In the world of marketing, the most successful marketing tactics that people should consider happen to be the ones that are most often overlooked. Most marketers tend to focus on strategies that aren’t working as opposed to those that are working. However, I have concluded it is far more valuable to concentrate on how you can enhance content that is performing successfully. In this article, I will discuss the most essential tactics every company should take into consideration.
First, it is important to get some perspective. Here are a few key sources:
We live and work in a world that is increasingly data-driven. Data has the ability to help identify strengths and weaknesses, track improvements over time and recognize problems that need to be addressed. Before we use the data, it is important to understand and identify what matters most to your customers’ needs and company goals. Recognizing who your best customer is and spending time understanding why they are your best customer is crucial and will eventually illuminate other ideas. What makes them our best customer? What sets them apart from the other customers? Is it because of our location? The particular products we carry? All of these questions are important to consider.
It seems simple. Since your first marketing class, you have been told to get to know your customer or your “target market”. However, many companies lack the infrastructure to identify who your customers are, what products they buy and how your products or services meet their needs. In order to gain marketplace advantages, it is important to understand the details that matter most to your customers and what they would value in the future. There is gold in mining that data for small nuggets that will set you apart; companies need to invest in the basic infrastructure and processes to make that happen.
Map the Customer Experience
Customer experience is defined as your customers’ perceptions of their relationship with your brand, resulting from their personal interactions throughout the relationship. The importance of a positive end-to-end customer experience is a critical differentiator in today’s competitive marketplace. Creating and delivering personalized, consistent experiences that will ensure customer loyalty is key. Create this type of loyalty by joining your customers in their experience. Walk through it. Document it. Photograph it. Putting yourself in the experience allows you to see how your customers solve problems and teaches you how to truly make the customer experience count. To drive customer satisfaction and impact business results, as a marketer, you must realize that the customer experience is an integrated, enduring experience that needs to evolve as the customer interacts with you. The details matter.
Get Outside Perspective
In my experience, marketers tend to network within their own industry, causing them to miss out on valuable tips, ideas and strategies. Rarely do differentiating ideas come from within your own industry. Look at how people solve problems in completely different industries. Seek inspiration and ask questions from companies that deliver on a similar emotion as your product, yet sell something noncompetitive or unrelated to you. Inspire will strike in unexpected places.
This has added benefit of setting yourself up for growing in your career. If you step outside the comfort zone of you and your industry peers, expanding your network can be one of the most powerful marketing tactics for both your company as well as for you personally.
Once you have the proper perspective, there are a few key tactics that are almost always overlooked, yet pack serious punch in incrementally improving your results.
#1 Most Overlooked Promotional Tactic: Email
One of the most overlooked and ineffectively used marketing tactics continues to be email marketing. Email is not broken, it is still valuable and it happens to be the most common activity of Internet users. Simplicity is often overlooked so don’t make it more difficult than it is. You already have a simple marketing strategy that works – you just need to make use of it more often and more efficiently. Marketers can gain a lot more from email marketing than they do now; they just need to acknowledge that. One of the first steps to successful email marketing is to manage your email contacts database. Before you send out any emails, you need to have someone to send them to. One of the best places to attain useful lists is from other sources. Keep in mind, emails should be professionally designed, well written containing relevant context, and most importantly, includes calls to action. Although it may not be noticeable, the utilization of email is extremely valuable.
Paid search has the power to target specific users who search for specific things. Paid Search and SEO work in different ways to attract visitors to your website. Paid search has the ability to produce almost immediate results whereas SEO efforts might take a longer time to impact organic rankings. In the past, these tactics have been managed separately however, more businesses today are acknowledging the value of an integrated approach.
With both paid search and SEO, there are always aspects you can enhance. The ultimate goal of search is to gain high value traffic. Many businesses hire outside SEO firms but don’t have a strong sense of how to direct and encourage them. While most marketers are typically concerned about ranking, it is also important to focus on sales. This is frequently overlooked. Although it seems like your site is performing well, a lot of the time it isn’t actually driving the results desired because you aren’t searching for things that necessarily matter.
#3 Buying Strategy
Media buying has evolved. We now buy audiences as opposed to “space”. While you still buy from media properties, the idea is to reach a certain demographic of people or, more specifically, a demographic that is exhibiting certain behaviors. When it comes to media buying strategies, it is important that marketers are better versed on how and when they reach their customers, more than they are now.
You need to recognize who your best, most profitable customers are and what they look like. Then, get to know what it looks like before one of your best customers becomes a lead. What behaviors do they exhibit before they buy? This will better inform your media strategies to eliminate waste and focus on results.
#4 Conversion Rate Optimization
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is a system and methodology used for increasing the percentage of visitors to a website that convert into sales or leads, or more generally, take the desired action on a webpage. It is a structured and systematic approach to improving the performance of your website informed by analytics and user feedback. CRO is the best way to effectively make your media cheaper. The higher percentage of visitors that become customer or leads, the lower the cost of customer acquisition. When it comes to CRO, there is always room for improvement. No matter how effectively designed your site or experience is and no matter how many visitors you are converting into users, it is always possible to improve the conversion process and make it easier for your visitors, leading you to better results. The better your conversion rate, the more traffic you can afford and the more customers you are going to gain in return.
Once you have instilled a testing philosophy in your organization, you can apply these same principles anywhere in the customer journey, even into physical stores and other aspects of the process. The key is to understand the outcome you want, test and measure. The beauty in any of this is to perpetually ask yourself “why?” Why did that change result in improved performance or results? This can lead to greater innovations elsewhere in the product of business.
In order to accomplish specific business objectives, marketing strategies must be incorporated into the overall strategic business process. While the above strategies are typically overlooked, using them can lead your business to achieve better results such as sales growth and greater brand recognition. Effective marketing strategies drive the long-term success, customer expansion and profitability that all companies crave. Whether it is utilizing email marketing, seeking outside perspective, recognizing customer data or strengthening the customer experience – taking a conscious effort to implement these strategies will ultimately guide you toward success. As you apply these strategies, take a step back and learn from the creation process and take into consideration the responses you receive from your customers to continuously better your company.
Reid Carr is the President & CEO of San Diego-based Red Door Interactive, a data-driven marketing agency with additional offices in Carlsbad and Denver. Red Door is known as San Diego’s Best Place to Work, having three times been named one of the Best Places to Work by Advertising Age magazine, a Top Small Company Workplace by Inc Magazine, 9x recognized by the SD Business Journal and 4x received Awards of Excellence by the SD Society for HR Management. Red Door counts clients such as Bosch, Thermador, Shea Homes, Denon and Rubio’s among others on their enviable client list. Reid was honored with the SD Metropolitan’s “40 Under 40” award in 2005, the SD Business Journal’s Most Admired CEO Award in 2007, 2009, and 2010, and their Exemplary Award in 2011. Reid was also a Finalist for the Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young in 2009 and 2012. Reid serves on the board of directors for the San Diego Chapter of the United Way, on the board of directors for the Voice of San Diego, and is a member of the downtown Rotary Club 33, Chairman’s Roundtable and Young Presidents’ Organization.