Technology is Top for the Thoroughly Modern Marketer

Jasmine Butler Burnham

Marketing Manager

The Financial Services Forum

Harnessing technology can help connect with your customers and make more money. Brands can have conversations in the most appropriate media, and if it doesn’t work, it’s easy to adjust and try something else, explains MORGAN CANTRELL.
We’re living in the best of times for marketers. The technology sector has become obsessed with marketing, developing remarkable tools to make the discipline several orders of magnitude more effective and efficient. With all the technological developments, marketers get to focus more time on what they’re best at: creating content that builds their brand and connects with their audiences.
It also means greater transparency into what’s working and what isn’t. All those campaigns we’ve wondered about for years can now be directly tied to the sales pipeline and revenue. This is both scary and empowering; justifying budgets has become black and white if you’re doing it right.
Future trends
There are three main trends shaping the budgets of many of the most progressive marketers.
1.             Companies becoming media houses.
2.             Marketers becoming a blend of publisher and psychologist.
3.             Technology enabling measurable sales contributions.
Media has been disrupted and is now so fragmented that many older publications and sites are gasping for breath. Some have adapted well, changed their business models and moved online and onto devices. Others have seen the likes of Facebook and Twitter give the world the ability to create and curate content and successfully compete to capture attention.
While that spells disaster for many media houses, it equates to opportunity for companies. Underpaid, underemployed editors and journalists are some of the best storytellers, able to create reams of content in various formats which can be used to build reputation. Top brands are at the beginning of a hiring frenzy to get the top editorial talent.
More channels means more content
It’s no coincidence that content itself is undergoing a transformation. The myriad formats and connected devices mean that marketers have to create content in whichever formats their readers or viewers want. That may be videos, in-person events, documents, billboards, TV commercials, online audio, Google AdWords, featured Facebook posts, hybrid online and offline events, meet-ups, conferences, unconferences…the list goes on and on.
The volume of information being created means that it’s harder to stand out and be heard. As a result campaigns are getting more creative and more valuable. Customers are increasingly mobile and want companies to help with everything they do, not just related to their products.
Content should help your audience perform better and accelerate their careers. If you’re not meeting their needs for the best information, you can be sure that one of your competitors will.
Shaped by customer insight
That brings me to the second point, which is about marketers combining psychology and publishing to understand their target audience. Building an ongoing dialogue and winning the trust of a prospect takes a lot of skill. And it can’t be done without using data and feedback to inform the content you create and the way you communicate.
At the least, every quarter take the tools being used to create and distribute content, whether that’s ads, white papers, videos or otherwise, and look at which ones resonate with your audience. Identify what attracted the attention of the people you most desperately want to reach. Take advantage of survey tools to find out what they want to hear about next. With platforms that offer visibility into content performance and feedback in real time, you can change creatives on the fly to connect with prospects wherever they are.
Impact immediately visible
Finally, we have the holy grail of the business: understanding the impact of campaigns on pipeline and revenue. The true test of the modern marketer is being comfortable with transparency. Technology brings with it the benefits of automation, testing optimisation and reporting.
The effectiveness of a sales follow up is greatest while a prospect is still thinking about your company. It’s too late by the time the media company reports on the impressions your ad received, or provides a spreadsheet with names and email addresses of webinar registrants.
That’s where marketing automation and customer relationship management (CRM) tools come into play. The days of downloading, formatting, uploading and emailing spreadsheets are gone, as are the days of sales people cold calling prospects.
Implementing those tools and integrating them with your content marketing and advertising platforms means that your sales people will, often in real time, see what the prospect has downloaded or watched. They can see which webpages have been visited on your site, how often they’ve been back and even when they’re ready to buy! The difference between a cold call and one following up on activities the sales rep knows about while it’s fresh in their head is remarkable. And by tracking marketing activity in the same platform as sales activity, voila, you can see the revenue impact of your marketing.
All of a sudden, it’s obvious which campaigns are working and which ones aren’t. Sales teams and executives are growing to trust marketing teams and increase their budgets – they can see the impact on the bottom line. And marketers are using automated campaigns and reporting to take on a publisher’s mentality to create standout content. Content that builds an ongoing dialogue and makes prospects much more likely to become customers.
Morgan Cantrell is a Product Manager focused on audience engagement at BrightTALK, an innovative content marketing platform.

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