Technical Marketing™

Ahh…the old ways of marketing…it feels like just yesterday all you had to do was put a sign on your door, pay for a listing in the phonebook, and maybe take out an ad in an industry magazine. Getting your message out as loud as you can was the primary goal.

Today’s marketing is now much more about listening to the massive sea of information, some readily available, and some to be at our fingertips with analytics software.

The internet has revolutionized the way we do business. E-commerce sales have already taken up over 20% of all retail sales, and its rapid growth hasn’t slowed down. Along the way, in a relatively short amount of time, the available toolbox to market a business online has grown and the strategies have gotten much more complex—so complex that some of it might seem outright mysterious. However, rest assured, there’s much less mystery to marketing than ever before.

One of the most exciting developments since the days of the yellow pages is the availability of real-time data and feedback on your marketing efforts. Marketing is no longer as much about guesstimating, setting a target, and throwing all your forces in that direction. It’s now much more about coordinated data-driven approaches and real time analyzing of efforts while making decisions quickly and effectively. Equipped with data from analytics, SEO, and advertising metrics, you can fine tune your marketing strategies and adapt to your target audience, preferably automated and in an instant.

That’s the new and exciting world of marketing. However, along with these amazing benefits, there are some important considerations.

Along with all this complexity, even great marketing knowledge itself isn’t enough to run efficient marketing campaigns. Technology has become an inseparable part of it all. Plus, it’s a jungle out there! Options abound, it’s crucial to pick and develop smart systems that are tailored just for you and your business. How does one make these decisions and handle the required complexity?

Moreover, doing business online touches and changes so many aspects of a traditional commerce business, your added online outreach might look more like taking on a whole other business to run. Where would a small business find the people, time, and know-how to dedicate to this kind of expansion?

Whether you decide to learn and do it all yourself or hire professional help, knowledge is power here. Otherwise, you can’t really carefully ponder those important questions and make your next crucial decisions effectively. Without some very basic understanding of what’s involved and the road ahead it’s almost certain you’ll burn valuable resources, waste money, hire the wrong help, and not reach your goals around your online presence. It can’t be overstated how important it is for any business reaching for online marketing to understand at least some very basic principles of what it takes to succeed online. Below are a few of those:

 

3 major principles of marketing in today’s digital world

Before we dive into the tools of this new world of marketing, let’s look at three areas we need to be aware of. If you’re hiring for professional help in marketing, these are also good criteria to see if the agency you’re hiring possesses them or not.

1. Learn to Be All-Ears (i.e. Data-Driven Marketing)

The number one principle, that perhaps encompasses all the others, always reminds me of what the famous consultant and author, Stephen Covey, laid out in his top selling book of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: “Seek first to listen, then to be understood.” Covey meant this to be advice for interpersonal relationships and communication, however, the same principle holds true when it comes to marketing. We live in a sea of information. Moreover, this information is not just some static data, it’s ever changing. It’s interactive. It’s alive. When you think of marketing as a means to get your offering desired by a large enough audience, doesn’t it make sense to start with hearing who the audience is and what they want first and foremost? They’re talking to you right now. Their data is alive and online. Are you listening? Big companies who know marketing figured this out long ago, and you’ve probably seen it either in real life or movies. Product or service teams will hire and form a focus group to bounce ideas. Even in movies, test screening is a preview screening of a movie or television show before its general release to gauge audience reaction. Good marketers have known that successful marketing is much less about guessing upfront and much more about listening to the target audience. Nowadays, we have that data within reach. We have testing of the audience, ideas and products at much more affordable rates. Organizations used to spend millions of dollars to data mine, but now it’s available to anyone with a little bit of know-how at a fraction of the cost, or for free. There’s no excuse not to be in full understanding of the audience we’re trying to reach. This concept is easy to agree to, and hard to implement for many small organizations. As outlined in the beginning of this document, marketing, especially for small business, used to be much more about simple outreach. It’s not anymore, and whoever misses the data-driven marketing wagon will be left out.

2. Analyze and Test

The fact that so much data is available for marketing presents the amazing opportunity we outlined above as well as a challenge. In most cases, the information is not in an easy-to-consume format. Systems need to be set up and in place to gather useful information. While this might seem daunting, rest assured that a lot of these systems are not super technical or hard to set up. Perhaps with a little help, you can be on your way to collecting valuable data about your potential audience, or current customers. Moreover, it’s necessary to be proactive in collecting information, to test the market. This could look as simple as putting out two different ad campaigns on Google with very low budgets and seeing which one works best for what you’re trying to achieve. What used to be called A/B testing in the old days is now A/B/C/D testing for a much lower budget and in a more effective and efficient way.

3. Nurture and Automate

New technologies enabled our ability to communicate with our customers in a much easier way and much more affordably. With that, communication became much more interactive. We’re certainly no longer sending a letter out and waiting for an answer, and then sending another communication based on that answer. It’s becoming much more like a relationship with a friend, where one calls the other almost anytime for communication. In short, it’s much more interactive and ongoing. What this means for marketing is that the short bursts of communication are no longer as effective. People simply expect interactivity, whether it’s in an ongoing blog or an easily-accessible website chat. Consider that information about any product, service, or company, and potential competition is just as available to your audience. People are much more informed, or at least, influenced engagers. It’s becoming increasingly harder to find people who jump online and buy the first thing they decide they like. Together, these two points make nurture marketing incredibly valuable. You can build loyalty, inform potential customers, and simply get your message across in a drip-by-drip format that makes it easier for anyone to consume. You might already be thinking about the potential work of this much increased and interactive way of communicating with your customers. It’s 100% true that it’s challenging to keep up with this communication demand. Hence, we have to figure out ways to automate at least some of this marketing and communication. Good thing, there are many ways of doing this. For now, just be thinking about automation.