Today’s consumers have unlimited choice, access to the best research, and are being bombarded by literally thousands of marketing messages each day. So it’s no wonder that many marketers are finding it difficult to break through the noise and make a connection with their targeted audience. Ultimately, the modern marketer needs to develop a sound strategy so their message appears front and center in the consumers mind. For each industry and product this strategy may be quite different, but what I can say is that there are 5 pitfalls some marketers fall into that ultimately undermine their success.
- Marketers are not treating their target audience as individuals.80% of the customer’s journey today is self-directed, which means that most of what a buyer learns about your products, services or company is a result of their own exploration. Further, according to the best research, 87% of customers demand a personalized experience in all their interactions. This means that your customers want you to know them and remember them every time they interact with your company or brand. So if you are not taking the time to personalize each interaction with your target audience, then you are really missing an opportunity. And I am not just referring to things such as starting your emails with “Dear Jane” but really personalizing content based on what their preferences and interests are. This brings me to my next point.
- Actual user behavior is not being used to target the audience. One of the best ways to engage your target audience is to trigger key messages based on what an individual person is doing. The fact is that messages sent based on customer actions get more opens, clicks and conversions they are contextual. When David Daniels, co-founder of the Relevancy Group, was an analyst at Jupiter Research, he reported that targeting emails based on web click-stream data increased open rates by more than 50%, and increased conversion rates by more than 350%. Triggering on user behavior and creating relevant scoring models are steps I often see skipped and marketers suffer because of it.
- Marketing efforts are not consistent. As I outlined above, sending out random email blasts will not cut it these days as consumers are just too busy to remember such messages. Marketing must shift from talking at people to building personalized and continuous relationships with people. They need to engage them throughout the buying cycle and beyond in a consistent, relevant and targeted way. Furthermore, the message must remain consistent as well. This means your marketing efforts should look, feel, and sound the same way across all of your channels. If your targets hear the same message over and over again, the same way each time, they are much more likely to remember it.
- Marketing efforts are not designed to meet key business objectives. In my opinion the biggest mistake marketers are making today is not tracking key performance indicators back to corporate business objectives. If you continue to collect traditional marketing metrics such as opens and clicks to support your decision-making, you may very well be setting yourself up to be excluded from a seat at the revenue table. Most of these metrics are meaningless to key stakeholders because they don’t tie directly to revenues. Focusing on driving revenue is the best way to align with your executive leadership and even your revenue teams. To put this in another way, ask yourself, “how are my efforts contributing directly to the company’s bottom line?”
- Not using an opti-channel approach. During a recent conversation about opti-channel with Ashley Johnston, SVP, global marketing at Experian Marketing Services, she said, “People don't wake up and say, ‘I'm going to be a mobile consumer today.' They just use the channel that best fits the moment or task.” A customer rarely engages across every channel so you must be able to let them choose their channel and let them change that choice from day to day. Opti-channel is about understanding how the customer prefers to engage. This means setting up a communication strategy that actively listens for behaviors and creates a seamless and unified experience across them all as a customer engages with your brand.
At Marketo, avoiding these pitfalls is known as the abc’s of marketing. To sum it up marketers need to engage people As individuals, Based on what they do, Continuously over time, Directed at an outcome, and Everywhere they are. I hope you found this engaging and please let me know of any other pitfalls we should be thinking about when developing our next marketing strategy.