President at Total Solutions and Founder of Lead(h)er
My first real marketing job was at a law firm with about 40 attorneys. It was their first marketing role, too, so we learned together how to do this marketing thing.
One of the sayings I used over and over again when working there was, “Marketing is more than posters and parties.”
Yes, marketing can and may always have a bit of party planning and sign making. It’s part of the territory. But what elevates marketing to become a strategic partner with leaders in your organization is moving beyond these conversations to key questions and imperatives for the success of your business.
Let’s break down what I believe are the key components of marketing in 2021.
1. Digital-First Strategy
Whether your business is B2B or B2C, your customers are likely finding you and interacting with you digitally. But how do we change the ways we market in a digital environment to increase our lead generation?
The first place many often look is through a better optimized, modern website. A client asked me the other day if websites are even relevant anymore. I answered yes, because while new media has come about to connect consumers with brands, company websites still are a primary way leads in your sales funnel learn about you and travel through their decision-making process. The better your website keeps them engaged, the more apt they may be to buy your product or service.
I also recommend focusing on a variety of digital activities, such as email automation, pay-per-click and landing page campaigns, and social media advertising. You may find that a different mix suits you, but regardless of your industry, think critically about the intersection of your sales and marketing functions and how strategic digital marketing can efficiently capture leads to hand to your sales team.
Marketing cannot operate in a silo. To make your marketing effective — which means to do activities that lead potential customers to become customers — your marketing team should be welcomed into your sales and operations. Marketers can tell a good story, if we know the story to tell. Empower your marketing person or teams to really learn the business so they can adequately communicate your unique value proposition to potential customers.
For example, at my law firm job, this meant meeting with the practice area leaders and attending practice group meetings regularly. I had a weekly habit to make “rounds” to learn what the attorneys were working on, ask questions and understand how they communicated. This habit allowed me to delve into an industry that was foreign to me when I started and to craft messaging that would speak to their potential and current clients.
Marketing often comes under fire because it’s been historically hard to measure. Digital-first strategies have changed that because we have data to understand how our marketing efforts are reaching (or not reaching) consumers. How we measure marketing, then, should be a function of the data available to us. Ensure your goals are tied to your overall company strategy and that there is a person in your organization who is held accountable to meet them.
As your business grows, you can seek out more sophisticated marketing metrics. If you’re just hopping onto the measurement bandwagon, I’d suggest starting small with only a few metrics. Be sure to optimize your website to track conversions. You can also track contact forms and conversions on your website. Measure your email open rate. Keep an eye on engagement and bounce rate.
At the end of the day, marketing is a strategic driver for new and returning customers. Can posters and parties bring you that outcome? Yes. But only if you are also considering a digital, holistic and goal-oriented marketing approach.