Marketing investments in technology by leading brands show that achieving high levels of digital proficiency requires complementary investments in best-of-breed technology solutions. Digital marketing leaders can take cues from high-performing brands to learn how they deploy marketing technology. 

A global pandemic, combined with civil unrest and widespread instability, has reshaped the lives of customers and employees, demands on businesses and brands, and the operating landscape.

Table Of Contents

  1. New Normal
  2. Data Driven
  3. Inbound Marketing 
  4. Customer Journey Map
  5. New Sales and Marketing Funnel
  6. Other Challenges
  7. Time To Go Back To Basics

Most companies are adversely impacted by this pandemic. Making decisions from a marketing standpoint has never been more challenging, yet the need for vision, innovation and transformation is more important than ever. Changing attitudes and personalization are among the top predictions for marketing leaders. This is the time to prepare yourself for "New Normal".

  • Marketers strive to engage prospects and customers on an intimate, personal level.
  • Influencer marketing and personalization are among the high-profile initiatives they’ve pursued toward that end in recent years.
  • Consumers choose experience over influence , they are turning instead to family, friends and local businesses to provide product advice and commercial service.
  • By 2023, 25% of organizations will amalgamate marketing, sales and CX into a single function.
  • By 2025, 80% of marketers who have invested in personalization will abandon their efforts due to lack of ROI, the perils of customer data management or both.
  • By 2024, 30% of large organizations will identify content moderation services for user-generated content as a C-suite priority.
  • By 2025, 20% of B2C revenue will come from recurring revenue models, causing profound shifts in marketing strategies, spend and channels.

The way a company utilizes its marketing will be a telltale sign on how they will be able to keep up after the coronavirus.

Data-Driven decisions incorporate human intuition

People being forced to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic has caused a vast increase in data collection. But, while all this data seems beneficial, human behavior may not be so predictable since historical data is not available. Therefore, that opens the door for inaccuracies.

According to Gartner, bad data can cost a business an average of $15 million per year in losses. Even if a company is using software that incorporates machine learning, there still needs to be some historical data to understand the meaning behind the new information.

Therefore, companies like YouTube are explaining how mistakes can happen during this time. The company said how “automated systems will start removing content without human review.” They want to respond quickly while knowing that some video removals will happen despite not violating any policies.

While companies need to respond quickly, they also need to have a team of marketing experts involved in their decision making.

Digital marketers, who utterly understand data analytics, should be able to help go through the limited data while collaborating with business leaders to help drive decisions.

This is the time to use your intuition on what is right for the business. Digital marketers will need to rely on those nontraditional marketing skills of the 21st century, such as creative problem solving.

As time goes on, companies will be able to collect shifts in human behavior to make better-informed decisions based off new data. Until then, marketers will need to utilize those soft skills for solving a problem. This will be the best way to help business leaders.

Inbound Marketing is more important than ever

During a time when everyone is facing challenges, companies need to continue communicating their brand identity and values. Since everyone is online, this is the time to leverage digital to the fullest.

Unfortunately, there are companies scrambling to build their online presence. From new ecommerce websites to e-learning solutions, companies are looking for ways to gain revenue.

Inbound marketing is more important than ever because it helps businesses to build those relationships online. It is the best way to convert leads into loyal customers. Because inbound relies on online content, your company should be putting that at the forefront with their online products and solutions.

Forrester Research says that when companies excel at inbound, they can generate 50 percent more sales-ready leads at 33 percent lower costs. Those numbers sound good to companies who had to make budget cuts because of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to HubSpot, “61 percent of marketers say improving SEO and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority.” They also said that “55 percent of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority.”

The reason why this is so important is because a company cannot just create an ecommerce website or present an e-learning solution. They will need to nurture their target audience with quality content that is optimized to be found by the search engine robots.

Lead nurturing through inbound marketing is a way for you to build relationships and credibility. You must listen to the needs of your audience and provide information that helps solve the problem. This can be challenging in a time where data is not accurate.

However, when using your intuition, you should know how to address the problems of your target audience. Most companies have personas created for helping them to produce meaningful messages.

This is the time to revisit those personas. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, needs may have shifted. Therefore, you will need to update your messages.

While important, one must remember that the product or solution is still at the bottom of the sales and marketing funnel. That means there are many steps an organization will need to go through before being ready to buy, especially during difficult times.

Customer Journey Map

Create customer journey maps that internal teams will use to make customer experience improvements across the business.

Organizations that have and use customer journey maps are twice as likely to outperform competitors than those that don’t, according to Gartner Customer Experience Management Survey. That success likely comes from the way maps help identify key opportunities to improve the customer experience (CX). They also facilitate agreement across the organization about customer needs.

“Customer journey maps only bring value when they’re used to inform business priorities.”

To ensure that your customer journey maps are actionable and insightful, follow a three-step customer journey mapping process to prepare, develop and use them.

  • Get senior support.                                
  • Form a cross-functional team.  
  • Identify your high-value customers.  

Identify data needs and sources. Customer journey maps derive from real-world data and information about customers. Assess the data you have, identify data gaps and plan research to gather missing insights.

Create the customer journey map - Just as strong preparation sets an organization up for success, mapping best practices ensure quality in the resulting customer journey maps. They are:

  • Map from the customer’s perspective. 
  • Map the end-to-end experience. 
  • Validate maps with real customers.  
  • Plan changes based on the customer journey map
Customer journey maps only bring value when they’re used to inform business priorities. To ensure you get the most out of them, make sure to:
  • Create an action plan.  
  • Keep maps current.  
  • Communicate how the maps produce value.

A new sales and marketing funnel

Inbound marketing includes the sales and marketing funnel, which is vastly different today because of the digital revolution.

funnel to flywheelPeople go online to get instant answers to questions. The modern-day funnel includes more marketing than sales because of the steps a company needs to go through to nurture a lead.

This is even true for those who believe in the flywheel approach for lead acquisition. The funnel includes the flywheel; because once a lead turns into a customer, they “circle” back into the funnel for upselling or for increasing brand loyalty.

revenue flywheel

So, with this big push to get everyone online, will the sales and marketing funnel change again? This is something companies need to ask themselves.

The sales team typically comes at the end of the funnel to help close the deal. What will that look like for those who are only searching online for answers? Will this create a new type of searcher or buyer?

Other Challenges 

  • Marketing technology represents 26% of marketing expense budgets, yet brands utilize just 58% of their marketing technology stack capabilities. Realizing the impact of marketing technology investments often involves a spider web of interconnected systems and capabilities.
  • Digital marketing leaders are often unable to connect technology adoption with business outcomes. Linking marketing technology with brands’ digital performance establishes the technologies and vendor types that form the basis of genius performances.
  • Large marketing technology vendors often dominate client shortlists. In so doing, marketers underestimate the benefits that leading and gIfted brands gain from best-of-breed point solutions and deployment of complementary best-of-breed products.

Time To Go Back To Basics 

As a digital marketing leader responsible for marketing technology, you should: 

  • Use a best-of-breed approach to evaluate and select complementary point solutions in addition to integrated suite products. Adopt point solutions as needed to improve capabilities while minimizing waste.
  • Build competencies around technology, content and workflow that support marketing strategy in order to overcome the risk of martech complexity. Eliminate marginal or underutilized technology, and assess capabilities to determine if sufficient depth in talent, training and organization is available to utilize the products in your stack.
  • Leverage product combinations the way that leading brands often do. Establish which combinations are most relevant to your business and align complementary technologies to maximize capabilities.

Business, as usual, will change. Therefore, the way your business responds to getting into the now will make a mark. This is the time to get strategic and use human intuition to leverage the resources available online to effectively nurture a lead and increase revenue. Go back to basics to develop a strategy and identify high-potential use cases. Go back one or two levels to test tailored recommendations for segments and analyze customer journey maps to identify high-value moments .

Topics: Inbound Marketing, video marketing, B2B, inbound sales, Covid-19, #Marketing Strategies, Growth

Parvind

Written by Parvind

A seasoned technology sales leader with over 18 years of experience in achieving results in a highly competitive environment in multiple service lines of business, across the Americas, EMEA & APAC. Has a strong understanding of international markets having lived and worked in Asia, the Middle East and the US, traveled extensively globally.