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          1. Smart Answers to Crucial Digital Marketing Challenges

            By

            Have you ever felt at sea with your digital marketing strategy? Are you keenly aware of your marketing problems but are at a loss as to how to fix them?

            Big data. Social media. Lead generation. Sales enablement. There are too many things you might be doing wrong, and too many things you could be doing instead. How do you know which path is the right one? You don’t, and so your marketing efforts stagnate.

            You’re not alone. Marketing executives across all industries face the challenges of digital marketing in the modern age. Fortunately, there are those that have successfully navigated this new environment and have made an impact on both their customers and the marketing industry as a whole.

            In this article, we tackle three of the most common digital marketing challenges and cover smart strategies industry leaders have used to address them.

            1. Deliver quality leads

            It’s no surprise that delivering leads is at the top of the list. After all, that is marketing’s ultimate goal: to increase the bottom line. Granted, marketing uses a more indirect means than sales, but revenue is and should be the goal of every marketing department. And marketing’s primary contribution to that goal is in leads.

            Interestingly enough, marketing directors now focus more on lead quality than quantity, although quantity does have its place. This makes sense, because focusing on attracting a small number of higher quality leads may deliver a greater ROI than stumbling through a horde of low-quality leads.

            Fortunately, marketing directors have many perfectly viable ways to attract quality leads. Social media, content marketing and the various tools such as data analytics and CRMs available all have their part to play in a healthy lead generation strategy.

            But simply purchasing a tool or setting up a Facebook page is novice-level stuff. Marketing directors need to consider more advanced strategies if they want to help their organization overcome these marketing issues.

            Consider the following approaches:

            Customer-centric marketing: Far too many organizations approach marketing from a self-centered perspective — trumpeting their own prowess or expertise regardless of whether or not their message is landing with their intended audience.

            Daniel Newman, president of Broadsuite Media Group, understands this well. “For any organization in the world, the target customers need to be at the heart of that organization’s marketing efforts and strategies,” Newman says in a Forbes article. “Brands, slogans, products, and media aren’t at the center; rather they are spokes that help to bridge the gap between the customer and the business.”

            Every aspect of your marketing strategy, whether it’s a piece of long-form content like a white paper or a burst of social media posts, need to be analyzed through the lens of, “what value does this bring to my customer?”

            As a marketing director, your responsibility is to build a marketing ecosystem fueled by this customer-centric approach, and institutionalize that kind of thinking.

            Referral marketing: Which would you trust more: the word of a salesperson, or the word of one of your peers? The latter, obviously!

            Leads brought in via referrals from existing customers have a much higher chance of closing than those that don’t. With such a high rate of success, wouldn’t it make sense to attempt to bring as many of these golden eggs as possible?

            Marketing departments may already have a process in place for requesting referrals, but it takes a director’s influence and vision to be able to create a formal program that can reliably and repeatedly bring them in — without alienating your customer base.

            2. Measuring and proving ROI

            Accountability has always been one of the thornier challenges of marketing — especially in the era before digital. There was no system to reliably measure how many people saw a billboard ad or paid attention to a commercial, and so marketing’s ROI numbers were always preceded by the phrase, “we estimate.”

            This is no longer a problem in the era of big data. Marketing technology has improved to the point that nearly anything can be tracked. Everything from email opens and website visits to time on site and number of interactions. The challenge of digital marketing has now turned into, “which of these data types communicates marketing’s value?”

            Allen Gannett, CEO of TrackMaven, says, “Marketers have to stop reporting on activities and start reporting on business outcomes. The key is to link top-of-funnel engagement to bottom-of-funnel conversions. Solid multi-channel attribution is necessary to measure the impact of your content on a channel, campaign, and individual post level.”

            There are a variety of attribution models you can use to figure out which content contributes to the bottom line. However, multi-touch attribution seems to be the most reliable, as most buyers will have reached out to your brand multiple times across different channels before finally approaching a sales rep. Setting up a content attribution process is key for discovering which of your campaigns made the most difference.

            Marketing directors need to thoroughly analyze their business model and compare it to their marketing methodology, in order to properly judge which type of attribution makes the most sense for their organization. Once this data is connected, directors can then choose from one of the many data analytics and visualization tools to produce concise yet conclusive reports for the C-suite on content and social attribution.

            Once the organization’s data collection and analytics framework has been set up, all you have to do to prove content and social ROI is call up the information at the right time and present it to the board. The numbers should speak for themselves!

            3. Producing quality content

            As wonderful as the new paradigm of content-focused marketing is, consumers are now going into what has been coined as “content shock.” They are inundated with content that is either poor quality or irrelevant to their needs, and, as a result, are tuning out brands. The only way to stand out above the crowd is to consistently produce high quality content.

            The key is to produce customer-centric content. This strategy is one that TJ Ansley, director of digital experience for the Portland Trail Blazers, regularly employs.

            “Every campaign run is conceptualized through the lens of “what will the fans think?” explains Ansley in a TrackMaven blog post. “We take great pains to discover who the fan is, what group they belong to, and what interests them most about the Trail Blazers brand.”

            “The net result of all this tracking and analysis technology is a digital marketing presence that emphasizes quality over quantity. We create content and communications that our fans enjoy, which increases fan engagement and builds strong brand loyalty,” says Ansley.

            By focusing on what customers want to hear (and assembling the metrics to prove it), directors can shift resources away from ineffective projects and reallocate them toward producing content with higher production values and greater longevity.

            Eventually, quality content will become the norm rather than the exception. Forward-thinking marketing executives will be able to use these high value assets to support a strong sales enablement program and contribute even more to the bottom line.

            Future digital marketing challenges

            Marketers will always face challenges, whether it’s related to gaining customers, wrestling with technology, or getting recognition from their peers. But no matter how large or imposing the problem might be, rest assured that there will always be a solution: it might be a new software tool, an innovative strategy, or even a change in mindset.

            Want to learn about other digital marketing challenges leaders are facing in their marketing organizations? Download a free copy of our Marketing Leadership Survey!

            Yes! I want my free copy!

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