Data is not a monster but a marketer's friend. With the help of data it is possible to invest in best functioning channels while discarding those that are not very effective.
According to recent research, a person's attention span has gone down from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds. The reason for this development is above all the growing amount of external stimuli. At the time when the 12 seconds attention span was measured, we did not yet know LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube or Instagram. We live in a world of multichannel marketing where vast amount of content is consumed and produced, simultaneously and in various channels.
As a result, it is more difficult for the marketer to make his/her voice heard and attract the reader's attention. There are also redeeming features in the matter: the fact that there are several channels also means that the marketer has a choice. What's even better is that the channels are in active use. Most people check their email every day, use their mobile device on a daily basis and spend time in social medias. In other words, these people are available. The question is, who will succeed in attracting their attention and offer interesting, channel-appropriate content.
The undeniable advantage of digital channels is that their effects can be measured. Data is not a monster but rather a marketer's friend. With the help of data it is possible to invest in best functioning channels while discarding those that are not very effective. Analytics based on data enable individual targeting and the development of marketing towards the desired direction. All means of marketing leave a digital footprint each of which can be used for creating cash flow.
Nowadays, the potential customer contacts the seller later in the purchase process. Before contact, information is searched for in the multichannel environment and the customer learns a lot about potential product or service providers before the provider even knows about the prospect or potential buyer. Before contact, all the information available on the provider is crucial - these days, most of it is online.
During the past few years, content marketing has created a lot of hype. Content marketing is really all about offering interesting content for a potential customer. Instead of imposing the product or service directly to the buyer, the companies blog, train and inspire their buyers in various channels.
You should not, however, forget the basis of active online presence: your website. A good metaphor is the traditional brick-and-mortar store: if the store is unorganized, the products outdated and it is impossible to find anything in the store, there is no point in trying to attract customers with a front page ad.
Potential customers can be met before contact or purchase by offering them a so-called purchase path. The commonest terms used for this are lead nurturing and soft selling. Basically it is about "warming up" the potential buyer or lead in the course of a certain time period or event cycle. This is based on the fact that most of the buyers are not ready to make a purchase decision or to leave a contact request right here and now - therefore, you want a contact channel with the help of which it is possible to get to know the product and provider little by little.
Realizing the above-described purchase path practically requires the marketing message to be divided into smaller portions.The chain often starts from first contact when the prospect is offered something interesting in return for contact details, such as email address. After that, the prospect will start receiving marketing messages. Instead of revealing all your selling points at once, it is wise to divide the information into smaller sections. What is essential is that the receiver wants to continue getting mail from you and therefore relevant and interesting content is crucial.
Marketing messages that are divided into smaller sections often call for marketing automation both due to limited resources and in order to avoid human error. With newsletters, you often hear the term drip campaign where a certain trigger function, such as downloading material from a website, initiates a chain of automated messages.
Often the reason why automation fails is that it is too massive, which makes it very stiff and unagile. Think about the following scenario: A lot of time (even years) is spent in massive automation projects. First for identifying all possible processes that call for automations, then for evaluating their importance and finally for deciding the order in which they will be realized. Identifying the processes that require automation is of course important but the truth is that the list changes along the way. If there are a hundred things on the list, it is not at all unusual that after five of those things have been automated, it is not anymore necessary to automate half of the remaining 95 things or their nature changes significantly. This is exactly what agile marketing automation is all about.
Instead of a massive automation project, we recommend that you deal with smaller entities at a time and learn to react to things when they change. Software is a tool that you need to exploit and learn how to use. For a successful implementation you need to find a balance between well-functioning technology and great content.
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