Digital Have and Have-Nots
William R. Benz – Owner - Digital Marketing Officer
Access to digital talent is helping forward-thinking companies to better prepare for an online competitive fight. More businesses, small and large alike, are discovering that they are not getting the online exposure they expected by propping up a website and then letting it age gracefully. The turning point has been the simultaneous change in technology building websites and the naming of a different approach to sales using “Inbound” Marketing. More simply put, Inbound is the honey pot that attracts suspects and prospects to your products and services throughout the buying cycle.
Sharing Information – companies are re-reinventing the idea of “organization” as it makes sense to change the direction of energies within a marketing department to support sales. Once the stepchild of the department, sales support is now considered a primary reason to fund marketing projects.
Planning – businesses claim success using great fabled stories of the executive who was approached at a trade show in Chicago and told about one significant interaction with a customer as a result of some marketing activity. This is analogous to a candy bar on the nutritional scale of marketing health. It provides a quick shot of positive feedback that fades quickly. Although we all like to hear the stories, they are more enjoyable when mixed with a steady diet of repeatable programs with a plan of execution and a means of learning from each interaction.
Time is Money – managers who grasp the inbound marketing approach do not squander the opportunity to achieve results using skilled resources. Some are trained in place, others are picked up through a consulting arrangement, and for those with more substantial budgets, perhaps even an add-to-staff. If the measurement of the marketing programs is expected from a team without training, time, or skills, it is the first task dropped when the schedule fills with other commitments.
Measure It or Don’t Bother – analytics have a place at both the beginning of the project as well as the duration of the program. By baking in the foundational markers, it is possible to use those hooks to learn more about the acceptance or rejection of the materials. It can be web or email based, providing a more holistic view of how clients and prospects accept your message.
Repeatable – using similar templates in web design, email, and other communications reduces the overall development cost by limiting the need for creative services and retesting the infrastructure of the communication by a significant margin. Testing can focus on the message ensuring the voice and the grammar are perfect.
Frequent Reporting – capturing data has become a national past-time. In many cases, the measurement committee even gets its own swim lane to report progress as the project approaches the deliverable date. Once complete and live, Marketing departments have a reputation for focusing on the next shiny object, and as a result, the measurement that was to be reported frequently is soon forgotten.
Creating a consistent, anticipated review of results is necessary to “prove” that marketing activities provide value to the business. Days of guessing where the money is spent in marketing are long over as executive teams have an elevated expectation of understanding how best to align scarce resources.
Shared Success – each department supporting the sales process contributes to the success and failure of activities to close new business. Inbound Marketing is defined by a funnel that is wider at the top to collect new unsolicited leads. Knowing the attrition rate is necessary to know how many entries at the top of the funnel will generate the correct number of conversions at the bottom.
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Next Shiny Object