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Chief Marketing Officer News (CMO)

Our Chief Marketing Officer News section offers marketing insights, expertise, and strategies aimed at helping CMOs, senior marketers, and their teams deliver standout digital experiences.

A Paradigm Shift: The Biggest Marketing Trends Shaping the Industry in 2019

A Paradigm Shift: The Biggest Marketing Trends Shaping the Industry in 2019 1240 520 Tanguy De Keyzer

A few short decades ago, marketing trends followed a one size fits all approach. Brands could get away with presenting a single message to all of their customers, regardless of who they were.

Why? They had a captive audience. TV reigned supreme and there was no pausing, skipping, or dismissing that ad after five seconds of play.

Not any more.

In 2019, the customer is very much in control. The digital market may be saturated and extremely competitive, but those little “x” and “skip” buttons are always there and it’s easier than ever to install an ad blocker – in fact, 30% of all Americans are using one right now.

So how can you get ahead of the marketing game in 2019 and beyond?

Give your customers more of what they want.

Nowadays, advertising needs to work with the customer, their desires, interests and browsing habits. It needs to fit seamlessly into the rest of their life and identity.

Be on the cutting edge of the industry by learning about and following these 12 growing digital marketing trends for 2019 and beyond.

1. Artificial Intelligence Is Enabling Smart Automation

People are pretty negative about AI and automation lately, but it presents data-driven marketingopportunities that have never been seen before.

There are two ways AI is most useful right now within 2019 digital marketing trends. These are: analysis and action.

By using in-depth analysis of customer behavior, search patterns, interactions and more, you can gain a deeper understanding of what your customers want.

Current market trends put this into action by using AI-based technologies to automate your processes and personalize your marketing.

Some great applications include:

  • Propensity modeling – using analysis of past behavior to predict future behavior
  • Retargeting – using data about customers who clicked away from your checkout without making a purchase to recapture their interest via social media ads
  • Predictive analysis – a combination of statistical data combined with individual customer data to predict outcomes

Many of the items on this list are siblings of AI, so a combined approach is often necessary. The more your analysis is spot on, the more automation is possible which can save you time and money on your marketing budget.

2. ChatBots Aren’t Going Anywhere

ChatBots are part of AI, but they deserve their own item on this list for multiple reasons.

They’ve come a long way in the past few years, having once been clunky interactions that people used for research purposes or for fun (remember Godbot?), they’re now one of the most promising trends in marketing.

Gartner research suggests that a quarter of all customer service will be using chatbots by 2020, up from 2% in 2017. 80% of all businesses overall will be using them.

Some of the advantages of chatbots for your business:

  • Talk to customers at any time, day or night
  • Chatbots never lose patience or forget things
  • Answer questions quickly
  • Automation of repetitive, simple tasks

A great example of integrating chatbots with customer service is from Sephora, who allow customers to reserve beauty appointments with their Reservation Assistant. Whole Foods lets you search for recipes via their chatbot and both Lyft and Uber have integrated them for booking rides.

3. Personalized Marketing Is Creating Ultra-Shareable Content

In an age when people’s attention spans are short, personalized marketing is an excellent way to grab attention.

Some brands have taken this literally, and started using customers’ first names in advertising. Vimto did this by running ads before streaming TV services integrating a customer’s name, though it did involve the customer typing their name in first.

Coca-Cola’s “Share A Coke” campaign found a creative way around this by producing bottles with over 800 first names on them. It wasn’t personalized, but it was so highly shareable that the power of user generated content filled in the gaps.

Research shows that we respond to our names much more than other sounds, so perhaps they’re onto something. However, personalization need not be this blatant.

Good personalized advertising feels relevant but not invasive. A Saatchi & Saatchi campaign for Toyota got it right by matching customer data for over 1,000 different interests to provide different versions of the same ad, telling their brand story in a unique way for each customer.

A great way of integrating personalization is with Pay Per Click marketing, which allows you to filter via demographics like device, interests, age, background and more to hone your target audience.

4. Video Content Is Driving Visual SEO In 2019 Digital Marketing

Whilst Google’s algorithm is now favoring long-form written content, this only counts once someone has clicked on your page. When it comes to getting those clickthroughs and reducing bounce rates, video is on the rise as a highly effective strategy in current marketing trends.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that using video effectively simply involves embedding interest content via a video player on your site.

Does this have its place? Of course it does. YouTube is still the second biggest search engine in the world, after all. But video content also means everything from animated header images for your landing page to gifs, looping graphics and animated elements. Just including some movement on your page can really bring it to life.

Here are a few useful hints:

  • Use subtitles for your videos – most people will watch them silently on social media
  • Share! Embed your videos on Twitter, Facebook and in your social messaging marketing
  • Repurpose, but know when to stop (nobody wants to see the same content over and over again)
  • Use autoplay only on silent, or not at all

Optimizing your video content can maximize your SEO, so make the most of it!

5. Social Messaging Apps Are Providing Optimized Customer Service

Social messaging apps include apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat – all of which have more combined users than YouTube or Facebook.

SMS marketing has been around for a long time and social messaging apps are now following suit. It’s now possible to market directly to users of social messaging apps via automated (or not automated – it’s up to you) messages straight to their inbox.

To get an idea of the reach of this, consider these stats:

  • Facebook Messenger has 1.3 billion users per month
  • WhatsApp has the same amount of users per day
  • 55 billion messages are sent per day via WhatsApp

If someone likes your Facebook page for a product, event or service, you can send them automated messages about it via Facebook Messenger.

However, there is good evidence that customers will engage with brands proactively as well. Sephora took advantage of prom season to allow young customers to view beauty tutorials by chatting to one of their chatbots on Kik, leading to over 600k interactions with the chatbot and further engagement with their other online and social media platforms.

6. Micro-Influencers Are Changing The Face Of Influencer Marketing In 2019

According to BrizFeel, more than 50% of social media users say that they follow some kind of influencer or celebrity.

Over 90% of marketers also say that they’ve found influencer marketing effective.

However, customers are wise to IM now. There’s evidence that trust in social media influencers is diminishing and the strategy is becoming less effective – at least if marketers follow the same trends that worked five years ago.

What will influencer marketing look like in 2019 and the next few years?

Digital marketers are starting to see the advantages of a layered approach. Targeting influencers at all levels can help you to reach a much broader range of customers than only going for the top influencer. With this, we’re seeing the rise of micro-influencers – those with between 10,000 and 50,000 followers.

A brand that used micro-influencer marketing to great success was Saladworks, who launched their first chain in Atlanta, Georgia by using 16 paid and unpaid micro-influencers who contributed images, Instagram stories and coupon codes to raise awareness of Saladworks’ new menu items. They reached over 380k followers.

7. User Generated Content (UGC) Is Driving Brand Engagement

UGC is any content that users upload, such as selfies, videos and vlogs, and written content (e.g. reviews, blog articles, testimonials).

Used properly, it’s a hugely powerful inbound marketing tool that can drive a 73% increase in email clickthrough rates and a 50% rise in engagement across social media campaigns. 

When a customer interacts with a hashtag, that’s UGC. When they post a review or vlog about your product, that’s another example.

The reasons for the rise of UGC are similar to the popularity of influencer marketing: it builds trust for the brand based on evidence from real people. UGC is IM’s slightly less polished younger sibling, as the people making content for you will be regular people who aren’t paid to endorse you.

However, this has its own advantages. A combination of IM and UGC can be an excellent strategy for businesses that want to maximize their appeal to customers.

This doesn’t mean you can’t offer incentives, however – in fact, this is one of the best ways to launch a successful, sustainable UGC campaign!

An example of great UGC was National Geographic’s Wanderlust competition, which showed how this is one of the most powerful trends in marketing. The competition invited users to submit photos under a hashtag for the chance to win a photo expedition to Yosemite National Park and generated 63K posts on Instagram.

8. Visual Search Is Taking Over Digital Marketing in 2019

In 2011, Google Image Search introduced its reverse image search function. If you’re not familiar with the concept, it allows users to upload an image and search for similar ones online.

Since then, businesses have realized the huge potential for advertising and current marketing trends are moving in the direction of favoring visual search options.

Some excellent examples of visual search in new market trends include:

Pinterest Lens

This allows customers to take a picture of an item to find where. to buy it online. They can also find pinboards with similar and related items.

Google Lens

Using AI, Google Lens applies descriptive labels to objects that a customer has snapped with their phone, including buildings and landmarks, famous paintings, books and business cards.

It goes further than that. Customers can also look up book reviews by scanning the cover of a book, or save contacts from a business card by scanning the card with the app.

CamFind

A similar concept to Google Lens, CamFind labels things that customers take photos of.

A great piece of marketing integration for this app is that users can take a photo of a movie poster and CamFind will provide information on ticket prices, local showings and reviews.

9. Voice Search Is Growing More Competitive For Digital Marketing

With the popularity of Alexa and Google Assistant, marketers are becoming aware of the need to brush up on their knowledge of voice-based SEO and the differences between this and text based search.

Voice search is more competitive than text-based search, as the assistant usually only gives the customer a single result.

Nevertheless 20% of Google mobile searches are voice-based, and as customers use their phones more and more, this is only set to increase. It’s predicted that half of all searches will be voice searches by 2020, so this will be one of the biggest 2019 trends in digital marketing.

What does this mean for brands?

Soon, brands will be able to purchase ad space on Alexa and Google Assistant and will start producing their own audio content to integrate with these assistants. 

Embrace these visual marketing trends now and you could gain a significant edge over your competitors.

10. Brands Are Embracing Transparency To Build Trust

Transparency as a marketing method might seem like an odd concept, but with a saturated market comes mistrust. There are thousands of businesses doing the same thing as you, so how can you stand out?

One way that brands can build trust with their customers is to be more transparent about what they’re doing and showing the customers “behind the curtain” of their brand.

Some ways to do this include:

  • Sharing your mission in your brand story (beyond making profits)
  • Talking about your commitments to the environment or ethical supply chains and what you’re doing to make sure you’re on top of these
  • Sharing your team’s experiences on blogs, vlogs and social media posts

By showing your customers the human face of your organization, you can generate warmth towards your brand.

11. UX Optimization Is Everything

In the early 2000s, having a well-designed website was enough to give you an edge over competitors. In the age of scrolling text bars, flashing graphics and ugly menu design, anything that looked slick and modern was a plus.

Now, it’s easy for anyone to design a passable website in a relatively short period of time. A professional website is a must, but this alone won’t convince customers to stay on your site.

What makes the difference is the user experience. One of the top digital marketing trends for 2019 is to focus on your UX.

Elements of UX include:

  • Loading speed of your website
  • Menu design and placement
  • The balance of information on your landing page

How can you improve all of these things?

It’s sometimes difficult to get into the mindset of a customer when you’re familiar with all of your own content. You can hire someone to do a website audit and/or use tools like Optimizely or Monetate to do an A/B split test. Keep honing your content down to what is most effective.

12. Augmented Reality Is Providing New Uses For Existing Tech

Augmented reality in is exploding as a new digital marketing trend in 2019, and for good reason. Facebook has recently changed its algorithm to favor person-to-person interaction rather than business posts, giving marketers an incentive to offer users a great experience that they will want to engage in and share.

Augmented reality is a close cousin of virtual reality, but has a significant advantage in that it doesn’t require any special equipment or software.

Some great examples of AR in marketing include Home Depot’s app that allows customers to see how a paint color looks on their wall, or Timberland’s virtual fitting room.

What these have in common is that they provide real value to the customer rather than just being a gimmick. Follow the same principles for your brand and you can benefit from one of the best new digital marketing trends of 2019.

Action These Top 2019 Marketing Trends For Maximum Results

With customers having more and more control over the media they consume, marketers are needing to be more tuned-in than ever before to the mindset of the customer and what they want.

Now that you know the top new marketing trends for 2019, where do you go from here?

If you’re not sure how to take action, see some of our case studies for examples of how we’ve helped businesses like yours grow. 

Book a free consultation with us today and start seeing those numbers climb!

The 14 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch in 2019

The 14 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch in 2019 1240 520 Tanguy De Keyzer

To a degree, people are competitive creatures. We love a challenge when it’s all in fun. When we’re fighting for our livelihood, it’s a different story. It’s easy to see this in 2019’s digital marketing trends.

In today’s competitive digital world, every business is looking for a way to get a leg up. That’s why digital marketing trends are always changing. One strategy works until it gets saturated and then we move on to something else.

How can you update your marketing strategy in 2019 to take advantage of the latest trends? Try these options.

1. More Modes of Communication

Communication is one of the fastest-growing aspects of the internet. It’s great for customers but not so great for businesses if you don’t know how to capitalize on it.

Gone are the days when customers called you on the phone with their questions. Today’s customers reach out via email, Facebook Messenger, Twitter direct messages, and more.

As a business, you need to be available where your customers are. Have a plan in place to monitor all potential channels on a regular basis. After all, if a customer doesn’t hear back from you in a short time, they’ll move on to someone else.

Don’t have the personnel to monitor all these channels at all times? Something as simple as an automated message telling users how to reach you can still help.

2. Capitalizing on Content

You’ve heard the saying that “content is king” for several years in the world of digital marketing trends. It isn’t going anywhere.

People are more and more disillusioned with advertising. They’re tired of hearing sales pitches and they’ve learned to tune them out.

Your goal with your content should be to provide genuinely valuable information. You want to be a resource for people in order to gain their trust and recognition.

Remember that 40% of web traffic comes from organic searching. By putting out helpful and popular content, you can pull in that traffic.

3. Micro-Moments as a Digital Marketing Trend

Speaking of search traffic, keeping an eye on Google’s tips and advice is a must. This includes their theory on micro-moments.

Micro-moments refer to the short periods of time when web users are looking to fulfill a specific purpose. In other words, each person online has a specific goal and that goal is the only thing they’re interested in.

In particular, Google states that each user is in one of four micro-moments. They may be in an “I want to know,” “I want to go,” “I want to do,” or “I want to buy” micro-moment.

You can use this theory by thinking about the micro-moment each user is in when they’re viewing a certain page and tailoring the page to meet that goal.

4. Everyone Is a Storyteller

If you haven’t played around with stories on your social media pages, now is the time to hop on board.

Facebook and Instagram, in particular, have thriving “stories” features in which users can bind together a series of pictures and videos.

As a marketer, this is a powerful tool for you. Your story will show up at the top of your followers’ timelines, giving you extra visibility.

A story also lets you offer more detailed content and control the order in which users see your pictures. Experiment with stories in your social media marketing strategy for the year.

5. More Emphasis on AI in Digital Marketing

You’re hearing the term “artificial intelligence” everywhere, and it has different purposes in different situations.

When it comes to marketing, AI and marketing automation are all about using data. A user’s browsing data can help you deliver the ads to them that best appeal to their interests.

Artificial intelligence has great potential for upselling and earning repeat customers too. For instance, AI can analyze a customer’s shopping cart and make recommendations for add-on purchases.

In a similar way, you can email customers about new products you’d recommend for them based on their buying history. 

6. Getting It on Film

Video marketing started as a “nice to have” and has worked its way up to being a “must have” in today’s digital marketing trends. It shows no signs of slowing down in 2019.

Your video marketing shouldn’t be a series of commercials. It needs to be educational and deliver helpful information your customers are looking for.

For example, let’s say you’re running a clothing boutique. Make a video that shows how to properly take your measurements. “Fashion trend of the week” videos can be hits too.

A simple graphic on the screen and a brief mention of your business name are enough to get the job done. Still, make sure the tone of your videos is consistent with your brand.

Each time you film a video, make the most of it. Post it on YouTube, your social media pages, and on your website when appropriate. You can send them out in e-blasts too. 

7. Morality Marketing

During the economic recession, price was the top concern for most consumers. Now that we’re well into our recovery, consumers have other reasons for making their purchasing decisions.

More and more people are choosing which businesses to patronize based on their morals. Examining and improving the ethics of your business can have a surprising impact on your revenue.

You’ve probably noticed that more and more companies are raising their employees’ minimum wages. While they may want to improve their employees’ situations, they also love the publicity and positive image it gives them.

8. Chatting Them Up

When it comes to your website, how easy is it for users to reach you? If your communication could use a hand, consider the hot trend of chatbots.

Experts predict that chatbot use will skyrocket to 25% in the next year. That’s especially impressive when you realize that the rate was 2% in 2017.

A chatbot is an artificial intelligence bot that chats with your users on your site. You could use it to answer common questions or make suggestions based on the user’s activity.

There is a catch, though. If you don’t execute your chatbot well, it can have the opposite effect. Giving poor answers and misunderstanding questions will make customers feel like you’re absent and mechanical.

You also need to be careful about pushing your chatbot too hard. If your chat pops up every time a user goes to a new page, they’ll get annoyed in a hurry. That’s a sure way to chase away potential customers.

9. More Sophisticated Voice Assistants

Chances are that at least one person at your holiday parties last year received a digital voice assistant. These include the Amazon Alexa, the Google Home, and other brands.

On top of this, Apple’s Siri and Google’s voice assistant are popular tools for smartphone users

This matters to your marketing strategy because it impacts the way you do search engine optimization. Think about the way consumers ask questions and cater your content to fit.

One easy change is to add frequently asked questions on your content pages. Questions in headers make it easy for voice assistants to recognize when your content is relevant and share it with their users.

Depending on your business, you can even allow users to complete certain actions with their voice assistants. For instance, some restaurants allow customers to order through their Alexa. 

10. Personalization in Digital Marketing

Your customers are busy folks. They don’t have time to sort through mass-produced information. Nor do they want to.

Instead, personalize your marketing materials so they’re relevant to each person. We’re not talking about tossing someone’s name in the subject of an email.

True personalization in 2019 is about tracking a person’s activity and using it to send them helpful information. When you send them an email with your newest products, include the ones they’re most likely to enjoy.

Another way to do this is with triggered touchpoints.

For instance, let’s say your business is a medical practice. Set up an email that goes out to any known user 24 hours after they’ve visited your site without setting up an appointment. This email invites them to schedule an appointment via email. 

11. Finding Some Clout

In a perfect world, you’d be able to generate enough of a following online to fill your ledge and then some. That’s not often the case in reality.

That’s why influencer marketing will continue to grow in 2019. Part of the beauty of the internet is that people from any walk of life can have a voice and gain a following.

Reach out to influencers, especially those in your industry. For instance, you could sponsor a vlogger’s video so they’ll talk about your product. You may also be able to buy ads in their social media posts or in their videos. 

12. Tinder for Businesses

When we say “Tinder for businesses,” we aren’t talking about business dating. We’re talking about location-based communication.

In 2019 we’ll continue to see a rise in geotargeting. Geotargeting involves targeting your ads specifically toward people in a geographic area.

While this isn’t new, it’s becoming more and more narrow. With smartphones, you can know where your users are at all times.

One tactic is to set up a radius around your location. For instance, perhaps you’re running an auto parts store that’s having a sale on a Sunday. Throughout that Sunday, you’ll send an email to every customer who enters your radius.

These hyperlocal targeted communications are often the final push someone needs before they make a purchase. They’re even more effective if you have an app that lets you send push notifications to customers’ phones.

13. Joining the Podcast Party

Podcasts aren’t new by any stretch of the imagination. For whatever reason, though, they’ve surged in popularity over the past few years. This trend will continue in 2019.

There are plenty of ways to take advantage of this as a marketer. The simplest option is to purchase ads on popular podcasts. Target podcasts that fit with your industry, like advertising your stationary store on a writing podcast, to reach qualified leads.

If you want to jump in with both feet, why not create your own podcast? You’re an expert in your area of business and there are sure to be customers who want to hear your insights.

For instance, let’s take the stationary store example. You could create a podcast about wedding planning.

You can be the expert when it comes to invitations and other correspondences. Bring in experts for the topics that aren’t in your wheelhouse like planning a menu or trimming a guest list.

14. Loading Speed

It should come as no surprise that today’s customers are impatient. They have long to-do lists and they aren’t willing to sit and wait for a site to load if they can easily get the same information elsewhere.

This is only part of the reason you should invest time in making your site load faster. The other reason is that directly impacts your search engine optimization.

Google has stated that they are prioritizing sites that load faster. For instance, let’s say someone is searching for “local gym.” If your competitor’s site is faster than yours, you’ll be playing second fiddle to them.

Taking Advantage of the Latest Digital Marketing Trends

Digital marketing changes fast enough to make your head spin. It seems like every day there’s a new online sensation and someone is finding a way to market with it.

In such a competitive environment, keeping up with the latest trends is the only way to stay on top. The digital marketing trends above can help you reach customers in all age ranges more effectively.

If this all feels too overwhelming for you to tackle yourself, you’re in good company. Call our digital marketing experts for more hands-on help with your success.

Choosing the Top Digital Marketing Agencies

Choosing the Top Digital Marketing Agencies 1240 520 Tanguy De Keyzer

Over 4.3 billion people worldwide are active users on the internet. Does your business have the digital marketing strategy to capture attention from online users? Top digital marketing agencies can help you strategize and capture more traffic.

Your target audience doesn’t include all the billions of active internet users. But having a smart digital marketing strategy does help you find your niche audience.

An effective digital marketing campaign increases traffic, builds your audience, and increases sales.

Finding time to sort out which strategies work best isn’t easy when you’re running a business. Your industry is your specialty. Marketing may not come as easy.

Working with one of the top digital marketing agencies is an easy solution. You get marketing expertise without pulling yourself away from your business.

How do you know which digital marketing agency is the best? Which one is the right match for you?

Looking past all the claims and hype can take some work. Explore our list of ways to choose a marketing agency to find your perfect match.

Know What You Need From Marketing Firms

It’s tough to choose a qualified online marketing agency if you don’t know what you want them to do. Start by deciding what results you want. Do you want increased sales, improved brand awareness, increased traffic? 

Now, figure out how you want to do that. Look at your current online marketing situation to sort out what you need. Here are some questions to consider:

  • What’s going well with your marketing strategy?
  • Which methods aren’t effective for you?
  • Are there online marketing strategies you aren’t using but want to try?
  • Which marketing strategies are confusing to you?
  • What do you think would make the most difference to your business?

If you already have someone handling your online marketing, consider that person’s strengths and weaknesses. Maybe that person does well with content marketing. But Facebook ads and social media marketing are foreign territory.

Knowing what you need helps you choose a company that can help. That information also helps guide the company that you hire to help with your marketing.

Check Out Online Marketing Agency Services

When you search “marketing agencies near me,” you’ll get lots of results, so you’ll need a way to compare them. What services does each company offer? Do those services match what you want and need? 

Digital marketing agencies typically offer a range of services. That might include:

  • Market research
  • Case studies
  • SEO
  • Online advertising
  • Marketing automation
  • Buyer personas
  • Lead generation
  • Link building
  • Social media marketing
  • Content strategy

Check out the offerings at any companies you’re considering. Think about not only your current needs but future growth. What services might you need as your company grows?

If a company can’t grow with you, consider another option with a wider range of services.

Look at Company Specialties

Top digital marketing agencies may offer lots of marketing services. But not every service is their specialty. Where do they excel? 

One agency might specialize in marketing automation tools. Another might lead the pack in social media marketing.

It doesn’t mean the company can’t handle other marketing activities competently. But knowing where a company performs well can help you find a good match for your needs. 

Say you want to focus on link building to improve your SEO. A company with a proven track record in getting results with link building helps you reach that goal faster.

Compare Company Cultures

You’ve found a company with a quality portfolio. They offer the services you need. You’ll probably get good results.

But a culture clash could make the experience difficult. It’s tough to work with a company with completely different values. 

Say your company culture values creativity and collaboration with an employee-focused approach. Imagine working with a marketing company that cares only about profits and treats employees poorly. You’ll likely feel uncomfortable in your interactions.

Check out the company culture information on the agency’s website. Then, pay attention to the interactions you have with them. 

How do they treat you and their employees? If you like what you see, you may have a good match. If the culture seems negative, you may want to keep looking.

Verify Who Will Work on Your Account

A company you’re considering boasts about the top performers on the payroll. That’s great, but are those people the ones who will actually do the work for you?

Top agencies employ a large staff. Not all of them have years of proven marketing experience. Some are junior-level staff just getting started.

Those junior staff members may deliver as promised. But it’s a good idea to find out exactly who’ll be working on your account before you sign. 

If you start out talking to someone with lots of experience, it feels like bait-and-switch if the person doing the actual work is a junior staffer. You’ll feel better if you talk with the same person who’ll do the work from the beginning. You get a better idea of what to expect because you start building that rapport early.

Some people don’t mind working with junior staff members. They have to get their experience somewhere, right?

Figure out how you feel about it. Check before you agree to anything to see who your assigned person is.

Analyze the Promises

A marketing agency that guarantees unrealistic goals likely won’t deliver. Always pick apart the promises to make sure they’re specific and realistic.

Does the company guarantee you a first-place search result when you’re currently on the fifth page? Shooting up to the first spot isn’t easy, especially for high-competition keywords. 

Think about what the company promises and how realistic that result is. Look for a company that can achieve what they’re promising. 

Understand the Process

Digital marketing processes tend to be similar. But each agency does things a little differently. 

Ask about the process the company uses before you choose. A clear understanding of the process helps you plan. 

It’s also a good test to make sure the company knows what they’re doing. A top digital marketing agency should have a set process that works. If they’re vague or can’t really tell you what their process is, it could be a red flag.

The process should involve researching your company and understanding your brand to the core. They should define the strategies they’ll use for your campaign. They should also develop key performance indicators (KPIs) for the project.

After delivering the marketing products, the company should follow up with testing. This period shows any adjustments that need to be made to maximize your ROI.

Check Out Their Work

One of the easiest ways to check out the work of marketing firms is to look at how they handle their own business.

What does their website look like? Does it rank high in search results? Do they use video, infographics, and other multimedia? 

Think about the work you want them to do. Then, look at how well they do that thing for their own business.

Looking for help with your social media marketing? Check out their social media channels to look at followers, engagement, and quality.

Are you looking for help with content marketing? Comb through online marketing agency blogs to see how well they use content marketing themselves.

If they have their own online presence under control, look at their clients. Many marketing firms include portfolios showing past work. Check out those companies.

When you look at those past clients, do they have anything in common with you? Seeing results with similar companies is a sign that this marketing agency might be able to help you, too.

Say you’re a small business looking for growth. Are most of the clients of the agency also small businesses? Did they see the growth they wanted?

You can also ask for referrals. Check with those people to see what it’s like working with the company.

Ask for Data

Seeing work the company’s done isn’t always enough. Ads can look pretty, but do they convert?

Does the company help clients reach the first page of search results with their SEO strategies? First-page results claim 71% of clicks from search traffic. If that’s what you’re going for, you want a company that can deliver those first-page results.

Any company can claim they’ll give you those results. Does the company you’re considering have the numbers to back it up?

Ask for data to back up the company’s claims that they’re a top digital marketing agency. Do they have case studies showing results with past clients? Can they give you figures to show how well past marketing campaigns worked?

Seeing the results in black and white shows you what the company can do. Every campaign is different, so don’t expect the exact same results. But if the company shows a history of success, you can expect the same for your company.

Find Out About Communication

How does the agency keep in touch with you while they work on your project? How often can you expect to hear from them? How do you get in touch if you have a question or concern?

Ask the details about how communication works during a project so you know what to expect. Then, think about how you best communicate. Do the two line up?

Communication is also important after the agency completes the work. How will they share the results of the campaigns with you? How will you know how well the campaign is doing?

Maybe the company will send you a report weekly or monthly. Maybe you’ll have a login with access to data on the company’s website.

The type of information in those reports is also key. Is it pure data? Looking at a report full of numbers probably won’t tell you much.

Or does the company explain those numbers? Do they give you insight into what they mean? Do they provide strategies based on those results?

Consider Value Not Just Price

You no doubt have a marketing budget. All businesses do. But don’t look at price alone.

You can find a lot of cheap digital marketing agencies out there. A top digital marketing agency won’t be cheap.

First, price isn’t always accurate.

Two companies may charge the same amount for a content marketing campaign. One does thorough keyword research and offers quality writing. But they only produce 10 piece of content.

For the same price, another company produces 15 pieces of content. But they don’t do adequate keyword research. The quality of writing isn’t as good, either.

The second agency sounds like a better deal because you get more content for the same price. But will that content do much for you if it’s not well-researched and well-written?

An agency without the necessary skills produces sub-par work. You save a little money. But you also aren’t going to see a big boost in sales.

You may end up redoing the work yourself or spending more money on a different agency. 

Spending a little more on a higher quality agency gets you better quality work. You’ll likely see a bigger increase in sales. You recoup those extra costs plus more when you choose the right company.

Looking long term, it’s best to invest upfront to know you’re getting quality work.

Ask for a Proposal

A proposal helps you look at what the company has in mind for your business. It’s a way to see the specifics of whether or not it’s a good fit.

When you fill out a request for proposal, give the digital marketing company as much information as possible. Detailing your brand, your goals, and your needs helps the company create an accurate proposal.

Try a Test Project

Still a little worried about choosing the right agency? You don’t have to go all-in with the company immediately. 

Ease into the relationship with a small-scale test project. Agreeing to a smaller project means less commitment. 

You might have the company audit your website or create a content marketing post.

That small project gives you firsthand experience with how the agency works. You can see the process in action. And you see the results of their work.

If the test project goes well, you’ve found your agency. You can send over the rest of the marketing work you want them to do.

If you don’t feel comfortable with the process or the results, you may want to keep looking. 

Compare Top Digital Marketing Agencies

Deciding between top digital marketing agencies doesn’t have to be difficult. Look at the different aspects we outlined above to narrow down the choices.

Contact us to get more information on our digital marketing services. We use a data-driven model that gets results.

Pure Page-Turners: 12 Must-Read Marketing Books for the Seriously Committed CMO

Pure Page-Turners: 12 Must-Read Marketing Books for the Seriously Committed CMO 1240 520 Tanguy De Keyzer

You may be surprised to hear that the average American reads about 12 books each year. However, the most successful people in the business world are often avid readers of books. 

The founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates claims to read up to one book per week. That’s more than 50 books each year. 

When he was younger, the entrepreneur and inventor Elon Musk read a lot as well. He says that he would spend ten hours per day reading books, usually about science-fiction. 

What about the investor Warren Buffett? This billionaire magnet spends up to six hours every day reading newspapers and magazines, as well as dozens of books. 

Are you a seriously committed CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) for your company?

You should be tearing through marketing books all the time. But, it’s not always easy to know where to start. There are so many amazing marketing books available. 

Check out our month by month guide to the best marketing books you should read this year. Let’s go!

January – More is More by Black Morgan

It can be pretty gloomy in January. Therefore, it’s important to have a page-turner to make the month go faster.

Customer experience is increasingly within the domain of the CMO. You’re expected to do more than hand the money to the TV ad guys. 

Morgan explains that consumers want a better customer experience. In fact, up to 86 per cent of consumers say they’ll pay more for the same product or service for great customer experience. 

If you feel as though you’re entering unknown territory with customer experience. That wasn’t in your training, right?

Black Morgan’s More is More can help you navigate your way to improve the customer experience in your organization.

The book promises to reveal “how the best companies go farther and work harder to create knock-your-socks-off customer experiences.”

Morgan doesn’t have any time for people who talk without action. This is a book which gives you the blueprint for strategizing with your team to transform customer experience at your company. 

February – Outside Insight by Jørn Lyseggen

Your organization has probably been collecting data about everything from the efficiency of your operations to customer satisfaction. 

This is what Lyseggen calls “internal data.” He argues that many companies are in a bubble of their own making. It can feel like you’re drowning in data unable to make decisions. 

You make decisions about how to change your organization’s operations on the basis of data which you have generated yourselves.

Since the world is data-driven, you can learn to tap into “external data” to inform yourself about how to run your company better.

As well as helpful insights from a wide range of other fields and sectors, Lyseggen provides “real world” examples. 

You’ll be introduced to a group of researchers in Norway who gather data on how the spelling of the word “Ketchup” changed over time.

You get to meet a glass window company which tracks breaking and entering to determine the demand for replacement windows.  

You’ll come away with a better understanding of how to harness data to drive business decisions which actually bring results. 

March – Performance Partnerships by Robert Glazer

Glazer’s book is about how to make the most of affiliate marketing.

This is defined as performance-based marketing where a company rewards affiliate companies for each customer converted. 

Glazer makes two arguments at the start of the book.

The first is that “affiliate marketing” is largely misunderstood. The second is that the strategy has not been utilized effectively enough. 

The experienced entrepreneur and author hope to fill in the gaps.

If you were ever on the fence about whether affiliate marketing is right for your organization, you’ll be convinced after reading this book. 

April – Top of Mind by John Hall

As spring begins to set in, you should be looking for a book which brightens your mood going forward. 

John Hall has produced a book which has been described as “an absolute must-read for any professional or company seeking to build influence and lead their industry.”

That’s quite an assessment! 

Top of Mind tells the story of how Hall established himself, his brand and a wide network of business relationships. 

Once you open the first page of this marketing book, you won’t be able to put it down until you’ve finished it. Even then, you’ll want to start at the beginning again.

Even in our “digital age” the most important skill for any CMO remains the capacity to build relationships with other people.  

This is the most engaging book you’ll ever read about how to form a business network to drive your organization forward. 

May – Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

In today’s world, every person has a brand. You cannot fight this trend. Handley wants us to embrace it!

She reminds us that ultimately marketing is about producing engaging and interesting content which is geared towards your target audience.

Whether you’re working for a small startup or business conglomerate, it’s the same deal for everyone. You’ve got to produce great content!

The marketing veteran takes us through how to produce outstanding content, tell our story and publish it ourselves. 

In “Everybody Writes” you’ll find an impressive range of tips and tricks to improve your content for the digital age. 

June – Chief Marketing Officers at Work by Josh Steimle

At the height of summer, you can start to ask yourself the big questions in life.

Such as, is marketing an art or a science? That’s a philosophical question like few others. Steimle’s book offers you a meditation on this subject. 

It’s certainly true that data analytics, digital marketing, and automation are transforming what it means to work in marketing.

However, CMOs have to hold on to the elements of creativity and innovation which characterize marketing as well. 

Steimle helps you to balance the two perspectives at the same time. Think about if you could handle both aspects of marketing. You would be unstoppable!

This marketing book puts together the insights and expertise of dozens of marketing professionals who have been successful in their fields. 

You won’t believe how much you can learn from other colleagues in your field. You’ll be better equipped to achieve your goals after reading this essential book. 

July – Hug the Haters by Jay Baer 

If you want to add a dose of humor to your collection of marketing books, Baer’s Hug the Haters is a must-read. 

It is a pretty alarming statistic that over 80 percent of organizations say that they provide outstanding customer service.

The fact is that only 8 percent of customers agree with this assessment. There appears to be a gap in expectations here.

This is the problem that Baer investigates in his engaging and highly relevant book. He argues that companies don’t speak to their customers enough.

You need to get out there on social media to really get to know what’s on the minds of your customers. Engaging with dissatisfied customers is absolutely essential for Baer.  

August – They Ask You Answer by Marcus Sheridan

You’re probably looking for the perfect summer vacation reading. Marcus Sheridan’s “They Ask You Answer” is the ideal solution. 

Sheridan’s book takes you back to the year 2008. In the middle of the housing crisis, the author’s pool company was struggling.

You’ll discover how his company went from treading water to an undeniable success story over a few years. 

According to the big man, success was built on the strategy of content marketing.

The company started to produce online content which promoted his brand and product. The content simply answered FAQs and expanded from there.

Sheridan explains how you could be wasting your marketing budget on television ads or online ad banners.

He argues that you’ve got to build trust between your company and your customer base. Only then will you be able to establish yourself.  

September – The Content Formula by Michael Brenner and Liz Bedor 

If you haven’t had enough of content marketing on your reading list for this year, you should explore the Content Formula as well.

If you’re not familiar with content marketing, the prospect of producing high-quality content for your company’s website may be overwhelming. 

If Sheridan’s book is about inspiring you to invest in content marketing for your company. Brenner and Bedor can explain the nuts and bolts. 

This book breaks everything down to the nitty-gritty so that you can construct your content marketing approach from the ground up.

After you come to the end of this career-changing book, you’ll know everything you need to know to drive your marketing efforts forward. 

October – I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi

Sometimes, the best books on marketing are not actually marketing books. Since marketing is ultimately about human beings, you never know where you’ll going to unearth insights into how to better to connect with people. 

You need to keep an open mind to where you can discover powerful knowledge and unearth valuable information.

Ajayi’s hilarious and profound book is described by Redbook as “the ultimate handbook on the dos and don’ts of socially navigating the digital era.”

The author is described by the New York Times as “the internet’s newest comic phenom.”

This is a guide to “do better”, according to the author. You’ll experience every emotion while reading this book and you’ll never forget it’s message or insights.  

November – This Is Marketing by Seth Godin

As the cold winter gradually brings the temperature down, it’s time for a book which challenges your assumptions about what you thought you knew. 

The profound title of the book is worth reflecting on. Godin writes, “You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See.”

This is the essence of his understanding of marketing. If you want to develop your marketing strategies, you’ve got to learn about the world around you.

Godin argues that marketing can never appeal to everyone. You’ve got to accept that you’re targeting a niche audience with your message.

This marketing book gets quite conceptional. But, readers who are willing to undergo a little philosophizing will be treated to some peaches. 

This book helps you to understand how you can create a story with your brand. While he is not shy about telling you his feelings about marketers who cut prices to reach customers. 

December – Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker 

This is not just a marketing book. This is a book which everyone in business (and beyond) should read. 

The subtitle of Barking Up The Wrong Tree is “The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong.”

You’ll be treated some nuggets of insight.

These include the fact that people who say “I” and “me” a lot have a higher chance of failure in business. And also, people who enjoy drinking alcohol make on average more money than people who abstain from alcohol. 

Barker portrays an outstanding ability to use scientific evidence to make his argument compelling and engaging. He takes you through a journey of the well-trodden paths to success. 

The author harnasses data to make the case for being optimistic. He also shows why the data supports putting in hours and hours of hard work to achieve results.

Barker is also a big prominent of gamification. This is the belief that transforming work tasks into games is the most effective approach. In other words, adding fun into dull chores.

Twelve Marketing Books for Twelve Months

This could be the year that you really get to the grips with the best marketing books ever published.

There is only so much you can learn from reading business blogs and following entrepreneurs on social media. 

After a while, you’ve got to commit to reading the top marketing books which are shaping the debate about how to reach out to your customers. 

Do you want to discover more about how you can improve your marketing efforts for your organization?

You should get in touch with us!

12 Tips, Tricks, and Strategies to Redefine the Ultimate Customer Experience

12 Tips, Tricks, and Strategies to Redefine the Ultimate Customer Experience 1240 520 Tanguy De Keyzer

73% of customers become attracted to a brand and establish loyalty if the customer service reps are friendly. No matter the size of your business, always strive to deliver quality customer experience. Failure to provide clients with positive customer experience has led firms to lose out on revenue.

Customers will quickly switch to a new brand if they feel unappreciated by the current brand. Today’s customer knows how to differentiate between exceptional and average customer experience. Big companies like Amazon, Apple, and Netflix have been keen on delivering high-quality service.  

Consequently, customers expect nothing short of what they’ve been getting from the tops dogs.

Unfortunately, most companies invest more in winning customers more than they do to keep the existing ones happy. It’s more rewarding to keep existing customers happy, than trying to get new ones. Improving customer experience is a company’s most potent marketing weapon.

What’s Customer Experience?

Customer experience entails a lot of elements but boils down to the perception a customer holds about a brand. Many people hold the idea that their brand and customer experience are the same thing. This couldn’t be more wrong because the customer could think differently about your brand.

For example, you could have high-quality products and strong customer experience. However, if a customer gets a defective product and fails to get it fixed their perception of your brand is low-quality products. This becomes their reality, which they can easily pass on to other customers.  

With this knowledge, you can see why it’s crucial to manage the perception of your customers. It’s an area that companies need to invest in if they’re to remain in business. Customer experience encompasses everything a company does.

Right from the messaging, it uses in content marketing to what happens after sales, customer experience should be a priority. Other internal actors like the leadership of the company, its leadership, and internal interworking also contribute to customer experience.

It’s worth noting that a company could be doing well in one area but be deficient in another. This can contribute to an overall poor experience for the customers. The overall perception is determined by things like product quality, store cleanliness, and ease of website navigation.

Strive to create a seamless flow at every step of a customer’s journey, and this will create positive perceptions. Every person in a company has the responsibility of contributing to managing the opinion of customers.

Perception is Reality

For you to deliver fantastic customer experience, you have to shape the perception customers have about your company. The perception they have forms their reality about your company. If they walk from your company feeling like their needs weren’t met, those are the feelings they’ll associate with your organization.

Companies can make customers’ eyes light up, or their blood boils as they interact. Experiences are a combination of perceptions, feelings, and emotions. If one of these aspects of experience is tampered with, it all boils down to negative customer experience.

Consistency is Crucial

Perception means nothing if a company lacks consistency. Today, a customer could be satisfied with a service. Tomorrow, things could change if they don’t receive the same quality of service. If a company is to build loyalty, it must deliver the same experience each time it interacts with its customers.

Redefining Customer Experience

One of the factors that largely contribute to the customer experience is customer service. A company should work on delivering seamless customer service at all times. In so doing, it can broadly impact on the perception of its customers.

Customer service entails ensuring the delivery of high-quality services before, during, and after sales. It’s about putting your feet in the customer’s shoes and delivering what you’d want to be given to you. In the long run, it contributes to Customer Experience Management.

What are the specific strategies that companies can use to redefine customer experience? Let’s have a look.

1. Understand Who Your Customers Are

If you’re to create a positive customer experience, you must start by defining the category of your customers. Who are those people who will be interacting with your customer support teams? Your teams must be able to understand, connect, and empathize with the situations the customers face.

A good way of understanding your customers is to create customer personas and give them a name and personality. For example, John is 29 years old and likes new technology. He is tech savvy enough to follow a video on his own.

George is 42 years old and needs a lot of guidance in matters technology. He does well with clear instructions outlined on the webpage.

Once you create such persons, you’re able to encompass the needs, abilities, and interests of your customers. It’s also a way that helps you become more customer-centric while understanding them better.

2. Define and Create a Precise Customer Experience Vision

The next step in creating a customer experience strategy is to have a clear vision. It should be more about the customers than it is about the company. The easiest way to define the concept should be to create a set of statements which act as guiding principles.

Your statements could define what you need to do to deliver excellent service. They could also revolve around embracing change and operating in integrity, humility, and upholding core values.

Once you’ve put these principles in place, they’ll be the driving force behind the behavior of your company. It’s essential that every member of the company learns the principles by heart. They also should be embedded in all areas of training.

3. Connect Emotionally with Your Clients

Customer experience is achieved when team members develop an emotional connection with the customers. An example of emotional connection is celebrating with your customers when they have something to celebrate.

Sending your customers a bouquet when they are celebrating their birthday creates an emotional connection. When customers are engaged emotionally, they’re likely to become loyal customers.

4. Respond to Customer Feedback Promptly

It’s recommendable to ask your customers how they feel about your services. An ideal way to find out is to capture feedback as soon as the services are delivered. For example, send up a follow-up email to customers after service delivery.

Use post-interaction surveys and similar tools to automate the process. You may also make outbound calls for more insights into the feedback. For more results, consider trying customer feedback to a specific customer service agent.

Remember to respond to customer’s feedback promptly.

5. Develop Your Team Using a Quality Framework

With the steps above, you’ll be in a position to know what your customers think about your services. Compare this against the experience principles you’ve defined. Next, identify the training gaps that exist for each team member.

Some companies track phone conversations and email communication to assess the quality of customer service. A quality framework takes this further by scheduling development training, coaching, group training, and eLearning.

6. Use Customer Experience as a Marketing Tool

You would be on the right track to consider customer experience as the new marketing. By studying consumer behaviors and thought patterns today, you can change how you relate with customers. As people lose faith in mass marketing campaigns, they’re placing more emphasis on their experience with companies.

This means that if you’re able to handle every return seamlessly, you’ll be doing some form of marketing. For example, repairing a defective product even after the warranty has expired is a form of marketing. Assisting a customer’s family member who’s not a direct client is also marketing.

7. Embrace Customer Service

Sometimes, companies may feel reluctant to invest heavily in customer service. It may feel like a black hole in the company’s finances. Unfortunately, what these companies seem to ignore is that customer service pays for itself.

If you have a team that strives to keep customers happy and their perceptions right, loyalty is guaranteed. Loyalty means more sales, more referrals, and more growth for your company. Think of customer service as a form of marketing, which eventually pays off if done right.

8. Remember It’s Not Just About New Customers

Companies strive a lot to impress new customers. When they think of customer experience, in their mind it’s about how they make new customers happy to make them come back. The truth is, customer experience is more about the existing customers.

Companies are 60-70% more likely to sell to existing consumers as opposed to 5-20% likelihood of selling to a new customer. Acquiring a new customer is also seven times more expensive than maintaining a new one. This said you’d rather direct all efforts towards improving the experience of existing customers.  

9. Add Value to Customers’ Experience

Through the internet and online marketplaces, anyone can put their goods and services out in the market. This means there’s a lot of competition and you’ve got to strive to stand out from the crowd. You can do this by going over and above what the competitors have to offer.

For example, if you sell products that need assembling, posting them with a video tutorial could improve customer experience. It cuts down on the frustration, time, and potential mistakes that would spoil the customer experience.

10. Digitalize In-Store Experiences

Companies have the best opportunity to wow their customers by offering them the most memorable in-store experiences. However, all the basics must be put in place first. For example, if you lack the right products or the process of transacting isn’t easy, you’ll miss out on creating a pleasant customer experience.

Retailers should focus on getting rid of all friction that inhibits purchasing in-store. If the conventions of online purchases are disrupted, it’s highly unlikely that customers will visit physical stores.

11. Embracing the Mobile Revolution

In 2008, there was a bold prediction that mobile would take over desktop usage by 2014. While the forecast was right, it failed to take into account the visit-to-conversion gap that would follow. While conversion on mobile is on the rise, it’s not as high as mobile traffic to retail websites.

Use of mobile is gaining prevalence across the globe. Unfortunately, most sales still happen on the desktop because mobile experiences are still subpar. A certain percentage of consumers find it easier to shop on desktops than on mobile.

There’s need to adopt progressive web apps for e-commerce. They’ll mean a substantial increase in mobile conversions. PWAs enhance transactions, reduce cart abandonment, and ultimately increase profits.

Go for mobile technology with the best scanning technology, in-store maps, and wish list capability. These go far in creating the best in-store experience. They’ll also create potential to locate items more easily in stores and adjacent ones.

12. Measure the Returns on Investment for Great Customer Experience

Once you’ve adopted all the above strategies and tips, you need to know whether they’re paying off. You’ll find your answers in the business results. Measuring customer experience can be quite a challenge for many companies.

Luckily there are tools you can use to help you collect valuable information. One of them is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). It gathers information by asking customers whether they’d recommend the company to friends and family.

Final Thoughts

Customer expectations towards brands are now higher than any other time in history. As customers become more empowered, they expect to get the best customer experience from brands. This is an area that requires constant nurturing and care by brands.

The more companies enhance customer experience, the more they’ll realize higher retention, customer loyalty, and increased revenue.

For companies to realize these benefits, they must adopt specific growth strategies for better customer experience. Among the strategies is improved customer service. How you treat your customers determines how they perceive your brand.

Train your team to connect with your customers emotionally. Nothing draws a customer closer to a brand than knowing that the company values their relationship. Invest in tools and software that help you respond to customer feedback promptly and precisely.

Most importantly, empathize with your customers. You can only understand them and their needs better if you walk a mile in their shoes.

Do you have any questions? Be sure to contact us at any time.

Know Your Role: The Ever-Changing Chief Marketing Officer Challenges and Trends

Know Your Role: The Ever-Changing Chief Marketing Officer Challenges and Trends 1240 520 Tanguy De Keyzer

In recent years digitization has expanded the definition of marketing. With user-generated media and the emergence and growth of social influencers, marketers have had to reinvent themselves and adapt to these new and dynamic marketing factions.

It comes as no surprise then that the role of the Chief Marketing Officer has become one of the most important functions in companies today. It now takes on a more abstract approach to marketing than traditional methods did in the past.

There’s a lot more competition today than there was before. This means that CMOs now have to learn to think outside the box. They have to come up with creative ways of meeting the expectations of the modern consumer. 

They’re tasked with crafting strategies to engage with customers in the digital sphere. This allows them to grow their brand and stay current with the evolving market. This article takes an in-depth look at the ever-changing CMO job description. What does the future hold for this position? Read on.

1. The Customer-Centricity Champion

The CMO is best placed to champion the importance of a holistic, customer experience. But, what is a CMO? Think of them as design-thinkers. They’ve to use an empathetic approach to identifying what the customer perspective is.

CMOs and their teams must test their marketing strategies nonstop. This ensures that they meet the want of customers. A marketing-driven customer approach means that they ask, “What do our customers want?” as opposed to the traditional, “How do we market our product.”

By flipping this narrative, Chief Marketers focus on building customer relationships through crafting informative, entertaining and relevant content experiences. Their marketing duties extend to the entire customer lifecycle. Using audience insights, they learn the emotional part of brand storytelling which gives them a leg up over their competitors.

2. The Chief Cross-Functional Collaborator

In today’s organizational setup, marketing is no longer an isolated function. It plugs into product development, sales and lots of other customer-oriented service arms.

According to key findings in IBM’s report on the Total Economic Impact of Design Thinking Practice, there is a direct undeniable link between cross-functional collaboration and reducing costs in streamlining processes. This goes to show that, in order for CMOs to manage customer experience, they need to work in close quarters with these other functions.

It is impossible to expect CMOs to be the total experience owners in any large organization. What would the point be of getting a new customer, only to then lose them because of a disappointing product? It would amount to a zero-sum game.

What’s more, with the digital realm being the new frontier for customer engagement, the CMO marketing role has expanded to include the entire end-to-end experience. This might mean changing products, pricing or even packaging. 

As chief change agents, they have a strong voice to render in the formulation of company policies. The best approach most CMOs use is placing customer experience representatives in every section of the business. This ensures that they have a real-time view of the customer moment-to-moment at scale.

3. The Creativity Advocate

The CMO role needs to be data-driven. Understanding consumer behavior forms only one part of the bigger picture. Data plays an important role in marketing.

But, creativity will always remain the backbone of great marketing. CMOs must be able to push the boundaries of creative thinking and innovation. Breaking these barriers means exploring new channels and forging new partnerships.

It also promotes a culture of iterative testing. Its primary goal is to improve the customer’s experience. The modern-day CMO needs to be agile and have a growth-oriented mindset.

This helps to cultivate lasting partnerships with their fellow executives and to understand what they need. That way they can offer their creativity to support them. In the same breath, CMOs also have to communicate what they need from them and focus on those needs.

4. The CMO as a Transparency Activist

Today’s customers demand a higher level of transparency from companies than ever before. The same applies to employees of the organization as well.

Corporations can no longer afford to hide behind the guise of the corporate veil. Trust is the foundation of transparency and this operates on 2 critical levels. First, can organizations trust their marketing functions to spend their operating budgets efficiently?

13% of CMOs rank securing a marketing budget as one of the most challenging tasks they face. So, it becomes quite clear why they need to provide ROI for their marketing activities. At the end of the day, it all boils down to the numbers.

Second, can the consumer trust that the advertisements they see are authentic? There’s no faster way to lose a customer than over-promising and under-delivering.

The CMO becomes a powerful driving force in pushing for transparency at every level. This is the one attribute in leadership whose payoff can is quantifiable.

5. The Master of Deep Audience Insights

Every marketer’s strategy centers on market research and focus groups. These methods provide a bird’s eye view of their audience. But, it leaves them with huge amounts of unstructured data that can provide even greater insight into their customer base.

To make sense out of it, CMOs need to invest in AI technology to comb through all this untapped information. They get an in-depth insight into both their existing and potential customer base.

They can then tailor a customer experience design that caters to every segment of the company’s audience. Any CMO who wants their organization to compete with other players on a global scale cannot afford to overlook the central role that data science plays in achieving industry dominance.

6. The Spearhead of Delivering Personalized Customer Experiences

Today’s consumer has grown to expect highly-personalized experiences from brands. These, need to be non-linear so that customers feel like the product is speaking directly to them.

CMOs, have to then consider what these experiences look like. That way, they can spearhead their design and construction to deliver highly-individual relationships at scale.

7. The Ultimate Influencer

Maintaining a unified message across all the brands is one of the most challenging CMO tasks. This becomes even more clear when dealing with a huge and dispersed team that’s putting out content for different platforms.

It becomes a lot harder for the CMO to get a grip on this when dealing with company functions that don’t ladder up to them. If they’re not careful it could all spiral out of control. Everyone could end up with their own interpretation of what the brand message is.

Mitigating this requires the CMO to extend their influence to other departments by articulating an all-encompassing brand story that speaks to all aspects of the organization’s functions. It should influence the way product development works, the way customer service operates and even in seemingly unrelated functions like talent recruitment.

CMOs must develop horizontal relationships within the company and transform these departments into champions of the larger brand story. This creates well-defined structures that provide company-wide visibility into brand touchpoints.

8. The Purpose Promoter

Today, companies are taking a more liberal stance on social issues that get their audiences connected to and excited about their brand. Branding and purpose are now more intertwined than ever before. 

The need for transparency has mounted increased pressure for companies to weigh-in on trending and sometimes controversial social debates. CMOs need to embrace this style of marketing and find a balanced way of navigating these issues while setting mainstream media ablaze to reinvigorate their brands.

How Does Today’s Chief Marketing Officer Adapt to Their Evolving Role

To shape the narrative that defines corporate strategy, the CMO has the opportunity to break free from the confines of the product-price-place-promotion structures. They can push the needs of the customer across all brand touchpoints.

They also redefine what customer experiences mean in today’s world. Some key considerations for this ever-changing role include:

Learning to Cut Through the Noise

The modern era consumer is constantly bombarded with content and information. To make matters, worse, their attention span is now shorter than it’s ever been. How then can brands cut through the noise and grab their attention? 

CMOs have to use decisive strategies targeted at reaching and engaging with their customer. One sure way to do this is to drive a customer-oriented agenda.

This involves understanding their customer’s needs in terms of: How are their expectations evolving?

How can they establish trust between the brand and the customer? A great starting point would be to meet most if not all their expectations and make good on all promises made.

Reaching Their Customers When It Matters the Most

Consumers support brands that they feel they can relate to. CMOs, need to craft personal and authentic narratives that reflect the brand values on all fronts.

Technology plays a key role in marketing. It provides data that companies can use to tell a cohesive brand story. They have to make sure it’s through the right channels and targeted at the right individuals.

This positions their companies as a brand that endears itself to consumers, thus, earning their trust. They have to find the best way to deliver a message that wins the hearts and minds of their target consumers. This is often by providing unique, immersive and memorable experiences that set them apart from the competition.

Focusing on the Customer Journey

CMOs have become accountable for owning the customer journey through the brand. This journey begins from the customer’s first point of contact, all the way to the moment they make their first buy.

One way to track this path is by mapping out the process. This gives a visual interpretation of what the consumer goes through to get what they need. It provides real-time information of what motivates them, their pain points and areas the company can improve on.

Enforcing Data Privacy and Security Regulations

CMOs need to consider their approach to their customer’s privacy. Companies need to communicate to their customers what security and privacy policies they have in place.

They also need to disclose which laws and regulations they follow and the kind of data they use. This safeguards its customers’ rights.

Being forthcoming about this nurtures relationships with customers and enhances customer engagement. On the flip side, it means that companies have to contend with receiving fewer data.

This does not pose a major problem parse. All they have to do is leverage digital technology in the form of AI and machine learning to maximize performance.

Enhancing Personalization

Do you want to connect with your customer and reach your audience in a compelling way? Personalization is the key to doing so. Research reveals that 98% of marketers agree that personalization advances customer relationships.

CMOs, need to know how to deliver a seamless and personalized experience to their customers on all available platforms. These include social media posts, emails, and PPC Ads to increase website traffic. Having the right technology and the right team with the right mix of skills goes a long way in bringing personalization to fruition.

The CMO of the Future

Marketing duties today aren’t what they used to be. For this reason, CMOs need to adapt to the changing marketing landscape if their brands.

This is if they hope to make any headway in competing on a global scale. There’s no better time than the present for the Chief Marketing Officer to define their place at the executive table and deliver excellence at every turn.

Is your marketing plan water-tight? You might want to check out how data can improve your marketing strategy.

Your CMO Guide to Improving Marketing Accountability

Your CMO Guide to Improving Marketing Accountability 1240 520 Eveline Smet

Marketing is an aspect of business operations that is under pressure to make the most for the brand. In the board room, leaders have an interest in marketing accountability. They want assurance that money invested in marketing is producing long-term profitable growth.


The pressure on marketing accountability becomes intense during tough economic times. As such, this topic is becoming more relevant even in good economic times.

Marketing has to respond through continuous improvements in performance. It also calls for disciplined planning and rigorous evaluation. Marketing should be able to link the cause and effect of investments. When it’s objective, it’s easy to diagnose performance problems in good times.

What Is Marketing Accountability?

For marketing to be effective, it must use the right tools and content. This is where marketing accountability comes in. It aims at optimizing the ratio of investment against output or efficiency.

Marketing accountability is the measuring and monitoring of the commitment to deliver results. Marketing organizations are accountable to both strategic and financial initiatives. In examining the ROI, the marketing function addresses the economic component.

Some examples of being accountable include measuring marketing commitment. This aims to increase customer value and market share. Both are important in helping align marketing objectives with the outcomes of business.

This helps to link marketing to the financial performance of the company.

Many companies are investing in marketing accountability initiatives. Unfortunately, their approaches are too narrow, hence diminishing the expected impact. There are value levels you must activate to achieve effective and sustainable effort.

1. Creating Specific and Attainable Goals

It’s not uncommon for businesses to develop intangible goals. For example, they want to increase their marketing sales and bring in more sales. The problem lies in not setting specific goals.

Working with numbers is essential. Ensure you specify the percentages that you consider a measure of success. For example, you could determine that you want to raise sales by 20% over the next five months.

You could also target to increase new signups to your mailing list by 10% in the next month.

Setting measurable goals gives you a way to test your level of success. It also provides a benchmarking tool for the team to check their performance.

2. Strategic Content

To have a strategic foundation in inbound marketing, create compelling and engaging messaging that should be appropriate for the medium in which you’ll display it. Messaging in this context refers to the creative copy, taglines, visuals, and sound.

They form the greater part of your content or communication platform. The best content platform is one that combines strategic insight and creative expression. It strives to connect the insights authentically and compellingly.

You can fuel creativity in content creation by pursuing independent and competitive paths. Creative ideas come from the most unlikely sources. They can originate from individuals, teams, or through crowdsourcing.

After achieving creativity, companies should strive to test the message before implementation. You can’t risk presenting your audience with a message that doesn’t meet their needs.

3. Choice of Marketing Vehicles

Marketing doesn’t end at content creation. Next, the team has to decide the kind of marketing vehicles to use. The choice of marketing vehicles determines the effectiveness of delivery against the strategy.

The alternatives are essential because they determine whether you meet the messaging objectives.  

The messaging instruments must come directly from the communication objectives. Well-informed choices enable the message to reach the target audience promptly and cost-effectively.

One factor that influences your decision is consumer interaction. Consider how they respond to the medium you choose, as well as the costs and benefits. Making the wrong choices can blow off your efforts to achieve marketing accountability. There’s the risk of failure when the vehicles of communication don’t match with the goals of marketing.

All the vehicles of communication chosen should be well integrated. This means they must perform seamlessly to deliver the marketing campaign to consumers. Ongoing and consistent dialogue increases the impact of your advertising.

4. Watching the Right Metrics

Social media marketing is great, but apart from the likes and followings, what else is your business gaining? Are they contributing to the success and ROI of your business? Think about your blog.

It could be receiving a lot of visitors daily, but the rate of conversion could be low. All these are indicative of vanity metrics. It means that everything looks great on paper, but doesn’t contribute to business success.

Some of the useful metrics you need to watch are the number of lead conversions. Analyze how many customers are moving through the sales funnel. How easy or hard is it for the business to bring in new customers?

Define the useful metrics and work on making them thrive. As you define the parameters, ensure you have the right tools to make the metrics work. For example, is your website scalable to support massive traffic spike during promotions?

You also should consider having analytics software. This is to help measure traffic, check the pages, and evaluate search terms. With the right set of tools, the marketing team can do more while being able to report the same.

5. Engaging the Leadership Team

It’s imperative that the extended teams in finance, sales, IT, and service provide their input. Forming strategic partnerships with departments is crucial in creating initiatives for business success. One of the critical actions is building performance management.

Department heads can lead the discussions about metrics and performance management. They can also take the initiative to develop consistent measurements for value creation. IT staff can create and maintain the infrastructure necessary for performance management.

Remember that marketing accountability is a crucial component of performance management. When the teams work together, they build alliances for the marketing management journey.

6. Solid Business Strategy

Having a strategic foundation for your business is critical. The strategy you apply sets up a series of choices that determine value creation. It influences the overall marketing objectives, derived from the corporate business strategy.

Business strategy is also essential for differentiation and brand positioning. Any erroneous assumptions in these issues can undermine the effectiveness of marketing. You can avoid this pitfall with a transparent and disciplined approach.

Transparency is about keeping all stakeholders informed. They should know the facts, beliefs, data, and assumptions on individual decisions. This helps develop a shared view of the marketing strategy.

The approach relies on analytical and conceptual techniques that are well-understood. These include target group identification, positioning, pathway modeling, customer segmentation, and brand equity. The combination of these approaches develops a strategic value proposition.

Teams should translate the medium to long-term strategies into short-term marketing objectives. In defining the goals for the next marketing period, consider the existing communication barriers. The need to increase awareness and keep existing customers should determine the path to follow.

7. Choosing Investment Levels

After choosing a marketing vehicle, place it on the investment level that yields the most ROI. This should be relative to the other available investment alternatives. In choosing an investment level, you must diagnose whether it’s too high or too low to yield the expected ROI.

You need to define the exact boundaries of the investment. This is difficult, but some solid empirical foundations can back up your decision. One approach is the incremental approach.

It starts with the current investment level, where you investigate the impact of an additional investment unit. Determine how the unit would over-proportionately increase the benefit. Alternatively, you can investigate whether the removal of one investment unit would produce an under-proportional impact.

By using both approaches, you’ll better understand how your investment levels impact your ROI. Remember that these calculations are based on assumptions.

The assumptions can gain a new shift within a short time. Everything from the target group to competitive activities can have an impact on ROI. Even as you work on an assumption-based plan, make the evaluation as objective as possible.

This is the only way that you’ll build a pool of KPIs. They’ll be useful in helping you plan and evaluate your future investments with accuracy.

8. In-Market Execution

Your business can be adversely affected if you don’t get the implementation process right. For example, the development of great content isn’t enough if its implementation is wrong. It can only meet its objectives if its implementation is successful.

To plan for proper in-market execution, you must make crucial decisions around the media mix. One critical preliminary is a crystal-clear team briefing. At this stage, too many errors are made.

They can only be eliminated through a deeper understanding of the implementation strategy. The team also needs to be clear about the target group, vehicle mix, and message. They can then work on aligning the implementation strategy.

For enhanced effectiveness, consider including a marketing performance bonus in the contract. This instrument ensures the partners make alignment a priority. It also increases marketing accountability.

The bonus system works best if based on how well the campaign meets the objectives of marketing. For example, does it increase specific attributes of marketing? Besides, check to see that the objectives are dependent on the implementation strategy.

9. Fixed Cost Management

For a company to realize the benefits of marketing accountability, it must focus on cost efficiency. Management of fixed costs almost always yields better results. There’s a need to pay attention to the marketing production costs for the various programs.

Fixed costs depend on the mix of marketing programs. Since they take up a given percentage of costs, they’re a considerable basis for cost optimization. Fixed cost management call for pragmatic thinking from the procurement department.

It all starts by understanding the ratio of working and non-working expenditure. This must also be accompanied by the consistent implementation of strategic sourcing principles. Specific strategies include continuous price negotiations and streamlining suppliers.

Importance of Marketing Accountability

Companies want to remain competitive in the rapidly changing market. As such, they should take advantage of the benefits of marketing accountability. These include:

1) Connecting Marketing Investment and Enterprise Value

Studies from financial markets show a significant relationship between marketing and enterprise value. Marketing investment and activity contribute to enterprise value by as much as 50%. This is possible through proper customer, brand, and digital asset valuation.

The impact of marketing performance, perceptions of innovation, and collaboration should be measured

2) Building Competencies

Marketers who are keen about marketing accountability achieve better ROIs. They also have higher levels of growth performance than those who don’t. They’re developing competencies to leverage marketing services, systems, and data.

3) More Value Creation

Every organization can take immediate steps to maximize their marketing efforts. In so doing, they can generate profitable growth by improving accountability.

Improving marketing efficiency should be a priority for every business. Without the necessary resources, marketers will continue to struggle. They can’t get the real value out of their marketing efforts.

When accountability is a priority, there’s a remarkable difference in your e-commerce business.

Final Thoughts

Marketing strategies become more effective when teams are held accountable. Creating marketing accountability is not a one-day thing. It calls for the input of the various groups within the organization.

Some of the strategies for creating accountability include creating strategic content. Marketing is not only about communication. It requires specificity and creativity. It’s also essential to choose the appropriate channels to have the message delivered.

Accountability is also an observation of the right metrics. Ensure your business employs the correct tools in monitoring the effects of marketing. For a strong foundation, use the right business strategy right from the beginning.

Creating an accountability strategy is a lot of work. Yet, the benefits you derive from having it are worth the process. It helps build more competencies and increase value creation. It’s also the bridge that connects marketing investments and enterprise value.

If you’d like to engage in marketing accountability but don’t know how, be sure to contact us at any time. At The Growth Agency, we’re a team of scientific marketers that use data-driven marketing to help you attain your business goals.

The Cmo’s Role in Creating Enterprise Value: Everything You Need to Know

The Cmo’s Role in Creating Enterprise Value: Everything You Need to Know 1240 520 Eveline Smet

As a CMO (Chief Marketing Officer), you find yourself on an ever-changing battlefield every day. Novice or expert, you have a tough gig. It is imperative that you have the best practices and tools to ensure you succeed creating Enterprise Value.

But how does one measure success? One important way is enterprise value change. Let’s look at the enterprise value formula to start:

Enterprise Value = Market Capitalization (total stock value) + total debt – (cash & cash equivalents)

By now, you must be asking: how do I effect that? The answer may not be immediately obvious, but bear with me. Your marketing strategy is the answer. There are 2 important ways your strategy affects things. That strategy grows your company. That strategy alters public perception of your company. Your marketing strategy is everything. It’s one of the biggest drivers of your enterprise value.

As CMO, you are the first line of defence for your company. You are shaping the perception the public has of your business. You must understand that you are running an engine for sales and company value growth day in and out. It is not enough to put your head down and work hard alone. You have to marshal people and platforms, while putting together a great plan, to succeed.

We have combed the internet and digested a lot of research so you don’t have to. Continue on for a list of a great places to start, how to create goals, and more.

There is No “I” in Team

No matter how much work you put in, if you are not marshaling the strengths of your team you are likely to lose the battle. Your marketing efforts can and will intersect with other priorities within your company.

Make your fellow C-suite’s goals your own. Your CFO (Chief Financial Officer) & CIO (Chief Information Officer), especially, will thank you for it. But, do not limit yourself to working with those two of your counterparts.

For example: your CFO controls your budget. Embrace your CFO and make sure that you can show your work. Find out how your CFO measures success and ensure they see yours.

Additionally, it is common for CMOs with skin in the game to receive as much as 20% higher than those that do not. Own part of the profit and loss responsibility for greater accountability. Your budget will increase with your responsibility.

While working with the CFO was a great start, wrangle in your CIO for even greater success. Work with your CIO on your company’s technology spend. Aim to improve the customer experience and enhance the brand and you will up your chances of success.

Don’t forget to look to other forward-facing departments as well. Sales, support, and service can all be valuable in your efforts. Improve and streamline customer experiences and operations with them to increase value.

Know Your Value Drivers

Once you have sat down with your C-suite, the marketing team, and other department heads, it is time to build your plan. Your goals must highlight what makes your business different than your competitors.

Your ultimate goal is to create value for customers both now and in the future. By creating lasting value and staying relevant in your customers’ mind, you will have won the day.

Take a hard look at your team: do you have the skills in place to pull off your marketing strategy? Do you have the right platforms, both in-house and out, in the digital world?

Does your marketing strategy allow for your cost of customer acquisition to decrease over time? As you build out your pipeline, and test for success, you should find a better way to reach and hold on to your customers.

You must address the above questions before you build your final marketing strategy. This honest look will allow you to reason what you can achieve with your current tools.

If you find that you don’t have what you need, your strategy will need refining. Better yet: find the skilled help and platforms you need and buy them.

Build Your Marketing Strategy

Building a marketing strategy always boils down to something like this:

  • Know your target customer
  • Decide how to reach them
  • Break down your sales funnel
  • Have defined goals and chase them down

A shotgun approach to marketing never works as you cannot market all products to all people all the time. Pick a target customer market and drill down to know everything there is about who wants to buy your service.

After you have educated yourself on your customer, decide which way you wish to reach them. Know the demographics of the social media, data driven, and more platforms you are working. You have to make sure that you use the right tool for the job.

Every sales funnel follows the AIDA format: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. Map out your customer’s journey with this format in mind. You want the process smooth and easy for anyone entering your funnel.

Having SMART marketing objectives is a must; you can find out more about SMART here. Define your objectives using this criteria for maximum results.

When you build your marketing strategy, you want to ensure it can handle some tough analysis. A great list of questions, like these, will allow you to really get the best value for your work.

Start With Short-Term Marketing Tactics

Your plan should aim to be long-term. But do not discount the many short-term strategies you can use to boost your success. Short-term marketing strategies create temporary boosts to traffic.

Why are they valuable?

If you are a startup business, have a new service or product, or if the previous strategy was sparse or nonexistent — you need to get the process moving. The short-term boosts to your flow will let you and your team see some measurable success to build on.

Some great examples of short-term tactics are:

  • Run a reduced pricing promotion
  • Offer a contest (works especially well with social media channels)
  • Offer a group discount or deal
  • Take advantage of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
  • Display your product or service at a trade show
  • Start up an email blast or newsletter

Of course, these are just some examples. You have to look at all of the available tactics out to determine your best path forward. You can also look for a partner to help you craft an aggressive start to your efforts.

Once you have your initial strategy mapped out, make sure you share it with your C-suite and other teams. These strategies create ways for you to measure your approaches. Make sure you can leverage the metrics with your team to further your long-term plans.

Follow Up With Your Long-Term Tactics

Okay, so you got the ball rolling — time to work on your long-term plan. The reality is that you cannot plan for a year from now. You have to look 5 or 10 years out as you build out your marketing strategy.

Long-term tactics benefit you in numerous ways such as:

  • Creating trust
  • Creating lasting value
  • Retaining those new customers you on board
  • Being flexible 
  • Making you/your company an authority on any number of subjects

Your long-term tactics will likely show small, but measurable, results over long periods of time. Keep track of your metrics and change up your campaigns if they are not performing.

Here are some examples of long term tactics:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Content marketing (this compliments your SEO efforts)
  • Public relations (PR)
  • Continue your newsletter efforts
  • Engage with social media

All the above are not something you kick out once and call it done. You must create large volumes of content in a timely fashion. Use testing to make sure that your message is coming across the best way.

You have to have a road map lined up for your team to follow. And, of course, always expect the unexpected during your journey.

Marshall Your Tools for Success

Okay, let’s check a few things off our list:

  • We have discussed who to work with
  • How to build your plan
  • Short- and long-term tactics

Now it is time to look at tools to aid you in your efforts.

Your goal with every dollar you spend is to receive at least €9 in gross sales in return. You need a team in the digital space to help you reach your goals.

All things digital are a huge aid in maximizing your marketing spend. Going directly to your customers ensures your marketing dollar is being better utilized.

Further, data driven tech is of great benefit, especially when it comes to costs and confidence. Your company cannot afford to be anything but quick to change. In today’s market, access to data is a big way to keep your business nimble.

So, what tools to look for? Whether they are on your team, or a partner, is up to you.

Find someone to create content and work some SEO magic. Finding a full time writing staff can be tough and may not be supportable internally. Any sized business can benefit from a great partner.

Do you have a team to creating social media content? These bite sized messages, in a variety of formats, are difficult to create. If you don’t know the different platforms you can end up in the weeds.

You must have a PPC advertising expert. Like the first two items, PPC advertising requires a knowledge of how to use the system. It is not easy for a layperson to dive into!

Offer marketing automation: If you have to babysit your pipelines you are wasting valuable time! Read our article about how to choose the best marketing automation tool for your business here.

The above scratches the surface on what you and your company may need in a partner or employee. Get team members, partners, and solutions that best fit your needs and get the job done.

The Value of the Ultimate Tool: Data

Data is the tool that deserves its own section: it is that important. We hear about data all the time and are unlikely to fathom how much is out there.

But, when harnessed, data can be the silver bullet in your proverbial gun.

Why is it that powerful?

Data is being generated at a rate that boggles the mind from a huge variety of sources. Information collects from Social media, the internet, cell phones, and more. As you read this article more collects non stop.

Newer tools allow one to gather all this data and apply what you find to your benefit. This creates insights for you to take advantage of.

What kind of insights are we talking about?

Way back I mentioned learning about your customer. In every manageable way data collection can help you with this.

Behavior prediction is now possible with access to data of the now and past. If you know how your customer will act in the future you can be better prepared.

The speed of data is near, if not fully instant. This allows you to keep your finger on the pulse of what your customers think about you in real time.

You can save money. While you may spend more up front, over the long term you will save money mining the data with a partner you can trust.

When you do your homework, it is clear that data will save your bacon! 

The Bottom Line: You Need a Data Partner

Whether this is your first day as CMO, or your 1000th, your never ending fight is worth it.

If you remember that you cannot do it alone, and that asking for help is a good thing, you have a great chance to succeed.

You will spend a lot of time analyzing your marketing strategy over the coming years. Don’t be afraid to change things up if it looks like they are not working.

It should be obvious that bringing in an agency that has access to data, and knows how to use it, will put you over the top. You cannot afford to ignore such a powerful tool in today’s world.

In conclusion, the right team and plan will get you heading in the right direction. What will put you over the top is someone with the right tools and playbook.

Talk to a Growth Strategist to see if you qualify for a free growth audit and start your journey forward today!



How Data Can Help You Maximize Marketing Performance

How Data Can Help You Maximize Marketing Performance 1240 520 Eveline Smet

Once upon a time, Excel was all you needed. It was the cornerstone of all business strategies. Companies would rely on past data to formulate seemingly watertight growth plans. Those days are long gone.

If you’re still using spreadsheets alongside your gut feelings to steer your business, it’ll never grow beyond what it is now. Data analytics is the future, and the future is now. Today, the big data and business analytics industry revenue stands at a whopping $186 billion.

That tells you there’s an insatiable demand for these services. A massive amount of data is produced every single day. It has indeed revolutionized the Information Technology field.

Advanced techniques are employed to process data obtained from different sources in different sizes. It helps companies gain new insights on how run to efficiently, find new opportunities and get meaningful information for better decision-making.

Data analytics examines these sets of big data to reveal underlying drivers and patterns. This article takes an in-depth look at how data analytics can help you maximize performance in your company.

Learn Who Your Ideal Customer Is

In the past, gaining information on your customer was based on customer demographics or records of previous sales. This may have been effective at the time but if you think about it, it only painted a small part of the bigger picture.

The insights gained were limited, and hardly enough to formulate any meaningful strategy from it. Today, data analytics provides invaluable insight to both your existing and potential customers. You learn about what section of your website they frequent the most, what their preferred social media channels are and lots more information you would otherwise not have.

It completely changes how businesses look at their customers. It provides you with the means to customize your products/ services based on your customers’ behavior and make more accurate sales forecasts as a result.

Data Analytics Is the Key to Increased Customer Engagement

In today’s fast-paced business world, you need to be able to profile your customers beyond knowing what they like to buy from you. Based on how they interact with your website, you’ll know if there are sections you might need to tweak to their liking.

Besides this, you can use data obtained to learn when and how they like to be contacted (some customers detest promotional phone calls). You get to know about the methods of payment they prefer to use and what products they’re likely to buy so you can make the necessary adjustments to your stock.

All this information will enable you to optimize the level of engagement you have with your customers, adding that personal touch that makes them feel valued.

Leave Your Pennies in the Piggy Bank

Anyone who’s run a marketing campaign knows how it can deplete your budget. However, this wouldn’t be a major concern if you knew that it was working to reach your intended customers and gain new leads as well.

Aside from avoiding the common PPC mistakes, how else can you safeguard against flushing perfectly good dollars down the drain? By using big data analytics to monitor and optimize your digital marketing campaigns, and allocate budgets that ensure you get a high return on investment for the shortest possible marketing run.

Turning the focus inwards, data analytics can promote company growth by optimizing staffing levels which in turn manage operational costs. This is particularly useful for businesses that experience fluctuating demand for their products/services. One could attribute this to the nature of their business or the season.

For instance, a flower business may experience higher than usual demand during Valentine’s Day and Mothers’ Day. Its labor force, as a result, would need to be flexible. Some staff members may have to work on these days and alternate with others depending on the level of demand and other contributing factors.

Dive Deeper:

Make Smarter Decisions in Digital Marketing

It’s difficult to imagine what life would be, much less what it used to be without all the digital platforms we have today. We spend on average, 135 minutes a day plugged-in which if you think about, translates to more than 15 hours a week online.

If your company isn’t leveraging the digital space to increase your brand awareness and revenue stream, then you’re going to spend a whole lot of time playing catch up with your competition. Data analytics will help you make smarter marketing decisions across the board with regards to which channels to invest in, and how long the marketing campaigns should run for.

Through monitoring, continuous analysis, testing and measurement you can optimize your campaigns to ensure that you are milking that cash cow dry. Many customers do a lot of things online. They make cash transfers, pay bills and purchase numerous goods and services online.

It, therefore, makes perfect sense that this is where the marketing focus should be.

Personalize Your Promotions and Offers in Realtime

Meet Anton. Anton is a 32-year-old single straight man looking for love. His family and friends know this about him and are always helping him find a companion.

A life partner with whom he’ll spend the rest of his life with skipping happily into the sunset. Curiously though, despite the fact that he checked the “looking-for-a-woman” box on the dating website, his matches always end up being handsome young gentlemen who also happen to be looking for love.

His family and friends also seem to have missed that memo when they set him up with their male friends! He’s puzzled since he can’t understand why this keeps happening when he never once intimated that he prefers men over women. As a matter of fact, they’ve always seen him out on dates with ladies.

Ridiculous isn’t it? This is the same thing companies do when they don’t personalize their offers to their customers.

Thanks to big data and machine learning algorithms, your business can present specific promotions to customers in real time based on their specific wants. They are more likely to respond to an ad that has an offer for a product/service they not only use but actually love.

Breakdown Market Research Results

Do you need a comprehensive report on the state of the market? Well, unfortunately using traditional methods won’t cut it and getting the information you seek might cost you an arm and a leg using those out-dated methods. We wouldn’t want that, would we?

You can use free online survey tools to conduct qualitative and quantitative market research much quicker and at substantially lower rates than was the case before. Once you get the results you seek, data analytics will help you make sense of the data and formulate a workable strategy for your business.

Manage Your Brand Reputation

The internet is a sea of information. Keeping track of what people say about your company or brand was an impossible undertaking in the past. This was precarious since one couldn’t control malicious or slanderous information that was put out there.

Thankfully, with big data, companies can monitor the places online where their brand is mentioned. This also spans across social media channels and, websites rendering opinions, reviews and testimonials about their products. They can then use this information to their advantage to improve on their customer experience and provide a stronger brand presence.

Analyze Your Competition

You’re only as good as your greatest competition. It’s no secret then, that to maintain a competitive edge in your industry you need to keep a close eye on what your competition is up to.

With recent strides in technology, companies have the ability to use new social monitoring and analytics tools to collect and analyze competitor data. They can then use it to improve their product and service offerings to achieve a higher customer satisfaction index and marked business growth.

Dive Deeper:

Unmatched Order Fulfilment

At the end of the day, no business strategy is impermeable if your customers don’t get what they want. Placing an order is all fine and dandy but there’s no faster way to lose a customer than failing to keep your promise to them.

Say, for instance, your business deals with couture. You receive an urgent order for an outfit they intend to wear to an A-list event that very evening.

The reason they chose your company to deliver is because of the promise displayed prominently on your company’s website. It reads “We deliver within 4 hours or you get your money back”.

But, what exactly is this promise based on? Is it the past delivery records to customers on that side of town? Or, could it be the current traffic conditions on the highway?

What about the current demand for that particular outfit? Are there enough in stock or did you let your supplier know in advance that you’re running a little low on them?

How many trips to that side of town were made that day? Does it make sense to load up gas in your delivery truck to make your way across town to deliver one order? Does the price of the outfit cover this eventuality?

There’s actually a lot of analysis that should go into that assurance beyond making empty promises that your business can’t keep. Data analytics services take all this information and synthesize it to reveal whether a 4-hour delivery time promise is feasible.

You’re then able to keep your customers satisfied and loyal. Now that makes for a brilliant business strategy.

Reduce What You Spend on Inventory

There’s a delicate balance between having too much or too little inventory. Too much means that you incur additional costs subsequently leaving your money tied up. Too little on the other hand means that you don’t cash-in on potential sales and even worse, lose customers.

For retailers, it can get a bit tricky since they have to pick the right mix of products for a limited amount of storage space. Data analytics eliminates guesswork.

It gets the equilibrium between fast moving goods and those that linger a bit; suppliers who deliver fast versus those that take their time. This way, you find the happy medium to keep your company thriving and customers satisfied.

Make Accurate Forecasts

Predictive data analytics allows companies to scrutinize past sales to see if any patterns emerge. This not only allows you to understand and forecast future demand but internally, it allows you to organize your workforce.

One is also able to have predictive knowledge of when the company revenue dips. You can then come up with a mitigation plan for those periods.

The Right Price Keeps Everybody Happy

All businesses have to please their customer base while maximizing their profit at the same time. After all, that is the primary goal of any company.

Any pricing strategy worth its salt needs to incorporate data analytics to ensure that all products/services are priced based on seasonal variations, past sales records, and market trends. It can go a step further to identify purchasing patterns of individual accounts. If it’s good enough for the Fortune-500 companies, it’s good enough for yours.

Final Thoughts

Data analytics plays a pivotal role in balancing long-term strategy and immediate results. It provides reliable, accessible and insightful data guaranteed to maximize enterprise value regardless of the size of your enterprise.

As the market evolves, these changes must reflect in the way your company works and in the tools it uses to achieve its objectives. Keeping an eye on the behavior of your consumers using big data will inform the potential impact of new approaches and innovation.

Looking for a team of data-driven marketers?

At The Growth Agency, we help businesses achieve their goals by using marketing strategies that are data-driven. 

To see if you qualify for a free growth audit, talk to a TGA strategist today. We can help you create your growth strategy.