Integrating big data in your marketing strategy is important in todays business strategies. The question is if big data is mature enough today to be usable, practical and beneficial to marketers. Isn’t big data a lot of effort, for little added value to the business? Let’s see…
No doubt data in general, within the field of marketing, is becoming more important. I’m not even talking about big data here, just data. As big data was reaching fever pitch sometime between 2011 and 2014, today the cool kids in data are moving on to obsessing over AI and machine intelligence and deep learning.
The basic idea behind the phrase ‘big data’ is that everything we do is increasingly leaving a digital trace, which we can use and analyse.
Early adopters have experimented with big data, with mixed results. They had to work with big data startups, and cobble solutions together. Today, these early big data startups went through multiple VC financing rounds, scaled their organizations, learned from successes and failures in early deployments, and now offer more mature, battle-tested products.
Is big data really sounding “3 years ago”, or has big data matured and is it more usable for marketers today ?
That’s the question I want to answer in this blog post.
OK, a little warning is appropriate here. This is a blog post where I slightly get out of my comfort zone because I am actually going to tell you a story.
Before you go all mellow and zap away, bare with me for a second. Just listen to me for a while, and you’ll begin to see a much bigger trend currently happening in marketing. Using a few brilliant examples I’ll explain the bigger trend behind visual storytelling, and how it should transcend to become part of everything you do in your marketing.
What follows is a true story, but don’t tell me I didn’t warn you: I am not the best storyteller.
So here goes nothing… Read more
Advertisement overload and content overload are causing buyers to be blind for outbound marketing. Marketers these days are turning to content marketing as a way to break through the blindness and information clutter.
Because of the abundance of information out there, buyer behavior is changing. As Michael Brenner, @B2BMKTGInsider, one of my favorite marketers likes to put it :
“Buyers wait until they have completed 60-80% of their research before reaching out to vendors”.
Buyers turn to their “circles of trust”, on and off-line. Vendor information, social Media and word of mouth remain the major sources of influence to buyers according to the Buyersphere 2012 report.
Source : Buyersphere 2012
The millennial effect, which describes the way the generation born after 1980 who never knew a time without internet and mobile phones, turn to social media networks for information and advice. People from this generation are slowly becoming the decision-makers of the future.
The shift of power to buyers
All these changes are causing a major shift of power:
- from site centric to user centric: buyers where informed where they go, today buyers have access to information on-line and through their networks, where-ever they are.
- from brand image to transparency: companies can no longer hide imperfections or bad behavior. They need to be open, authentic and transparent. If not they get heavily punished by the public opinion (see this Toyota case).
- from the sales guy to the buyer: buyers these days often know more then the sales guy, because they have lots of sources of information before they buy. Buyers have very detailed and specific questions, which sales people or organizations will need to able to answer.
Source : Flickr, by papilly
Lately there has been a lot of attention going to Content Marketing. Although it’s one of my favorite subjects, blindly going for a content marketing strategy can be dangerous.
Forgetting the core reason for a content marketing strategy
When developing your content marketing strategy, you start developing a process to position content along the buying cycle, or even better: along the complete customer life cycle.
Every piece of content needs to drive the buyer further down the buying cycle, or increase the satisfaction level of existing customers. Having a good content creation process that inherently has checks built-in to make sure the right Call-To-Action (CTA) is assigned to each piece of content.
These CTA’s are developed to progress your buyer through the buying cycle. Marketing automation techniques like the ones I described in this post can be used to automate some of your work.
So when implementing content marketing: don’t forget what you want to do with your content. In the end, you are doing this to do business!
Many marketing organizations are looking into marketing automation.
Why? Because year after year they need to do more, with less.
By automating tasks, and by adding a number of intelligent marketing techniques, they think that their marketing operations will be easier to manage, and in the end their lead generation will run better.
But one should not jump into this technology too quickly.
What is the promise of marketing automation?
The promise of marketing automation sounds great.
- integrate your website with your e-mail engine
- automate the registration, confirmation and post-processing of webinars
- set-up lead nurturing campaigns
- get to know your prospects better and better through progressive profiling
- automation of e-mails (website, webinars, events, …)
- decrease manual segmentation, manual lead input, manual lead management, etc…
It cannot go wrong, or can it?
When considering marketing automation you should not jump into this technology without being ready, because you can fail at it.
In a great blog post on BrightCarbon, Joby Blume talks about what he considers the lessons learned after “his” marketing automation failure.