“Never heard of it!”
That’s what I said when Martin asked me to write an article on Capture Management a few months ago.
We weren’t off to the best start.
But I’m only 75% embarrassed to admit this to you.
Because since then I’ve had a big realisation: Capture Management isn’t a mystery to me at all. You could even say I do it every day. I just didn’t know it.
You see, the more I learnt about Capture Management, the more it hit me that I’ve been calling it something else all along.
So here’s my challenge: convincing you that Capture Management (at its best) and Marketing (at its best) are actually the same thing.
Let’s dive in.
6 ways marketing mirrors Capture Management
As MD of performance marketing agency SMSW Media, I swear by a proven creative process to attract and win new business for clients. I might not use the words ‘Capture Management’ or ‘pursuit and capture’ to describe it, but the end goal is identical.
Here are 6 ways my marketing process mirrors Capture Management.
1. Hunting down opportunities
Decent marketers never wait for opportunities to fall into their laps. Instead, they predict, pre-empt and prepare. They hunt down potential and strategise how to win the race before it’s even begun.
Sounds a lot like the fundamentals of pursuit and capture to me.
After locking-in on an opportunity, slick marketers scope it out to within an inch of its life. Key to this is gaining intense market knowledge, which leads me to my next example…
2. Scrutinising competitors
A winning edge is only achieved when you know where you stand, what you’re up against, and how to get (and stay) ahead in your field.
Where your competitors are weak, you have strengths – strengths your customers are craving. But what are they? The best marketers will find out and shout about it every chance they get.
Capture leads know all about conquering competitors too.
3. Connecting with customers
No two ways about it: marketers have to know their audience inside out if they want to win them over.
At my agency, customer and decision maker profiling goes well beyond the basics – it reveals the real struggles, desires and shortfalls. It gets down to the nitty gritty of job roles, pains and gains.
I’m talking about deep-rooted, underlying factors that would have a transformative impact if noticed, a far cry from the typical answers your average procurement exercise throws up.
4. Brand discovery
“What makes you extraordinary?”
It’s the first thing I ask during value proposition workshops.
I usually spend the next hour or two shooting down BS answers, repeating the words “nope, that’s crap” and periodically crying into my flipchart paper.
But it’s always okay in the end. Because I swear by a proven creative process that unearths the best of any business. It never fails to excavate the most compelling win themes, differentiators and brand stories.
My team and I can then create captivating value propositions and supporting positioning statements that hit directly on the customer’s hot buttons.
From what I can see, these are all crucial components of Capture Management too.
5. Content creation
Marketers are (or should be!) masters of persuasive communication. They’re also shit hot salespeople (or should be!).
They craft content and campaigns which are impossible for target clients to ignore.
Profiling insights and value prop themes get weaved together to create customised content that really hits home. The focus can then shift to delivering this at the perfect time across the most effective mix of channels.
In the bid world, I’ve found quick wins come from building creative campaigns around:
- Sales pipeline
- Sales wishlist
- Bid & proposal pipeline
- Customer retention strategy
Those of you in Capture Management surely do this too?
In marketing, strategy is everything. All the intelligence and content from points 1-5 fuels a strategy that has purpose and can prove its worth in terms of the bottom line.
All marketers get asked “I spent £XXX, what did I get back?” at some point. And when the strategy and sales funnel are built, run and analysed to perfection – it’s an easy answer. With revenue ROI to hand, we can justify our existence whenever we need to.
I bet strategy is just as key to Capture Management.
Capture management vs. marketing vs. marketing
I’m aware that the marketing I’ve just described might not be the marketing you know.
And if not, I worry you might think I’m downplaying Capture Management. I promise you I’m not. It’s actually the opposite. I want to highlight and celebrate the complexity and skills it takes to succeed in both roles.
I believe that a great pursuit and capture lead is already a great marketer. And vice versa.
But I hate to say it: in my experience, not all marketing teams are firing on all cylinders or covering all bases, especially when it comes to working with sales and bid teams.
And if the similarities I’ve run through here don’t sound familiar, that will be why.
Maybe it’s time to start asking questions.
This article was written by Simon Wellstead.
SMSW Media is a creative & marketing agency with one focus – maximising revenue for its clients. Simon’s early years working in blue-chip sales means he understands what it takes to grow. His dogged determination to challenge at all levels means that he can cut through the crap and unearth true value propositions.