A 2020 Marketing Vision

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[dropcap]M[/dropcap]arketing is in a transitional era and it has been for a while. New and evolving technologies have changed so much about how a marketer’s day works — from the responsibilities, duties, and relationships all the way down to what exactly content is created, and why. For the last 5+ years, the focus has been on actually understanding customers; adding even more complexity, is technology because it enables customers to move back and forth across mainstream and siloed cultural bubbles instantaneously. So effectively speaking to both, and across multiple channels is a must. From now until 2020, marketing’s top priorities continue to be personalization, content, and engagement. Now it’s time to use that knowledge to drive engagement and do it at scale.

“Today, the primary task of CMOs is to deeply understand customer buying behavior and intent; deeply understand the context of where someone is in their decision journey; be able to predict what they’re most likely primed to do next; and be ready to influence them at the right moment.”
—Jonathan Martin, CMO, Pure Storage

 

Marketers are no longer purveyors of information. Thanks to social media and search engines, customers can access pricing and other product information on their own. So customers already know what your brand can offer them. In other words, marketing is now responsible for getting and keeping the customer. Nearly 90% of survey respondents in a recent poll believe marketing departments will exercise significant influence over business strategy by 2020. Which means the brands marketing strategy must align with both the sales and customer service teams. Now, there are new tools such as the internet of things, geo-targeting, and blockchain personalized technologies; as well as tactics like beacon-powered marketing, which uses Bluetooth technology to push information to nearby devices, focus on the user experience, marketers have the power to send shoppers a coupon based on where they are in a store. Marketing channels will be created by these connected objects and locations. Contextual shopping also on the rise uses insights into a consumer’s “buying journey,” and data from their wearables and home’s smart devices to offer suggestions or discounts.

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See the Data in 2020

Business large and small know that these new technology tools for marketing are already here, but again it isn’t crystal clear as to how this will evolve by 2020. One thing that’s clear however is that the technology will be powered by data. Business data is currently being explored like never before and the Cloud is only the beginning. By the year 2020, analysts project that 78% of all small businesses in the U.S. will have adopted cloud computing, meaning it will have doubled from the present around 37%. Currently, 18% of small businesses with one to 99 employees are using a hybrid cloud. Terry Hicks, vice president and general manager of QuickBooks Online Ecosystem said, “Whether you’re a tech startup in Silicon Valley or a mom-and-pop shop on Main Street, cloud technology presents radically new opportunities and potentially disruptive changes.” If you want to drive stronger daily active use of your technology product, you’ve got to get into what’s actually working, what’s not and how you can improve.” This is also true for marketers — how they’re buying, retargeting and using the right data to improve the message, the content and the experience they’re delivering to customers. Remember, it’s not enough to just gather data — The goal is to figure out how to separate the useful consumer insights from the noisy data waste. With a clearer dataset, marketers can use relevant insights to develop smarter, more targeted campaigns. And it’s not just about the right data but how quickly brands and businesses learn from that data to optimize the customer experience.

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The 2020 Mobile Movement

The easiest way to see what else is in the future is to look at the trends. Most Americans prefer to shop online, and the number is only going to get bigger as Generation Z and beyond grow up in an Internet-dominated world. Anyone in the space knows mobile has been a massive trend for years now; it makes up over half of the web traffic according to some studies. Despite this, 46% of small businesses do not have a website and 35% feel that their operation is simply too small to warrant a website. Not existing online especially mobile will not be an option in 2020. Having your own platform which you own is a must because if Facebook goes down you can not! However doing this successfully, means combining technology and sharp analytical skills with traditional marketing creativity. Advanced marketers are building statistical models to ascertain what signals mean and that customers are interested in certain products and serving them accordingly. This may also explain why more marketing leaders are coming from computer science or statistics backgrounds. One study found that 75% of its respondents admitted to taking their phones with them into the bathroom. Given the frequency with which people access the internet with their mobile devices, it’s obvious that bring people to your platform with mobile marketing is important if you want to reach a large portion of the population.

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Talk to your Audience in 2020

Fading are the days of indirect interaction through media and advertising. By 2020, more marketers expect they will interact directly with their customers through technology and personalization. It is about me the consumer not you the brand. Every interaction a customer has with your content is an opportunity to build a relationship with them and ultimately bring them one step closer to making a purchase or related decision. How can your brand, product, or service be useful to a customer? You better be able to communicate that information. By the same token, if the experience you’re delivering isn’t personalized to their needs, you’re going to see an impact.

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Focus on a 2020 Experience

The reality is there’s no longer a one-size-fits-all model for marketers to follow, so marketers need to rethink their content and distribution channel by channel with the broader customer experience in mind. The goal has to be creating value through personalized customer experiences. Realize that to improve personalization and engagement, this has to be a primary focus; where the ultimate goal is engaging customers with compelling, contextually relevant experiences. Marketing professionals who are out in front are using that data we discussed to create “big capabilities.” That is, understanding the immediate context of a person. Then personalizing their end-to-end customer experience across platforms, devices, and locations. Some of the most successful brands in the world today are focused on delivering a better customer experience.

“You’re no longer marketing AT people. You’re influencing them in an environment where they’ve already had a chance to form a view.”
– Kristin Lemkau, CMO, JPMorgan Chase

 

Marketers have to make sure they have the right technology and customer data to allow them to deliver the right content and experiences across channels and in the moment. With a myriad of complex touch points and a decision based journey for customers that is constantly changing, tapping into the trends above is a must for marketers and brands to win. The goal for brands moving forward is connecting with consumers on their own terms and building brand loyalty with authentic storytelling. Explore TimbrTech.com to learn more and #LetsCollaborate

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Shaping Your Marketing Budget

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The Problem

We just can’t afford marketing right now. We have a Facebook page, so we will be okay.

This may be something you’ve said or heard when it comes to marketing. Some startups are content with perpetually kicking the can of marketing further down the road, in hopes of one day having the resources to initiate a full-scale marketing strategy. It’s the classic ‘chicken or the egg’ scenario; you need sales to invest in marketing, but you need marketing to increase sales. So when and how do you start? The “when” is now. Marketing is an essential element of doing business. While the advancements in marketing technology have provided much more cost efficient and cost effective tools; there is no substitute for a full developed marketing strategy with an allocated budget. Startups usually operate under the pressure to increase growth with razor thin margins, which can lead to a hyperfocus on quick fixes.

One common misconception is that marketing begins and ends with social media feeds. While word of mouth is a great way to build buzz and garner loyal customers, most in part because it’s free, in reality, building a customer base will require some upfront investment — that includes your time and money.

The How

So how do you figure out how much money to invest and then where to put it? The perfect marketing budget for your company will be completely unique, which means at times you’ll be using the trial and error method. Properly deciding where to focus between the email marketing list, content management strategy, and the editorial calendar can be a complex maze to navigate. But you don’t have to jump in with both eyes closed. As a general rule, businesses with revenues less than $5 million annually should try to allocate 6-9 percent of their revenues to marketing. As with any portfolio it should be diverse.

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The Why

Few businesses, big or small, fully trust their marketing efforts enough to properly allocate enough of this budget to create effective campaigns. Deciding how much money to devote to marketing is a major step, but a more complicated issue — and one that has a much bigger impact on the success of your business — is when, where, and how to spend your marketing budget. Smart planning is key to discovering the perfect marketing budget for your company. Examine your current marketing efforts, determine what channels are bringing high-value traffic, and cut back on what isn’t. One way to cast out some doubt is to use the tools available to properly track, analyze, and optimize your marketing efforts to lift your business. Courses like Google Analytics for beginners are free of charge; the only thing it’ll cost you is your time. Google analytics allows you to determine several factors, like the top sources of the traffic to your site and where your visitors are clicking. By checking specific parameters, you can adjust and allocate your budget accordingly to make sure you are taking advantage of each visitor to your site and increase your ROI.

The Plan

Examine your current processes to see where you can streamline, determine which marketing efforts are generating a positive ROI, and cut back on what’s not working as well. Scaling back before you scale up mitigates the chance of unexpected growing pains and keeps your marketing strategy running smoothly. Its very important to remember to set aside a portion of your marketing budget for experimental endeavors. You must be open to trying new avenues and methods to reach new prospects. Examine all aspect of your marketing strategy and develop a complete marketing plan that targets your customers. Once you have, your marketing budget will almost allocate itself because you will know where to focus rather than just throwing ideas at a wall. As you work through the process, you’ll be able to form a lucrative funnel to your site with a marketing plan that is well within your budget.

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How To Talk About Your Brand

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One of the most difficult questions to answer is “Who are you?”. Most likely, you’d reply with your name, a description of yourself, and what you do. But that doesn’t really answer the question, does it? You’ve said what you are, but I still don’t know who you are. This question doesn’t get any easier to answer when it comes to your brand. Some would usually give a rundown of the features that their product or service provides, but that’s not what your prospects want to hear. They want a story.

Every Brand Needs A Story

A story is an effective method to sharing information from one person to another. Every brand needs a story — an authentic one. Without a story, you and your brand will easily get lost in the thousands of pages in the Google search results. Without a story, you’re no different from the competitor above and beneath you on the list. It’s that important.

A story is an effective method to sharing information from one person to another. Every brand needs a story — an authentic one

So who are you?, I need to know. Your brand story goes beyond what’s written in the copy of your website, the catchphrase in an ad, or even the rehearsed presentation pitch. It’s about who your brand connects with and how it resonates with them. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, summed it up perfectly. “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Beyond the mechanical transaction of product or service for compensation, you’re providing a customer experience; you’re building a relationship.

Reflect The Story In Every Aspect Of Your Business

Every element of your business or brand, from the layout of your website to your industry partners, affects your brand story. For example, a brand that targets an environmentally conscious market should reflect that value in every aspect of the company with green initiatives like using recycled paper and motion-sensored lighting.

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A speaker at a conference will never get on stage and sell, sell, sell. They tell you a story and take you on a journey, all while demonstrating their core values and the knowledge they have about the problems their company solves. They live their brand.

Good Stories Give Big Voices To Any Business

So while you’re building your brand, ask yourself ‘why should people care about what I have to say?’. Who are you? I want to know. What sets your brand apart from your competitors? Telling your brand story is a powerful technique for building a meaningful relationship with your customer base. It’s a proven concept that inspires people, connects them, and keeps them engaged. It doesn’t matter where in the world you’re based or how much funding your startup has. Good stories give big voices to any business — big or small. That’s why it’s paramount that you fully develop your brand and the story behind it.

So who are you? Because you need to know.

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