Your Marketing 101 Guide by the Numbers…

Hello again. I’m currently writing a book on B2B marketing – adapted from my training courses. The B2B category has a lot of executives in marketing roles who have no prior marketing qualifications. They have sales, product or technical backgrounds. Some even call themselves social sellers.

So, I’ve put together a little “Marketing 101 Guide by the Numbers”. Keep these in mind when planning your marketing executions, as they’ll keep you focused.

The three goals of your marketing communications – and there are only three…

  • Acquire new customers
  • Get customers to spend more money with you more often
  • Get customers to keep spending with you for as long as possible.

If your marketing communications are not helping you achieve one or more of these goals, you’re probably wasting your money, regardless of the media channels or vanity metrics you use.

The two ways of marketing – and there are only two…

  • Mass marketing
  • Direct marketing

Mass Marketing – you communicate with as many consumers* as possible for the lowest media cost, to position your brand in the mind of the consumer, so they consider it when they are in the market to buy – online or offline. Generally used in broadcast, print, outdoor and some online channels.

Direct Marketing – any marketing communication delivered directly to individual consumers* or to which they respond directly to you. All responses are measured and there is always an exchange of either data or dollars – online or offline. Generally used in broadcast, mail, email, telephone, print, events, social, search, mobile and online channels.

*Consumers is generic for both prospects and customers

The two reasons people use the internet – and there are only two…

  • To save time
  • To waste time

That’s it. You need to design your website, landing page, email, social channels, apps etc to make it easy for your customers and prospects to either save time, or to waste time, depending upon their reason for visiting.

Saving or wasting time?

There’s no such thing as a customer journey – just two contact strategies…

People don’t go on customer journeys. This is a marketing buzzword designed to make the user sound sophisticated – it’s complete bollocks. There are only two contact strategies to use, and they’re linked to the most relevant touchpoints. After all, a prospect isn’t a customer until they buy something:

  • Prospect contact strategy – to generate new customers
  • Customer contact strategy – to keep profitable customers and generate referrals

Marketers determine the most appropriate touchpoints to reach prospects and customers, then communicate as necessary in the most effective channels for those touchpoints. These touchpoints can be mapped for easier visual interpretation.

For example, a prospect may identify themselves by responding to an advertisement by telephone, downloading a white paper from a website, or at a trade show. This is the beginning of the prospect contact strategy designed to get them to either request a presentation (if required), to trial the product/service, or to buy. This can involve lots of channels, some of which can be automated.

Once the prospect becomes a customer, they join the customer contact strategy. This involves communicating with personal messages designed to create a positive customer experience, encourage loyalty, obtain referrals and generate further sales.

The customer contact strategy can also be divided into two separate executions. One execution is linked to the date the product or service is bought and includes messaging around warranty, service, renewal, upgrade and the like.

The other execution is linked to time of year and includes messaging such as monthly newsletter, seasonal offers, event invitations and more.

Obviously, the customer contact strategy uses more personal media channels including; face-to-face meetings, mail, telephone, email and social channels. And all the while, there is the 24/7 continual flow of marketing content on blogs, websites and social channels, as well as advertising.

People DON’T go on customer journeys…

The numbers that matter when budgeting…

There are a few key numbers to understand when budgeting your marketing activity:

  • Lifetime value – how much revenue you customer is worth over their lifetime of buying from you
  • Cost per lead – how much you can afford to spend to generate a qualified lead
  • Cost per sale – how much you can afford to spend to generate a sale
  • The advertising allowable – what you can afford to spend to generate a sale at either break-even or a pre-determined profit percentage

When you know how much a customer is worth, you can determine how much to spend to generate a qualified lead and therefore how much you can afford to spend to get a sale – based on conversion rates. This helps you determine the most appropriate media channels to use, as they are defined by your advertising allowable.


Marketing creates the need, while sales fulfills the need…

Your marketing activity helps to create the need for your brand by building desire for it and reinforcing your decision after you’ve bought. Your sales people use selling techniques to fulfil the need and complete the sale.

Your direct marketing activity can both create and fulfil your prospect’s needs in a single execution. It also integrates your marketing and sales teams to ensure they both work together successfully.

So now you know, what you need to know, about you know, that thing that everyone thinks they know – marketing…


  1. Outstanding as usual, sir. Marketing isn’t as simple as some would make it out to be, but it’s certainly not brain surgery. If only some of the “marketers” out there would pay attention to just a few basic ideas and THINK before they did stuff, our profession would have a better reputation. And marketing/marcomm would be just a little less crappy.

  2. Great post Malcolm! “Clarity in B2B Marketing”. I disagree somewhat with you on the “Customer Value Journey” concept. I think there is value in understanding the different stages prospects, then customers, go through in their relationship with a company or business. Problem is, like a lot of useful ideas it gets inflated into something more than it really is…buzzwords and b&*ll@cks 🙂 …and distracts from the essentials that you set out so clearly.

  3. Thanks Kevin, appreciate your support. To be pedantic, it’s the word “journey” that gets on my goat, It’s overused – all manner of people claim they are on some kind journey, when they’re not – and if someone is a prospect then by definition they cannot be a customer. That’s why you map the touchpoints while they are a prospect (until they become a customer) and prepare a contact strategy. Then when they become a customer you migrate them to a customer contact strategy. I once did an article on PRM – Prospect Relationship Management – to explain it. Obviously, that buzzword never took off:) I’ve been doing this for all manner of brands since I started in marketing – it’s easier and isn’t templated. Some of the BS “customer journey templates” I’ve seen are a complete waste of time and just encourage people to fill in the blanks, rather than really think about the channels and points-in-time that really matter. And most prospects don’t have much of a relationship with companies until they become a customer – and then the relationship is more important to the company than the customer…

    • Rereading your post 🙂 …the approach of having a (1) Prospect Contact Strategy and (2) Customer Contact Strategy makes more sense than a single “Customer Journey” template. You’re right, templates can be very helpful but in the wrong hands can become simply a box-ticking exercise. It’s a bit like “swiping” in copy…you actually need to know how to write copy in the first place to be able to swipe effectively 🙂

      I confess my view is influenced by doing a lot of work in B2C, in particular for information products and training programs where there is a definite curriculum or path that we want people to progress through. That’s not always the case of course…especially in B2B…which is what you are writing about 🙂

      Shame that “PRM” didn’t take off. You could have been the definitive “PRM Thought Leader” …the TED stage could have been yours 🙂

      Great article and very timely. Look forward to the book.

    • Hello there Malcolm, gee long time no hear. damn I just used the words “journey” in a real estate prospecting letter and a customer letter, hhhhmmm thought selling your house was a journey! Ok so what’s the new buzzword 👍😂

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