Digital Have and Have-Nots
William R. Benz – Managing Partner, 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 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 told about one great 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 that have a plan of execution and a means of learning from each interaction.
Time is Money – managers that have a grasp of 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 and 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 that provides a more holistic view of how clients and prospects are accepting your message.
Repeatable – using similar templates in web design and email and other communications reduces the overall cost of development 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 their 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 on a frequent basis is soon forgotten.
Creating a consistent, anticipated review of results is necessary to “prove” that marketing activities are providing 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 overall success and failures 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 rate of attrition is necessary to know how many entries at the top of the funnel will generate the correct number of conversions at the bottom of the funnel.
Ad hoc Sales and Marketing Activities
Next Shiny Object