I plead guilty to enjoying a cold beer or two, and I’ve watched with amazement as the decade-long bull market in the craft beer industry shows no signs of abating.
When you ask most people how they differentiate sales and marketing roles, they often tell you that sales is quantitative (with performance measured by quotas hit and revenue generated) while marketing is qualitative (with performance based on reach, impressions and brand awareness).
This may have once been true when marketing was looked at as an art form, but times have changed. In the new world order, marketing has become a science, and marketers now have the ability to measure, track and report on the performance of their digital campaigns. Every interaction a buyer has with your online assets can now be quantified, scored and qualified for better follow-up actions.
In order to be metrics-driven and effectively report on the ROI of corporate programs, marketers need to implement a quantitative approach to marketing. How can they accomplish this in a fast-paced business environment? A marketing automation platform is one solution.
To be credible in this new environment, marketers must change their tactics from advertising and promotion to education and engagement. In this “new world order,” marketers will do well following three simple guidelines:
• Create fresh and informative content that is relevant to the buyer’s journey. This requires both creativity and time.
• Use digital assets like email, blogs and social media as a fundamental part of the marketing mix. All marketing activities need to have an online component. And depending on industry, consider allocating 50 percent or more of the marketing budget to these online activities.
• Measure and analyze everything online. Marketers
have the ability to measure the performance of every online campaign in great detail and optimize results in real time.
Marketing ROI is incredibly important in the digital age. Having a system in place to create, track and manage digital marketing programs is cardinal to reporting on the performance of dollars invested in each program. If a particular marketing program yields little returns, then steps must be taken to optimize or switch out the campaign in question. By using marketing automation technologies, marketers can correlate their
front-office efforts directly to the opportunities in the pipeline, and ultimately to revenue generated.
Connecting the cost of campaigns to the revenue generated is a must, as businesses need to know that for every dollar spent in marketing they are receiving several times that much back in won deals. ROMI — return on marketing investment — helps executives gauge what programs perform the best and drive the most business results. Marketing automation helps marketers tie campaigns to revenue and as a result make more intelligent marketing operation decisions.
Not only has marketing turned into more of a quantitative/scientific discipline, but the way marketers need to market has changed as a result of the new buyers’ journey. Today, 80 to 90 percent of buyers begin a search on the Web, and as a result are more intelligent consumers.
Today’s consumer has already made a purchase intent before engaging directly with a vendor. Creating content that is shared and distributed across multiple channels at the right time through a buyers’ journey will help your businesses get found and get known more readily.
With the marketing technologies available today, marketers now have the tools they need to justify their budgets more so than ever. They can measure the true impact of their online campaigns, from the increase in awareness, to engagement and activity levels, to revenue generated from these campaigns across all online marketing channels.
But in order to do this, today’s marketers must develop a new set of skills. It’s no longer enough to be artistic and innovative alone. Marketers must be analytical and data driven as well — balancing the flair of “Mad Men’s” Don Draper with the sharp curiosity of a scientist.
Atri Chatterjee is CMO at Act-On Software (Act-On.com), a marketing automation provider.