In marketing we often use the dichotomy of breadth vs. depth strategies.
- Do you target a wide audience with your ads (e.g. TV ads) or do you focus on more ads in a single vertical medium (e.g. a trade magazine)?
- Do you build broad programs or do you go an engage customers or partners 1:1?
In some businesses neither approach is the best one. When the business has a very complex, lengthy or challenging sales cycle a new paradigm is needed.
If the customer requires many touch points before making a decision, if the product is very technical and will involve more training than selling between the awareness and the sale stage or if the players involved in the process will be of different functions, for instance technical managers, engineers, purchasers, senior execs, legal department, etc a third hybrid approach is needed.
This is what I call “Scaled depth” marketing.
Scaled depth is about building a programmatic, scalable but high-touch process to engage customers from awareness to sales retention.
- Programmatic: You need to standardize to a certain level the marketing and sales activities reaching those customers throughout the sales cycle, from the moment they first hear about you to the one they purchase your product.
- Scalable: These programs should intrinsically have a cost structure (human or $) that grows slower or ideally is flat as the sales pipeline grows. In other words, you want to ensure that a twice larger sales funnel will not involve twice the amount of investment in people and marketing dollars.
- High-touch aka Depth: These programs have to be built leveraging all the needed elements of a traditional B2B mix, but will have to be perceived by the customers (and rightfully so) as not being standard cookie cutter programs but as personalized 1:1 or 1:few engagements and activities. A blend of savvy use of digital marketing and value adding go-betweens such as distributors and partners will be often necessary to achieve this depth perception.
In a later post I will provide some more specific examples of how this “Scaled Depth” model can be implemented.