Here are five important shifts in perspective that drive successful eMarketing:
From Packaged Campaigns To Tuning on the Fly
The days of perfecting a campaign (or thinking we have), then executing and waiting to see how it turns out are over. The beauty of marketing automation is that it enables marketers to view real-time results and responses to each step of a marketing program as it's rolled out. Marketers can tune, tweak and take corrective actions to ensure they get the best results as they go.
There's no need to sit helplessly by and watch a campaign you intended to generate 100 leads run its course generating only 25. The ability to see prospect behavior in response to your content can help you to make adjustments that increase relevance to get things back on track. Marketing today means taking your best shot and proactively improving results during the execution in response to audience behavior and feedback.
From Big Bang To Continuous Media
It used to be that marketers would spend months planning for a product launch. We'd have spread sheets and be working under the "cone of silence" to get the media coverage that would help us reveal our new product with the loudest amount of noise and coverage we could muster—scheduled to go live all at once. The next day we'd congratulate ourselves and go back to our status quo operational routines. That approach no longer works.
With eMarketing we must learn to market continuously with the knowledge that we are our own media. Instead of attempting to form instant relationships with a big bang, we build them incrementally through continuous content publishing that builds—and reinforces—our story over time. With continuous media the aim is to create consistent engagement and build a network that will help us share our ideas because we've made them valuable and relevant. This way, when we launch something new, our audience is predisposed to pay attention because we've taken the time to build credibility with them.
From One-off Assets To Serial Storytelling
eMarketing is not about sending whatever is at hand just to keep our name and logo in front of our audience. It's not about the sales offer flavor of the month or product feeds and speeds. Research by the CMO Council discovered that the top three pet peeves of buyers in relation to marketing content are:
Marketers who embrace serial storytelling can reverse buyers' perceptions of irrelevance. Serial storytelling during a complex B2B buying process means answering your buyers questions as they move through the buying process, starting from status quo. From educating them about why they should solve the problem to sharing how your expertise adds value—in addition to your product—to showing the benefits your customers have achieved with your help, you tell them the story about why you're the best partner they can choose. The mind shift here is to connect the dots and help your prospects take next steps with the insights each content asset provides.
From Clicks and Opens to Expanded Mindshare
It used to be that companies judged the success of marketing programs based on impressions, or even opt-ins. But even opt-ins don't count for much unless they move through the pipeline. The beauty of rich profiles and activity histories afforded us through marketing automation is that we can now develop lead scoring models to gauge prospect interest. The goal of eMarketing is to get your prospects to spend more of their attention on your content and engage with your company more so than they do with competitors.
Marketers who focus on becoming the "anchor" (the relied-upon resource) for how their prospects think about solving their problems will see an increase to pipeline momentum. They will also see a higher rate of sales acceptance, qualification and downstream revenues. Building mindshare is the equivalent of building credibility, reliance and trusted-advisor status. That's what leads to revenues. According to 61% of marketers surveyed by BtoB Magazine recently, contribution to revenues is the #1 metric they're focused on improving.
From One-way Communications to Two-way Conversations
This mind shift highlights the difference between static and dynamic communications. Static—also known as push—is wimpy. Dynamic communications are interactive which creates the force and power to drive momentum. In order to achieve two-way conversations, marketers have to give up the outdated idea that they have control over the message. In the digital world, companies that won't enable their prospective buyers to interact with them on their terms will lose to competitors who will. Think of it this way: would you rather have someone speaking at you, blathering on about their opinion without respect for yours, or would you prefer to be involved in an exchange of ideas? The latter is more appealing, obviously.
The way for marketers to find comfort in letting go is to get to know their buyers really well. The better you know them, the more relevant you can be and the better prepared you will be to react appropriately when they decide to respond. It's just good common sense that the better we know people, the easier it is to engage them.
With a strategic plan, marketers can not only engage more easily with their prospects and customers, but they can design conversational exchanges that provide terrific insights they can leverage to extend that attention and encourage prospects to take next steps. Marketing across a complex sale is an iterative process that develops one step at a time with an increasing number of people involved. It's also interesting to note that the research into buyers done by DemandGen found that the majority of buyers are not following a traditional buying process. Marketers need to learn to take cues from our buyers. And that requires two-way conversations.
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