Don’t Market Like it’s 2003. Get With the Program

Over the last six months or so, I have taken a deep dive into the world of Marketing Automation, Digital Disruption and Mobility and Marketing Trends. And with every report, I see evidence of the situation playing over and over again – there is a growing distance between business and customers. It’s not just a gap anymore – it’s a chasm:

In reality, we are not really dealing with a gap. It could be better described as a “mismatch” – after all, a “gap” would indicate some alignment. But the problem for brands is that the distance between the two sets of expectations [customers and businesses] is growing.

The pressure in this relationship rests firmly with the marketing team. Digital and social media has not only transformed the way that most marketers work, it has significantly added to the process of marketing. There’s so much more technology involved, more analytics, reporting and monitoring. There are more agencies to deal with and more relationships to manage. And targets. And budgets. And so on.

So the title of Mitch Joel’s new book struck a chord with me. Ctrl Alt Delete – we certainly need a reboot in the world of marketing. Let’s take a look at just a couple of the mind blowing stats he starts with:

  • 14% of businesses are not prepared to deal with the speed of today’s competitive landscape. Think about it. What happens to them? Do they just disappear Kodak-style? What happens to their customers and their employees?
  • 74% of businesses don’t have a plan to stay competitive in the mobile world. How many nimble competitors are already eyeing the potential markets that will become available?

The cost of entry to existing markets is so much lower than the cost of TRANSFORMATION. This is why new business models and disruptive competitors are able to quickly gain traction in YOUR markets. Here are a few ideas that you can use to help you cope:

  • Start a customer conversation: Who are your customers? I don’t mean “segments” or “personas” … I mean “real names”. Run a quick check over your records and identify 10 of your best customers and 10 of your worst. Reach out to them and ask them what they like and don’t like about you. See what you can fix and what you can do more of.
  • Run a poll on your website: Get feedback on one or two of your products by running a poll on your website. SurveyMonkey is great – or you could just use Twtpoll. You might be surprised about what you learn.
  • Dig into your website analytics: Don’t tell me you haven’t even installed Google Analytics on your website! If you haven’t, do so. It’s easy. And if you don’t know how, ask Twitter. Once you have stats coming through, look up “Traffic Sources” and learn about how your customers find you. Look at the search terms they use and the links they click to come to your site. Are you solving the right problems?
  • Make your website mobile friendly: “Responsive design” is a hot topic at the moment. But most of the robust content management systems have responsive design templates or plugins that can be easily added to your site. At the minimum, add responsive design templates/capabilities to your blog – after all, Google Analytics will show you that about 25% of traffic comes from mobiles.
  • Start or update your blog: What? Still no blog? That’s so 2003. If you haven’t started a blog, it’s never too late to do so. Start today (just check out IBM’s cool Tumblr as an easy-to-run example). Download WordPress and get going. And if you have a blog that hasn’t been updated for months, write a post and link to this article. Explain you are getting back on the bandwagon because you WANT to hear from your customers.
  • Go social: Whether you like it or not, social is here to stay. But you need to get your hands dirty. Setup an account on Twitter or on Facebook. Do a little stalking to find out what your customers are talking about. Connect and slowly build out a strategy. Be sure to own that strategy – and don’t delegate it to the intern. Make it part of your business and use it to learn more about your customers, partners, suppliers and even employees. CEOs all over the world are doing it, why can’t you?

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