Realtime vs Strategic
Every Marketing Manager needs a longterm strategy to work to. Map out all of the desires and wants and needs of your ideal customers, think about where they hang out and how you’re going to deliver value to them. Think about your content creation strategy and how to inject that into their streams.
Do your promotion budgeting across the marketing channels you’ve decided to activate. Put together a content calendar or at least a rough schedule of what happens when throughout the year. Then think how you’ll measure success and data analytics you’ll draw on to capture the data. Then throw it all out the window… because realtime trumps strategy.
For every well thought out plan, there are smart marketers that are simply listening for opportunities to participate with prospects, customers and advocates. Ok so you really need to be doing both as it helps you see current category trends within the context of your companies overall strategy. Think slow on marketing strategy, then act fast to capture realtime marketing opportunities.
Here’s a strategy example and a realtime marketing example:
Our company is going to expand our existing customer base through acquisition of customers outside our primary market. We will employ Facebook’s Social Graph for customer acquisition targeting with the goal to acquire email addresses to prospect with lead nurturing.
Our fashion product category was featured as part of a traditional media article two hours ago for New Zealand Fashion week. We are adding in our own behind the scenes set of photos with our Instagram profile linking back to a full article of our opinion on NZFW.
We expect that the Google searches resulting from the traditional media spend will provide a halo effect for traffic to the article hosted on our site.
It’s so easy to say isn’t it. Put the customer first. What does that really mean? It means thinking about what your customers will want from you, when they will want it, then anticipating that. It’s an old concept, yet when applied effectively to digital marketing can reap you rewards.
Humans are creatures of habit, so think about the habits of your customers, what they do and when they are most likely to do it. Then align your brand to their body clock. Here’s a few examples of Customer First digital marketing.
You know your customers are big trademe fans.
Load your Facebook promotion spend into the hours where the most Trademe auctions close, then turn off your spend at other times during the week.
You know your customers are time pressed.
Send your emails when they are likely to have more time to read your content, watch your video or buy your product.
Or with some email marketing clients, they will analyse open rate times and optimise the send time for you.
Your ideal customer has snapshot moments of free time throughout the day
Keep your content light and easy so they can consume it while commuting or during breaks.
Going with your gut is the way our parents did business. They thought something was a good idea, then they backed themselves. There’s nothing wrong with that, but why would you do that in isolation when digital gives you all the data points you need to backup your gut feeling before you commit… or at least track whether how you expect a marketing campaign to perform is actually how it’s performing.
Data driven decisions requires two things. Great tools and the capability to turn that data into an action. There isn’t alot more to it, yet this is a rabbit hole for time if you’re not careful. Here’s a few tools and ways to turn the data into actionable insight.
Get your Tweet On
Track the links you post on Twitter then you can see which links are the most popular. You can use either Buffer or bit.ly for this. Once you know which content or product is the most popular, that data can inform where you focus for higher cost marketing activities.
For example, if your Titanium coloured door garage outperforms your Beige one in social, then I’d be recommending that the Titanium one is featured in the traditional quarterly magazine spread you do in Home & Garden. You can use the same approach on Facebook with likes and comments and Pinterest with Pins.
Target a Location
This is one of my favourites. I will help a brand position their products in the streams of potential customers in a location where they have no physical retail presence (eg: provincial NZ outside of Auckland, Wellington & Christchurch). With conversion pixel tracking you can see then see which locations are the most lucrative.
Then, by cross referencing that data with traditional Census data sources, a highly targeted and personalised flyer campaign can reach the same audience but one that is harder to reach via social streams.
Stories are sticky. Facts are smooth. No one can remember the facts and figures of a product feature or benefit and mostly no one really cares, particularly at the early stages of a buying cycle.
Telling an irrisistably concise story with a well thought out storyboard and media with super high production values will always have a better chance at evoking an emotion. The most shared emotions on the Internet, the ones that make content go viral, are awe, laughter, amusement and joy.
Video is one of the best way to touch emotions because of its ability to convey emotions.
Here is an example of video use in a way that reaches out and touches your heart.
There’s no science to this, yet in the age of screens everywhere it has, perhaps strangely, become more difficult to connect with people. Meeting with people (in real life) allows for conversations to flow in different ways, that in turn encourages serendipity to happen. Meet people who work in completely different worlds to you. Meet for coffee, lunch or a beer. Listen. Learn.
What is meeting people doing in an article about the 7 habits of highly successful digital marketers you ask? As marketers, we love the tools and we’re adept at using them, in fact some prefer them and it’s for that reason that you must take a contrarian view and go back to the way market research used to be done. In person. Face to face. Real.
Do it fast. Really fast. I know that in many organisations this isn’t possible because you have approval processes or need to collaborate across teams. If you’re a manager, empower your digital marketers to as much autonomy as you can to be able to engage in realtime.
I believe that realtime brands have competitive advantage of dinosaur brand that wait until Monday to reply. This does bring up the issue of how you give your team time off from the constant always on nature of digital marketing but that’s a different discussion! Here are three ways to add lightning speed to your brands capability.
Create an expectation of speed then deliver
Tell your customers that when they message you, you will respond and respond fast. Twitter users expect a response within an hour, but I’d say you should be responding within 5 minutes so setup those notifications on your phone.
Facebook have implemented a realtime button on Facebook Pages to highlight responsive brands. If you respond to 90% of messages within 5 minutes it goes on.
That expectation of speed should go beyond simply communication. Meet with your Ops Manager. See what you can do to optimise the ordering handling and fulfillment process to reduce processing and delivery time. What would it take to offer same day delivery? In a single location? During a busy season? To a segmented group of customers?
Really think this one through as this is the area that traditional bricks and mortar shops have it over eCommerce stores. Instant gratification.
Experiment in your digital marketing R & D lab.
Nothing stays still for long in digital marketing. Remember, your fans will respond most to awe, laughter, amusement and joy so if you’re scheduling up the same old content week after week they’ll soon tire of what you’re saying. Mix it up and add new things into the mix. That’s not so say you’ve got to take big risks on your cash cows, but you should be hunting out opportunities to try a new marketing channel or a new new marketing toy.
I remember a lot of smart and successful businesspeople laughing when I told them about how social would change customer engagement, yet those same business people are wondering how smaller, more nimble organisations put entire areas of their profitability at risk. Incumbents are notorious for reacting to change late in the game. Don’t be one of them in your business. Ask yourself some questions and make sure you or your CEO have the answers.
How prepared are we if 50% of our customers moved their purchasing behaviour online tomorrow.
Where is our brand positioned in the digital landscape for our product category and how does that compare to our competitors?
What unique strengths and capabilities does our business have that could be disrupted through a migration to digital?
These questions will start to tell you your level of digital preparedness.