A few days ago I was at the Top Management Forum as a speaker. I was invited to contribute on the “marketing automation” subject.
As I have witnessed the contamination of marketing by technology in the last 10 years, it was a good occasion to stop and think about this trend and have a look at what’s coming.
Here is my take, based on some thoughts I developed before the conference and I shared with the audience.
1. The fundamental rules of marketing have not changed.
I see a lot of “new marketing” bla bla bla going on because of technology innovation. Still, I think that if the basis of marketing were always taken into account, most of the nowadays campaigns would be way more successful.
I see over and over again that time constraints, pressure etc., make most marketers forget to answer the most basic marketing questions in the first place: who exactly is the buyer? what the buying cycle looks like? Etc.
If these questions are not answered beforehand based on data or feedback then there is not such a software that will make your campaign successful.
Technology has changed completely the context where the marketer operates, not the fundamental laws of marketing.
2. One to one personalization is here, now.
The tools to really have a one to one personal communication with each one of your customers are already here. Making it happen is the exception though.
You can listen to what is being said about your brand and products, engage in conversations, integrate social data into your CRM systems, nurture your leads, trigger personable communications along each step of the funnel: awareness -> consideration -> intention -> purchase -> support -> loyalty -> advocacy. This is all possible today.
Communicating with an human voice is another still to see feature. Work on it please. Indeed what you normally see from companies are clear robot messages. And no human like to talk to bots via email etc.
Most companies are not taking advantage of new technologies or not using them properly as they forget the human nature of social media conversations.
3. Mass communication is (almost) dead
See young people nowadays. They don’t watch TV anymore. The have thousands of choices and they decide what to see, when and where using on demand TV, music, cinema etc.
What is the implication of this? Well, if they don’t care anymore more about you… they still care about stuff they are interested in. More precisely, they are interested in stories that fit their worldview.
The good news is that you still can dialogue with your potential customer in a more targeted way. How? Creating stories they want to hear from you.
Today life is a stream of stories flowing from our connected world of friends, family, and whoever we decide to follow (influencers).
Finding a way to create your stories is the key of the communications of the future. We are heading to something that looks like the mass customization of messages.
Advertising and stories are merging. It will be increasingly difficult to tell what is advertising and what’s not as we’ll see more and more stories that are either interesting, entertaining or at least useful for us.
Companies must embrace this new context in order to get in touch with the connected target audience.
4. The marketing department of the future will invest much more in technology because data will be at the core of decisions and communications.
Here is a practical piece of advice. Traditional companies will see fights between IT and Marketing managers. Why? Because there are two different cultures at play. The new marketing people are getting used to digital technologies and data and they want and need to use more and more of them.
Digital technologies are not the standard type of solution you will find in enterprise level kind of software. IT people are typically skeptical about new digital technologies (open source, web based stuff from unknown vendors) which very often cost a fraction of a fraction of the “enterprise level” alternatives.
You must be aware of this dynamic as marketing automation means the integration of digital technologies into more typical enterprise level software. Make sure your marketing people projects won’t be killed by the IT more conservative and powerful crowd.
As you want to be a market leader, you want to move faster than competition. To achieve this, you must invest in training of all your marketing and communications people.
All in all, my suggestion to the people listening was condensed in these 5 points.
Then I told them why this matters: if you can increase your conversion rate by 25%, everything else equal, then you’ll get 25% more business, now. And my experience tell me that every company has a big conversion rate improvement potential. It’ a rough diamond and its there, right in front of you.
Through marketing automation you may also be able to increase repeat sales, test new ways to add people to the top of your funnel and more.
Technology is available and is abundant and is not expensive. So I invited the attendees to test, test, test and results will come.
image credit: donsolo