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Houston expert: 5 marketing musts for business growth plans in 2023

It's undeniable that businesses are facing economic uncertainty in 2023. Here's what marketing tools to tap into to navigate the challenges ahead. Photo via Getty Images

All indications point to a fair amount of economic uncertainty in the coming months. I think a lot of B-to-B companies, across many industries, are going to retrench in their spending, and deals will likely be harder to close because more approvals will be required. Still, there are going to be those companies who will continue to grow because they are using the right go to market strategies and tactics.

Here are some of the things for high growth company management teams to consider doing.

Invest in a CRM tool — and the time to set it up

A customer relations management, or CRM, tool is an essential component of data measurement — and every company needs to closely track those key performance indicators towards revenue and growth goals.

A CRM tool doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many low initial investment options such as Hubspot, SharpSpring, and others. The investment then becomes the staff or consultant time to set it up correctly so that it meets a company’s needs and to continue to monitor it.

How much time is spent depends on what you want the system to do. Some companies run their website out of a CRM platform, or send automated emails, or do their other social media through it. Others only use it to track their contacts and sales.

Data may show desired progress — or it may show stagnation — and a team needs to be able to analyze information expediently to reformulate a plan, or pivot to a new one, if needed.

Prioritize the digital toolkit

While companies have a lot of different digital marketing tools at their disposal, there are five basic elements to consider optimizing. If the resources aren’t available to tackle them all at once, the management team needs to determine their top priorities.

Website design and content: Think about this as a company’s virtual lobby. A well-designed website with relevant content is essential for attracting new business. Ranking well in organic web searches — SEO — is also a very important component.

Social media: LinkedIn, with its business focus, is a great place to start. Companies can share their story, interact with potential investors, and build relationships with potential clients.

Email marketing: An email marketing newsletter is the logical step after developing a compelling company website. The content should benefit the reader. What can you do for them?

Content marketing: Blog posts, videos and ebooks are just some of the value added content you can share with potential investors and clients. What makes your company different from your competitors?

Paid advertising: Companies can use paid advertising to target potential new customers through online channels such as search engines and social media. The nice thing about paid advertising is that the attribution is there — companies can pinpoint exactly what messaging resonated with a potential client.

Let goals drive strategy

SEO and digital ads are not the solution for every company. Some companies need to make only a handful of deals each year to reach revenue goals. Broad-based digital marketing is not the best strategy for these players. What is? Often content.

The internet has given potential customers unparalleled ability to comparison shop. They want to know what a company does differently than its competitors. Whether a service or product is cheaper or faster or easier to work with. So tell them.

In addition to web content, speaking opportunities at conferences are a powerful way for companies to position themselves as differentiated in a given marketplace.

On the flip side, high volume players who require a lot of smaller deals would do very well with a far-reaching digital outreach approach.

Listen to experts

No one is an expert in all areas. And they shouldn’t try to be. Whether that is financial analysis or digital marketing, hiring the right people to fill in any deficiencies is the smart move.

Trying to wing it through effort and good intentions is often frustrating for everyone. With digital marketing and lead generation, a lack of expertise can sometimes result in implementing a product or service that’s not really going to generate the expected results.

If a company spends big money on a digital marketing tactic, and it fails to land new business, then the assumption might be that digital marketing doesn’t work. That’s often not the case. It was simply the wrong tool for the job. An expert would help pinpoint the correct one.

Measure success first by revenue

Digital marketing should primarily be responsible for moving potential customers down the sales funnel. And sales revenue is the best evidence that the marketing was effective.

There has always been that push and pull with sales and marketing about what actions actually contribute to closing a deal but a good CRM tool will help.

There are other ways to measure the success of any campaign:

  • The number of visitors to a company’s website or social media page
  • The level of engagement a campaign generates or the amount of time a prospect engages with content
  • The number of leads generated, along with the quality of that lead
  • The return on investment

Continued growth starts with goal setting and coming up with a marketing and business development strategy that fits the unique needs of a business. This works most effectively when a company’s management team ensures that marketing and sales are working in lockstep. They are two sides of the same coin and need to see themselves that way to maximize results and therefore profit.

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Libby Covington is partner at Houston-based The Craig Group, a strategic digital marketing solutions consulting firm. Her specialty is in understanding how sales and marketing work together effectively.

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Building Houston

 
 

Ben Jawdat, CEO and founder of Revterra, joins the Houston Innovators Podcast. Photo via LinkedIn

With more and more electric vehicles on the road, existing electrical grid infrastructure needs to be able to keep up. Houston-based Revterra has the technology to help.

"One of the challenges with electric vehicle adoption is we're going to need a lot of charging stations to quickly charge electric cars," Ben Jawdat, CEO and founder of Revterra, says on the Houston Innovators Podcast. "People are familiar with filling their gas tank in a few minutes, so an experience similar to that is what people are looking for."

To charge an EV in ten minutes is about 350 kilowatts of power, and, as Jawdat explains, if several of these charges are happening at the same time, it puts a tremendous strain on the electric grid. Building the infrastructure needed to support this type of charging would be a huge project, but Jawdat says he thought of a more turnkey solution.

Revterra created a kinetic energy storage system that enables rapid EV charging. The technology pulls from the grid, but at a slower, more manageable pace. Revterra's battery acts as an intermediary to store that energy until the consumer is ready to charge.

"It's an energy accumulator and a high-power energy discharger," Jawdat says, explaining that compared to an electrical chemical battery, which could be used to store energy for EVs, kinetic energy can be used more frequently and for faster charging.

Jawdat, who is a trained physicist with a PhD from the University of Houston and worked as a researcher at Rice University, says some of his challenges were receiving early funding and identifying customers willing to deploy his technology.

Last year, Revterra raised $6 million in a series A funding round. Norway’s Equinor Ventures led the round, with participation from Houston-based SCF Ventures. Previously, Revterra raised nearly $500,000 through a combination of angel investments and a National Science Foundation grant.

The funding has gone toward growing Revterra's team, including onboarding three new engineers with some jobs still open, Jawdat says. Additionally, Revterra is building out its new lab space and launching new pilot programs.

Ultimately, Revterra, an inaugural member of Greentown Houston, hopes to be a major player within the energy transition.

"We really want to be an enabling technology in the renewable energy transition," Jawdat says. "One part of that is facilitating the development of large-scale, high-power, fast-charging networks. But, beyond that, we see this technology as a potential solution in other areas related to the clean energy transition."

He shares more about what's next for Revterra on the podcast. Listen to the interview below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.


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