Defining Today’s Marketing Vehicles and How They Work for You
By Michael J. Pallerino
Randall LaVeau is one of those marketers who likes to spend every minute of every day thinking about the best ways his clients can improve upon their strategies. As a senior consultant for Sales Benchmark Index (SBI), he is part of a team of former sales and marketing leaders dedicated to helping brands meet aggressive goals in unreasonable time lines.
Ask LaVeau, and he will tell you straight up that in today’s highly competitive business landscape, the scope of what marketing is expected to (and can) deliver shifts depending on the situation. The one thing that LaVeau and the SBI team will profoundly admit to is that “making your number” is the goal every marketing initiative strives to attain.
Take a quick snapshot of today’s marketing world, and you will find that it continues to be more about quality than quantity. And as the industry evolves, and buyers become more aware of yesterday’s tactics, marketers are facing the harsh reality that the legacy approach of broad-based content and messaging is failing. For this reason, LaVeau says marketers are laser focused on the customer journey and the alignment of hyper-personalized content to their buyer’s specific buying process.
“We live in an age of information,” LaVeau says. “Marketers are now more than ever in a position to leverage that abundance of information to make strategic decisions based on quantifiable metrics. With information at our fingertips, and the means to reach our audience through multiple channels, today’s marketers are earning the respect of their peers and having an undeniable impact on measurable revenue targets.”
As organizations refine and evolve their buyer and user personas, marketers are becoming extremely targeted in their channel approach. Having the ability to understand how your buyers buy and their preferred method to consume information is critical. The key is to understand the vehicles, by persona, applicable to buyers based on the stage they are at in their buying process. And while LaVeau says that social remains one of the most rapidly adopted channels for distribution, print, email and next-gen content such as podcasts and videos, continue to provide high ROI.
As with any marketing program, in any marketplace, it is imperative to know what to use, and when. “Those who are agile in their approach are leapfrogging their competition,” LaVeau says. “The key is to be flexible in your approach by observing industry trends and buying behaviors to remain relevant and in tune with what your buyers are demanding. You also must know how they are consuming information, and then distribute the right content, through the right channel.”
The simple, direct approach
Pick a channel, any channel. Whether it’s print, social, email, mobile, events, web/digital, salespeople or content, the success is in the approach and how each complements the other. For the past 30 years, Michael F. Sciortino, Sr., has been sifting his way through the marketing landscape, helping his customers deliver on their approaches.
Sciortino believes that success in marketing today still is about the consistent implementation of simple, basic, fundamental and memorable ideas that connect with clients. “Clients want to know how you will serve them, what to expect from you and how you will communicate with them,” says Sciortino, founder and CEO of Gratitude Marketing. “ROI, or results, are still what matter. With the cost of acquiring new clients being about seven times what it costs to retain clients, companies that focus on nurturing relationships are realizing substantial growth.”
Sciortino says brands should not be afraid to test obvious methods or strategies for several reasons, including that most other brands don’t do it consistently and the positive results often will surprise you. “Once you find a method that is producing results, stick with it. Marketers often get bored with a method that is working before their audience does.”
In the end, most traditional marketing speaks to people who want to be engaged. Engagement will be driven through marketing channels by hyper-personalization of stage-appropriate content. Identifying the customers with the highest propensity to buy, combined with a detailed understanding of their buying behaviors, will allow marketers to evolve these vehicles in new and exciting ways.
“The buyer’s journey spans across multiple stages representing multiple channels in which buyers are consuming content,” LaVeau says. “Understanding this journey, and aligning each vehicle with the journey, allows marketers to present stage-appropriate messaging to prospective customers. The ultimate goal is to understand this omni-channel journey and tell a cohesive story with targeted content throughout the process.”
With the rising costs of client acquisition, Sciortino believes today’s companies will place greater emphasis on nurturing what he calls the three R’s: increased client retention, increased client referrals and increased client revenues.
“We will continue to benefit from the testing and history of our past,” Sciortino says, “But whatever new vehicles come along will still have to ultimately pass the field test with consumers. In other words, how does the method make the client feel? Does the vehicle provide an engaging, fun, memorable experience for the consumer? The success of your business will rely on happy and loyal clients. And while they may not always remember what you say or how you say it, they will remember how your business makes them feel.”