In this time and age, a customer is always spoilt for choice. Marketers have to employ new methods to attract customer attention, present differentiation and offer their value proposition.
At the same time, there is no dearth of businesses relying on old school-advertising and marketing methods. Many of them do not have any definite strategy or goals. This means that with millions of dollars spent on digital marketing, there are very few businesses that are able to make efficient use of the entire ecosystem.
This is why a global content strategy needs to be defined with the due focus on rapidly changing customer preferences. A data-driven approach can help businesses in understanding customer expectations. The groundwork for understanding customer persona usually decides the scope and success of any marketing campaign.
These days, Digital Marketing has become a crucial constituent of the overall marketing mix; according to Statista, global spending on digital marketing will be more than $300 billion in 2020. Marketing departments spending their money in the digital space need to ascertain the benefits, the time, costs and risks with digital marketing; this planning should cover three major areas:
One has to give a definite purpose for every digital spending. A firm competing with value offerings might have different goals than those set by a firm competing in the premium offerings market. Your content and overall strategy should identify the market conditions and evaluate your brand’s position in the market. You need to decide whether you want to follow the incumbents or lead the market with disruption.
Major Steps in Strategy:
2. Activity Planning:
This involves calendaring and budget allocation for all activities on SEO, Social Media, SEM (PPC), Email, Display, and Mobile. You will have to define goals, action items, and their frequency, and set up tools for measurements and analysis of the campaign.
The content can be classified into three major buckets depending on your marketing funnel:
Top of the funnel content (TOFU)
Middle of the funnel content (MOFU)
Bottom of the funnel
The content is usually informative in nature explaining a general problem and its solution. This does not include a direct sales pitch.
The content pieces generally offer advice on how to buy or select a particular product/service and gradually prepares the customer to explore your product offerings.
This is the point where one can directly push the customer to start a business or engage in a direct conversation. Those who show a positive response to the BOFU content can be considered as sales qualified leads.
A well-defined campaign helps in drawing meaningful insights. For this, marketers need to analyze their campaign progress at pre-defined intervals. With timely analysis, one can ensure transparency and accountability and prevent end surprises. This also helps marketers tweak their strategy in time if they see a need for it.
Marketing automation engines can help you in developing, distributing and tracking of content in different silos and ensuring that your leads are never lost. However, sales conversions are not always as planned. In large organizations, the marketing and sales teams have traditionally worked separately. In such organization ‘lead response times’ are usually higher; only 37% of companies in a survey reported that they respond to leads in an hour while 24% of companies took more than 24 hours. This inefficiency can lead to poor conversion ratios. To resolve it, sales and marketing teams need to work together.
Localization is crucial in this respect. Marketers have to understand local culture and biases before they start a marketing campaign. Very often small mistakes in the localization of content can cause major damage to a brand. Localization experts can advise you in improving your marketing efforts basis a particular locale.
Localization gets increasingly complex with scale, particularly when your operations are spread across the globe. Meeting market expansion needs and cultural sensitivities often become a challenging task for content authors and owners handling enterprise content management processes. User authoring is rarely without errors, even in organizations which have mature processes and dedicated quality testing teams. Despite its crucial nature and multiple challenges, localization is often an afterthought for most enterprises. Marketers must involve localization and strategic planning in their agendas. Organizations can consider partnering with a professional translation services provider in their localization efforts.
There was a time when email used to be the only major medium for reaching a customer. However, the customer can now be reached in multiple ways. As a marketer, you need to understand the modern customer preferences. As smartphones have become the primary mode of communication, most of the buying decisions are influenced by what a consumer sees on his/her smartphone. This is where marketers need to evaluate whether they need a native, hybrid or progressive web application. These technical decisions are crucial in terms of content distribution and customer experience. Several reports indicate that people spend more time on Apps than a browser on a daily basis.
Social media is another default channel for engaging customers. Every successful company today has a social media strategy which can be skewed more towards branding or sales – depending on its objectives. Social channels also provide huge advantages in customer service and PR.
Meanwhile, there has been a definite shift in the way brands interact with customers. Till the early nineties, marketers largely relied on demographic and geographic data for customer segmentation. With the Internet, browser cookies became the holy grail of classifying and targeting users. However, big data and artificial intelligence are now helping marketers target customers on an individual level.
Satya Nadella while speaking in a conference last year said that “Bots are now learning in human context and the relevant thing for us is to make them intelligent as we learn from customers’ experience…non-IT fields are going digital in a big way. Internet-connected cars, elevators, smart cities – you name it. Internet of Things (IoT) is the future and we at Microsoft are ready for the upcoming challenges.” His statement reflects a common sentiment among all tech-giants working towards transforming retail operations and the customer experience.
Marketers need to explore how their content strategy is aligned with the latest advancements in artificial intelligence based chat apps, automated advisors, and personal assistants. In the near future, consumers’ dependency on browsers would reduce and personal assistants like Siri and Cortana would help make buying decisions.
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