The Ultimate Guide to Modern Marketing

Modern Marketing

A Helpful Comparison

To get success from modern marketing consider how automobiles impacted economies and businesses to change the world. It took decades to fully accommodate cars (and trucks) and the replace other forms of transportation. It’s similar to our walk with the Internet and the continuous innovation that is drastically changing how goods and services are bought and sold. The comparison gives a perspective you must have in order to find success as you implement fast-moving, constantly evolving digital marketing tools, tactics and strategy.  Don’t make the mistake of constantly comparing to familiar offline marketing practices or earlier versions of internet marketing tactics like SEO.

The automobile wasn’t developed commercially until the latter part of the 19th century. It didn’t catch on until the twenties and thirties, and by the middle of the 20th century, seeing someone in a horse and buggy likely meant you were in Amish country. As modern vehicular transportation outpaced horses and carriages, digital marketing through the internet is growing to replace older, more traditional avenues of outreach.

Billboards, television ads, newspaper ads, and radio spots have gradually been replaced with modern marketing alternatives that reach consumers via their mobile devices, their computers, and smart home devices. These days a combination of online content which positions producers as high-level authorities in the field with tools and technology that allow businesses to engage people one on one compares well to the gradual changes in transportation. The shift from horse-drawn carriages to automobiles didn’t take place overnight. It ended up taking about fifty years for outdated modes of transportation to leave the mainstream and become novelties.

Here’s the parallel: realistically speaking, the internet began in 1991, but didn’t gain momentum until all the “dotcoms”began making bubbles in the late nineties. From there, it became normalized, and we’re only a few decades off from integration as total and transformative as the shift from horses to cars. But even when cars came, multiple means of transportation were contending for the popular “hot spot”.

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Of Combustibles and computers

 

People thought zeppelins would be the modern vehicular machination to carry the progress torch, until the Hindenburg was torched, and everybody lost faith in blimps. In a tongue-in-cheek way, you might think of the Hindenburg as the modern marketing equivalent to AOL, or MySpace.

There’s an even more direct comparison. As automobiles became more popular, many small communities quickly outlawed them–vehicles of this type could be quite loud, after all. They caused disruptions. Similarly, modern businesses or government organizations try to banish social media or internet access in various ways during regular working hours. The idea is to isolate its use and keep employees from wasting time. These same attitudes spill over to the marketing and sales arena in that businesses avoid participating, wrongly believing it makes them safe from negative reviews or controversy that is occasionally experienced by businesses in social media. However, those thinking to avoid the changes fail to realize that Google and social media are avenues mainstream consumers have come to expect. It must be used for companies to maintain marketing relevance. Without doing something digitally, they’ll have little to no control over the end result. It’s fundamental to try influencing perception at some level.

While there’s more than one way to approach modern marketing, and your best practices will be unique to your particular operation, two things are sure: you want to pursue the right marketing avenues, and you want to pursue excellent, professionally-informed marketing strategies. You neither want to totally avoid the right solutions, as the towns who outlawed cars, or go with a Hindenburg/MySpace option that blows up in your face.

Whatever’s worth doing is worth doing well. The key is leveraging web resources, not being channeled by them. Don’t jump on bandwagons. Tailor outreach to fit specific operational needs. Getting professional help is key. What you’re looking for are positive, reliable outcomes. Ideally, you want to drive sales, and develop a self-renewing marketing “eco-system” which effectively, sustainably, and consistently drives growth.

Manage expectations properly. Below is a collection of the most modern marketing tactics and philosophies available today. Each has more depth than many businesses realize. There’s been enough time for the market to further develop these tactics. Use the following overviews to help understand ways to incorporate some of these and create your own formula. Not every tactic works for every business; but ignoring effective technique won’t do you any favors. Businesses need, at the very least, awareness of these modern marketing strategies to make informed decisions on what should be included, and what shouldn’t. With that in mind, consider these tactics:

 

  • Email Marketing
  • Demand Generation
  • Social Media Utilization
  • Basic Content Marketing
  • Paid Advertising Online And Offline
  • Training And Refreshing Personnel
  • SEO Maximization Across Multiple Channels
  • Strategies To Optimize Prospect Conversion
  • Better UX Through Integration Of Personalization Techniques
  • Marketing “SCRUM” – Agile Marketing
  • Leveraging AI / “Bots”

email marketing

 

Many businesses have overly simplistic ideas of email outreach owing to email’s humble beginnings a little over twenty years ago. Today, email blasting doesn’t work like it did. You don’t want your messages to be relegated to a “spam” folder.

What makes more sense is segmenting email lists and “scoring” prospects. For bigger clients, the time to personalize individual emails could be strategically valuable. However, with smaller prospects, it may be worthwhile to pursue a wider approach that’s less personalized.

That said, you need to consider this, though: regulation sophistication has compounded in recent years owing to known “spam”-type issues. Better technology makes email blasts sent to the wrong people easier to catch. Hosting providers can more carefully curate messages to satisfy clientele. Beyond the basic “inbox”, Microsoft now has focused results. If you have Gmail, you’re well aware of the varying categories defining your “inbox”. You’ve got spam, advertisements, junk mail, and primary email folders now. Promotions, updates, and social media messages are put in appropriate categories. If you just spam things out, your messages will be chopped up and relegated to tertiary folders, not reaching primary prospects.

 

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Sales CRM

 

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is more than where you store contact information and make notes about sales activity with prospects. Innovative technology has brought an ocean of new capability to the sales process through the use of CRM. For example, in the same way automation allows marketing teams to set up drip email campaigns that launch automatically when someone downloads an offer or takes some other trigger action on your website, sales reps can use CRMs to create and store commonly used email templates in order to automate portions of their follow up tasks. There is ability to see whether a recipient opened, skimmed or thoroughly read attached files and commonly used materials for follow up activity can be stored right within the CRM tools. All features are designed to add efficiency to the sales process. Today’s sales teams can sell better and smarter when they’re provided with modern marketing technology and training.

Demand Generation

 

Demand generation is developing a consolidated strategy taking into account varying channels used to stimulate interest in products or services, driving customers to you. It’s a branding tactic, and a means of getting prospective customers into “early stages” of the sales flywheel. For demand generation, you’ll want to be sure to know the best practices here.

Demand generation also involves creating “touch points” throughout awareness and conversion cycles which maintain momentum of a prospect’s trek to becoming a client. Part of making demand generation sustainable is nurturing leads. You might have a blog campaign built around a recurring theme core to your demographic. You might design an eBook, or a newsletter for subscribers. Different options will work more or less appropriately for your specific business.

Social Media Utilization

 

The sales funnel was briefly alluded to, but has been outclassed by the sales “flywheel”. The funnel was three primary steps: clients becoming aware of your product, becoming more directly interested, and deciding to make a conversion based on that information. In contrast, sales “flywheels” have built-in momentum which is used to keep a “sales engine” going.

Social media is key in facilitating a sales “flywheel” as you’ll get natural interaction with your audience. Reviews will be generated which can be circulated across primary web pages and blogs. You want to leverage reviews and referrals proactively. Social media utilization is key in helping you realize an effective sales “flywheel”. You can read more about the modern marketing “flywheel” concept here.

Social media has a lot of other key marketing aspects to consider. As with email outreach techniques, a lot of businesses are encumbered by outdated ideas that have become deeply entrenched in operations. Social media management requires intricacy incorporating this tool as a cog in the mechanism of your sales’ flywheel. Social media isn’t where you sell, but it is where you build up a lot of momentum, sending prospects through your sales engine toward conversion “combustion”.

 

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the sabotage of random acts of marketing

 

It is common for businesses to feel the pressure of the traditional 30 day and quarterly business cycles and inadvertently allow them to creep into their content marketing efforts. For those expecting immediate results (that is, ROI arrival within 6 months), it will require fortitude to resist the temptation to take the wheel and begin directing actions aimed at speeding things up.  Everyone arrives at the start line with a different collection of pieces that must be brought on to the “track” toward creating an online ecosystem that will function at the center of efforts to generate new business and retain existing clients. The outcome of jumping the track is usually grim. The activities get done but they yield the same lackluster results they did before the decision was made to implement a modern marketing system.  No one wants to hear “it’s going to take time” but that is the reality of crafting a successful online strategy. There will be trial and error. Not every tool or tactic will fit your business model or your team members and these things have to be ironed into place.

manage expectations for success

 

We began our discussion of modern marketing by drawing a comparison to the transportation changes in the early 20thcentury.  Likely, there were some who invested heavily in the modern forms of transportation as soon as they saw them, suffering some damage and loss when the surrounding community wasn’t quite as fast to see the value.  Likewise, there were others who resisted the change and went out of business when they were beaten by competitors who could more efficiently deliver goods and services.  Consider how you’re approaching trying out new forms of marketing technology.

Those embracing the automobile would have expected to see an immediate uptick in their business productivity the moment they put their fleet of shiny new cars into use. The trouble with that idea is most people had never experienced an automobile, the roads weren’t ideal for them and the general traveling public had no idea how to interact with them. The short-term thinkers would experience the headaches, dump the cars and return to what they were doing or try something else. They would tell anyone who asked what a waste it had been to invest in cars.   Others might offer a little more time, say a couple of years. From today’s perspective, we know that probably would not have been enough time to do much better than those on the shorter term strategy.  The winners are the ones who make a gradual transition, folding new ways of doing things in with the old without excessive pressure.

Apply this thinking to modern marketing and sales models. People are interacting with innovative technology at different rates of speed and at different depths. There is far more than one way to do things, some new, some old and many hybrid variations between the two.  In order to realize ROI from modern marketing you’ll need to be able to speak to the needs of people on both ends of the spectrum AND in the middle while we live out this transition.  This is not limited to impacting your approach to generating and retaining clients, it applies to your employees as well.

Seek packaged solutions over “menu of services” approaches. Total content strategies aren’t some singular effort; there are multiple steps, they involve some trial and error at first (which adds some unpredictability to the timeline), and are custom to the needs of each business.

Paid advertising online and offline

 

PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising can be effective, but not for all businesses. PPC also requires a much larger investment than most businesses realize. Dabbling in it doesn’t typically produce valuable results. Instead, work toward realizing success with organic growth first, and once that’s done, add paid outreach channels to provide more momentum. Offline avenues for broadcasting your marketing messages should be woven into your online strategy. Think of any channel you decide to use like planting directional signs to one destination (typically, your website). A few will see it in one place, a few more in other places and so on. The strategy is to find the collection of channels that deliver the best ROI and eliminate those that aren’t worth the effort.

Paid advertisement on and offline may involve inbound or outbound techniques. Basically, inbound marketing involves designing content that’s core to target demographics. That content is designed to draw them in. Here’s an in-depth look at some strategies to pursue there. In terms of inbound marketing, Methodological approaches generally center around the buyer’s journey. In this area, the common error regards over-simplification, and a lack of congruity between varying tactics in play. Tactics shouldn’t be treated like separate “silos”. They should all be part of one plan.

ongoing sales training & marketing training

 

It’s important to provide ongoing training to personnel. Perspectives heavily impact the outcomes of modern marketing so you cannot afford to have staff members who aren’t plugged in to your overall strategy. While not all of them will need to become sales and marketing experts, they’ll need a general understanding of the overall mission to prevent them from injecting misconceptions and breaking the flow.

Be sure sales teams and marketing teams don’t have an infrastructural wall separating them; they should be in regular contact. They should know how to use support resources, incorporating them into sales.

CRM software with marketing data can give a salesperson relevant details to help them manage the process of converting a lead to a client. Get everybody on the same page. Marketers should be able to consult salespeople, and vice versa, with as little inter-operational static as possible. This is called “sales enablement”. Many times businesses believe they have this harmony, but the reality is, they are missing a large area of opportunity for growth. Check out the sales enablement certification from HubSpot to learn how to implement it within your organization.

 

SEO maximization across multiple channels

 

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, doesn’t work the same today as a few years ago. When search engines began, enterprising groups would inundate content with keywords to the point you couldn’t read it. This was “keyword stuffing“, and it used to work, until sites like Bing and Google became savvy, designing algorithms to down-rank or de-list such tactics.

Well, that’s not the only area where algorithms and optimization have combined to change things up considerably in modern marketing. If you want to maximize SEO, you’ll need to research the market as it exists, updating at intervals. Growth-driven design uses data to inform website design with an eye toward deeper engagement and conversion optimization. It goes beyond the typical website design most companies are accustomed to and incorporates a nimbleness and flexibility aimed at taking in the rapidly changing world of online marketing as well as the call to deliver the best possible user experience.

User experience or UX is a very important aspect of digital marketing that we’ll explore further in this writing. This is important to consider as, presently, Google has taken away most businesses’ ability to focus on and score keywords. They’ve instead designed advanced technology goal posts they expect you to meet as a means of determining how people engage with your website–or how they avoid engagement; the simplest evidence use to grade it is the bounce rate but there are countless other factors.

This lets such search engines shape overall results to best conform to the user based on additional factors like individual browsing history. This reality isn’t new, but many in the business world aren’t able to invest the time to explore it and are taken advantage of by marketing and SEO companies who also haven’t evolved to it. The result is losing out to competitors who have been investing in these innovations for long periods of time and silently gaining market share while other businesses aren’t paying attention.

 

conversion optimization advances seo

 

SEO is about attracting volume, conversion is about gaining ROI from that volume. Today, they actually work hand in hand, but many businesses still tend to miss the intricacy required to move a site visitor into the client column. ROI doesn’t come from having a high volume of traffic. There are businesses who see tremendous ROI even with average or even low volume of traffic because they’ve done the work required to attract visitors who are more likely to want to do business with them and going on to build a relationship that leads to closed sales. They also recognize the online technology is simply a tool to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their sales team. They invest heavily in training their team to use the leverage that can be gained from digital marketing efforts.

better ux through integration of personalization techniques

 

User Experience (UX) is growing in importance. For businesses trailing behind in their online presence, there is a lot of catching up to do. There are more avenues to engage people with technology than ever before. Remember our comparison to the automobile entering the transportation scene? Consider how the world is changing now that people have devices like Google Home Mini or Echo Dot, etc. While not everyone is using this technology yet, it’s growing at such a fast pace it’s difficult to keep up. Personalization on the web is going well beyond matching up a few things related to demographics, it is becoming a truly one-on-one experience as the tools emerge to allow businesses to provide it. Interface, site navigability and appropriateness of content are things that can no longer be ignored. Eliminating static between your online presence and those who want to do business with you will require professional guidance and consultation. If you’re feeling the sting of feeling behind, don’t feel alone. A quick online search for most anything will have you seeing the volume of businesses who continue to lag behind. Many aren’t providing the most basic information for prospects accessing a site via mobile device even though mobile search activity vastly outpaces desktop searches.

Resources like CRM software that includes capability for logging the engagement signals website visitors provide from their activity on your website, allow businesses to build a cycle of success. The detailed information they can provide help determine perspectives of the people your business is engaging. This data can be used to help you build the content necessary to create these now expected personal online experiences. There are a vast array of platforms, tools and tactics to use to build your online ecosystem. It can be achieved in a way that affordably delivers the best possible UX and also adds internal efficiency for managing the sales and marketing process all the way through your organization.

Who you work with to design your digital marketing ecosystem is important. You’ll need someone knowledgeable of the possibilities, nimble to adapt processes to your unique needs and with ability to source the support for all aspects of your new system for identified gaps. Step one is to get a basic web presence designed to capture leads and make use of email marketing. The springboard to allow you to get started is a launch pad website which is in keeping with the principles of growth driven design. Modern marketing works best when your own website is functioning as the heart of your system.

marketing meets scrum – agile marketing

 

“Agile” marketing follows a software development concept called SCRUM. It allows businesses to be nimble and able to quickly implement new technology as it comes available and it shatters the “old way” of managing website design and all of the trappings available in the online marketing arena. If you have been involved in software development you should be very familiar with agile development, if not, all you really need to know is it brings speed to getting your marketing and sales efforts up to modern standards if you’re willing to leave behind preconceived ideas. Once you learn a little more about it, you’ll begin to recognize it is incorporated into Growth Driven Website Design mentioned above.

leveraging ai (artificial intelligence) or “bots”

 

An AI chatbot populates on a page when a new visitor arrives, filling in for or providing real-time access to a live human counterpart. Bots and other AI solutions help visitors identify specific needs, get some help right away and then send them deeper into an organization and along the right avenues for perfectly tailored service. These represent the next transformative step in modern marketing as well as improving the customer service and support experience. It is another layer for increasing engagement that leads to relationships businesses crave with their leads and customers.

the iceberg’s tip

 

Modern marketing is more complex than we can cover here. The point is to have you realizing how much more there is beneath the surface impressions you have when you believe a competitor is gaining market share because of something you saw them do. Likely, they’re doing much more than you see. This is an important perspective needed in order to realistically shape your expectations when you take action to bring your own business up to speed. Subscribe to our blog where we explore each point we’ve touched on here, plus many others, in greater depth. Your goal shouldn’t be to become an expert. Instead, inform yourself enough to take steps to find the help you need to build your own modern marketing ecosystem.

maximizing marketing and sales innovation

 

Modern marketing is exceptionally scalable, and it can conform to your budget by getting creative with implementation of tools and tactics within timelines. Remember the analogy above, those who likely found the most success when businesses began to incorporate engine powered vehicles to serve their customers were those who did it a little at a time. Not relying on the new modes of transportation to launch their business forward, but instead making room for transition without pressure.

Professionals trained in the latest marketing and sales innovations have developed core business models around providing ROI-rich strategies known to be statistically effective (but not overnight success stories). Working with such professionals can help you find your profitable strategic niche. Think of it like working with modern marketing ecologists to effectively enrich content, diminish unnecessary experimental expenses, and facilitate more consistent ROI. Give your business an avenue to grow better!

 

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The people who have brought you success over the years are gemstones to fuel your online presence in a way that meets client expectations and attracts new ones. Strategy is needed to motivate them to transition from the old ways of doing things, to new ways. Forcing new methods rarely works. We can help.

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