As an online marketing company, Webolutions continually identifies and evaluates digital marketing trends to help our clients increase their marketing success. At this year’s Online Marketing Summit, our team was able to meet with other top industry, digital marketing professionals from companies like Whole Foods, Shutterfly and Sony. The primary themes of this year’s event were:
Fresh, relevant and engaging content has been the key to successful online marketing for years. Yet, is it one of the more challenging tasks for many small and medium size businesses. The hard, cold fact of the matter is that to succeed in the world of marketing today, you must be able to generate original and relevant content. Understanding your brand and what it stands for, as well as understanding your target audience is the key to creating this relevancy. Once optimized, your content should be shared across multiple distribution channels including:
- Blog Posts
- Social Media
- Press Releases
- White Papers
If you are a thought leader, you must be able to demonstrate this through the content you create. If you are not a thought leader and have no relevant value to add in the way of content to your current and potential customers, you had better start to evaluate how you can evolve into a position like this.
Analytics & Big Data
As marketers, we have never had access to more data. This year, there were many presenters with products to create intelligence from all this information. This ranged from lead scoring to more engaging social interactions. For me, the biggest take-away from these sessions was that a virtually unlimited budget could be spent to gather, aggregate and utilize this data effectively. One company demonstrated a product for social media advocacy. They begin by sending a survey to a company’s customers. Then, based on the responses, they are able to identify the strongest advocates. From there, they begin creating offerings and providing sample text for these advocates to post positive comments on Facebook, Google, etc… This was very neat.
This is the act of driving awareness and or interest in a company’s offerings through targeted marketing programs. These programs might include SEO, SEM, Social Media, Webinars, Seminars, etc.. Once some level of awareness is achieved, demand generation then uses systems and processes to engage and build relationships until contacts become a prospect and eventually a customer. The overarching theme discussed in the demand generation sessions was that you must get to know your customer. You must understand their specific needs, challenges and their mental buying cycle before effective demand generation can even begin. Blasting out an ad without taking these steps is definitely not the right approach to be effective today.
Company Culture Development
If everyone within an organization does not fully understand the company’s brand vision and their specific role(s) in creating the overall brand experience, there is no way the company can achieve its brand goals in the marketplace.
Engaging your entire organization in your brand vision is the key to being able to live your brand day in and day out. Everyone needs to be actively involved in thinking about this, creating ideas and systems to advance this, and being empowered to deliver this through every internal and external engagement.
How well you are achieving this can be measured in many ways including:
- Asking your team members – regular team reviews and surveys
- Tracking new initiatives created – how much leadership you are seeing?
- Measuring team member retention
- Customer feedback – how much and what is the content
- Closing rates on new opportunities
If you are a service organization where specific individuals interact with your customers, your retention and referral rates will be directly tied to your team member retention rates.
Your customers have never been so open to providing you with specific feedback. They are posting reviews, completing surveys and they are doing all this at no expense to you. All you have to do is listen. At many companies marketing is now the decision leader at the company. If customers need something, Operations and IT simply must find a way to achieve what this demand from your customers is mandating, or they will go someplace else.
In the age of Mad Men (TV series) a Director of Marketing only needed to understand print, radio and TV. This was all. In today’s marketing landscape, the person in this role also needs to understand the intricacies of websites, email, social media, analytics, mobile, SEO, SEM, etc… Bottom line, it is not possible for a single person or small team to amass and keep up with the immense knowledge and skills necessary to survive in today’s complex marketing environment. Businesses must hire this agency expertise to fill in the gaps and work together as partners to succeed.
Engagement / Personalization
It is critical for businesses to understand their current and potential customers and reach them on a relevant, emotional level. As demand generation tools continue to evolve, and more and more businesses begin to reach out to your customers with more meaningful and valuable messages, you need to begin to change your old mindset and determine how you are going to operate and survive in this new world of marketing.
How to Use This Information
Take a step back and review your overall marketing approach. Are you addressing these changes in the way your marketing is being done, or are you just doing more of what you have been doing for years? Are you using effective demand generation? Has your message changed? Are you really listening and adapting?
If you would like some help applying these concepts, call Webolutions at 303-300-2640. We believe in making a difference in people’s lives. We would be happy to provide you with a complimentary one-on-one marketing consultation to help get the ball rolling for you.
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