Marketing Microsoft

'Good Enough' and 'Get It Done'

Stuck in a marketing rut? Try these techniques for spinning out of it.

Sometimes Microsoft partners should aim for "good enough" and "get it done" rather than perfection when it comes to marketing to drive leads and sales. Aiming for perfection in your marketing campaigns and materials can result in spending too much time in development, which can delay delivery of your lead-generating messages. Or worse, your marketing messages never get delivered.

Here are some ways to get your lead-generating materials moving into your customers' hands:

Reuse, Recycle
Instead of constantly re-inventing the marketing wheel, consider re-purposing or refreshing your existing materials. The reasons someone should engage your company often don't change, so why not update the marketing materials that were successful in the past?

Another option is using the marketing and sales materials on the Microsoft Partner Web site. Instead of developing seminars, workshops or executive briefings on your own, consider the resources at Microsoft's Partner Event site, www.microsoftpartnerevents.com. You could also team with another company to co-produce an event.

Shoot for Clear, Not Cute
There will be times when old materials won't do the trick and Microsoft's offerings won't fit your niche. You'll have to write your own materials. Rather than trying to come up with oh-so-clever copy, focus on crafting clear, well-targeted headlines and messages that offer real solutions to your prospective customers' problems. Longer copy that's easy to skim, using subheads, bullets and boldface works with both those prospects who prefer to read all the details and those who prefer to get right to the bottom line.

If you think you have a knack for writing, a great book on the subject is The Copywriter's Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Copy That Sells by Robert W. Bly (Dodd Mead, 1985). Or you can find copywriters who can do the job for you by searching on the Internet using phrases like "B2B copywriter" or "direct mail copywriter." To avoid typos and grammatical errors, use a proofreading service.

Don't Agonize over the Mailers
You can spend a lot of time creating fancy, expensive mailers for your customers, but it's not worth it if the process means your materials never go out. One solution: Fire up your laser printer and send personalized letters. Then use window envelopes so the address on the letter shows through to avoid having to address the envelopes too. Another trick that leverages work you've already done is to print pages from your Web site. If you're worried about your company's image, place them in a glossy file folder, imprinted with your logo. If the whole printed material process is slowing things down too much, stick to e-mail messages.

Hire Help
When your time or your employees' time is the bottleneck, but you can't rationalize a full-time marketing position, take a half-step. Consider part-timers to help get the marketing job done. If you need specialized expertise on a project-by-project basis, consider hiring independent contactors like copywriters, designers or event coordinators. And if you're willing to trade experience for enthusiasm, consider hiring interns from your local college or university.

So, next time you find yourself thinking about how to make your marketing perfect, I challenge you to think instead about what constitutes being good enough, and how to get it done sooner rather than later. After all, prospective customers can't respond to your marketing if it doesn't reach them at all.

About the Author

M.H. "Mac" McIntosh has been providing marketing and sales consulting services for Microsoft and many of its partners for more than seven years. More than 1,000 Microsoft Partners across the United States and Canada have attended his Marketing Boot Camps and Marketing for Leads (tm) live and Web seminars. You can contact Mac via www.sales-lead-experts.com.