It’s no secret that the world of marketing is changing, but the sad reality is that many marketing professionals have failed to recognize the extent to which this change has impacted their craft. The list of skills required to be really good at digital marketing bear little resemblance to the specifications that appeared in most job descriptions just five years ago. Whether you’re seeking a job, trying to keep one, or looking to move up, if you haven’t noticed this drastic shift, you’ll quickly fall behind the young guns biting at your heels.
Increased access to information empowers customers to explore and discover content, products, and services exactly at their point of need. This has completely changed the way marketers need to focus their energy, and there are a host of new tools we need to have in our belts to be successful.
An effective campaign no longer depends on pushing a sales message out to the target market. The target is an active participant in his or her own buying pathway. It’s a choose your own adventure story, and you need to be prepared for every variation. In the words of Bob Thacker, GravityTank Strategic Advisor:
“Engagement with customers today isn’t just pouring a message down on their head and hoping they get wet. It is really understanding that you must be present in conversation when they want to have it, not when you want to.”
Our world is fluid, demanding, and inattentive. Our campaigns must be just as fluid as the world we want to penetrate. The luxury of linear marketing is over.
So how can marketers today create campaigns reflexive enough to meet the unique demands of thousands or millions of potential buyers?
Answer: create an online ecosystem in which customers can freely interact with a brand or product.
To do this, marketers will need to go beyond traditional skills (visual acumen, project management, understanding of behavioral psychology, etc). I’m not talking about knowing the right buzzwords for your next board meeting; It’s time to venture into a more technical landscape full of automation platforms (Hubspot, Eloqua, Marketo, ect), dynamic content modules, device identification and query strings.
At the risk of oversimplifying this increasingly complex world, I’ll boil it down to a few basic points to consider:
1. Make sure people can find you when they need you.
– Search engine optimization is more important than ever
– All of the promotions or programs you create should consider that viewers will come into contact with your program at various stages in the buying cycle
2. Engage in existing conversations
– Understand where your customers interact online and get involved
– Identify influential personas and take time to understand why they hold such clout
3. Create online conversion pathways
– Build out a network of offers, landing pages, and response emails that engage customers at specific points of need
– Develop a relationship with your customer online before asking them to buy from you
4. One size does not fit all.
– Track everything! Use online tracking and analytics platforms to identify patterns in customer behavior and to measure what’s working, and what’s not working.
– Incorporate dynamic messaging into your website and promotional campaigns.
– Empower your sales team with greater insight into each customer’s level of engagement with the brand.
I’ll take a deeper dive into each of these three points in future posts. Until then, happy prospecting!