What's needed for marketing success?
Getting the most from the many marketing opportunities available today is challenging because of the pace of change and continuous hype.
In creating our new site, we wanted to offer advice which is structured to help all marketers focus their efforts. The blog format has a weakness that although posts are engaging, it's difficult to see the big picture of how they relate. To create structure we've created a series of 200 free quick guides "Hub pages" within our RACE framework to help introduce the main tools and techniques available to today's marketer. We've picked out some of these Quick Guides below.
Our 10 success factors
Dan Bosomworth and I went "back to basics" to work through what is needed for success. We've set out this in this manifesto. This is what drives us, what we advise, what we think gives companies a marketing edge. We'd like to know your views - which of our 10 points do you agree most or least with?
1. Digital marketing is Marketing
Your marketing can still be successful without digital, after all, you could argue Apple do this. But if you're not Apple and don't have huge brand budgets you're missing opportunities to engage your customers.
Our guess is that your customers and prospective customers are online making decisions about whatever you want to sell to or promote. Often it's the first place they will go.
Recommended quick guides: Online brand strategy, Managing digital marketing
2. You need a strategy
You can market without a strategy, but likely will miss out on your full potential - see our 10 reasons for a digital marketing strategy. Problem is, there are so many exciting digital channels and options to test, that without focus, you're wasting precious resources.
Recommended quick guides: Digital marketing strategy, Online marketing mix
3. Measurement and optimization are your foundation
Thanks to web analytics and a fantastic range of marketing monitoring tools, it's never been easier to make marketing decisions based on a fact-base. Yet it seems that many don't take full advantage of the insights available. We hope to help. Test, Learn, Refine is our mantra.
Recommended quick guides: Goals and evaluation, Google Analytics,
4. Joined-up, customer-centred marketing is essential
There are so many tactics and techniques, that it's harder than ever to see the wood for the trees. Worse still, many channel become siloed do that we're marketing around tactics and products rather than customers and integrated campaigns to engage them. We recommend joining up marketing to create high-impact campaigns that have a purpose with the audience front and centre and the channels supporting the campaign goals.
Recommended quick guides: Traffic-building strategy, Media neutral planning
5. Keep communications human
Understanding customer characteristics, needs and behaviour and then offering relevant value to different groups of customers has always been at the heart of marketing. We love the opportunities digital media give through customer feedback tools to gain insights and then act on them through delivering more relevant communications, products and services - that's why we're called Smart Insights.
Recommended quick guides: Customer personas, Customer engagement strategy,
6. Be agile
To get ahead and stay ahead you need to move faster than the other guys. This means following the trends and the latest stats on how new digital platforms are being adopted by consumers and businesses and adaptive strategies to respond. It also means having the core people, process and tools to manage fast-changing marketing challenges efficiently .
Recommended quick guides: Marketplace analysis, Marketing innovation
7. Inbound marketing trumps outbound marketing
Customers have control, marketing does not work like it used to, the way many of us first experienced it. Customers search, discuss and share what they're looking for and what they think. Companies who tap into this are better able to reach and influence prospects. The inbound effect is where people come to you because they've heard the value you offer not just through interruptive outbound messages which will always have their place.
Recommended quick guides: Paid search marketing, SEO, Social media marketing, Content marketing.
8. Engagement is the real challenge
So much advice on online marketing focuses on the channels and conversion optimization used to acquire customers. There's relatively little discussion on building relationships with customers. For us, email marketing and CRM are still very relevant even in the age of social media and practicing Social CRM is an exciting way to get closer to customers while creating the inbound marketing effect through inspiring, useful content that is easy to re-share.
Recommended quick guides: Customer engagement, Email marketing, Social CRM, Content marketing
9. Think global, act local
Although we are in the age of the global marketplace, we thankfully retain our cultural differences internationally. Adapting marketing for different cultural norms is often neglected. Remembering that we're all human and that a customer's motivation to consider what you're promoting can also span culture offers huge opportunities to marketers who think about the customer need before the brand sell.
Recommended quick guides: International marketing
10. Markets are conversations
We loved this way back in 1999 when we read it in the The Cluetrain Manifesto. Since then it has become ever more true with the rise in social media. So, "Be Human:.
Recommended quick guides: Social media marketing, Online reputation management
So these are then 10 guidelines we try to practice through our marketing advice. But, although we're big fans of best practice to help provide guidance and structure, following trusted formulas shouldn't be the only approach. To stand out and differentiate from the crowd it's thinking out-of-the-box is also important.