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Do Marketing Teams Need More Options to Be Effective?

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 3/11/2015 Scott MacFarland

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Running a business today is tougher than ever, and trying to create an effective marketing strategy has become almost impossible to figure out what to do and why.
If you are in this predicament, you're not alone. Marketing executives, business owners and marketing teams all are trying to discern how to create an effective marketing plan that reaches their prospective customers and drives them through to a purchase conversion.
It's a crowded marketplace and there are many options to choose from -- That's a good thing!Define Marketing Requirements
Every business has different marketing requirements and that means you need to define what those requirements are before you begin to add initiatives to your marketing strategy and mix. These can range from creating awareness and reach to building affinity, all the way to hardcore lead generation and purchase conversion. I know these are big bucket topics, however, as a marketer, it's your job to define exactly what your requirements are before you begin to fill in the gaps with tools and resources that will help accomplish your goals. There is no such thing as a "One size fits all" solution. Because there are hundreds of marketing solutions available to all companies you will have many choices, all of which can help if they are adopted correctly and for the right reasons.
Do Your Research
One of the best things you can do when defining business and marketing requirements is to start with clarifying who the customer is and what are their everyday behaviors? Here's a good example. Customers are all different, however each one (or group) has behaviors that fall into categories that will help the marketer understand them even more. Once you figure this out, clearly identify them as a persona, then start filling in the gaps with marketing tools that reach them most effectively. Tip: Don't just "spray" marketing haphazardly, start the persona identification process first. If you do a good job of defining your personas, your content can lead to customers.
Here are 8 questions to ask yourself that will help identify your customers.
•How do they communicate?
•What type of content do they consume and when?
•What social media channels do they use?
•What are their online search habits?
•How are they using mobile?
•What are their motivations for purchasing your product?
•What are their pain points?
•What problem can you solve for them?
Marketing Menu
As a marketing team, you always want lots of options available and at your fingertips. This will make your job easier, especially when you're trying to launch new campaigns quickly. This is really important if your business model is complex, or your business is serving external clients or channel partners that need to access a variety of digital and traditional marketing tools, content, media, metrics, dashboards and apps to name a few. Because marketing tactics continue to change at warp speed with new things being developed all the time, you need to stay on top of what's happening. This can be very challenging because who really has time to continue to research and test new ideas that come out what seems like on a weekly basis? Marketing has become very difficult; therefore you want to make your job easier, not harder. Additionally, once your company has determined your persona, you will definitely want a diverse marketing menu to choose from so you can quickly launch new initiatives that help reach your goals. So, why do marketing teams and channel partners need more options at their fingertips?

Local marketing has become more complex today then ever before due to the emergence of new digital marketing technologies available. Small business owners have to wear too many hats and just don't have the time, resources or know how to execute effectively. Fortunately, there are new comprehensive marketing platforms that combine digital, traditional, and social media tools to allow these business owners greater local marketing execution and oversight.
- Gary Ritkes -- Managing Partner, President, SproutLoud Media Networks, LLC.
Content And Marketing Qualified Lead Generation
Surviving in marketing doesn't just mean producing marketing campaigns and seeing what happens. It means thinking through the entire process from the first touch point to the conversion-to-purchase point. This requires a full content strategy that attracts the customer, nurtures them through the sales funnel and creates a marketing qualified lead for the sales team. Think through all the persona variables and create content that fits in the top, middle and bottom of the sales funnel. This content must also be designed to answer their questions and solve their problems without delivering a sales pitch. Customers today do not want a sales pitch, they want to be educated and informed. Don't forget to think about how mobile marketing can be integrated into your marketing strategy. Mobile consumer engagement is at an all-time high with mobile and this can be one of your strongest lead generation channels. This is especially true if your business is en e-tailer or brick and mortar retailer. Either way, a mobile strategy should be tops on your list.

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