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Adopt or Fail, 3 Essential Marketing Benchmarks
David F. Giannetto
Marketing has become one of the more powerful and influential departments within the enterprise, but are most marketers actually ready and prepared to lead their organization into this new future, where at the end of the day increased revenue and profit are still the benchmarks of success? Not without a shift in how they think about some of today’s most prevalent marketing-driven initiatives.
- Creating the Omni-Channel Experience – Most marketers define the omni-channel experience as creating a consistent message and experience during each consumer interaction through any digital channel. But there is a broader definition that includes creating a consistent message and experience every time a consumer interacts with the organization via any medium, both digital and physical: marketing, sales, customer service, operations, and even third party distributors or non-company owned retail outlets. This broader definition requires deeper integration between departments and functions, and skills that far exceed that of a typical marketer (let alone the average social media manager). The upside of this broader approach is an organization significantly better at meeting the expectations of today’s social consumer, creating greater brand loyalty, and increasing the propensity to purchase—things that create tangible benefits.
- Content Creators or Content Conduits – Much of what drives the consistency of an organization’s message is its content—the traditional role of marketing. But social media turned many marketers into “content creators” who specialize in cutting marketing material down into bite-size posts, 15-second videos and 140-character hash tag strings. Yet this repurposed content does little to meet the real purpose of marketing material: explaining and reinforcing to consumers how a company’s products and service make their lives better, easier or even just more fun, so that consumers understand a brand’s differentiators and value proposition. The move from sales and marketing-speak to truly insightful content, viewed by consumers as sincere sharing, is not something the average marketer can do alone. This is the domain of subject-matter-experts throughout the organization. Engineers, product designers and managers, operations personnel and even customer service agents. Marketers serving as “content conduits,” and not creators themselves, offer the best chance of winning and the keeping the hearts, minds, and wallets of consumers.
- Custodians of Customer Data – Significant advances are being made by marketing-oriented technology. Such evidence can be seen in the advances of technology companies such as Portland, Oregon based, Janrain, who began as creators of the first unified social login application and evolved into a leading customer identity management platform, have been leading this charge. They’ve given marketers better insight into a company’s community and customers than ever before, and with it the capability to personalize interactions. But personalized interactions create a blurry line: where does marketing end and sales begin? Is marketing’s responsibility to support those who are expert at selling, or to sell directly to consumers themselves? Sales people are hired and developed to be the most effective at selling products and service, converting consumers to customers and increasing customer lifetime value—another set of skills that the average marketer must develop.
Changing how marketers think about these and other marketing initiatives also requires something bigger. Marketers must be willing to relinquish some of the power and control they possess and focus more energy on recruiting others from throughout their organization to support and foster organizational growth. Clearly the answer is an integrated solution: digital initiatives such as social media, mobile and big data integrated into each other, and into core functions, people and information of the organization. This allows everyone to focus on a new approach the most progressive marketers and business leaders are adopting: using omni-channel, strong content and consumer insights to mold consumer behavior into a pattern of interactions that most effectively and efficiently creates new customers, sells more to existing customers and increases each customer’s lifetime value—the true goal of everyone within the enterprise.
David F. Giannetto is the author of Big Social Mobile, How Digital Initiatives Can Reshape the Enterprise and Drive Business Results (Palgrave Macmillan), SVP of Salient Management Company and helps organizations coordinate complex initiatives, technology and information to create tangible results. More information at: www.BigSocialMobile.com.