Once upon a time there was a land far, far away where unicorns played in fields of golden sunflowers as a rainbow backlit the blue sky. In this wonderland marketers always said the correct thing and email open rates were always 100 percent.
This is a total pipe dream, yet marketers still shoot for that level of perfection every day. We are stuck in the mindset of the “Golden Pen,” thinking one perfectly written message is all we need to generate marketing success.
The Golden Pen style of marketing is largely based on the concepts of mass media. It is a workaround we have created as marketers to compensate for a lack of proper technology. However, this mindset started to subside with the introduction of social media. Social media asked marketers to consider a two-way communication style, and to begin understanding consumers as individuals. Marketing changed from yelling to conversations when marketing became social, and this Golden Pen concept started to fade as well.
If you think I’m suggesting marketers stop putting time into their copy and subject lines, I am not. What I am proposing is considering a new golden rule of marketing: be relevant.
For years, consumers have been put off by mass marketing because it was not relevant to them. It was just noise. It got so bad we created sub-industries to help people get around mass marketing. Companies like TiVo are making millions helping people avoid television advertising. They are taking advantage of how bad marketing has become, and proving consumers only want to see relevant messages.
Being relevant is the key to the new golden rule of marketing, but being relevant in modern times means something very different than it did 20 years ago. Marketing automation has given birth to large-scale individual tracking, and the ability for dynamic marketing. This technology allows us to take relevance to an entirely new level, and allows for marketers to get one step closer to those 100 percent open rates.
To follow the new golden rule of marketing we only need to understand three basic principles:
- Tracking. Tracking is the only way to have full knowledge of your prospects. Tracking can be done across all mediums these days with proper marketing technology. Tracking also can be done on macro and micro levels. Most marketers use a website tracking tool, which is good for macro tracking. Micro tracking is new, and is provided by marketing automation technologies and will allow for tracking each person’s page views, emails, search terms, and downloads, telling you what is relevant to them.
- Stages. Once we have a database of individual information we can utilize this to be critically relevant. To become critically relevant we must understand that people have stages they move through as they progress toward a purchase. Without tracking technology it is impossible to identify which stage a prospect is in. With tracking we can easily determine lead stage, allowing us to change our messaging on a micro/personal level to always be relevant to our prospects throughout their research cycle.
- Velocity. As marketers we are used to looking at ROI as the end-all report to show effectiveness of a campaign. However, in a world where we now understand stages and build campaigns with the goal to move prospects from one stage to the next, ROI will not work. ROI only works when money is exchanged; in a multi-step marketing process ROI is less important. Velocity of leads in each stage is the proper report to evaluate your campaigns. This allows us to see how long leads are staying at each stage, and by decreasing time of leads in each stage we can increase the number of leads we send to sales.
In this modern marketing world, try to follow the new golden rule, and remember, you are marketing to people just like you. Respect their wishes and do your best to always be relevant, and be relevant on an individual level. Consider looking at your marketing in stages to help you manage this process, and use velocity to judge the effectiveness of those campaigns.
Golden Pen image on home page via Shutterstock.
Sandy Rubinstein is the CEO of the independently female minority-owned marketing and advertising firm DXagency. ClickZ caught up with her to find out about her role as CEO, and what advice she would give to women who want to work in the digital industry.
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