2013 is here and so are we. The so-called Mayan Apocalypse and the universal fascination with yet another doomsday turned out to be as ordinary as any other day in our lives. Many of us received Facebook notifications, Tweets and SMS text messages inviting us to join in and “laugh at the end of the world that didn’t quite make it”. Trust the mass media to manipulate, misinterpret and transform what the Mayans always knew would be a good day into one that went from anxiety and fear to hysteria and ultimately, sheer mockery! Another Y2K-like event has come and gone.
For the Mayan nations of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize and El Salvador it was, however, an opportunity of a lifetime. I can only imagine the tourist revenue from a single day’s events and ceremonies at even just one location, the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Apparently, close to 50,000 people assembled at the site throughout the day to witness the prayers, chanting, dancing, ceremonial fires and general mood of frolic and revelry. The celebrations marked the end of an era and the beginning of a new one.
What can we in our world of B2B marketing and lead generation do to make 2013 a successful and profitable business year? I have compiled a list of the Top 5 Resolutions that I believe a CMO or senior marketing executive may consider worth their while—actions, best practices and attitudes that can make a significant difference to the way you, your company and your brand(s) are perceived in 2013…and beyond.
1. Innovate, Communicate and Attract through trans-media marketing. Being able to market across multiple devices and platforms is important. A cohesive strategy needs to be in place, however, to tie it all in and help focus on the audiences that matter…a.k.a. decision makers and influencers.
Distraction is a consumer’s way of life today. A study by Forrester Research shows that 87 percent of U.S. consumers and 98 percent of Chinese consumers flit between several devices such as mobile, web, and in-store apps doing their research before making a purchase. Agreed, the B2B buyer may or may not be as distracted but that is the general tendency of our mobile, always-on generation.
2. Think Content Marketing rather than hard-sell and advertising. The competition for customer mindshare today is a battle ground of high-value, thought-provoking, immensely relevant and insightful content. Don’t limit yourself to publishing quality content only on your company’s website, blog and social media profiles. Product packaging, user manuals, videos, email newsletters, whitepapers, and every possible digital or printed media that reaches your target audience directly can be utilized to communicate valuable content. And it does not all have to be produced in-house—it can be outsourced, curated and compiled—as long as it stands relevant and meaningful to the audience it is intended for, it will help your company and your brand work its way deeper into the customers’ share of mind.
3. Understand and use big data and analytics wisely. There is no dearth of data gathering and reporting tools and mechanisms. The important thing is to be able to interpret big data in a way that can actually help you make improvements to your B2B marketing and lead generation strategy. It’s not about the thump of a huge document on a desk anymore, remember? It’s about an easy-to-use, fast to load, even faster to understand and analyse dashboard that gives you a bird’s eye view and allows you to dig deeper when you need to. Bring your sales and marketing heroes from the field into your boardroom and ask them to comment on the data you have—can they relate it to what their real world experiences are in front of customers? Are they bought into your marketing vision and business goals for the year? Make sure this happens so you don’t end the year lamenting that results and conversion rates are not on target.
4. Let go of the numbers-fixation (especially with social media) and start measuring. The few hundred views, thousands of followers, million views…none of these will make a difference until you have engagement, trust, respect and finally, conversion. I’m not recommending a new fixation with measurement metrics but I strongly feel that it is time to stop spreading yourself thin across every possible social media channel and focus on what works, delivers results and lends itself to quality lead generation. Whether this is through increased brand awareness and enhancement or actual engagement via social networking, the end goal should be to lead buyers progressively down the road to conversion.
5. Integrate offline and online marketing media with consistent brand messaging. Just like the “end of the world” hype, marketers over the last 2 years predicted the death of direct mail, the decline of outdoor signage, the banishing of print media. None of that has happened and I do not believe it will in the near future. Yes, no doubt, digital is the reigning way to market and definitely the most measurable but if your market and your world of buyers demand offline communication then don’t neglect it. Instead, make sure you integrate your offline and online communications to boost each other’s efficacy and reach.
What other marketing resolutions would you add to this list? What does the dawn of this new era mean to your organization and how do you plan to leverage it? Feel free to share your thoughts. Please email or call me, Louis Foong, at (905) 709-3827.