If Aristotle was a marketing professional, his maxim would reign supreme today: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” However, when it comes to marketing, both large and small organizations have a tendency to think in silos. As a result, efforts are disconnected and deliver, well, zero results. In my experience collaborating with global enterprises and startups alike, there are several factors that allow marketing to deliver an impactful return on investment.
The best way to define your customer is to develop marketing personas. This is the process of identifying key attributes of the customer you are trying to sell to. Who uses your product or service? What are their pains? Empathizing their needs enables you to earn trust and position your company as a viable solution.
Different products or service offerings may require their own respective personas. Be sure to tune the messaging for each audience instead of employing a one-size-fits-all approach. From this exercise, you can develop a content strategy that taps into the psyche of each persona.
As part of your content strategy, think through the types of assets that will be needed to engage each persona. For example, a specialty food company might find it useful to develop a series of recipes integrating photos and videos for chefs, while a software company may offer a case study or white paper to describe how their product works. The key is creating educational content your customers and prospects derive value from, want to consume and even share with others.
Maintaining an editorial calendar on a white board, notepad or document will keep things focused and on schedule. It will also help you build in a timeline with deadlines to ensure all parties involved in the process can review and finalize the content, such as an infographic, press release, e-book, or blog post.
There are so many opportunities and channels to engage customers today. Our POSE methodology offers four primary buckets, including paid media (events, sponsorships, SEO/SEM, advertising, etc.), owned media (website, blog, video and other content assets you control), social media (Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, etc.), and earned media (public relations, speaking opportunities, etc.).
Sometimes the content dictates the channel and vice versa. The key is maintaining discipline to utilize each channel consistently so you can promote your brand on a regular basis.
Most organizations approach marketing with one-off campaigns that are seldom connected to each other. Developing a marketing plan that combines content and channels with specific daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly deliverables offers a cascading effect that will keep your audience engaged and help drive conversions. Remember, the whole (content experience) is greater than the sum of its parts.
Before determining if your marketing campaigns are moving the needle, you must first define what success is. Are you looking to point visitors to a specific landing page, offer a free download, garner media placements, or make the phone ring?
Goals must be specific and quantifiable. Create a dashboard to track progress and milestones. This can be done with pen and paper, a spreadsheet or with more sophisticated CRM or marketing automation solutions. Social media platforms and Google Analytics offer free tools to track digital activities.
While tangible metrics will allow you to make adjustments to your overall marketing strategy, intangibles such as a campaign’s reach, exposure, and thought-leadership are more difficult to quantify but offer significant business value.
Whether you are planning for next quarter or fiscal year, assessing your marketing activities and auditing existing materials should be part of the process. You can perform this internally and also benefit from an agency that has experience implementing integrated campaigns. This can not only help expand the scope and effectiveness of your marketing investment, but can offer new ideas to deliver a more impactful content experience.
Domenick Cilea is the founder and president of Springboard, a full-service marketing communications and design firm located in the Bell Works metroburb.