In the last episode with Nick Panayi, we discussed the benefits of leveraging artificial intelligence in our businesses. In today’s episode, we’re going to discuss Nick’s greatest monetization secret: pursuit marketing.
What is Pursuit Marketing?
Pursuit-based marketing stems from account-based marketing.
“[With account-based marketing], you are marketing to a market of one. Instead of segment marketing, industry marketing, or pure brand marketing where you [have] a shotgun kind of approach, this is finally targeted towards one account,” Nick explained. “The tactics you utilize don’t necessarily change but become more refined and get more targeted because you talk to one customer.”
With this type of marketing, the marketing and sales team need to work very closely together so they can be on the same page when it comes to a specific account. With pursuit marketing, we take the same principles from account-based marketing and add a very strategic deal to the table.
“When there is an RFP (request for proposal) that the sales are going after or there is an opportunity that we uncovered in marketing, we want to go after that opportunity. It’s strategic, it’s big, and it’s important for the business. And therefore, all of the marketing that we’re doing is a finely tuned way with one endgame in mind, and that is to close the deal,” Nick said.
This type of marketing often becomes more project-driven since we are focusing on working with one customer over time, rather than a group of five or 100 customers. “You’re basically trying to keep that account as engaged as possible and go deeper into their wallet,” Nick said.
Nick prefers this type of marketing above all else because it not only allows us to develop a strong personal connection with our customers or clients, it is also a win-or-lose situation. There is no debate or grey space as to if we have won the customer or not. The “challenge” brings a fun aspect into marketing where we can see results clearly.
This strategy isn’t only effective for big companies. Smaller companies can still implement pursuit marketing as well. However, this doesn’t work as much for small sales; it works well for large deals. We just have to ask ourselves, “Are there big deals on the table that will make or break our quarter?” If the answer is yes, this strategy makes sense.
To effectively implement this strategy, Nick shared two essential parts of pursuit marketing:
1. A Mutual Understanding Between Sales and Marketing
Nick explained that pursuit marketing really comes down to a strong relationship between marketing and sales. We have to work together.
The marketing team can work with the data, analytics, and resources to send targeted marketing campaigns to the account while the sales team works directly with the account’s wants and needs. The marketing team helps the client establish a trusting relationship with the business while the sales team helps form that personal relationship.
“It’s important to sit down and explain [to sales] that pursuit marketing is a privilege, not a right,” Nick said. “It’s a further privilege because you [marketing] focus on money and resources for that particular account for that sales team. For that privilege, the sales team owes you access, trust, and respect. Once you have that, then marketing gets embedded into the sales teams early on. We need to be part of this pursuit from the glimmer in the eye stage.”
The more we understand sales strategy, the more finely tuned our marketing is to that account. We can be very intentional about the messages we choose to send. When the messages in our marketing and sales teams align, we will have greater chances of winning that strategic opportunity. Nick said that this should be music to the ears of the sales team. Essentially, we are telling them we want to send targeted ad campaigns just to their customers.
Nick explained that the biggest mistake the marketing team can make is not holding sales accountable to the agreement we made to work together later on. Sometimes sales will move so fast that they forget to keep the marketing team in the loop with what they are doing. But in order for pursuit marketing to work effectively, we need to know everything that happens with the account so we can adjust our marketing strategy accordingly. Too often Nick sees marketing teams who let the sales team get away with not sharing important account information with them.
The biggest mistake Nick sees the sales team make is thinking they are the creator. Someone in marketing may ask a sales member for their opinion on a campaign and then that member starts giving them suggestions on colors, shapes, and wording. Nick says they need to remember they are sales. A good sales team should focus on selling and a good marketing team should focus on marketing. When a marketer comes to the sales team for advice on the campaign, they don’t want tips on the design, they want to make sure the strategy is aligned with theirs.
If we have a strong relationship with sales, we can set better boundaries. While we should both help each other, we both need to stick to our expertise at the same time.
2. A Smart, Targeted, and Customized Marketing Plan
Once our goals and strategies are aligned with the sales team, we can begin to develop a campaign and a bespoke marketing plan. As any marketer would do, we ask: What are the tactics? What are we trying to achieve? What are the KPIs? What is the sequence of those tactics?
Once we know the tactical strategy of our campaign—if we are sending outbound emails, running a webinar, putting up billboards, writing a blog, etc.—we can focus on making sure our campaign looks and feels like a campaign while being customized to a specific person.
A decade ago, this strategy might have been really difficult since it would mean sitting down with an ad agency and creating hundreds of expensive customized ads. However, digital marketing has made it much, much easier, and more possible. We can create digital ad campaigns that are mass customizable. We can create a template to send to a thousand customers and adjust a single variable to make it personalized such as adding a name on an email campaign.
When we know who we want to market to, we should get all the data we can so we can target them directly with our marketing campaigns.
“Grab all the information that is known about that executive into like a two- or three-page prose then go study that executive,” Nick said. “You may figure out that they’re speaking at this event, or they’re on Twitter all the time, or they’re on LinkedIn. . . . Then you go reach out to them specifically and you write a blog that they would be interested in, and you DM them. Little do they know that you’re writing just for them. It happens to be 100% refined to get to what they’re interested in.”
There was a company Nick worked with who had a huge database of where their clients were located based on IP addresses. They understood the movement of people from their headquarters to their homes. They knew the route. With this data, they went and bought advertising on billboards along the routes they knew their potential customers would be driving. Those ads are targeted directly to those customers and personalized to their experiences without them even knowing it.
This same strategy can work with websites as well. If we know what websites our customers are clicking on, we can pay to put ads on those specific websites. We can create customized ads specific to one person based on our data.
Nick explained that we could also do something like this at a regional airport where we know executives of the company are flying in and out of. We could pay to have advertising in this airport if we know that these executives frequently use it. While we created this ad specifically for them, they won’t necessarily know that; they will just think we are a very prominent and successful company.
“As far as they’re concerned, they’re thinking this guy has something like a $100 million ad budget. Little do they know that you’re only targeting them,” Nick said.
When Nick was selling to an automobile company in Germany, they actually leased one of the company’s own vehicles and wrapped it with their own advertising to target a specific client. They had that vehicle parked outside of their headquarters and drove it around that area so they couldn’t miss it. It works as a great strategy to build brand awareness and get them to know your name. When we do this type of marketing as well, even though we are targeting one specific person, we are also marketing to other people at the same time, providing additional value to our business.
Another really smart way to target a specific executive or potential customer is to find what events they are going to and meet them there. Once we know what events they attend, we can reach out to them and say, “I noticed you would be at the event. Can I take you out to dinner?” By building this relationship, we become one step closer to closing our big deal.
In the past, I have done this exact thing in a lot of my businesses. I would say that more than half of my company revenue has come from that strategy—going to industry events and connecting with specific executives at those events. What we do is get a list of who will be at the event, and then reach out to those people in advance to see if we can take them out to dinner. A lot of business revenue can be generated by creating those one-on-one connections at those events.
As we take the time to align our marketing strategies with our sales team’s strategies and customize our marketing plan to one specific customer, we will find much more success in making big deals.
Thank you so much Nick for sharing your stories and insights with us today. Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
1. Pursuit Marketing is focused on a market of one with a very strategic deal.
2. Pursuit marketing comes down to a strong relationship between marketing and sales. We have to work together.
3. The more we understand sales strategy, the more finely tuned our marketing is to that account. We can be very intentional about the messages we choose to send.
4. When we know who we want to market to, we should get all the data we can so we can target them directly with our marketing campaigns. In pursuit of marketing, customized and targeted ads work best.
5. With the data, we can find where our customer is spending the most time and then place ads in those specific spots where we know they will see and engage with them.
Connect with Nick
To learn more about or connect with Nick:
-Connect on LinkedIn
-Visit his website at Amelia.ai
1. Learn how to leverage passion marketing to become a top priority of your ideal customers by downloading my free ebook at PassionMarketing.com.
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