The face of marketing is radically different from even five years ago. Has your marketing department kept with the changes? Whether you’re a marketing department of one, or lead a team of 100, it’s important to catch these shifts in the prevailing “best practice” winds. Then you must adjust your strategies and tactics to match.
Below are seven relatively simple changes you can start today to make sure your marketing department stays in front of the wave.
1. Apply a See-Think-Do Framework
According to Avinash Kaushik, most marketing models are very selfish, or “company looking out.” The first step to bringing your marketing department to modern standards it to adopt a more customer-centric approach. Avinash’s See-Think-Do framework is a great way to structure your marketing to align with the customer’s needs at each stage in their journey.
2. Focus on Quality, Not Just Quantity
When we think of marketing metrics, we are often concerned most with the volume we produce. How many people are aware of our brand. How many leads did we provide sales this month.
However, all the quantity in the world isn’t worth a thing if there isn’t quality there. With every marketing metric measuring quantity, there is a second metric for quality.
|Number of Leads Delivered||Lead Score (human or computed)|
|Brand Awareness||Brand Affinity/Understanding|
|Conversion Rate||Predicted Lifetime Value|
Find a way to predict and/or measure the quality of your department’s output. Then take quality levels into consideration when analyzing results.
3. Add personalization
Every year, it seems people want to talk to other people less. Have you recently thought, “Isn’t there a way for me to order this online?” Or have you ever decided to text a friend instead of call them, simply to avoid the requisite chit-chat? Whether it’s personal or business communications, our connected lifestyles make us think we can get things done more efficiently if we cut out the people.
This line of reasoning ends in a problem for marketers. People are very responsive to needs. Machines, on the other hand, are still machines and they do only as they’ve been told.
To compensate, we need to make sure our machines – the ones sending emails or displaying web pages – are doing so in a personalized manner. Our prospects and customers aren’t talking to people who can make recommendations based on their current situation. Therefore, our machines must do so in their place.
The first step is applying personas and buyers’ journeys. This allows you to make messages more personal to the prospect’s needs, wants, environment and buying stage. After that, you can introduce technology to make sure that the machines are falling in step.
Marketing automation and website personalization technology are no longer too complicated or expensive to pilot. Pilot a program and see what the results you can produce. Need some extra support here? Join us for our upcoming Marketing Personalization webinar.
4. Allocate resources to analytics
Who’s watching your numbers? Are they producing insights? Leading marketing organizations have a dedicated resource responsible for crunching the numbers and producing the insights that make decision-making easier. This resource may reside inside or outside the organization.
If you have someone particularly analytical on staff, but who lacks training, get him or her trained up on your analytics suite and basic statistical modeling. If not, plan to hire or outsource this work. Your competitors are measuring and optimizing their marketing efforts. It’s time to get on board or get left behind.
5. Adopt a digital-first mindset
Digital is not the end-all for marketing. Traditional media (TV, print, radio and direct mail) has its place in almost any solid marketing plan. So I am by no means advocating going 100% digital in your marketing efforts.
However, by adopting a digital-first mindset, you can take advantage of the unique benefits of digital marketing and apply them to traditional marketing. Digital is excellent for testing messages and audiences. It can also be great for segmenting your audience or database.
The trick is to take the lessons and data you gather optimizing your digital efforts and apply them to your traditional efforts.
6. Stop using big campaigns
The next time you begin to plan a big marketing campaign or “push,” pause for a moment. Could you take the same idea and create a long-term sustainable marketing program?
When you create a sustainable marketing program, content might move in and out, but the mechanics stay the same. That way, the insights you gather and the optimizations you make have everlasting benefits.
Once you have a vision of a sustainable marketing program, you then have to whittle it down to its core and define the minimum viable marketing program (mvmp). Starting small gives you room to grow and apply the lessons you learn early for maximum benefit later.
7. Become one with sales
In many organizations, the sales team and the marketing team are far from BFFs. This is too bad, because sales has rich insights for marketing. Sales could also greatly benefit from tools such as marketing automation and personalization. So buddy up with sales and sit down together to define your personas and buyer’s journey. Identify the points where sales and marketing activity overlap. Then guide the discussion toward how to close the highest quantity and quality of sales.
The Time is Now
“The longest journey begins with one small step.” I’ll admit, it’s a tired phrase, but it seems appropriate in the face of transforming a department. If you delay, you will be passed by. Don’t let your competitors surprise you. Take one small step today, and we’ll see you on the other side of the journey to modern marketing excellence.