Old ways vs new ways for marketers — make the right choice
In today’s world, engaging your target buyers and meeting their expectations is a tough job. With a plethora of media channels, savvy audiences are disengaging from your marketing efforts.
- More than 65 percent of the 900 million telecom subscribers in India are on the national DND (Do Not Disturb) Registry
- People either don’t pay attention or fast forward through TV commercials
- Most delete email advertisements automatically or mark your mail as spam
- Direct mails never get opened,
- 60 percent are likely to abandon your website if they see excessive advertising
You are trying to figure out why customers leave you when you have hardly any negative reviews or formal complaints registered; new-age buyers are here, and their numbers are growing.
Now that we are approximately a decade-and-a-half into the 21st century, is your marketing team prepared to handle these new age buyers whose numbers are on the rise?
What is the new way of marketing compared to the old, traditional way? This post highlights five main points of differentiation to reassess marketing strategies and align with the company goals to keep up with changing times. It’s all about “What can we control these days? What can’t we control? What can we influence?”
- In the last 10 or so years, there has been a rapid rate of change in the way you engage with your target audience
Today it’s all about answering your customers’ question — WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) If they are convinced with your response, you grab their attention; otherwise they explore other alternatives or postpone the purchase as they don’t want to pay for bad service or products.
You try to gain awareness and attract a larger audience by pitching your product features and benefits at the top of the funnel (TOFU) and hope for engagement at all stages of the buying process.
You engage with your customers with a goal in mind, whether it's creating awareness for your product, increase sales, nurturing loyalty, or seeking feedback to improve your product. Although communication with your target audience is an ongoing dialogue, you don’t chat just for the sake of it. You try and maintain an optimal level of engagement and focus on building relationships, and along the journey share your expertise, ways you address their pain, or how can you help them do better. You save the sales pitch for the bottom of the funnel (BOFU).
- A go-to-market strategy
An effective go-to-market strategy to deliver the product to the market is based on how you surprise your competitors, engage with potential customers, and communicate your unique value, develop relationships, and delight them by fulfilling your brand promise.
In many cases, there is a massive misalignment between how the firm wants to go-to-market and how the buyer intends to buy in the digital age.
In most traditional businesses, acquiring clients is accomplished primarily with a direct sales team or channel partner network. Sales people engage one-to-one with prospective customers and rely on their charm, wit, and product know-how to close the deal. Often, when they don’t smell any recurring business to meet their targets, more than 70 percent end up ignoring existing clients.
A direct sales force is critical for BOFU action. However, the sales process is not aligned with the buying process in the digital age; they end up being expensive and inefficient.
Today’s buyers often make up their minds before ever reaching out to a sales person. So, similar to a dining experience where your meal begins with an appetizer, followed by the main course and finally dessert, your lead attraction and nurturing efforts should be well thought-out to ensure you're cooking and dishing up the relevant content for every buying phase.
In the top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) stage, your goal is to provide buyers with enough content to self-educate and find answers to a particular need or pain point, but without a sales pitch. In the middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) stage, you not just educate them but start building your credibility and the process of positioning your company as the best fit to meet their needs and challenges. At the BOFU stage, your sales steps in and engages one-on-one to win the business. To further cement the relationship with the newly signed customer and engage with them for future business, marketing steps in to continue the two-way dialogue and frees the sales team to win new business.
By working in sync, sales and marketing can maintain a unified view of the prospects and customers you are targeting, keeping an eye on the final prize. Establishing a frequency for engaging with prospects and clients creates TOMA (top of mind awareness), credibility, and feelings of reciprocity that help rocket your business to the top. They don’t feel rushed or hustled by you.
- Focus on customer experience
Customer experience is almost a cliché among most companies, even though most companies are aware of the importance of customer experiences to build loyalty and retain customers.
“Customer experience” in the past meant customer relationship management (CRM) often using a technology tool to figure out if your customers (or prospective customers) value your product or service and might want to buy. Though quite a few companies invest in “Voice of Customer” surveys, it’s often a tick mark in the annual to-do list. It’s like listening with one ear and taking no action, as it often lacks executive support to drive the desired change and employees are not motivated to be customer-focused.
In the new age, it’s all about 360-degree listening of the buyer personas along their buying journey. The focus is to understand what they want and how they feel about the interactions with your brand across different touchpoints. As the target audience decides if, when, and how to communicate, you need to focus on making the interactions and conversations across different channels highly accessible, easy, and natural.
As your customers now have the control, your job is to take care to ensure they can communicate with you. Are their questions getting answered on time? Are they satisfied with the response/resolution? Are they posting a grievance or do they want to give a rave review? What is their payment preference? Are they experiencing a technical difficulty? How can they refer their friends and family to avail your services?
But to be known for providing an excellent customer experience, your employees and partners need to believe in your company’s goals. You need to make sure you hear your employees’ voices and give them the freedom to help and solve problems.
- Marketing viewed as a service centre
For many companies, marketing equals a logo, a brochure, a PowerPoint presentation, creating and placing ads, updating the static website, setting up trade events, etc. Companies stuck with this understating have to change their mindset to take advantage of the opportunity that’s knocking on their door.
Marketing rarely participates in business decisions and the focus in on corporate communications.
The marketing team has a seat at the leadership table and plays a significant role in lead generation. You have to stay on track with customer data, make sense of this knowledge to devise successful campaigns. You offer guidance by understanding market needs, competitive analysis, positioning, designing customer experiences across different touchpoints, craft compelling messaging, return on investment, and more.
- The sales, product, and marketing silos
The sales, product, and marketing silos are prevalent in many organisations.
Marketing, product, and sales are not aligned and do not understand each other, resulting in a lot of finger-pointing with unrealised organisational goals.
There is only one team responsible for meeting the revenue goals and rolling out a strategicplan. Each actor in the team understands the goals, desires, objectives, challenges, and opportunities. Break this silo.
The “new ways of marketing” provide ample possibilities for a business that wants to grow and build a sustainable business. It’s not a smooth journey, but it is well worth it! So you need to figure out what suits your organisation.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)