Marketing Technology Landscape 2017 Slide

4 Questions to Ask to Make More Marketing More Effective in 2018

By Kathy Walsh, Director of Marketing

I’m a big believer in the tried-and-true when it comes to developing a marketing strategy. You may have heard of the “4 P’s” of marketing—product (or service), pricing, place, promotion—and maybe even the 5th “P” which incorporates positioning. I believe these tenets, established years ago, are still as valuable as ever. After all, without a solid understanding of your value add, where you fit in the competitive marketplace, who your customers are, and points of differentiation, you lack the solid foundation on which to build your marketing efforts.

But the tactics you use to execute your strategy are changing at lightning-fast pace. For years, the website chiefmartec.com has created an annual graphic showing the marketing technology (martech) landscape at a glance. Just six years ago, in 2011, there were about 150 martech tools in total. Today, there are more than 5,000. The image below quickly visually depicts just how overwhelming this can be.

With all these choices, how do you figure out which tools will best support your marketing strategy? There are some general considerations that will help you decide which types of martech you need to be using for the greatest impact in your marketing efforts. If you can answer the following four questions, you’ll be on your way to building the portfolio of martech tools that is right for your business.

  1. Do you know who—and where—your best customers are?
    This may seem like an obvious answer, but many businesses haven’t spent the time to fully identify who their best customers are. What are their demographics? Where are they geographically? What is it about them that makes them share the same pain point your product or service can solve? If you can’t readily identify these characteristics, it may be more important for you to invest in some data-focused martech that will analyze these types of details, both from external and internal sources. Remember – you need to not just have analytics and measurement tools, but you need to use them regularly to synthesize this data and adjust your marketing efforts accordingly.
  1. What matters most to them?
    In 2018, content continues to be king, but it can’t be one-sided. And while video and multimedia play a more important role than ever before, if the messaging isn’t on point it doesn’t matter what the delivery mechanism is. To truly engage with your audience, you need to understand what makes them tick and tugs at their heart (and purse!) strings. Consider developing a persona of your target customer which reflects the type of person they are – both physically and emotionally. Are they old? Young? Cynical? Activists? Frugal? Philanthropic? Pet-lovers? Coffee-lovers? The more specifically you can describe that target customer, the better you can craft materials that will inform and engage them—and decide on the best channels to share them on, from the internet and social media to billboards, ads or PR.
  2. What is the decision-making process they go through to purchase your product or service?
    Again, this may seem obvious. Perhaps your prospects simply come to your place of business, interact with a salesperson, pay a transaction fee and walk out with your product or service. But what are the steps they take before that happens? Are they researching online? Using what? Review sites like Yelp or Angie’s List? Posting on Facebook to ask for referrals? Typing their need into the Google search bar? And even if they are currently coming in to your business to engage you, is that the most convenient option for them? Are there ways to streamline and simplify the purchasing process to delight them? For instance, prospective customers may—or may not—value a friendly reminder generated by an inbound marketing. Fully knowing this answer will allow you to make the right decisions about sales-focused martech options, as well as advertising and promotional ones.
  3. Do you have the infrastructure in place to not just sell, but service your customers?
    This is a stunningly important question, and one many businesses may fail to consider. Are you prepared for fast, significant growth? If not, you can either scale back marketing efforts or scale up operational capabilities. And what about service? Going back to the sales process, is your obligation to your customer fulfilled once they make that purchase? Probably not—at least not if you want to keep them coming back to you for future needs or to refer you to other prospective customers. There are many martech tools focused on management that can help ensure you have the systems in place to ensure that each an every customer is a satisfied customer and lifelong ambassador for your brand.s

Although these questions may seem simple, the answers almost never are. If you need help facilitating the process, or are looking for a partner to help identify the best way to develop or execute your marketing strategy, give me a call at 410.420.2001 or email me at kathy.walsh@fallstongroup.com. I’d love to talk!