Are you readily embracing change to lead your marketing team? Marketing leaders are embracing new change at a rapid pace. I reached out to leaders I know and asked for their feedback on the top impact this and next year.
Marketing leaders are rapidly shifting resources to Content Marketing. It was a focus among CMO’s asked about the biggest impact this past year. When asking CMO’s about their focus in 2015, aligning with the buyer’s process was top of their list.
Over the past year, SBI has posted vast amount of content on Marketing Strategy. It’s important because it’s the operating plan for a company’s marketing department. Many of you have downloaded and read our marketing research report on it. This included the 6 step blue print to building a comprehensive marketing strategy. Now is a good time to compare your strategy with world class. See how your content planning and execution fit into this methodology.
Dive deeper into specific feedback from marketing leaders on the front lines of driving change. Review their responses to these questions: What part of their Marketing Strategy had the biggest impact this past year? In addition, what do they think it will be in 2015. Enjoy the following responses and please reply to this post with your response.
2014 Marketing Strategic Components That Had the Biggest Impact
- We mapped and created marketing content which aligned to the buyer’s journey
- We created a true multi-channel, perpetual demand generation program
2015 Key Marketing Focus Areas:
- Building customer lifecycle marketing programs
- Optimizing campaigns based on multivariate analytics
- For 2014, lead generation through content marketing was the most successful for us. We implemented HubSpot at the beginning of the year, and it really helped us from content and tracking standpoint.
- For 2015, we will definitely continue content marketing, but add some different types of content to the mix. With a long duration sales cycle, it benefits us to have different types of content for different stages of buyers.
From my experience this past year and continued into 2015, Marketing Leaders will want to consider that their role is actually three-fold and is completely tied to Sales:
- Support existing customers/partners – focus on your current customers. This results in increased success stories, testimonials, referrals, and quotes. These can be used in press releases, content shares, and speaking opportunities. Don’t miss reading David Meerman’s Scott blog post on a VALUED customer, here.
- Support Account Management sales team members – Providing air cover to existing partners/customers. This involves using email address and landing page/automation features (ie. HubSpot). This enables the sales team member to see who is raising their hand to say “I’m interested”.
- Generate MQLs for the sales team responsible for recruiting new partners to the Continuum model. This involves nurturing at a higher level (asking for a trial, and evaluation or are moving from another vendor). The result is a better, longer-term partner. The landing component of this function is valuable for lower Cost of Customer Acquisition, and LTV.
Overall, the strategy is one that fully supports the sales process and the team. The goal is keeping current partners, expanding product usage, and adding new partners. Ultimately it’s all about growing the business up and to the right.
- The biggest impact of 2014 had to be the continued growth of content marketing. Firms that use content effectively will reap big rewards, such as increased brand awareness, SEO benefits and more leads.
- For 2015, expect a movement towards “hyper-targeting.” This involves harnessing numerous data sources and marketing automation tools. Insights include deep customers and prospects data that increase conversion. This information is invaluable in creating a more personal brand experience that assists in customer acquisition and retention.
What had the biggest impact or was the most effective in 2014?
- In an increasingly complex (pharmacy benefit management) B2B environment, our consistent and relevant content strategy allows us to make meaningful engagement. Our content energizes the brand and builds attention and trust.
- A strong website supported with marketing automation capability tracks engagement, nurtures prospects, and builds a lead generation pipeline. Marketing and sales collaboratively worked together to manage the progression of leads that impacted sales.
What will have the biggest impact in 2015?
- Along with continuing a consistent and relevant content strategy, we’ll be digging deeper into customer insights. This involves using marketing automation data to understand buyer behaviors and interactions. We then create opportunities for personalized conversations with profitable market niches.
The biggest wins in 2014, which will continue to payoff in 2015, are:
- Building out true end-to-end full funnel reporting. This helps us identify the marketing campaigns, events and tactics that were most effective in driving leads, opportunity and actual revenue.
- Strengthening Sales and Marketing integration by creating a shared prospect journey. This involves an agreement on the responsibilities of each department for each stage of the journey, and defining shared metrics for our success.
- Adjusting our blogging strategy to first identify keyword searches used by our early-stage prospects during the information gathering process. We then craft meaty, authoritative, research-based content optimized for their searches. This shift increased website traffic through our blog by 180% YoY.
Marketing leaders are embracing new change at a rapid pace. One key area will be advanced methods to focus in on the buyer’s and their content needs. A complete marketing strategy will have you set for a great year. Download SBI’s Marketing Research Report to get the complete overview of a world-class Marketing Strategy.