Software marketing executives in the digital era have a wealth of new tools and channels to reach potential customers. In addition to a sound business model, a best of breed product, and competitive positioning, launching and growing a software business requires both the technology infrastructure to enable marketing and sales to quickly grow the business and the proper talent required to execute the plan.
Accelent Consulting, in partnership with Oracle Marketing Cloud and the CMO Club, recently released a research study CMO Insights on the Journey to Digital Agility. The research reflects on the importance of the ability to quickly adopt digital technologies to drive the business and maximize the customer experience. A key takeaway from the survey of almost 100 CMOs is the recommendation to focus on acquiring the right talent and technology and then adopt a flexible approach for campaign execution to keep up with changing market demands.
While the study skewed towards mid-size and large organizations, the concept of digital agility is universal and must be incorporated as a foundational principle in your business strategy. For startups and growth oriented businesses, establishing a flexible, scalable infrastructure plan early that includes marketing automation and CRM tools is essential for rapid growth by feeding the sales funnel. However, finding the skills and resources required to establish the right marketing strategies and campaigns is perhaps more critical for success.
In a world where the established players have embraced digital transformation, early stage companies need savvy marketing expertise and a team to successfully launch your brand and product in order to help you get into the game and scale the business faster. So, how does a software start-up launch its product, build a product roadmap, develop a brand and create demand to drive sales with a bootstrapped budget? That’s the million-dollar question. An outsourced marketing team is a viable option.
In order to compete, investors and CEOs must first believe in the value of marketing. Well-designed marketing strategies ensure that a customer-centric strategy is woven in to the company DNA, and the resources and budget are properly allocated to create effective marketing programs out of the gate. In early stage companies a seasoned marketing leader is often the last executive hire. More often, a mid-level resource is responsible for launching the company, and budget for marketing technology is often an after thought. This mindset is an obstacle to growth when it is time to scale your programs to deliver on revenue goals.
Your conundrum is how to hire the breadth of skills required to develop strategies and execute programs and campaigns — with minimal headcount. It is essential for early stage companies to focus on defining the positioning, messaging, segmentation, go-to-market strategies, content creation, implementing and managing marketing automation tools, as well as establishing processes with meaningful KPIs to measure marketing effectiveness.
Good branding and communication are critical. Your website is your most important market facing asset. It is the foundation of your digital strategy for brand building and product education, but it is also the cornerstone for the demand generation engine for inbound and outbound marketing. Most software CEOs are excited about product features and functions, but often under-deliver on building a value-based communication strategy (including social media and content development) and go-to-market plan specific to targeted personas, which is critical for early stage companies to compete.
Digital agility applies to both technology and talent. You need a combination of strategic leadership, targeted campaign execution and technology support. Partnering with a team of marketing professionals and marketing automation and CRM system specialists enables you to accelerate revenue growth while you focus on your longer-term business strategy. It will also allow you to plug in the right resources and scale the team up or down as the business dictates. You can access a wide variety of skill sets without hiring full-time employees, which helps to keep expenses in line with revenue to better manage the burn rate.
As was concluded in the report, the ROI to be gained by effectively employing digital agility principles is clear: reduced costs, enhanced competitiveness, satisfied clients and (ultimately) increased revenue and profit.
Kimberly Breslin is a principal consultant at Accelent Consulting. She is results-driven marketing executive with a 20 year proven track record developing integrated marketing programs to include brand development, messaging and lifecycle marketing. Reach Kimberly at kimberly@accelentconsulting.