The future of marketing: the informed marketer

Posted by | November 14, 2012 | | No Comments

Published by Direct Markting Canada – September issue

Marketing fads come and go. Banner ads, search engine optimization, pay per click schemes and social media have all been the darling of marketing managers in recent years. One trend in marketing that is here to stay is what I like to call the “Informed Marketer.”

The rapid development of new marketing channels, the exponential growth of accessible data and new technology tools for marketers are fueling a new breed of marketer who is more knowledgeable than ever before. Informed marketers are leveraging this  knowledge to better understand customer needs and preferences and to create more personal relationships with the individuals and companies they touch.

Over the years I’ve noticed that there are certain traits that informed marketers share: Strategic, not tactical, thinking. Informed marketers take a broad view of marketing that’s not bogged down in the tactics of executing daily campaigns, meeting specific metrics, and checking to-dos off a list. While marketers have many things to do in an impossibly limited amount of time, informed marketers act with knowledge. They are privy to and understand corporate goals and formulate marketing strategies that align with these goals. In order to drive value to the organization, they develop integrated marketing strategies to drive stronger, more engaged prospect and customer relationships. The key is understanding market dynamics, corporate goals and the customer.

Customer lifecycle approach.

The informed marketer understands the inherent weakness of the marketing funnel: it only targets individuals who enter the funnel through marketing efforts and ignores other sources of revenue. Informed marketers accommodate other revenue drivers, such as repeat business, customer referrals, upsells and cross-sells.

Today, most sales that close are not sourced from marketing, yet companies continue to allocate the majority of their marketing spend on filling the funnel with new leads. Focusing on the customer lifecycle–the path a customer takes from initial contact to having a fully-engaged relationship with your brand–enables the informed marketer to communicate with customers across all channels at every stage to further engagement and drive revenue.

Ability to leverage technology.

The informed marketer understands that technology is an enabler of good marketing. Informed marketers embrace technology and also understand how to use it to guide marketing strategy. They use technology to understand the customer, evaluate where customers are in their relationship with the brand and to identify their needs and wants. These findings fuel the informed marketer’s messaging and communications, which technology automates. There are five groups of technologies that enable the informed marketer to reach prospects and customers in a way that turns these relationships into revenue-generating streams:

  1. CRM solutions: Campaigns are only effective if powered by quality data. Informed marketers use CRM solutions to capture relevant information on prospects and customers, and to track how the company interacts with them.
  2. Analytics tool: An analytics engine provides important insight into the people a brand attracts and how they interact with the company. The informed marketer then uses this information to better understand customer interests and preferred methods of communication, as well as how specific marketing efforts are driving the right kind of engagement.
  3. Marketing Automation suite: A marketing automation platform can track, measure, manage and automate campaigns. Lifecycle marketing automation solutions are the newest tools in this category and provide the next evolution of features and functionality to help marketers to track engagement and move prospects and customers from initial contact to brand advocate.
  4. Social Media suite: While social media is the latest buzz, it’s important to make sure it drives engagement and supplements more profitable marketing and nurturing campaigns. A social media integration and automation tool reduces the time needed to post updates.
  5. SEO tools: A brand’s online presence is how a majority of prospects and customers educate themselves on a product or solution. These tools simplify and automate much of the manual work and will save time for prospects who are searching for you online.

As an informed marketer, strategy and a holistic view of the customer are the crucial traits that will propel your marketing efforts to new heights. Fueling this is the customer data and technology tools that deliver insight into the specific messages and communications tactics that create one-to-one, engaged relationships that drive more revenue.

 

This article can be found in Direct Marketing Canada’s September issue.

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