We have already discussed the trends that show how marketing is changing, so now let’s look at how we must evolve with these changes.
Evolution #1: Embrace the Five Ps of Marketing Survival
These are five things that I think marketers don’t focus enough on, which you have to look at yearly, if not quarterly, to ensure your approach evolves alongside industry changes. For these to be most effective, they need to continuously and rapidly improve, through feedback between your systems.
- Principles are your team’s fundamental beliefs and objectives, which tie into your company’s mission, vision, and values.
- Process is how your team operates and optimizes for products and services, pricing, promotions and channels.
- People are the team members you hire and retain to carry out your principles through your process, with aptitude, attitude, and agility.
- Programs are how you uncover new sources of revenue growth.
- Performance is the systems you have in place to track and evolve based on the first four Ps.
Evolution #2: Experience Matters!
Experience is everything, because if you get it right, your product or service will sell itself. If I call a bank, curious about a product, and get a bad rep, it negatively affects every single point along the journey for the bank. However, if I get a great rep, the bank’s great product will sell itself, and I may even help the bank by selling to friends. Betterment is a great example of this in finance, It’s easy to use, simple, and delivers real value.
X.ai is another example of how an amazing experience pays off. Just type in X.ai in Twitter search, and see what people are saying. They even use that feedback in their collateral and website content. They’ve got the product right, they’ve got the experience right, and now, it’s starting to sell itself.
Unfortunately, only about 1% of brands actually deliver great customer experience because it’s really, really hard to deliver a great end-to-end customer service experience. To figure out how to improve and evolve your experience, you need to understand your customer journey.
UserTesting is a great company for mapping how customers use your product or service. They have panels of people using apps and websites, and giving feedback like ‘this is broken’ or ‘why is that button there’ or ‘who’s that person on your homepage.’
Every single point along the customer journey is important, from awareness to advocacy. Does marketing handle every point of the entire customer lifecycle? No, but marketers have to be evangelists within the company, to make sure that everyone involved is creating the best experience possible.
Evolution #3: It’s Not Content Marketing; It’s Thought Leadership
Content marketing is product or service marketing, while thought leadership is based in research and data. Thought leadership is not about you; it starts and ends with your customer.
I categorize thought leadership into 4 different customer types:
Experiential thought leadership involves understanding the customer’s journey. As an agency, we did an experiment. I went into a physical brand name store, and bought an item, then I went online and bought something else, using my email address to see if they connect those two points. We ran the same experiment with 10 competitors.
We then took all this data and delivered report cards to these companies’ CMOs via email, direct mail and to their VPS, saying ‘hey we did this analysis on your physical store journey and your online presence, and here is the report card of your competitors.’ This was extremely powerful because we understood their specific scenario, not something vague like ‘Ten Tips For Better Retail Emails.’ There’s nothing stopping you from doing this, and owning the data you create.
Consumer thought leadership involves understanding consumer behaviour, to figure out how people interact with products/services. We facilitated a brand launch, for a start-up entering the news/media industry. Conducting an interview/survey of 1,000 consumers, we asked how and where they consume news, how they fact check their news, and how much they trust news on social media and other platforms. Then, we produced an analytical report for our client to use for PR.
Peer thought leadership is surveying or aggregating and understanding what your peers are doing. A perfect example is Salesforce’s State of Marketing, State of Analytics, State of Sales documents, where they survey peer companies, about where and how they’re spending. Those reports perform extremely well for Salesforce.
Benchmarking thought leadership is producing data that differentiates you from the competitors. This is true brand building/thought leadership, because you are putting time and energy into producing content that nobody else has, to understand what your customer wants and needs.
As you can see from these four aspects, thought leadership is not the sales pitch; it’s building supplements for selling, and evolving with your audience.
Evolution #4: Clean Data Is More Important Than Any Trend
If your data is crap, none of it is going to work. We’ve talked a lot about trends and what’s changing and how it’s changing, so you must cleanse old data to keep it relevant.
You are a great marketer if your data is being cleansed on a monthly basis, if not weekly, because your ability to sell to the people that you’re getting in the door is your survival, and you need to understand who these people are.
How can marketers efficiently manage data?
- Database cleanses should be your top priority.
- Get your team off of spreadsheets.
- One system of record for the entire company (Good luck!)
- Process process process (Remember the Five Ps)
If you’re looking to improve your ability to manage data properly, Uberflip is an unbelievable tool to use. It helps you produce and manage content that you actually understand, making you a data mastermind.
Marketers are experience makers and managers, and this is the only thing that makes you relevant in your job. Thus, the experience your customer has with your brand is the only thing that makes you relevant. So your ability to understand market trends and disruptions, what consumers are doing, how they do it, how they buy, and why they didn’t buy your product, is extremely important to your success and survival as an evolving marketer. Understanding the customer experience is your top priority, and the ability to create content around that is your number one goal.
If you’re looking to evolve your brand with the help of these insights mentioned in this article, contact Nika today!