Since HRmarketer.com was founded in 2000, April has consistently been our slowest sales month. It's a huge outlier. And even though we've realized nearly 60 consecutive months of revenue growth, April is always a dismal month when it comes to new HRmarketer.com sales.
I have no idea.
It's not a lack of marketing. We write and distribute search-optimized press releases, develop white papers, conduct market research, send out monthly direct marketing campaigns, blog, create podcasts, place bylined articles, advertise, exhibit at trade shows, and much more.
It's not our pipeline. It's full and our sales pipeline actually grows in April because fewer deals close.
So what is it? I honestly have no idea but I'd be curious if April is slow for other HR suppliers.
But it did get me thinking. Imagine this scenario:
Cautious Company, Inc. has never done any real marketing or PR since its founding. The business owner doesn't believe in it. But his new sales manager convinces him to invest in some marketing and PR. It's March. They send out a few releases and do a direct marketing campaign. The results are not great. Remember, April is a slow month. As a result, the business owner says "See, I told you so" and cuts the marketing and PR budget.
This story is fiction but reflects a lot of companies in the HR space who don't give marketing and PR enough time. Many will do a "marketing blitz" where marketing efforts are compressed within a short time frame and then bail when the results are not as expected. Marketing and PR campaigns are most effective when consistently executed over a long period of time. In fact, if you want to grow your business you'll likely never stop marketing. And businesses either grow or they decline. There is no in between.
So what is the opposite of a marketing blitz? It's drip marketing or variations of it. I found an interesting article on drip marketing by Laura Lake on About.com. She writes:
"Drip marketing is a direct marketing strategy that involves sending out numerous promotions to prospects over a period of time. The phrase drip marketing comes from the common phrase used in gardening called "drip irrigation." This is the process of watering plants using small amounts of water over long periods of time. It was developed in response to the "Law of 29" in which many marketers believe that an average "prospect" will not turn into a client until they've viewed their marketing message at least 29 times."
In other words, you constantly stay in touch with your prospects - the key to any brand visibility or lead generation initiative.
But what if after six months of aggressive marketing and PR you are not seeing results?
This can be a tough question to answer. If you are creating web site traffic but not converting them to leads, your site or messaging may need updating. If you are generating leads but not closing them, it could be a sales process or staffing issue. If there are no leads, perhaps the marketplace does not value your product or service. Or again, the messaging may need refining. If you are generating leads but they are not the right kind, maybe you need to take another look at your marketing mix - the media outlets you send releases to, the shows you attend, the direct marketing list you rent, etc.
There are literally dozens of possible reasons. But I'm willing to bet that the problem is not because too much money is being invested in our marketing and PR.
Labels: drip marketing, marketing blitz, sales