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Marketing 2016: Lead with Strategy, Follow with Tools

By Kristin Kelley, CMO, Randstad North America

Kristin Kelley, CMO, Randstad North America

Marketing activities should always facilitate the sales cycle and support specific sales activities. As marketers, our job is to build our brands by listening to the many conversations taking place around us and to create value that drives those sales moments. A number of techniques have changed significantly since the onset of digital marketing. The channels, strategies and tools are plentiful, but the key for marketers is to find the most effective combination to achieve each initiative’s end goal.

"Marketers must first focus on their message and end goal so they know when and where to use technology and truly understand it’s potential to influence all stakeholders in the brand-building journey"

In 2016 marketers can choose from a record number of methods to drive various metrics. Increasingly, the challenge is to first develop and maintain focus in messaging and content and then, and only then, jump in and use the many amazing tools available to deliver our messages. It can be very tempting, especially for creative marketers, to initiate activity when new tools become available, but tools are best viewed as support vehicles of the master plan and should not be the drivers of marketing initiatives or budgets.

Also, reaching buy­ers is becoming incred­ibly difficult in today’s crowded and media-rich world, and therefore the practice of mi­cromarketing, can provide extremely effective solutions. The secret of micro­marketing is that it allows you to deploy, test and redeploy before making any sizable investments in technology or market breadth or depth.

Here are six key steps for deploying a “micromarketing campaign”:

1. Formulate measurable targets

2. Define target groups

3. Determine budget

4. Develop action plan

5. Check for preconditions

6. Collect analysis and feedback

Marketing’s Bottom Line: Know Your Buyer

Marketing has changed significantly over the last decade, and as marketers, our jobs are incredibly difficult in the sense that securing the attention of a very sophisticated buyer now takes many new and modern techniques that we were not schooled on even just one decade ago. What I would say to marketers is to first take the data you currently have available and use it to challenge more traditional marketing metrics based on target behaviors and modern-day buying signals.

Frequently we gauge marketing success on activities that are important to us internally rather than focusing on metrics that track criteria tradi­tionally important to buyers. Also, when analyzing metrics, be sure to ask yourself about both the lead­ing and lagging indicators associ­ated with each outcome. Under­standing the conditions or factors that occur prior to an outcome (leading indicators) is as im­portant as knowing the actual outcome (lagging indicators). Leading indicators help explain the “why” behind the lagging indicators and can help you finesse your marketing strategies and initiatives.

Second, lead with an acquisition strategy vs. a brand strategy. Modern marketers should invest as much time in developing target “personas” as they do in actually marketing to those targets. If you know your target buyer inside and out, you can build a brand. The days of mass appeal are over. If your brand is one that appeals to the masses, you have to make it also appeal to the various individuals within the masses. The modern marketing world is about making connections with buyers when they want to be connected with and on the topics that most interest them. In other words, you should invest in knowing your buyer.

Last, with the surge of social marketing, don’t fall into the trap of “if you build it, they will come.” Less can be more, and often times the better strategy is to insert your brand into conversations already happening online instead of always trying to build your own community as a first step.

One last critical remark is don’t measure yourself only against your direct competitors. Measure your­self against what “good” looks like in other indus­tries. As marketers, we are not only competing with those who are in our same industry or line of busi­ness, but we are also competing with every other company that has something to say to our buyers on any given day. To stand out in the clutter, we need to be relevant and understand that com­petition comes in all shapes and sizes—as do disruptors.

Video Marketing: From Trend to Mainstream

Video is an area that is quickly transforming as a mainstream tool for marketing professionals. At Randstad, marketing roles such as Interactive Content Manager have become commonplace as we look to create visual stories to attract, engage and inform our buyers. Additionally, the surge in mobile video reinforces the popularity of video marketing. For example, 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every 60 seconds, which proves that relatable content is the key to the marketing kingdom. However, as with any activity, savvy marketers must first focus on their message and end goal so they know when and where to use technology and truly understand its potential to influence all stakeholders in the brand-building journey.

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