According to Robert A. Bartels’ History of Marketing Thought, while marketing has always existed in theory, its development as a known, structured practice was established in the early 1900s. Bartels’ textbook covers the evolution of marketing strategy all the way from inception through the period of “Socialization” in the 1970s.
Nearly 35 years later, marketing is still evolving, with each era ushering in a new channel and metric for marketers to test and master. Over all these years, one marketing best practice has remained consistent: you can’t reach today’s consumers with yesterday’s techniques.
The digital era has brought about more changes than ever before, yet many marketers are still clinging to the tools and strategies of yore. Over time, disproven theories, outdated technology and convoluted strategies have amassed into a string of bad marketing habits embedded in many businesses today.
Here are 3 bad habits your marketing organization needs to break to survive in the age of the connected consumer.
Using “Social Only” Metrics
Many marketers still consider the share buttons on their blogs as triumph over the “recent” social media explosion; however, 88% of marketers still struggle with social where it really counts: measuring ROI (Webmarketing123). In truth, social marketing has been around long enough to have left a string of bad strategies in its wake.
In the early days of social, marketers tried out a slew of social-specific metrics, like engagement and follower count, in attempt to quantify the value of this emerging channel. With time, it has become apparent that these metrics, while interesting, do little to tell you about who your customers are or how social media is truly impacting your business.
Modern marketers are breaking this bad habit by attributing their social efforts directly to traditional KPIs like revenue, retention and time spent. For example, do customers that write reviews return more often than those that don’t? Do consumers that share content view more pages? Social marketing has moved beyond basic engagement to a model that requires marketers to actively measure and optimize users’ social actions and behaviors in the context of their business goals.
Operating within Silos
This bad habit manifests itself in two ways. The first involves disparate data repositories caused by the inflation of consumer channels and devices. As marketers attempt to scale legacy database solutions to manage today’s multi-channel data, they wind up with a totally disorganized view of their customers. In fact, almost 65% of marketers agree that silos within their marketing departments prevent them from having a holistic view of campaigns across channels (Teradata), and research shows that the ability to measure marketing ROI is declining as channels continue to diversify (MediaPost).
To effectively solve this problem, marketers must address the second part of this bad habit: organizational silos between marketing and IT. As marketing becomes increasingly data-driven and CMO technology budgets surpass those of CIOs, the partnership of these two departments is becoming key to the success of the overall business.
Marketers must turn to IT to implement a dynamic, consolidated database that gives them a single view of consumer identity and activity across channels. This database must also have the power to turn “big data” into digestible, actionable insights for use across marketing platforms and campaigns. Helping marketers more effectively manage their data reduces maintenance burdens for IT, leaving them more time for strategic analysis and developments.
Thinking Desktop First
By 2015, local mobile searches are expected to exceed desktop searches (eMarketer), and connected devices are projected to total 26 billion by 2020 (Gartner). Marketers building user experiences around traditional desktop use cases and patterns will soon find themselves falling far behind more modern competition.
Marketers must develop a “mobile first” mindset, and begin thinking outside the responsive design box to create dynamically unique experiences via smartphone and tablet. The Internet of Things presents marketers with an unprecedented opportunity to insert themselves into users’ lives in increasingly impactful and beneficial ways, becoming an integral part of everyday activities like brushing your teeth, going to the gym and setting the thermostat.
This level of connectivity requires businesses to adopt an identity-centric marketing strategy, tying all cross-device activity to a single consumer identity via solutions like social login. Not only does identity effectively customize connected experiences, but central identity between devices takes the Internet of Things to a whole new level, enabling devices to communicate with one another and create a personalized lifestyle.
As the marketing landscape changes on a near daily basis, marketers must make it a habit to continuously put the tools and strategies in place to evolve with connected consumers. To get a head start on the competition, download our free marketing predictions white paper.
By Tobias Meyer-Grunow