In this insightful interview with Adam Torres, Sheila Kloefkorn talks about how she and her KEO Marketing team are helping mid-market companies scale faster by executing well-rounded, goal-oriented marketing plans.
Listen to the full interview of Sheila Kloefkorn with Adam Torres on the Mission Matters Marketing Podcast.
How did the journey begin?
After completing her Master's in Education, Kloefkorn found herself drawn to marketing. Despite living in Phoenix, AZ, she joined a small start up marketing agency in New York City in the 1990s and helped it grow into the largest youth marketing agency in the world. She is proud to be one of the first online advertisers and to have seen the entire digital marketing and advertising industry grow. With the successful sale of that agency, and watching the rise of the Internet during the dot com boom, she founded her agency, KEO Marketing, in 2000.
"After a wild ride commuting back and forth from NY for eight years, I decided I wanted a smaller agency where I could make more of a personal impact. I started KEO Marketing as a consultant and a fractional CMO for a handful of companies in Arizona," she explains. "Over the past 22 years, that consulting grew first from an SEO agency first and later developed into a full-service B2B agency focused on driving leads to fill sales pipelines."
The role of Fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)
Kloefkorn and KEO Marketing take the concept of a fractional CMO and extend it to fill the gap between generalists and specialists with a more economical model.
"Today, marketing is more sophisticated than ever," says Kloefkorn, "achieving standout marketing and sales results requires experienced specialists and a significant budget. Most mid-market companies don't have the budget for a senior leader and a team of marketing specialists so they get by with generalists. That may work but they typically can't scale as fast. In our model, as a fractional CMO, I step in to fill those gaps for B2B companies in need of a senior marketing leader with experience scaling companies and my team can support their team with marketing specialists in advertising, account based marketing, business intelligence, and more."
Having worked as a fractional CMO for more than 20 years, Kloefkorn explains the position as a part-time head of marketing, which may be combined with the support of a streamlined agency team. This allows cost-conscious companies to get an experienced CMO and marketing team for a fraction of the cost incurred over hiring a full, in-house marketing department.
"The aim here is to level the playing field for mid-market companies so that they can compete with bigger players in their industry," she says. "While your in-house generalist marketing team may be walking in the right direction, we add fuel to your journey by bringing specialists to the table who do the job of a senior-level marketing team for about the same cost you'd hire a full-time CMO."
How does KEO Marketing work?
"The reason why companies fail is not that they don't have a good product or a marketing plan", notes Kloefkorn. "It's because they fail to communicate the messaging of their product or service clearly."
KEO Marketing offers a team of 29 experienced specialists including email marketers, digital advertisers, social media managers, website developers, copywriters and more. "I set a strategy and my team develops a detailed marketing plan," she says, "We clarify your brand message to make your prospects understand how your business can help them much more quickly."
"The process begins with conducting a free marketing audit of your business which is a roadmap for success," she continues. "We draft this marketing plan by identifying the specific short-term and long-term goals of the company. Be it SaaS, data centers, cyber security construction, an IT or an HR company, our marketing strategy and plan varies based on who they want to reach, their target audiences. We work through whether you need inbound marketing, outbound marketing, traditional marketing, or a mix of all three."
Common mistakes companies make in marketing
"The first mistake businesses make," Kloefkorn says, "is since they are so close to their product or service, they assume their target audience must know how their products and services help. If you're making your prospective clients or customers do mental gymnastics to make the connection with how your products and services solve their pains, you've lost them."
Another trap businesses can fall into is mistaking their quantity of traffic for the quality of their traffic. "For most companies, 20 percent of their clients deliver 80 percent of the revenue," she says. "We identify that 20 percent and provide you with strategies and execution to target and win more of them."
What's next for you and KEO Marketing?
"We are seeing a spike in artificial intelligence (AI) in every area, from CRM to business intelligence to operations," Kloefkorn notes. "We connect artificial intelligence and marketing to leverage more benefits of automation. In today's age, you need marketing to be authentic and develop a one-to-one relationship at scale with a huge customer base. AI can help you do that by being at the right time in the right place with the right message, more effectively."
To learn more about KEO Marketing, visit keomarketing.com.
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