Traditionally, most people view marketing as promoting and selling a particular product or service; but marketing also entails research, branding, public relations, community relations, web management, data capture, social media, and much more. Because of this broad range of responsibilities, marketers must be able to act using both the analytical and creative sides of their brain. A left-brained or logical marketing person would typically stick to research, while their right-brained counterparts draw up the tantalizing images and sell them to the world. At this juncture in our data laden world, each of these professionals needs an understanding of the practice of gathering data, analyzing its results, and then being able to make magic with this information.
The client experience is much different now than ever before. Clients create a vast amount of information that allows a company to gain intelligence into their habits and then analyze this data accordingly to react at a higher level of effectiveness. Digital marketing has given companies so much more to handle. However, the best companies seem to no longer be reacting. Instead, they are driving the digital experience for you.
We are all well aware of the fact that companies can see what we’re viewing through the internet and tailor promotions based on our engagement and activities. They can target digital marketing messages using our location if we’re accessing certain things on our mobile devices. For example, I went through a McDonald’s drive-thru a few months back and was viewing my Twitter feed while waiting for my food. Once I refreshed the feed I saw a promoted tweet from McDonald’s about a new breakfast deal – it was 9 AM and I do not follow the McDonald’s twitter feed. I remember thinking, “how did they do that?”
Normally, the social media communications aspect would be left up to one area of marketers, while the act of gathering geographical information of customers would be kept separate until a monthly meeting where this information would then be presented to the team as a whole. Using business intelligence and real-time analytics allows information to be gathered, combined, and used immediately. As a result, every marketing team member needs to be able to analyze the presented data and have a plan already in place to capitalize on each opportunity. The digital conversation is revolutionizing the way marketing works.
We used to think that the sales person was always the most influential point of contact with a client. The marketing team would send out feelers, spark interest, and the sales person would come in to do the grunt work and close the deal. Marketers hoped that their message would resonate; their communications were a broadcast, not the conversation. So much has changed in that digital interactions are now considered to be a major conversation piece between company and client. Many clients’ minds are made up about a company or product well before they enter into the sales cycle with a specific person. The information gathered from social media, search engines, and website engagement is huge, relevant, and actionable.
For example: I know that John Smith from ABC Company has viewed a particular service that we offer. I target my follow-up with him to include, not only what he was already viewing, but also even more services we provide that would complement his interests. If Mr. Smith needs additional information on data management, I can provide him with information on how to begin a BI project from the ground up and who needs to be involved in that process. I will show him how we build a data warehouse and then how we would implement specific measures to ensure the security of his information. And because I know that he is mobile – accessing our site from a tablet and his smartphone – I then promote the benefits of a cloud-based system that he can access from anywhere.
The “conversation” has changed from a “shot gun fire” approach to precision shooting with a rifle. We know what we are dealing with and we are able to aim accordingly. From the detailed information being gathered, the evolution of marketing is a weapon that should be harnessed and used daily rather than on a monthly basis due to a status report.