We talk a lot about how to maximize your marketing, focusing on specific strategies, tactics, and principles you can put in place in order to connect more effectively. But it’s time to layout some big picture ideas; what actually makes marketing effective? What are the major points you need to hit in order to really have a campaign that works?
Turns out there are five things. Crazy, right?
Elevating Customer Experience of the Brand
Ok so. True story. A bit back, I purchased a new area rug from Wayfair; I’d already done all my research, I’d examined different vendors, and I’d made my buying decisions. It was done. They had my money.
And then I got this email.
It's not every day we get a chance to say thanks. Whether you're redecorating, renovating, or just giving your home a refresh, it's shoppers like you that help build our home.
We can't wait to see where your homemaking journey takes you next!
The Wayfair Team
Despite the fact that I do this stuff every day for a living, despite being able to see right through what they were doing, This interaction felt good. I felt acknowledged and recognized. And it dramatically raised my opinion of the company – probably more than the actual buying process itself.
Marketing extends in all directions, both before and after the actual purchase, and a great campaign will do exactly this: leave you feeling satisfied, delighted, and increasingly confident in your good opinion. Post-purchase “delight” interactions like this are an obvious place to do it, but good marketing will strive to accomplish this at every touch point.
Building Personal Connections
Nobody likes being sold to.
It feels like you’re being used. Sales-y interactions can be kind of skeezy by virtue of what they are; someone is trying to get something out of you, and will do or say essentially whatever they can to make it happen. It’s forced friendliness with an obvious ulterior motive. And it’s a massive turnoff.
Successful marketing has to skate riiiiiiight past that point or it’s never going to get through. Traditionally, we’ve done this by being entertaining, hoping we can slide the message in there while making the experience itself enjoyable. But more and more, it’s becoming about reaching people on a personal level.
Because honestly, people aren’t dumb. They’re out there doing the research to solve their problems – and their problems are real things in their lives. You want to demonstrate you understand, that you’re able to help – and that you care, first and foremost, about helping. In marketing, we talk about this in terms of altruism, but honestly, what it’s really about is recognition: it demonstrates that you know that the people you’re marketing to are more than just walking wallets.
Combining Inbound and Outbound Efforts
Inbound marketing has been a big focus at Hudson Fusion for a long time. If the term is new to you, it basically means that a brand focuses on improving SEO and building out their resource library to attract customers who are already out there looking for your solution, putting the user-centric nature of the internet to work as a marketing tool. But inbound doesn’t work on its own.
In reality, inbound marketing is a very powerful part of a larger marketing effort that also includes direct outbound tactics, getting your brand and your offerings out there in front of people. And that can take lots of different forms: cold emails, digital or traditional media advertising, billboards, radio jingles. In other words, inbound handles educating prospects, but outbound handles straight-up brand-building promotion.
The two work together; outbound promotion can help drive your inbound efforts. Inbound marketing is an engine that requires fuel to run; while sitting and waiting for Google to slooooowly drive a critical mass of people to your content can work, why put yourself through all that? Put a little money behind promotion, and drive people to your content. Kickstart your inbound efforts with a little bit of good old-fashioned outbound gumption.
Integrates Multiple Channels
Welcome to the twenty-first century, where nobody uses just one device – or engages with brands in just one way.
It’s called “omnichannel marketing,” and it’s basically about providing a seamless experience across engagement channels. It means thinking through your customers’ movements, integrating your social media, website, mobile marketing, and (if applicable) brick-and-mortar locations into a single, cohesive brand experience.
Here’s a good example. You get an email on your iPad pushing you to an in-store sale, but when you get there, they’re out of stock of the product. But, they tell you, you can order it online at the sale price right there and have it delivered to your home – while getting seamless order statuses and tracking via your personal login.
In other words, your experience, from top to bottom, crosses multiple devices but is never disrupted. The key here is to think from your customers’ perspective, and not from that of the individual channels so you can create a coherent customer experience – and your marketing needs to promote and align with these channels.
Measuring and Analyzing Performance
Data, data, data, data. We never stop talking about data. But the more we have – and the more we make use of it – the better a picture we can develop of who our customers are and what they’ll respond to. Which means that we can reach them more effectively if we pay attention to these simple hard numbers: how many leads are your marketing efforts yielding? Where are they coming from, and in what number? Are you getting leads that never actually close?
Successful marketing plans are nimble enough that they can respond to changing data, and great data makes it easier to demonstrate ROI to company decision-makers. And there are so many tools that are putting all this data in your hands; the question is just what you do with it.
Don’t let the reams of data your marketing tools generate go to waste; start small if you have to, but start listening to your analytics and adjusting course when needed; you’ll have better results and an easier time establishing value over time.