.

4. Cheerios: #GoodGoesRound

marketing campaign example from cheerios

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General Mills ran a non-profit campaign called Good Goes Round via its Cheerios brand, lobbying to raise enough money to fund one million meals.

Why Cheerios’ “Good Goes Round” campaign is so great:

The campaign featured its own landing page, video marketing assets, and hashtag (#GoodGoesRound), separating it from its parent brand and making it shareable among its audience.

It also paid to promote the “Good Goes Round” URL on Google, giving the campaign even more visibility.

5. Apple: “Shot on iPhone”

marketing campaign example from apple

Image Source

Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” series highlights the high-quality videography and photography that customers can capture on the iPhone X.

It’s a product launch campaign that focused on one specific feature of the new Apple smartphone.

Why Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” campaign is so great:

This campaign was unique, because it’s similar to a user-generated campaign but was also promoted heavily by the brand itself.

Apple launched its own Instagram account to share the #ShotoniPhone content, collaborated with professional photographers and videographers, and ran official TV advertisements.

6. The General: “Re-brand”

When it comes to cheesy commercials, The General’s old marketing strategy fits the bill.

The brand became synonymous with pixelated animations and low-quality production which inevitably had a negative effect on the way potential customers perceived the quality of service.

In 2020, the company changed its marketing campaign to target a more rational customer who appreciates a little humor.

Shaquille O’Neal became the face of the brand, appearing in commercials alongside other notable celebrities like Montell Jordan and Ernie Johnson.

Why The General’s “Re-brand” campaign is so great:

The General listened to its customers’ opinions of the brand before moving forward with the new campaign and saw great success as a result.

The tone of the marketing campaign remained light-hearted but took a more mature approach to the humor — toning it down and letting the key selling points of The General shine through.

7. Airbnb: “Made Possible by Hosts”

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, travel companies such as Airbnb saw unprecedented losses in profit.

How did the company respond? It created a series of videos called “Made Possible by Hosts” that shows appreciation for the hosts who have continued to accept guests on the platform.

What’s most curious about the campaign is that it doesn’t put Airbnb customers at the center.

Instead, it spotlights the hosts who accept customers in the first place. In doing so, Airbnb focuses on the human aspect of its platform: You’re not renting an Airbnb property, you’re renting someone’s home.

Over to You

Marketing campaigns aren’t easy, but they’re valuable and integral to growing a successful brand and business. Campaigns set apart certain deliverables from general promotional efforts and touch your audience in creative and exciting ways.

If you’re not sure where to start, consider what would be valuable to your audience, and go from there. Your audience is, after all, the lifeblood of your campaigns and company.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2017 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

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via GIPHY

To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

1716755163 123 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 123 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

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So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

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  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

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So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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