Having worked in B2B marketing for more than 20 years, I’ve seen countless technology companies struggle with marketing strategy due to erratic returns on their investments.

So when I read “The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, and Stand Out From the Crowd” by Allan Dib, I was eager to share it with our partners. His book captures marketing’s key foundations, particularly for small and medium businesses.

Marketing, like many things, is being digitized and modernized at a dizzying speed. But the fundamentals remain the same: get clear insights on your customers, identify the messages that resonate with them, and match media to the ways they interact.

Dib is an expert in starting and growing successful businesses in industries such as IT, telecommunications, and marketing. It was my privilege to interview him and pass along these three critical lessons from his book:

1. Resolve to become an excellent marketer

The graveyard of failed businesses is full of companies that had excellent products and services. For the most part, they failed because the people running them didn’t pay enough attention to marketing.

Dib says a great product or service is only a customer retention tool. Acquisition has to come first, so marketing should be a priority for every business.

 

 “Most businesses do what I call ‘random acts of marketing.’ They throw up an ad here, an ad there, perhaps a website or a brochure. They’re not building marketing assets or systems whereby a cold lead enters one end and a raving fan customer comes out the other.”

– Allan Dib

 

Dib learned this early on in his career, when, as a Microsoft partner, he grew frustrated because his company didn’t have the clients it needed. During coffee with a mentor, he got some invaluable advice: “If [customers] never buy from you, they’ll never know how good your services are. Your job is to become a successful marketer because the best marketer wins every time.”

 

2. Don’t fly blind. You can’t add new products and services without a plan.

“I liken it to building a house. First, you need the blueprint, which lays out all of the details, and only then do you begin with the tactical stuff like digging the foundation, laying the bricks, and so on,” Dib said. “Think of your marketing plan as the blueprint for getting and retaining customers. Once you have that in place, you’re far more likely to have clarity and far less likely to be distracted by bright shiny objects.”

Dib made his point with a comparison to other professions: Would you go to a doctor who didn’t follow a treatment plan or ride in an airplane when the pilot hadn’t bothered with a flight plan? Methinks not.

 

3. Create “lead magnet” content

Produce a thorough, important piece of content-such as a white paper, video series, or industry report-and give it away. This is called a lead magnet, and you can use it to build your marketing database.

Dib explained how it works:

“On average, at any given time, about 3 percent of your target market is highly motivated and ready to buy immediately. These are the prospects most mass marketing hopes to convert. However, there’s a further 7 percent who are very open to buying and another 30 percent who are interested but not right now,” Dib explained. “The next 30 percent are not interested, and finally the last 30 percent probably wouldn’t take your product, even if it were free. If you focused primarily on the so-called hot leads, you’d be targeting only the 3 percent who are ready to buy immediately and losing the other 97 percent. By creating a lead magnet, you can increase your addressable market to 40 percent.”

As you can see, producing a lead magnet can help you substantially increase your reach. In fact, going from a 3 percent addressable market to 40 percent means you’re increasing your advertising effectiveness by 1,233 percent.

“Everyone knows how to deal with a prospect that’s ready to buy immediately, but good marketers know how to deal with and nurture prospects that may be ready to buy three months, six months, nine months, or even further into the future,” Dib said.

If you’d like to learn more about these and other fundamental marketing principles, check out our monthly podcast and webinar series: Partner Marketing Pros. Follow along and discover the keys to building your own successful marketing strategy.

Find more details at aka.ms/smartmarketing.