New tech entrants are bringing solutions to market quickly. Smaller players are outmaneuvering legacy companies, which are acquiring startups to adapt. The increasing pace and scale of change creates significant challenges for tech marketers.
Simultaneously, digital transformation is changing your customers and prospects—in terms of who they are and how they buy. The technology helping to drive this change is easy and quick to deploy, as cloud-based solutions and more agile infrastructures change what is possible. You need to bring IT pros along for the ride or risk alienating them.
Meanwhile, marketing itself is transforming. Individuals control how they find and consume information, and the tech industry’s response has been to flood the market with content in a bid to get their stories discovered. Marketing and advertising technology, or “MadTech,” promises easier solutions for effectively reaching an audience of buyers. This has left many marketers trying to figure out which new technology is going to be useful and what their priorities need to be.
How can tech marketers prepare for life in this ever-changing environment?
How do they develop a strategic framework?
Simple steps—after all, the market is complicated enough.
Step 1: Take Risks
At some point, you’ll want to take advantage of new technology. Much of it helps to target, reach, and measure custom audiences. The data that flows off the back of audience behavior is a wonderful gift to marketers. It can also be a curse, promising treasure without a map. Finding the treasure involves an active test-and-learn approach—you have to be very lucky to find the treasure in the first place you dig. Be rigorous in your assessment of the technology available, be thorough with your measurement, and be adventurous with your testing.
Step 2: Interrogate what You Already Have
Many companies invest in marketing automation but complain that that they aren’t using it very well.
Here are questions to help you avoid this …
How tidy is your website? How easy is it for a visitor to navigate? Is the content localized? Is the technical framework robust? How discoverable is it through search engines? Does your audience find value in it?
Quite simply, is it any good? Do you have enough of the right content for each stage of the buyer journey? Do you have too much content? Do you have localized content? Is it current? Is it working hard for you?
Do the right people know who you are? Do people have a positive view of your company? Do people understand the company’s core positioning and value prop?
What do you have at your disposal? Do you fully understand what it can do for you? What problems can it solve for you? Is it set up correctly? Have you even taken it out of the box? Is it being used correctly?
Is it in good shape? What is the value of it? How are you using it? What is missing? How many Mickey Mouses and Clint Eastwoods are you nurturing through your database?
It’s always going to be hard to stay on top of these things. There are great strides to be made by fixing some of the things you already have, and these are the foundations for creating the right type of communication with your customers and prospects.
Step 3: Align with Sales
Enterprise selling is difficult. The sales cycle can be long, and many individuals must be influenced along the way. If marketing and sales are operating in silos, this poor changeover can cost you the race. Time spent on understanding the customer journey and where the changeover happens will pay dividends. It assists audience targeting, nurture stream planning, content mapping, goal setting and message development.
Step 4: Understand your Leads
Supplying the right type of leads to sales is a key part of sales alignment, but it’s easy to let lead targets distort the process. Transferring the risk to a third-party lead vendor might seem sensible, but it can only ever be part of a broader demand-generation strategy. Understanding how individual leads perform at various stages through to conversion helps refine the process. Full-funnel marketing using tactics that are constantly adjusted to optimize performance will serve you better in the long run. Build a demand-generation engine and turn the ignition.
All of these steps might seem obvious, but they take time to get right and require constant adjustment. Intent and programmatic can deliver more precise communications. These are just a couple of the many effective tools and tactics are out there.