We hear a lot these days about companies striving to become modern marketing organizations. But really, what does that mean and why is it important? There’s no doubt that incredible disruption has redefined marketing paradigms in most industries.
Understanding and taking advantage of the increasing role of the customer, the widening choices of media and distribution strategies, the targeting power and efficiencies of digital and programmatic media, and the engagement opportunities within social media is key to “future fitting” your marketing organization. While some consumer categories have been early adopters, others have been followers, slower to embrace change. The good news is there are plenty of learnings from those early adopters as well as opportunities to customize the basic tenants of modern marketing to your organization. Two questions to consider: The good news is there are plenty of learnings from early adopters as well as opportunities to customize the basic tenants of modern marketing to your organization. Two questions to consider:
If the answer to both questions is yes, you may be interested in comparing your progress to the checklist below.
We all know the customer is now in charge. They decide how, when and where to interact with your brand. Their expectations become the bar against which the brand’s performance is measured. Steve Jobs once said “you’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around.” Most marketers believe they’re customer-focused, driving towards the goal of consistently great and relevant experience across all touchpoints. Customer-centricity takes that to another level tapping data, behavioral analytics, and ethnographies to carefully map customer journeys, assess and prioritize lifetime values and create task-based personas – all in an effort to create strong, enduring relationships by addressing customer needs, not just wants. Finally, truly customer-centric organizations require that all key business processes such as product development, supply chain, sales and customer service re-orient themselves around making strong value-based connections with their consumer.
For most marketers, the rise of social media brought with it the promise to connect directly with a community of brand advocates and enthusiasts. As the channel continues to mature and consumers self-direct their customer journey with brands, the role of engaging content, peer and influencer reviews has grown exponentially. Hungry for information to inform their opinions and help with decision making, consumers seek to fill out their newsfeed with inspiring and empowering content about the brands they follow or have interest in. Community managers must therefore take a planful approach to developing their content strategy. That said, remaining agile and integrating current events with real-time personalized content is one of the more impactful ways to make brands contemporary and relevant.
Just as social media has the ability to amplify the positive voice of your brand advocates, the same holds true for customer service issues and negative comments. While 87% of customers will share a good customer experience (Zendesk), people with a negative customer experience be more likely (than not) to tell at least 10 people (HBR). It’s believed that by 2020, customer service will beat out price and product as the key brand differentiator (Walker). Therefore, as consumers increasingly turn to social channels to communicate with brands, the “always on” consumer mentality requires that shelter brands invest in higher service levels for their community management teams with response times that are measured in minutes (not hours or days), and consistent in terms of brand voice and protocol (or cases).
There are many drivers fueling inbound marketing. Empowered customers. Information overload. Proliferation and utilization of digital channels. It’s not surprising then that today’s buyer may be anywhere from 60% to 90% of the way through their “path to purchase” journey before contacting a vendor’s sales rep (Forrester). Providing searchers with right content at the time they’re looking it builds trust, credibility and brand affinity. Inbound marketing flips the model from finding customers to being found, mass (interruptive) media to 1:1 targeting and engagement, and from intuitive to data-driven decision making. Content strategies, demand gen programs, SEO, thought leadership activities and live events/webinars are all important tools in building an effective inbound marketing program.
The growing number and complexity of marketing channels and audiences, especially in the building products arena, has made the process of engaging customers at scale throughout the sales cycle (moving them along the customer journey), virtually impossible without the help of marketing automation tools. The benefits of marketing automation include streamlining, automating and measuring marketing tasks and workflows, improving content relevancy through personalization, accelerating lead generation programs (thus shortening the sales cycle), and ultimately growing revenues. Lead scoring algorithms identify and prioritize prospects based on a series of fit and behavioral variables. Lead nurture programs then customize messaging to each prospect based on who they are, what they’ve seen and how they’ve behaved in the past. ROI from sophisticated tools such as Marketo and SalesForce require sustained commitments to both staffing and internal training. And while selecting the right software is certainly important, defining the overall strategy and implementation plan is the key to future success.
While the term itself has been around a few years, at its core, it’s the idea of applying agile process to marketing. Social sharing and dynamic personalized content creates relevancy as marketers seek to leverage high profile current events to engage consumers. Oreo’s timely social post referencing a Super Bowl power outage is a good example of real-time marketing achieving incredible reach and impact. Facebook’s Live and Instagram Stories provide brands with a real-time platform to tap into current trends, experiences and cultural movements. In addition, Google’s real-time analytics has made online creative/performance evaluation (A/B testing) and plan rebalancing/optimization a powerful reality.
Despite the complex and fragmented nature of modern marketing, the role and value of Brand has never been more important. Studies show that purpose-driven brands grow faster and create more shareholder value (Simon Sinek). Well-defined and articulated brands are important to both internal and external audiences. And brand authenticity is only achieved with a well-developed content strategy that ensures a consistent voice across all channels and content.
Perhaps the most important sign of commitment to modern marketing is how your team is organized. 80% of marketers believe that marketing needs to be restructured within their organization and fully 30% believe it’s urgent to do so now (The Economist). High performing teams seeking to deliver on customer centricity and a unified customer experience across all touchpoints must embrace an agile work style with real-time responsiveness, despite continuing pressures from above on margins and headcount. Establishing internal centers of excellence recognizes and leverages the value of deep subject matter expertise with the organization. If you think of your org chart is the blueprint, then staffing the right talent in the right positions become the load-bearing pillars to high performance marketing.
Becoming a modern marketing organization is a journey, not a destination. What’s required is a knowledge and commitment from leadership to not only invest but also stay the course. Those that give up or turn back won’t remain competitive, much less relevant. Having a roadmap will give you the confidence to know you’re on the right track.
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Bolin Marketing is an award-winning digital and creative brand agency.
We offer a full-spectrum of services ranging from brand strategy and social connections planning to digital transformation and campaign development. We work collaboratively with clients to solve complex marketing challenges, helping to develop ideas designed to energize brands and inspire travelers. Our process and methods help us distil vast amounts of data and research into actionable results. We believe in inspiring and empowering consumers in a connected world.