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It’s Halftime: How Are You Adjusting Your Digital Marketing Game Plan to Win?

  |  June 18, 2014   |  Comments

It's halfway through the year and digital marketers should use this "halftime" to assess how they are doing against their goals, make adjustments to their playbooks, have focused conversations with their teammates, and begin the second half with a renewed vigor.

During the World Cup, you'll see lots of different kinds of matches on the pitch - whether it's a team that dominates from start to finish, a back-and-forth battle, or a dramatic come-from-behind victory. No matter the differences in game style, every team will go into their respective locker rooms during halftime to assess the first half and set goals and objectives for the next 45 minutes. Even if a team has a solid lead, they will still make adjustments to make sure they are even stronger in the second half. Other teams will use the time to regroup and do what they can to try to pull out a victory.

So, how does this tie into your day-to-day marketing activities? We are midway through 2014 and it's now our halftime. We must take a step back and do the same thing as our favorite World Cup teams: assess how we are doing against our goals, make adjustments to our playbooks, have focused conversations with our teammates, and begin the second half with a renewed vigor.

So, consider this your own digital marketing locker room. As your coach, here are the four things you should be thinking about for the rest of 2014:

Engagement: How engaged are your customers and prospects? You can't simply sell anything to anyone if they are not engaged and responding to your communications. Consider evaluating your customers and prospects separately, as they very well might have different threshold goals that you need to achieve to meet your revenue and pipeline goals.

To start, look at your email engagement, since this is often where lead development and conversion occurs. What are your average open rates? Click-through rates? Best (or worst) performing campaigns? You can use the recently released Silverpop Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study to see how you stack up against other marketers. Do you have a reactivation campaign to wake up those dormant people in your database? Do you need to delete the long-term inactives? Take a holistic look at engagement and you're sure to spot some great opportunities.

List Growth: List growth is typically directly tied to lead and revenue growth, so it deserves some focused halftime attention. How has your digital marketing database grown since you last measured? What were the primary (and best) sources of list growth? What tactics or programs did not work so well? How much of the total addressable market do you have in your database? What programs do you have in place to grow your list? What new programs can you put in place to increase your list growth in the second half? If you need some fresh strategies, my recent blog post might provide some ideas for encouraging website visitors to opt-in to your email program.

Use of Technology: There are some great digital marketing tools in the marketplace. You probably already have a few of them in your department! However, I typically find that marketers are only using about 20 percent of the capabilities of these platforms. So, take this halftime break to review all the features and functions that these tools provide. Next, assess both your skills (none to expert) and your exploitation of the function (none to using extensively in a sophisticated manner). If you thoroughly review both aspects, you'll find opportunities for both training and digital campaign upgrades.

Pipeline: Finally, review your pipeline. If you are a B2B marketer, you'll want to examine how many companies and people you have at each stage in your buying cycle. Spot-check a few dozen individual cases - both successful and not-so successful-situations - to see when they became an identified record in your digital marketing database, what content they consumed in their buying journey, and the time it took to progress to a sales handoff. Also examine how much time it took to progress through each step.

After you've examined these aspects of the pipeline, assess how you can improve it going forward. Is there new content that would help? Would it be productive to introduce a new communication channel into the mix? Would you be able to increase relevance by using additional data that is found across your enterprise?

If you're more focused as a B2C marketer, you'll want to review your abandoned shopping cart program to make sure it is performing to maximum efficiency. And, don't think of content marketing as solely the domain of the B2B marketer! Consider shifting your mindset and your campaign strategies from promoting the deal of the day or product push messaging to offering helpful "how-to-buy" nurture content.

There are many other areas we could discuss, but this halftime article is limited and we need to get back out on the pitch. Best of luck in your second-half digital marketing game. Play hard, play clean, and don't leave anything on the field!

Image via Shutterstock.

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Ellen Valentine

Ellen Valentine has more than 20 years of experience as vice president of marketing/CMO for a number of technology companies. She has deep expertise in launching new products, evaluating product and market positions, designing go-to-market strategy, and managing all digital marketing initiatives. She believes that great people and effective technology are foundations for success, but great execution is the ultimate differentiator.

In her role at Silverpop, an IBM company, she's focused on coaching and mentoring Silverpop clients to adapt and thrive in marketing's changing role. She's also a sought-out speaker at industry conferences and events.

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