What is marketing? This is a question that many businesses are asking.
The world is experiencing dramatic changes. What's the solution to marketing in this age of disruption?
Marketing is not a function. Marketing is not a function. It is a process, voice, and conversation.
This post will detail my keynote on marketing in the age if disruption. It also includes five key tips that can help you brand adapt and change.
- Disruption doesn't exist, but it is more intense. This sets the stage for marketing rethinking.
- Although the digital disruption in marketing is still in its infancy, it has fundamentally changed how brands communicate with buyers.
- Marketing is stuck in old mindsets for most of the time.
- Modern marketing has content marketing as its most important aspect. Its focus is always on the client.
Marketing isn't what we thought it was!
It is obvious that we are in a disruptive cycle. The world is in chaos. The world is chaotic. But you can weather it. We've witnessed our fair share disruptive forces over the years — COVID-19, recessions, and social tensions.
What's the right context for marketing in such a world? Does it even matter? Is there anything we can offer our audience right now?
Yes. Because disruption isn’t new. It has been around for a while. It is now accelerating.
You can watch the webinar or continue reading for a recap.
Everything that is changing now was already changing. This is just what the new crises have done to accelerate it.
Maybe we are just paying more attention. That's a good thing. Irrelevance is the price of failing to keep up, and that might be the worst thing.
Digital Channels and Devices were the first to disrupt the system
You can begin to see the key dates in the 18-year history of brand evolution.
- 2003: LinkedIn launched, giving professionals a virtual platform to learn and connect. LinkedIn has grown to be a valuable marketing channel in just 18 years.
- 2006: Facebook debuts. It has had a profound impact on the world in just 14 years. It is still the most used social media platform. However, it's more than just a place to upload family photos. It's a news source and a marketplace that allows brands to share their stories.
- 2007: iPhone now available in the U.S. This access has had a profound impact on our lives, culture, and businesses. All you need is a click away.
- 2011: Snapchat is here, and it's quickly becoming a favorite among all generations. It's a game changer for both brands and consumers.
- 2020: TikTok explodes and the pandemic hits Making it possible for anyone to create content. Partnerships with brand influencers and personal brands explode.
In most cases, digital, social, or mobile technology seems immature. Although these revolutions have been occurring for 18 years, it's still a significant step forward in society.
This all contributes to a fundamental shift in how businesses operate. Marketing has had the greatest impact. Despite the immense power of these components why is marketing still so difficult to do?
The majority of marketing is still without a revolution
Marketing still appears to have not gotten the message about change. It's a constant cycle of brands telling us how great they are. It's all about them. They may choose different channels.
We are all connected now, that's the truth. Information is easy to find, and we expect it to be useful and accessible. We ignore information that isn't accessible or meaningful.
Digital transformation has led to customers having different relationships with brands. Because this is the experience economy, they have expectations. They move on if you don't meet their expectations.
Marketing is stuck in the past for many companies. The CEOs are not happy that marketing isn't generating revenue or returns. They blame their CMO.
The Fournaise Marketing Group's study found that 80 percent of CEOs don’t trust their CMOs. Only 10% feel the same way about other C-suite executives. Disconnects are most likely to be the reason for this disapproval. There is also a disconnect between what CEOs want and the things they tell marketers.
Marketing Paradox: The CEO Paradox
CEOs are often numbers and metrics-oriented. They expect marketing to increase brand awareness, generate leads and increase revenue. These are reasonable demands. Many CEOs have a wrong idea of how to accomplish this.
They want us change our logo. These vanity projects don't provide a return on investment (ROI). How can you determine if the activity was successful in achieving your goals?
Marketing failures can be easy to blame misinformed CEOs, but marketers must also be held accountable.
Marketers cannot be either “Yes” men or women. They are hired by companies to execute strategies that increase marketing value. Your job is not to say yes. It is to say no. It's your job, in a sense, to inform your CEO and other stakeholders about marketing.
What do most people think marketing is?
Ask most people, even CEOs, what marketing looks like. They'd likely answer ads. This is a very outdated way to look at marketing. Companies still spend millions, if not billions, on traditional advertising and brand marketing.
Surprisingly Coca-Cola has stopped advertising spending recently, with a statement by the CEO stating that “brand marketing is not effective”.
This is a great response from a company with undeniable brand equity. Their brand message was all about the product. The old guard of product marketing is dead. It is all about the product, not the user. It is true that it is ineffective.
According to the Advertising Research Foundation, product sales drop after 40 ad impressions per month. This may seem like an excessive number. But think about what it would be like to watch a Sunday football game. With all the commercials and logos displayed on the field and in every sponsored segment, those impressions can quickly add up.
Are customers still able to remember the advertisements? They might be more entertaining. Take a look at the Super Bowl ads from this year. They were clever and funny, but I don't know what brand made them. The ads didn't portray me. It didn't work.
Your customers don't want more ads. Stop promoting ads to people who don't want them. This will allow you to thrive and grow in this storm, and many more.
Here are some alternatives to marketing.
Disruption is a challenge.
It is not going away. It's only going to get worse. Although it may seem chaotic, there are important steps you can take to embrace disruption.
Companies spent time and money to create brochures before the internet. They switched to digital channels, but many businesses didn’t change how they used it.
Your website is your most valuable digital asset. Your website is not a brochure. It is yours and you can control it. If you make the most of it, it can provide real value over time.
Below is a graph that shows the value of content marketing on your site compared to paid ads.
First, content marketing budgets have remained stable and are significantly lower than they were in the past. Ad spend seems to increase in every year. The focus on content marketing has shown a significant increase of traffic over time. Traffic grows every day. You can make a great piece of content that has a lasting impact. It will continue to grow for many months and years. This is what annuity looks like. The beauty of evergreen content is its ability to last for years.
Ads? Not so much. Your return on investment is zero once you have ended your Google Ad. No ad, no return. It is not sustainable.
It is clear that content marketing generates 7x more ROI than paid advertising.
Real-World Success Stories of Content Marketing Success and Missed Opportunities
Content and strategy commitment matter
Three brands are examples of this phenomenon.
Brand A does not use content marketing. I have tried to teach them content marketing for five years, but to no avail. They continue to promote products and advertise. They aren't able to execute this strategy. Their website traffic is not good. They are failing. They are falling apart.
Brand B has a content strategy. They don't follow the strategy. They publish content according to the demands of executives, product launches, and campaigns. Their site traffic is flat. They are losing market share. They continue to invest in paid ads in an effort to correct their market share.
Brand C has been a client for five years. They publish two articles that are customer-focused every week. They have a strategy in place and stick to it. They have invested a small amount compared to large ad spenders. The results? The organic search traffic is steadily growing. They are seeing more traffic and, because they place the customer first. Conversions follow.
These are some fascinating numbers that might pique the interest of a CEO. Another story on how content marketing drives return is here.
Ads alone don't deliver
2011 was my first year at SAP, an international company in software. I was the first to head digital marketing. This is a new position, and it's prime for disruption.
It was easy to convince the business of content marketing. I started with thought leadership content. It was far more effective than product-based content, I found. People responded to content that was based upon expertise.
This was the beginning. Both the CEO and CMO were supportive of content marketing. I started to create a global content strategy that would be focused on thought leadership content.
It was a great breakthrough, but my marketing peers were not on board. Because product owners had high expectations, marketers got caught up in product promotion. Product owners expected that their marketing colleagues would push the product.
I returned to the data. I discovered that paid advertisements for product didn't have a true ROI. They were ignored by our audience. The content was not effective. Our audience required something more relevant.
I started by simply searching for the types of products SAP offered. I was able to find two of these products: big data solutions, and cloud computing technology. This was where SAP was losing in organic search rankings. They were losing out here because their competitors had more customer-focused content than product content.
Let's sum it all.
- Advertising was ineffective.
- The content was not usable.
- These campaigns did not generate any leads.
- Our buyers needed help.
This realization and data analysis led us to the conclusion that content marketing can help customers reach, engage, convert and stay loyal. These goals could be achieved by providing them with education and expertise. Our content marketing had to be valued and the buyer was the main character of the story.
This strategy was the basis for the creation of the SAP Digitalist Magazine. It became the content that users discovered through organic search. The site now boasts thousands of contributors, and is a digital hub that customers can access. This is an example of how to convince a business to use content marketing.
How can marketers connect with customers in this age of disruption?
Marketers must create content that is attractive to buyers. This is the essence of content marketing. This is where you meet customers and publish what you want. This illustration shows you what I mean. It also illustrates the fact that Venn diagrams can be used to explain most things.
Content marketing isn’t new. Content marketing has been around for over a decade. Its popularity and use is growing. Content marketing is contrary to what companies instinctively want to market.
They are naturally inclined to talk about their own opinions. These messages focus on features, benefits, or differentiators. It's me, me, me…
Companies aren't avoiding publishing content. The content is not ineffective. According to a report, 80 percent of B2B marketing content was not used.
This is a lot of work that didn't pay off. Is there any content missing? It is not what buyers need or want. The customer is what's most important.
Content marketing is the combination of what you know with your solutions to customer problems and questions. It is important to shift from a promotion mindset towards a publishing mindset.
Empathy is key to this change. Content marketing is a way to build real connections. Empathy drives empathy. It's difficult to explain to executives that lack empathy why this is. CEOs are driven by money. But content marketing can help them do this. It's not done in the traditional way.
You can bridge this gap by taking actions. These are the actions you can take to bridge this gap.
Tip 1 – Make the business case for content marketing
This business case is in line with your goals for attracting your ideal buyers.
- Use the keywords that they use to reach.
- Engage them by creating the content that they desire.
- When they are ready, convert them by turning them over to the sales team.
- Keep the conversation going by sharing useful content to retain your customers.
Tip 2 – Drive results with frequency
What is the one area that brands can't get right? They publish inconsistently. Customers want to see new content frequently. You must publish more content.
Traffic rates will rise if you are consistent. SAP's success was partly due to its frequency. They saw a 7x ROI in one year.
I was inspired by this exercise to create a formula for marketing ROI. The book The Content Formula was published. This was my message for CMOs about how to leverage content marketing.
They were not ready to hear it. Although they weren't ready for it, there was no denying that the shift towards customer-centricity was imminent.
Experts continue to research the frequency question. What frequency should you blog? You can read our blog post about blog frequency which provides data-driven answers to this question.
Tip 3: Concentrate on customer interests
Content marketing is relevant because it focuses on customers' interests. These interests don't have to be product-specific. GE Healthcare, for example, wants radiologists to be a part of its outreach. They don't care much about the latest features of GE equipment.
By looking at search data, we found that they cared about salaries. The company created an eBook about radiology salaries to meet this need. Although it was controversial, it proved to be very successful.
This is an example for the paradigm shift in organizational thinking. This paradigm shift must end the ingrained mindset of selling product. Empathy is key. Successful content marketing is dependent on empathy for customers as well as colleagues.
It's usually a cultural problem. I was faced with the problem of explaining empathy so I wrote Mean people Suck. Evidence and data proved that empathy-based organizations produce better business results. Marketing must care about culture.
Many organizations still keep org charts. An org chart is a simple map of who decides what to do. Org charts do not see roles and all the politics.
Most importantly, where is the customer in this org chart? There is no representation.
The Bullseye puts the customer at the center.
Tip 4: Answer customer questions
Rena Patel's work at Capgemini is a great example of the Bullseye. She was also the communications and brand head. It was fourth on the market, behind big names such as Accenture.
Accenture had sponsored golfers, and the CEO decided to do so. This would have cost $20 million.
Rena was not pleased. Their audience was not interested in golf, Rena discovered. This tactic was not going to work for customers, she knew.
Rena realized that educational content and customer-focused content had high returns. They had the knowledge to share it, all they needed was to put in the effort. Her goals were to raise revenue and improve the expertise of their employees.
Customers began to ask questions about the company's content. The efforts resulted in an increase of $1 million in revenue for 0.1% of the sponsorship budget.
Rena gives the results but the CEO wants to sponsor a golfer. Rena said no again, realizing that experts are key to conversions.
Tip 5 Activate your Experts
Rena convinces the CEO to sponsor the golf tournament. She doubles her content marketing budget. This allows her team more content creation and access to every subject matter expert (SME).
Content marketing generates $24 million in sales at the end of each year. This is the most profitable product that I have ever seen.
You might be wondering, “How can a small business do this with very little budget?”
Content marketing can deliver no matter your budget or size.
It is important to realize that website traffic does not require you to pay. My website currently ranks for 24,500 keywords. Advertising is not something we do.
Consistently publishing content that answers customers' questions is how we get noticed. Our blog on thought leadership is one of the most popular organic results. Accenture, a multi-billion-dollar company, is the first ad to appear at the top. To be on page 1, they must pay. We don't.
This didn't happen overnight. Content marketing is a slow process. However, you will see that its impact increases over time. Advertising does not.
Your Marketing Should Be Disruptive
It is a part of our world. Everything is changing. This is why you should reevaluate your marketing. These are the most important aspects to remember:
- Your customer should be the hero.
- It is necessary to present the business case and calculate the ROI of content marketing.
- Content marketing is all about consistency and frequency.
- Customers should always be able to answer their questions through content.
- Your content marketing ROI will be improved by activating experts both internally and externally.
Our Content Builder Service can help you get more visitors to your website by publishing quality content consistently. Contact me to set up a consultation and I will send you a PDF copy of my books. Get started now and you'll be able to generate more leads and traffic for your business.
Marketing in the Age of Disruption originally appeared on Marketing Insider Group.
By: Michael Brenner
Title: Marketing in the Age of Disruption
Sourced From: marketinginsidergroup.com/marketing-strategy/marketing-in-the-age-of-disruption/
Published Date: Wed, 08 Dec 2021 15:00:22 +0000