Everyone loves halftime. It’s always entertaining to sit back and relax as the band marches or the musicians perform. However, the athletes would probably tell you a different story. While you are in the stands, they are in the locker room assessing their performance in the first half and intently listening to their coach as he carves out a strategy for the second half.
Although it’s hard to believe, we’ve already reached halftime for 2015, and unfortunately marketers do not have the luxury of sitting in the stands and watching the halftime show. We are the athletes, and we must carefully evaluate our performance thus far in order to have a winning second half. Account Director Mandy Hummel from IBM Silverpop emphasized the importance of such an assessment in a recent webinar hosted by Chief Marketer. According to Hummel, measuring your digital marketing success as it aligns with your company’s business goals is an essential part of every mid-year review.
This can be a harrowing task. Where to even begin? If you permit me to play the role of coach, here are six questions that every marketing team should consider in their 2015 halftime locker room:
- Are you still focused on your target audience? – You can’t market a product or service unless you know who you are marketing to. A true fisherman doesn’t just cast out his line in hopes that a random fish will swim along and take the bait. No, he knows the type of fish he will be luring before he even steps foot in the boat, and he goes to the body of water where that fish is known to be. Marketing is no different. Before considering anything else, you must decide internally who your customer is and what market he is in. In the beginning of the year, we all start with great intentions and a strict focus on this. Then come all the additional requests and distractions, making it easy to lose sight of our target customer. Use halftime as a chance for your marketing team to refocus on who your target audience really is.
- Where are the leaks in your customer pipeline? – As Hummel explains in the webinar, your customer engagement is like a funnel. It starts out broadly with the customers who have identified your product or service, and then it narrows down until you are left with the customers who have decided to buy it. However, there is no such thing as a linear funnel these days, and in between these stages, there are numerous touchpoints that your customers interact with, which are unique to each business. It is important to identify which of these touchpoints are causing the gaps in your customer journey. In other words, where are the leaks in your funnel, and how can you plug them shut? To answer this question, you need to first map out your customer journey. Surprisingly, very few organizations actually do this, although it is a key part of maintaining a macro-level understanding of your customer experience. Once you have this mapped out, the final thing you must do is to make sure you have metrics to monitor each of these stages in your customer pipeline. With proper metrics in place, you should be able to identify where the leaks are in your customer pipeline and take action to fix them.
- Are you answering consumers’ questions with your content? – In each stage in the customer lifecycle prior to conversion, the consumer has different questions about your product or service. To complicate things even more, different types of consumers have different concerns, and as marketers, it is our responsibility to have content that sufficiently answers the questions of each customer persona at each stage in the lifecycle. The TopRight Customer BuyWay™ methodology focuses on the consumer decision-making process in order to map the right content to each of these points in the lifecycle of each customer. Are you considering both lifecycle stage and consumer persona in your management of digital content?
- Do you know how engaged your customers are? – A customer’s behavior tells you virtually everything about his or her engagement with your brand, as discussed in the webinar. Fortunately, we have more tools today than ever to be able to measure customer behavior, and marketers must embrace this opportunity in their Integrated Marketing Management practices. When you look at the data for your customers’ behavior, how are you measuring up to industry standards? And perhaps more importantly, how are you measuring up to your own company standards? If you find that your customer engagement has fallen behind since last year, go back and consider how you are interacting with your customers at each touchpoint.
- How mobile-friendly are you? – As most marketers have realized, our customers are engaging with brands and their entire digital lives on mobile devices. According to a recent survey by Deloitte, roughly three quarters of U.S. consumers agree that their smartphone is one of the top three most valued products they own. Although this trend presents a number of opportunities for marketers, it also brings with it numerous challenges. All of the sudden, every piece of digital collateral sent out in a marketing campaign must be accessible and consistent across an array of mobile devices, all of different sizes. Every digital touchpoint must be mobile-friendly: email, websites, landing pages, registration forms, etc. So how mobile-friendly are you?
- Are you active on social media? – Perhaps the question five years ago was “Are you on social media?”, but the question today is “Are you engaging on social media?” It is not enough to just have a Facebook page where people can find you. Now you must consistently produce content across an assortment of social media platforms, each with a different feel and purpose. However, a balance must be found, as it is easy to annoy your customers with a bombardment of information. To effectively manage your social media presence, Hummel recommends choosing your top two social channels to focus on and devote a resource to monitor these channels consistently. It is also important to schedule your tweets, posts, and blogs to coordinate with one another in order to create an even release of content. If done correctly, this can have a resilient, but not overbearing, influence on your customers and followers.
At TopRight, we know how important it is for marketers to ask these questions during their mid-year reviews, as well as throughout the rest of the year. However, these conversations cannot just be limited to marketing teams. In his book, Enterprise Marketing Management: The New Science of Marketing, CEO Dave Sutton says, “The notion of what makes up the brand simply can’t be locked up between the ears of a few people in a little department called Marketing. It has to be unleashed and managed across every person who interacts on the brand’s behalf with any customer.” If you are interested in improving your digital marketing strategy, you can take our short Digital Marketing Assessment to find out how we can help move your company to the #TopRight.