As CMOs, we understand how connecting a company's brand to customers through digital channels can drive business outcomes. Consumers, after all, don't typically separate a company's marketing message from the product, nor do they separate it from their interactions with the brand. The brand and its marketing are the product, the interaction, and, yes, the company itself.
Today, much of our customers' brand experience happens digitally. Here are five digital marketing transformations and how they can affect how CMOs run their teams:
According to a survey by Adobe, consumers use a half-dozen devices and view 12 sources of content -- search engines, TV, social media sites, messaging, and streaming services comprise the top five sources. With an endless supply of digital content vying for their attention, consumers have become wary. More than half of respondents said they often question the accuracy of online content, especially if it comes from a company or stranger.
Encouraging content creation on digital channels across your company can boost marketing by making it a wide-ranging effort. An editor who oversees content creation, vets all materials, galvanizes contributors, and establishes thought leadership can ensure that any content published is on message and "on brand."
The customer journey
Once you've mapped out the customer's buying journey, determine what types of customized content resonate at each stage. Our pitch may be interesting, our product desirable, and our price point ideal, but customers will abort the process if our touchpoints feel irrelevant or generic.
Best practices suggest focusing customer attention at the top of the purchasing funnel with educational content. Middle-of-the-funnel content can be more focused on engagement to dive deeper and give customers more information; each message can even be customized to specific personas. Finally, content aimed at customers at the bottom of the funnel is usually based on case studies to demonstrate why they should pick our company over competitors.
According to Pew Research Center, the percentage of people in the U.S. who own mobile devices (e.g., smartphones and tablets) continues to rise rapidly. In fact, smartphone ownership is reaching the saturation point within some groups. This is in addition to ownership of desktops and laptops, game consoles, and connected TVs.
With U.S. adults spending about three hours every day using their mobile devices for nonvocal interaction and media consumption, this deep attachment makes for a perfect point of contact. When watching TV, a consumer may walk away during commercials. But when it comes to his smartphone, he probably won't let it out of his sight. We have a chance to reach him wherever he is -- in bed, on the go, or even in the bathroom.
Facebook has the right approach. Mark Zuckerberg prepared for a mobile-first world by pushing his developers to tailor products for these devices. Coupling this with the astounding amount of behavioral data, we can segment audiences to provide a variety of content to meet our customers' wants at exactly the right moments.
With the advent of affordable marketing automation tools, virtually any brand can quickly and easily create detailed campaigns based on the buying history of a customer. We can deploy content that affirms the strength of our brand and reaches customers in innovative ways.
And beyond simply deploying content, we can track and measure each interaction with the content to learn what our customers are interested in -- which we'd then use to further optimize our campaigns. However, tools aren't one-size-fits-all. Some are geared toward B2B marketing, while others are more for the tech savvy. Some are better at multichannel, while others are meant strictly for one.
Impact to revenue generation
Despite the importance of digital marketing metrics, about half of enterprise marketers are still unsure of how to measure the effectiveness of their efforts. As marketers, we're often creating our content for the sole purpose of boosting ROI by intensely studying what causes a buyer to pull the trigger.
The level of accountability demanded by our C-suite peers is only rising. While there are a variety metrics that can show and drive key performance indicators (e.g., web visitors, form fills, earned impressions, etc.), marketers have the opportunity to take it even further. For a CMO looking to gauge the efficacy of her team's efforts, connecting the KPIs to actual business outcomes is paramount. For example, your brand may have gained more social followers, but it's far more compelling if that growth correlates with increased opportunities.
Digital technology is transforming the strategies behind companies' marketing efforts. CMOs can harness these changes to create a wide-ranging, intelligent marketing vehicle that powers customer engagement at every level -- and links to measurable business outcomes.