Marketing’s changing role
Just when you thought you knew what marketing was all about, everything is changing!
In the beginning there was “little m” marketing: which means the production of brochures and adverts, the attendance of trade shows and all it entails, creating websites, and implementing online marketing automation tools. “Little m” marketing is all of the execution stuff and has often been organized as part of a sales organization under a single sales and marketing manager.
And then there was “Big M” marketing: which added strategy, positioning, and messaging in front of the “little m” marketing and sales efforts. “Big M” marketing became the thoughtful connection of business plans to sales and “little m” marketing in order to methodically drive growth.
The seismic shift in marketing
But now, all the roles are shifting around these definitions. This is largely being driven by the proliferation of data driven online tools which can measure and refine marketing efforts in near real time.
Suddenly marketing has become the revenue engine under “high velocity selling” and has moved into the driver’s seat to actually generate sales closes. The sales folks, who have a local and personal connection with clients, are now a critical component of customer service, satisfaction, and retention. Yesterday’s customer service leaders are now the online PR engine working with real-time online customer interactions through social media and crowd-sourced reviews engines. And yesterday’s PR folks now seem to be more marketers focusing on the brand awareness and perception in the marketplace.
A whole new breed of online tools and technologies have arrived under the heading of “MarTech” (marketing technology) and deep one to one marketing and customer service is now possible through automation. Prospects can now be identified and targeted based on “look-alike” audiences and their online behaviors. There is now transparency at every level of the sales funnel.
New marketing talent is now entering the scene, just graduated from modern university programs. These young marketers have been immersed in not just big and little Ms but can also code and analyze data at a very detailed level. The art of marketing is rapidly becoming subordinate to a scientific approach!
Uberization of the market
The reason to adopt these new marketing methods is that businesses of all sizes can now use these tools to disrupt their competitors and grow in completely new ways. The world’s largest taxi company, doesn’t own any cars; Uber. The world’s largest hotel organization, doesn’t own any property; AirBnB. How will your market become “uberized”? It’s time to think about how you can use modern marketing approaches to be there first.
One of the most critical components of this modernization of data driven marketing, is that you now have a real-time feedback loop. Smart companies, for example NetFlix, have been able to understand when the landscape is shifting under their business model and reinvent themselves. Instead of failing, these reinvented versions can be the disruptive force which outgrows all others in their category. Smart business leaders will learn about and implement these feedback loops and then they’ll also overcome their decision bias to use this feedback to change and grow.
Focus in three places:
- Consider if you have the right marketing team members and skills for today.
- Implement marketing automation, get feedback, listen to your customers and make sure it’s automated.
- Pay attention to social media and know where your customers are living and talking online.
As you progress down the road, one thing you’ll need to understand is that many of the activities that you’ll undertake online and that are absolutely imperative will take time to develop. The best time to plant a tree? 20 years ago. The next best time? Today! In the meantime, there are plenty of “quick hits” that you can try to generate early results. For example, in the beginning you may pay for lists, social media ads, bid for Google AdWords, and the like. In the long run you’ll leverage a well designed, persistent, and carefully executed content marketing plan to earn organic traffic.
At Chief Outsiders, we use the moniker: Wow, How, Now in order to think about our content marketing approach. So what does this mean?
- Wow is the content, design, copy, headline or subject which captures our target audience attention. It is the shiny lure in the water that attracts the fish in the first place. We have just seven seconds on average for Wow.
- How is how we play things out once we have our audience’s attention. We have just another twenty-six seconds here to add real value and deepen our audience’s interest in our content.
- Finally, Now is how we maintain and grow our relationships with our audience once they’ve decided to get onto our bus and see the view on our tour.
Wow, How, Now is an excellent way for your marketing teams to think about their online audience acquisition and engagement efforts.
But before our Wow can have a change, we need to know where to find the good fishing holes!
The secret to this in our modern digital marketing world is to spend some time figuring out prototypical “personas” for the clientele we’re trying to land. Based on whom we’re trying to win over, we need to know: what do they look like, what are they searching for, and what is driving their decision process. Time spent to understand this and to develop your target personas will inform where you place your “Wow” efforts.
To realize the full value of this approach, you’re going to need content. What you may not realize is that you probably have access to a plethora of high value content from right inside your organization and with a little help from your customers. Some great places to mine for content are:
- Customer stories, quotes, reviews, and testimonials
- Content held withing your sales and support teams
- Coming from a bit of research online in social networks
- From the issuance of surveys to your customers and audience
Our final marketing recommendation is always be testing. It’s so easy to compare results from online ads, offers, surveys, copy, and content of all kinds. Every current marketing automation tool has testing built in.
For all of this to work, you have to see with the eyes of your customer. Consider mystery shopping yourself. Have a look at your content, is it relevant for your audience? How is your online reputation? When we get outside the four walls of our own business and see where we’re fitting within our industry and our client’s perception of value, then all of these new tools will make it easy to grow faster and more efficiently!