I am showing my age, as 2013 marks my 25th year working in direct and digital marketing. The lessons that I have learned being a part of and building businesses through this time have enriched my life. If you know me or have followed me over the last 15 years when my role transitioned from practitioner to consultant and industry analyst, then you know I am all about sharing best practices. The ideas that I share are for the greater good in order to drive results today and to embrace the future in the aim of continuous improvement.
It has taken years for technology to mature to the point today that empowers all of us and our always-on, persistent connected society. If you are a reader of my column, you can likely identify with being a contributor to that connected society, but here I ask you to take this journey to see if you measure up as a connected company. That is, are you practicing connected marketing?
What do I mean by connected marketing? My firm has four major themes to our Connected Marketing Framework.
- Become a master of organizational change. Connected marketing is empowered and optimized by a connected company that works together across department and corporate silos. Organizations need to optimize by moving to a collaborative organizational model that creates a connected company through the integration of people, processes, channels, data, and service providers. The need to break down silos must be driven by the need for the connected company to accurately measure the marketing effectiveness and value of disparate channels including mobile, social, and offline.
- Institutionalize testing and revel in interactivity. Social message interaction success empowers the connected company to optimize marketing success across channels and to meet specific corporate goals such as acquisition, retention, and engagement. Whether driven by email, a mobile application, a video, or any type of social networking technology, marketers must test when connecting to new and emerging channels and continually strive from optimization across all channels. Testing must become a normal part of every marketing program across channels. Direct marketing is one of the only professions where failure is not only tolerable but also required to optimize results.
- Reconstruct and create new measures of success. Connected marketing relies on the interplay between channels, campaigns, applications, and tactics. Connected measurement is the proper measurement attribution across channels and sources to effectively measure key performance indicators (KPIs). It is imperative to connect KPIs such as revenue and site traffic and apply them to drive specific success measures of tactics that embody the specific corporate goals such as acquisition, retention, and engagement.
- Let relevance guide every customer interaction. Whether it is outbound or inbound marketing, acquisition or retention, service, sales, online or off-; relevance and the customer information that the connected company possesses must guide these interactions. Relevance remains an imperative strategy and tactic as the marketer connects email to all of the digital direct channels and extends its value through offline commerce and social interactions. The consumer’s demand for relevance does not change by channel and marketers must be well-equipped to implement relevance-empowering tactics across them. Remember, the customer is ultimately in control and her experience will dictate her perception of the relevance of your marketing.
I have lived through and seen many things go right from planning to launch, and sometimes things crumble only to regroup and realign to make them a success. The most important message is to be humble and embrace the people around you to make your program a success. After all, if your technology should fail, who do you rely on? Your peers, the people. There is no silver bullet, every step to success is iterative and should teach you something.
May your next campaign launch be frictionless, and I bet it will be when you partner up with all of your other decision-makers and frontline customer experience marshals.
Let me know how you are building a connected marketing future. Until then, I wish you all the best successes.
Image on home page via Shutterstock.