Business technology effiency expert Chris Miles is next in our spotlight of marketing gurus for his work as CEO of Miles Technologies. Miles founded his company in 1997 with the mission of providing customizable technology solutions to further his customers’ business goals. Since its inception, the company has developed BUSINESS, a cloud-based business productivity software solution, and recently earned first place in the Philadelphia Business Journal’s list of Best Places to Work 2013.

Miles runs his IT consulting, business software, web design and online marketing firm out of an office in New Jersey and works to help customers increase their personal productivity through tailor-made technology solutions.

TVG: What type and how much marketing does your company do in an average month?

Miles: Our company is actively engaged in diversifying our methods for marketing. We are using a number of avenues to promote brand awareness and customer education, as well as appropriately nurturing the visitors to our website. We employ many of the standard practices that have existed for a long time such as cold and warm email marketing, Google AdWords and search engine optimization. We also focus on content marketing through targeted content offerings, social media promotion and lead nurturing. We find that using a mixture of these tactics has led to higher overall traffic to our website, more highly qualified leads and better conversion rates on our website. It’s important to realize that potential customers have more resources to educate themselves than ever before, leading to a more well-informed buyer. Our goal is to take on the role of an industry educator. By assisting the potential buyer in the education process with sound advice and excellent content, it becomes a no-brainer for them to choose us when they are ready to buy.

Regarding the effort we place on marketing for our company, it really comes down to how much we want our company to grow. The typical rule of thumb is that a company should be spending about the same percentage of revenue on marketing as they aim to achieve in growth for that time period. In our case, because we have ambitious growth goals, we have a team committed to our marketing efforts that includes content writers, public relations specialists and a marketing manager.

TVG: What has been the most successful method of marketing for your company?

Miles: Our most successful method for marketing to date has been email marketing. This comes as result of building a strong and diversified customer contact listing, which certainly takes time and effort to develop. We are also starting to see significant gains through our content offering pieces, which has led to better organic search results and higher website traffic.

TVG: How do you measure the success of your marketing efforts?

Miles: I feel that the key measure of success for us is not only the number of potential leads we are able to gain, but the quality of the leads we are receiving. We could bring in a thousand leads per month, but if only one of those leads is viable then we are not marketing effectively. Understanding what is working and what is not working, pivoting and adjusting our efforts, and bringing in qualified leads are all key components to how we measure success. As a marketing agency, you are going to take risks and try new things. Some may work and some may not. Learning from what is working and what is not is how you can effectively leverage marketing to its greatest potential. Every company measures success in different ways and it is important to understand what your business goals are with your marketing efforts. Your goals should be one of the first topics addressed when developing an effective marketing plan and all aspects of your strategy should focus on accomplishing your goals.

TVG: Do you have an in-house marketing program or do you outsource?

Miles: All of our marketing is handled in house, but we do reach out to third parties to identify new opportunities for building up our presence. There are pros and cons to both in-house marketing and outsourcing your marketing efforts. There are a number of factors you need to consider when making a decision, such as resources, industry, budget and goals.

TVG: What advice would you have for VARs/solution providers that don’t have a regular marketing program in place?

Miles: Get one in place! Build a strategy or reach out to a marketing agency that can help you with strategy development. The percentage of online consumers is higher than it’s ever been and will only continue to rise as online research and purchasing becomes easier and easier. Building a marketing strategy is key to success. Without one, you are going be very reactive in your marketing efforts and will typically be inconsistent. Building consistency leads to trust with your customers, which will lead to higher conversion rates and increased sales.