Marketing is difficult. And with so many new routes to market coming online (seemingly) every single day, knowing what strategies to prioritize over others can give marketers a real headache.
The buzz surrounding many “cutting edge” technologies may tempt us to adopt new strategies on a whim — but will this investment in “new” deliver a real return? We want to embrace the future, but we also want our marketing to work.
The problem with many new technologies is that they haven’t been proven yet.
In this respect, I like to keep one eye on the future and learn from the mistakes of early adopters before taking the plunge myself.
Smart (Phone) Marketing
For more than a decade, we were told that mobile was going to be the next big thing in marketing. The statement was true, but it was also a long time coming. It took the invention of the smartphone to make mobile marketing a reality for most businesses. If we had invested in mobile back in the days of the Nokia 3310 (at the turn of the century), we would have had our fingers burned.
The mobile marketing “bus” didn’t leave without us. Even as the market matures, there is still time to invest and be rewarded.
Note: When mobile marketing finally came to fruition, it looked a lot like email marketing. :)
The fact is, I won’t buy into a new technology without first seeing a valid and relevant testimonial. Just because an over-enthusiastic salesperson tells me that his or her product “will be the future of marketing” isn’t enough for me to make an investment into an unknown quantity. I’ll leave the beta testing to others and pick it up when the time is right.
Currently, lots of pundits are expounding the virtues of Snapchat and the Internet of Things (IoT) and I don’t doubt their potential — but the market will have to prove itself before I buy.
Second Mover Advantage
As marketers, we should never be too concerned about “missing the bus.” How many marketers jumped on the bus to “Second Life” and found it actually went nowhere?
If you are worried about missing out on that promised first mover advantage, consider the following questions:
- Was Google the first search engine?
- Did Apple invent the first tablet computer?
- Did Microsoft pioneer word processing software?
Nope. They followed the lead of others and simply made better products.
How to Prioritize
When I prioritize my marketing campaigns, I like to focus primarily on activities that deliver a proven ROI. Remember, when calculating your ROI you also need to factor in the time you spend actually executing a campaign. For example, some social media activities might appear free — but if they eat into time that you could be spending doing something more profitable, they will come at a cost to your business.
As email marketing delivers the highest ROI of any marketing channel, it remains my number one priority. I then look to other channels that can complement and enhance my email marketing activity, such as content marketing (blogging, white papers, webinars, etc.), social media marketing (primarily LinkedIn and Twitter) and paid search.
Note: I would personally never invest in an acquisition marketing activity like paid search without first ensuring my email marketing strategy was in place. In my experience, email marketing is the profitable component of paid search because it allows you to re-market to expensively won new clients and contacts. I’ve worked with many large companies and organizations, and very few of them see a positive return from their paid search efforts alone.
Remember, there is no such thing as expensive marketing or cheap marketing. There is only marketing that works and doesn’t work. Being offered a great deal to get you in the door early (or late) might seem like an incentive to prioritize a new strategy — but if a strategy has not yet been proven, you risk more than your cash investment.
How do you prioritize your marketing activities? Share your thoughts below:
This abridged post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.