EVOLVE: 8 Practices of Evolved Marketing Departments

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IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO READ A BOOK ON MARKETING THERE IS NO SHORTAGE In fact, every day you can just head over to amazon and get your hands on the latest and greatest ideas for marketing

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Everything from why your business needs to be on social media to how content marketing is the next big great thing for businesses. And this is just the beginning. There are books dedicated on every social network, then you can scroll down and find Dummies books, playbooks and pocket books; heck you can find poetry books that are designed to provide pneumonic devices to the aspiring marketer. There are also books that read like college text books while still others that barely would challenge a 6 year old. MARKETING NEEDS TO BE SIMPLE RIGHT? Or does it?

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Who knows for sure, but the truth that no one wants to tell you, especially these authors, is that marketing is hard. Standing out on social media isn’t easy, content marketing is a giant challenge and getting your message to your key customers isn’t easy. With the proliferation of the web, social media and technology things haven’t gotten easier, in fact they have gotten much harder.

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THIS IS BECAUSE EVERYONE CAN BE A MARKETER NOW (Read: anyone with time and internet connection can litter the web with content that potentially distracts your client from finding you)

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REMEMBER THE DAYS WHEN HAVING A GREAT WEBSITE WAS A REAL CHALLENGE? If your website was visually stimulating and rich with content you were in the minority. Today with just the smallest amount of technical chops and a little bit of will power any company on the planet can build a website that would make Coca Cola or Apple circa 2000 look like an ancient artifact.

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This is how fast things have advanced. The most innovative content on the web from just 15 years ago is now ancient history. Heck, a website from 2011 already looks dated and kind of like a new car that depreciates when it comes off the lot, your new website is dated as quickly as you get it to market.

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With this pressure to stay on your game, there has been a rise in agility, or agile marketing. It’s the simple recognition that no marketing effort is ever complete. Campaigns as we knew them are no longer relevant because heavy investment in awareness that doesn’t have long sustaining media to support it is simply not good enough.

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So all the while that we are trying to overcome that, the web has added new challenges that are making marketing harder. We are dealing with a completely new type of buyer. The consumer journey is changing. People don’t buy things like they once did. The role of sales pros is changing; moving from trusted advisor to customer service pro because most of the customer journey takes place online and few companies and sales pros are doing this right.

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And it goes on and it creates new challenges and new questions that CEOs, CMOs, sales and customer service execs and those managing operations all have to wrap their head around.

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THEY SAY “EVERY CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING.” It’s bright and it’s powerful but it isn’t for the masses. It is for the few, the dedicated and those that see that the brands that will emerge in the next 10 years will see that marketing and technology are the intersection where great messaging meets the right audience. And it is up to companies to evolve to recognize the power of this trend and build a practice that supports this.

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TO EVOLVE IS THE ONLY WAY a business will flourish in a world that is littered with distractions and cluttered with marketing messages that overpromise and under deliver.   So what makes an evolved company? Here are the keys…

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= 1 = UNDERSTANDS EVOLUTION We become most wise when we realize that the past serves as an indicator of the future. There is so much to learn from how marketing evolved over the past 20 years. From web evolution to the shift in privacy to how social and data has changed everything. Great marketers will take the time to understand this so they can best understand where we are today.

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CUSTOMER FOCUSED, CHANNEL AWARE There are a million ways to reach a customer but every brand has an audience that they should be targeting. Focusing on spending the majority of your marketing efforts where your strongest subset of clients are is a tremendous way to get the best return on your investment. The world is moving back to 1:1 marketing. We as consumers want more personalized experiences on and offline. This means omni-channel and 1:1 will be cornerstones of the evolved enterprise and their marketers. = 2 =

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= 3 = COMMUNITY BUILDERS Companies need their messages to be spread from not only the inside. Communities are representative of everything from your employees to your best customers. Companies need to figure out ways to keep customers close to there brand even when there isn’t a sale and there isn’t one way to do this but it is something that must be done. Apple’s communities are all on their owned properties, while many other companies focus on using social media to build their communities.

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TECHNOLOGY RICH Being rich in tech doesn’t mean having all of the best tech, it means investing in tools and applications that allow your teams and customers to most successfully share messages, become educated and of course make purchases. Technology isn’t just a discussion for the CIO anymore, marketers and CIO’s must be lockstep as the app economy and shadow IT (IT brought from outside) continues to be a strong influence on the tech culture within a company. The truth is for some company a highly automated and measured tech approach is the most sensible, for other high touch, personalized marketing makes more sense. In all cases tech is an enabler to accomplish marketing faster, and being rich in technology means you are investing in the tech and platform that drives a better business. = 4 =

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DATA EVANGELISTS Companies big and small need to rekindle their passion for data. Big Data is the buzzword, but contextualized it is about using the information harvested within the company and from public/private applications to make better business decisions. Gut led business decisions should be made far less frequently as we have entered an economy where there is an abundance of available data for building business cases and driving better decision making. Furthermore, in a data driven world everything we do in marketing can be measured and associated to KPI’s. There is no longer an excuse not to measure activities nor is there a good reason to obsess with vanity metrics in content or social unless your only business is selling visibility. For most it is about results; selling and saving, and that should be measured with strict discipline. = 5 =

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= 6 = MEDIA INTELLIGENT Content marketing ruled the roost for about the last 10 years but today there is so much content that just having good content isn’t really enough anymore. Media intelligence means understanding how to create media for all of the channels (respectful to your audience) and then delivering it with quality. Further media intelligence means using the right mix of paid, owned, earned and shared to drive visibility to all of the media that you are creating.

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= 7 = SOCIAL Every business has a unique social media requirement. It isn’t one size fits all; ever. Now there may be some scalable repeatable practices for businesses to best use social, but the short summary here is that companies need to use these channels that are visited daily by billions to listen and target content to their audience. The biggest thing businesses need to remember is that social isn’t a megaphone, it’s a two way channel for engaging in conversations (The more 1:1 the better)

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AGILE AND ADAPTABLE Items 1-7 above are representative of the evolved marketing enterprise of today. The evolved business of tomorrow will be different because technology is moving that fast and there are new channels, new clients, new products and new services everyday. To continue to win the marketing battle evolution is an endless endeavor. This is precisely why we need to return to number one often where we keep our ear to the street to know what is hot and relevant today and what is looking to be the next big thing. This also means being willing to test our marketing strategy regularly using testing, data, and measurement to make sure not only are we doing what feels right, but that the data supports it. Then we adapt, and we stay flexible because in an economy running at warp speed, agility is a key ingredient in winning the race. = 8 =

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8 PRACTICES OF EVOLVED MARKETING ENTERPRISES 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Understands Evolution Customer Focused, Channel Aware Community Builders Technology Rich Data Evangelists Media Intelligent Social Agile and Adaptable

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SUMMING UP Overwhelming amount of information The truth is there are no shortcuts - Marketing is Hard In just 20 years everything we thought we knew about marketing is different. In the next 10 years it will change even more The Evolved marketer will recognize the need to blend technology, marketing and a customer focus to achieve ultimate customer success The future is bright and technology will bring brands, products, services and customers closer together than ever. But we must, Evolve because marketing as we know it is Doomed…

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Dan Newman is the president of Broadsuite where he works side by side with brands big and small to help them be found, seen and heard in a cluttered digital world. A regular contributor to Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post, he is also the author of two books, a business professor and a huge fan of watching his daughters play soccer. Dan Newman President of Broadsuite @danielnewmanuv dnewman@broadsuite.com