Being smart is better for marketers
As we have been discussing in these columns, business-to-business (B2B) marketing is becoming more dynamic by the day and even by the hour, and marketers who are used to static marketing plans need a wake up call to deliver better results. Smartness is not at all about technology since the platforms are readily available. It is all about a mindset change that will help make a smarter marketer, and a better marketer.
It is not about marketing automation that can make you a smarter marketer. Those systems are necessary to bring in more accountability and return. But what is critical is how well one can make selections and when to make those choices. What marketers need to realise now is the major shifts that are required.
In the days of static marketing, marketers work on a campaign and then run it as per the media plan decided. Those days are well over now. You cannot wait till a campaign is over to know the results by which time your competition would have taken the prospects away. Measurements are in real time today. Automation systems allow you to measure real time results and prepare responses to each step of the marketing tactics decided. It allows marketers to change and take corrective actions in order to get the best results very dynamically based on market feedback.
Gone are the days of waiting and hoping for the results based on the completion of a campaign. You need to change the plan if the response rate is too low. The mechanism to measure the behaviour of prospects to your content can help you to make the necessary corrections and increase the relevance to the target audience thereby driving immediate results. Smarter marketers need to learn how best they can do this and how quickly.
Media planning is not as you are used to in the 2000s. When you launch a new product in the past, you plan elaborately on the direct mailing, TV campaigns or print campaigns. We all have used TRP data and spreadsheets to ensure that everything is taken care of, based on the optimum use of budgets. The objective for most launches used to be making the biggest possible noise in the market, given the budgets. Once it is done and amounts allocated are spent, things go back to normal as usual. This is not the way things will work today and now onwards. It is important to build relationships incrementally and not with a “big bang” theory. Continuous communication is the mantra. The audience memory is too short these days because of too much noise everywhere. The idea therefore is to create consistent engagement with prospects and build a network of informed prospects. Sort of like a social media group. This requires a commitment at all levels to update news and content to the group on a regular basis.
Smart marketers know that it is not enough today to just having your logo or message in front of your audience. Puffery in advertising is not going to work anymore. No one is interested if you tom-tom big things about your product or service. It should be conveyed creatively as a referral or demo. Your value proposition should be clear in order for the prospect to connect with your brand amongst the competition. Prospects are looking for solutions that add value for their products or services and so tall claims alone will not resonate well with them. The content should be like a story. Start with educating them as to why they should solve the problem and how your expertise can help and if your products fit in so be it. The idea is to keep your focus more and more on your customers’ problems rather than your product features.
The success of a marketing programme using the e-mail marketing cannot be based on the click-throughs, impressions or opt-ins. Opt-ins, unless these move through the different stages of the buying process, will not indicate anything. The new automation systems allow you to develop lead scoring models that gauge the buyer interest. The smarter marketers know that the goal is to get the prospects to spend more time with your content and company rather than with competition. Pipeline will be better filled when you are able to engage the audience with problem solving content. This will lead to higher sales conversions. B2B marketers realise that a trusted partner or advisor is one of the strategic goals of marketing these days. According to a research, marketers’ No. 1 priority today is contribution to revenue.
What smart marketers do differently is making communication a two-way street. They use social media and other channels to start a dialogue or conversation with prospects. If you are not enabling prospects to interact with you on their terms, you are likely to lose out.
Content creation is taking a lot of effort from marketers today. Smarter marketing requires creating a solid base for thinking differently. This will help create processes for the desired continuity and consistency. Smarter marketers will find success by getting more involved with the target audience. This is true even for consumer marketers as recent incidents indicate.

The writer is CEO and managing director of CustomerLab Solutions
Columnist: 
M Muneer