This week you’re getting a little bit of a double dose of “This Week in the News” on marketing strategy because, earlier in the week I posted about the Content Aggregator, showing how it can help with this type of post.
For this post, I’m combining 2 columns — “This Week in the News” plus “Getting Back to Marketing Basics” so you won’t feel cheated. Plus, I haven’t posted on “Getting Back to Marketing Basics” in a long time and marketing strategy is critically important for your success that you never lose sight of marketing basics that still work in digital marketing.
So, off we go!
5 Proven Marketing Strategies to Separate You From the Pack
This week Inc. interviewed folks from their entrepreneur organization to find marketing strategies that separate success from failure.
Nothing particularly earth-shattering in the advice they share, but it’s worthwhile to reinforce what we know works.
Praveen Ramanathan, EO Boston, President and CEO, Ayantek, recommends remembering the importance of the SMAC stack — Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud.
These tactics help keep costs down, speed response time, and meet customer needs more effectively. Firms adopting a SMAC strategy are 26% more profitable than those who don’t.
Jeff Bradford, EO Nashville; President and CEO, the Bradford Group says his group aims to blog 2X per week.
Notice the graph from Hubspot shows marketing results based on the number of posts per week. Posting at least once a week is critical for achieving a significant marketing return and the return for posting more frequently is minor until you’re posting multiple times per day.
Posting on a consistent basis, posting high-quality content, optimizing posts for SEO (keyword density, etc), and sharing content are key drivers of success.
Don’t forget good old-fashioned face-to-face relationship marketing in your efforts to build a modern marketing strategy, advises Nicholas Holland, EO Nashville; CEO, Centresource.
His firm holds bi-monthly mixers inviting vendors, customers, prospects, community leaders, and employees to an informal exchange that makes them the hub of their local industry. From my experience, Meetup is a perfect vehicle for building and energizing such as informal gatherings.
Or, simply use your space as a venue for hosting social and educational events. It’s a win-win situation for everyone says Marina Byezhanova, EO Montreal; Co-founder, Pronexia Inc. Hosting educational events establishes your business as a thought leader in the industry.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Heather Baker, EO UK–London; Founder and CEO, TopLine Comms finds SEO is the best tactic for increasing lead generation and building traffic to their website. Of course, in a post-Panda world, SEO is very different; relying on content marketing, social media marketing, website optimization (load speed, responsive design, etc), and offline marketing rather than keyword stuffing and buying links.
Context-First: The First 3 Steps to Create Relevant Marketing Strategies
By Matt Naffah
On Boston Interactive’s blog, Matt introduces the importance of context — not just content — for marketers.
I wasn’t quite sure what he meant by context until I read the rest of the post; then it made sense.
By context, Matt is talking about 3 things:
- buyers’ journeys
- data (notice a pattern here — Inc also mentioned data in terms of analytics)
We’ve talked about personas on this site before. Personas are deeper than simple demographics and geographic variables commonly considered within target markets. Personas include lifestyle, values, emotions, and other key psychographics that impact consumer decisions.
Hence, instead of talking about women between 20 and 35, we talk about young women with busy lifestyles who feel stressed to accomplish everything and turn to technology to solve their problems. (An actual persona for my client Groupsurfing).
Buyer journeys represent the stages buyers go through on their way to making a decision.
Unlike the infographic shown here (from Boston Interactive), buyers’ journeys vary greatly from person to person and from task to task.
In fact, they aren’t often linear and logical, as depicted here. For low involvement products, like candy or toilet paper, a heuristic might stand-in for cognitive decision-making and the consumer buys the same thing every time out of habit. In high involvement products, like this car buying exercise, the process might involve a number of loops back and forth between stages in the buyer journey.
Interestingly, consumers use a lot of technology and other resources (including friends and family, paid salespeople, and even strangers) along the customer journey. Much of the decision-making effort involves evoking norms, values and attitudes; some of which involve cognitive processing; and some of which involve doing what’s worked in the past.
Understanding the customer journey, providing content appropriate for the individual’s stage in the journey and cognitive style, and learning from the customer journey is among the hottest topics in marketing today.
When I first started in marketing, data wasn’t a big issue. Sure, if you were doing market research you needed some statistics classes, but most marketing students didn’t get much data analysis training.
Today, that’s a different story — or it should be. Don’t even get me started on how little training marketing students get in business intelligence.
Every marketer needs a deep understanding of statistics and training in predictive analytics to survive today. And, that training needs to go beyond ROI, to measure the success of your marketing activities across a number of metrics that impact decision-making.
Why Trying to Be Clever is Killing Your Marketing Strategy
CJM Media Source brings us an interesting post on how the Mad Men philosophy of marketing is killing your business.
Step back and stop thinking about marketing as clever copy and flashy design and Mad Men.
Now take a moment to think about what your main business priorities are. What is your big goal?
This is what should motive your marketing strategy, and form the basis of any fresh, new ideas about how you market your business.
The point they’re making is one you’ve probably heard from me several times (maybe more). Get back to marketing fundamentals, build a marketing strategy based on sound marketing concepts, and don’t get bogged down with elements that are more flash than substance.
Marketers need to understand marketing — that’s why your marketing people need to have marketing experience and training. Tech people, journalists, engineers, and anyone else masquerading as a marketing person misses the point of marketing.
- Marketing is more than pretty images, fancy slogans, and analytics. Sure, these things are important, but the best will fail if your products don’t solve a fundamental problem for consumers. Right product, the right price, right time, right place. That’s marketing. Say it 3 times and live it. I once worked with a client who should have been blowing it out of the water. We came to find out they have all their ducks in a row, but their operating hours didn’t fit their target market.
- A/B test things that really matter. Sure, a subtle change in your copy might increase response by 10%, but using the right marketing tactic in the first place might increase response 235%.
- Branding matters. Branding is about brand personality — not fancy slogans, logos, and images. What do prospects think your brand stands for?
- Marketing is about consistency. I once consulted for a client who changed their message every six months. Look at Geico. They have a number of different messages going on at the same time and it confuses prospects. Don’t change unless you have an overwhelming need for a change and then do it as thoroughly and quickly as possible.
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Hausman and Associates, the publisher of Hausman Marketing Letter, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media