As we enter a brand new year, it’s a good time to review your marketing performance in the year that was and set plans for what lies ahead. Looking back, did you manage to hit (better still, crush) your goals or barely struggled to maintain performance? If you fall in the second group, don’t worry, you’re not alone. A recent HubSpot study found that only 23% of marketers were exceeding their revenue goals, 52% were merely meeting them, and 20% weren’t meeting them at all. Moving forward, the question you need to ask yourself is: how can we ensure the success of our marketing initiatives this year?
In today’s B2B landscape, the focus of a marketing strategy should be to engage with customers in ways they prefer, while being able to communicate effectively your company offering. If anything, the rising tide of digital transformation is constantly increasing the pressure on companies to focus on their customers and the experiences they receive, in order to earn their trust and loyalty. If you’re looking to survive, sustain, and excel in this brave new world of B2B marketing, you need to make your marketing efforts compelling, consistent, and cohesive. These are the three C’s of effective marketing.
The word ‘compelling’ is defined as evoking interest or attention in an irresistible way. It’s also the opposite of boring. From the marketing angle, it means the brand messages you send out to your audience needs to capture their attention (and, of course, doesn’t bore them to death like those hundreds of ‘cookie-cutter’ pitches they are bombarded with on a daily basis).
How do you do that? At a time when it’s believed that our attention span is less than that of a goldfish, what are you doing to ensure that your marketing message or the content you create truly resonates with your clients in a convincing, powerful, and credible way? We aren’t talking about viral marketing here, we’re talking about genuinely understanding what your clients are interested in, and offering them a compelling reason to notice you.
Get it right: If your content is quickly forgotten, or worse, not noticed at all, it’s a red flag—you’re doing something wrong. Here’s how you can fix that.
- Dig deeper into your marketing metrics from a recent campaign.
- Evaluate how much or how little you’ve achieved your goals.
- Conduct customer research and/or surveys to determine your customer’s biggest pain points and challenges.
- Collect relevant data and turn them into actionable insights.
- Create marketing campaigns based on those insights.
- Test the effectiveness of your content. How? Your readers will indicate what they like by responding, sharing, and taking action. The content that fetches the best results will tell you what type of content you should write and share in the future.
Marketing requires a consistent drumbeat to steadily build up your firm’s awareness and credibility. You can’t expect overnight results and you certainly can’t expect to get thousands of followers despite never posting a second article on your LinkedIn page. When it comes to your marketing efforts, frequency matters a lot but what’s even more important is to make sure that everything—and, we do mean everything—about your brand looks, feels, and sounds consistent.
Often, companies struggle here. They throw different (and inconsistent) messages against the wall to see what sticks. Unfortunately, this does nothing but confuses your customer and leaves your company riddled with brand awareness and identity issues. Plus, when your target audience gets to hear the same core message several times, they are more likely to spread the word in the way you want.
Millennials—currently the most lucrative market with $200 million annual buying power—demand a consistent experience from brands, a global SDL survey revealed last year. Clearly, if left unchecked, inconsistency can become the weakest link in your marketing strategy
Get it right: A content audit is a great place to start. Assess blog posts, whitepapers, bylines, case studies, social media posts, and other forms of content to check if every aspect of your brand’s presence looks and feels consistent across every channel. Also, check for consistency in every customer touch point—email signatures, business cards, letterhead, invoices, envelopes, fax sheets and all things related to your brand.
Your clients find you and interact with your company in a variety of ways—from PR, social media, websites, to videos, email, sales meetings, and events. However, your efforts across all marketing channels should weave together a cohesive story.According to a recent study by Salesforce, 86% of senior marketers agreed that customer journey—the most critical part of a marketing strategy—needs to be cohesive from start to finish.
However, it doesn’t mean repeating the same message mindlessly over and over again, in a way that borders on spamming. Instead, what it means is, finding the central theme that will resonate with your clients, then carrying that “golden thread” throughout your campaign. Simply put, presenting a marketing campaign that isn’t thematically united is like arriving at a party wearing mismatched clothes—your audience may notice you but they’ll certainly not take you seriously. You don’t want that.
Get it right: Take your clients on a journey, tell them the story of how your company can help solve their problem (and, make sure every story has a beginning, middle and end). Don’t reduce your brand stories to merely marketing materials or sales pitches. Rather, treat them as opportunities to let your brand’s personality shine through and connect on a deeper level with customers.
For B2B businesses competing in today’s rapidly-changing digital economy, the customer may seem like a moving target, constantly flitting between myriad channels and displaying an incredibly diverse range of behaviors and preferences. The 3Cs of marketing will help you develop solid engagement strategies and highly relatable content to capture mindshare, build market share effectively, and dominate your industry in 2016.