I have worked with hundreds of companies over the course of my 28+ year career.
During the first 10 years of my career, I had my own business before I started consulting other business on how to be more effective. Out of all my years of experience, there has been one thing that has remained consistent among all companies I work with, and that’s the desire for three things: Content, reach, and technology.
Whenever you sell a commodity or a considered purchase with an extended sales cycle to consumers and businesses, you need content in multiple formats describing your product or service.
In the B2C world, creating memorable content that positions your brand above your competitors is the goal—content that will ultimately resonate with your target audience and support your overall brand. While in the B2B world, you will want to structure your content in a manner that moves a buyer through all the stages of the buyer journey. Your content should support the buyer’s need to learn about what it is you offer, help them solve a problem, allow them to compare, drive them to make a purchase, and foster loyalty for your brand.
All the content you create must address the following issues in this order:
Who are we talking to?
Why are we talking to them?
What channel and format do we use to reach our audience?
What are the goals of this content?
Think conversational marketing—not targeting. Focus on the consumer’s pain points and the ways you address that pain, while also reinforcing your brand’s position in the market place.
Now that you have your content in place and have pinpointed your audience, you have to find a way to reach them. In the B2C space, that might mean buying a TV spot, sending a direct mail campaign, buying keywords on search engines, or even and renting an outdoor billboard on a busy highway…there are plenty of channels to pick from.
In the B2B space, the same rules apply, but you will most likely find yourself spending more money on online channels like email, search engines, content syndication, social media, and even targeted ad display.
Regardless of the channel, the more data you have about your customers and potential customers, the more targeted you can be with your campaign, and the more likely you are to be successful with your marketing efforts.
For example, the more email data you have, the more reach you have. The more data you have on your consumers, the better your chances to reach your consumer on email, social, or direct market channels. The data available to you combined with analytics will help you understand which piece of content resonates with each segment or audience.
There is no shortage of technology in the market place, trust me. IMA has cataloged over 3700 marketing technologies on Martech Showcase that cover tactics from account based marketing tools to webinar platforms and everything in between. Please avoid the shiny object syndrome (Martech) and focus on technologies that will help you track marketing effectiveness.
While you can do some amazing things with Google analytics, if you don’t have the expertise to set up advanced media attribution reports to determine what is working your marketing efforts, find someone who can do it for you. Alternatively, you might be a good candidate for a marketing automation platform. In addition to google analytics which is free, MAP can help you track where a lead first encountered your brand and score their behavior, helping you align your sales and marketing efforts and nurture leads automatically.
Regardless of which technology you use, you should track the effectiveness of your campaigns down to conversions. You might find your search engine marketing (PPC) campaign has a higher cost per lead, but converts better than any other marketing channel. Or you may discover your email marketing efforts drive more traffic and conversions than your content marketing and SEO efforts.
Whatever the circumstance, you can’t manage what you don’t measure.
The right combination of content, reach, and technology is the recipe for business success.
This post was first published on Integrated Marketing Association.