My, how time flies! The year is quickly coming to a close. And most of us busily preparing for the new marketing challenges that lie ahead. Fine-tuning budgets. Tying up loose ends. And perhaps looking forward to some time off with family and friends. But before we break for the holidays, why not take a few minutes to reflect on how we hope to change and improve in the coming year. Here are three 2018 Marketing Resolutions : dumb things you should stop doing in the next year. Heck, why not stop doing them right NOW!
Marketing resolution #1 – Stop pushing product
Yes, I know… that’s your job, right? Actually, not so much. A marketer’s job is not to push product. It’s to identify and satisfy customer needs. At least according to marketing legend and Harvard professor Theodore Levitt, author of Marketing Myopia. (If you haven’t read it, you should. If you have, read it again. You’ll learn something new every time.)
Your job is to understand the customer and then create a unique experience that sets your brand apart from the competition and build a lasting relationship with your customers.
That relationship can no longer be built with traditional product campaigns and promotions. It must be designed as a series of nurturing interactions that will:
- build trust;
- demonstrate understanding;
- convey a unique and valuable experience;
- and create a strong emotional connection.
Ultimately the goal is no longer simply to generate a transaction, but rather to build a deep and sustainable relationship with your brand that will transcend products and endure throughout the years.
Think Amazon, for example. What they build and promote is a unique online shopping experience where you can easily find whatever you want or need and have it effortlessly delivered to your door at blazing speed. It’s not an online store. It’s a shopping experience.
Marketing resolution #2 – Do away with the spray & pray
I know, I know… Who has time for personalization, right? Plus, ALL your customers should want to buy what you have to sell. So why bother? Well, according to a recent study by Accenture, US marketer lost out on $978 billion in sales last year due to “poor personalization and lack of trust”. Consumers now expect to be treated as individuals. Status quo is not an option.
Furthermore, the problem with batch & blast (basically spamming all your customers with a campaign, whether they need the product or not) is that it wastes one of marketing’s scarce resource: attention.
By sending a series of undifferentiated and irrelevant messages, you’re actually educating your customers to avoid reading your stuff. A sort of Pavlovian conditioning that is destroying trust and decreasing your ability to engage meaningfully with your customers.
Instead, start building more relevance by:
- Creating finer segments, thereby reducing send volume for emails, and more precise audiences for social and digital;
- Using customer data, including website navigation behavior and channel engagement to infer customer interest and intent;
- Creating content that is interesting, compelling and relevant – not just deals and offers.
There’s another important benefit to greater relevance: higher email open rate and clicks translate into better in-box placement. The more customers engage, the more likely the gmails of this world will move the message to your inbox instead of the promotional folder. Better inbox placement means more engagement, attention and sales.
Marketing resolution #3 – Stop trusting only your gut
Used to be, a good marketer had great instincts. Being able to glimpse consumer trends through the noise to create brilliant campaigns. Those days are long passed. Mainly because of the complexity of the marketing ecosystem that marketers are facing today. To many channels, products, customer personas and other variables for any mere mortal to master alone.
The first step is to admit that you are not your customer(s) and thus don’t think like them. You need to set up a solid test plan for the coming year to systematically optimize your message and your process.
Now I’m not just talking A/B testing of subject lines, but fundamental cornerstone testing of content and messaging. Lay out the groundwork by establishing clear hypotheses that you want to test, then create a test environment that will ensure that your results are statistically valid.
Here are a few of the basics:
- Only test one variable at a time – don’t change your message, your offer and your content simultaneously. You won’t know which element actually triggered the increase, or decrease, in engagement and results.
- Make sure your sample size is large enough to ensure that your results are significant. There are plenty of online tools to help you set your sample size.
- Allow enough time to read the results. We’re all seeking instant gratification. But that can be a recipe for disaster. What may look like a winner after a few hours, may in fact be the loser after a couple of days. And you may need to run your test over the course of several campaigns to ensure that your conclusions are not the result of a statistical error.
So, there you have it. Three marketing resolutions for 2018. Now that you know what to stop doing, start thinking about what steps you need to be taking to boost your marketing engagement and ROI in the coming year.