GUEST BLOG: The seven traits of successful marketers

1. Establish benchmarks and encourage oversight

Before planning for a marketing programme, whether it be a large or small scale project, it's important that all activity has buy-in and support from those senior to you and others working on the campaign.

2. Retain to acquire

Even for small scale campaigns, you need to gauge customer retention metrics. Marketers need to know the how many leads become new customers or sales. Once new customers are acquired, make sure you have a strategy in place to ensure customer retention.

3. Striking a balance

Digital marketing offers huge potential for small businesses. But to maximise the success of campaigns, remember to strike a balance between traditional and digital activity, using them in tandem to reach a wider audience and enhance response rates.

4. Target and publish for budget season

To help engage existing customer bases, small businesses need to have a personality online. Use company blogs and Twitter feeds. Update them regularly and give customers additional insight and expertise from the digital content you provide.

5. Hire and train for tomorrow

As organisations become more focused on data-driven marketing, skill sets are expanding and evolving. The intersection of marketing with data and technology is particularly useful. Small businesses should keep in mind that content creation is more in demand than in the past and is a vital part of enhancing the user experience for customers - and consider recruiting accordingly.

6. Be ready for the upturn

With hopes of an economic turnaround, 56% of companies we surveyed are have a larger budget in 2011 than in 2010.This is a positive sign for the industry. Small businesses should plan their activity for this year with the view that customers may have more to invest compared to last year.

7. Take advantage of technology

If budget allows, consider investing in marketing automation or other solutions which can dramatically enhance the success of campaigns as well as the number of leads generated. Small businesses adopting the right technologies will have a head start on their competitors and will be in a better position to increase the ROI from their marketing campaigns while acquiring new customers.

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