IT IS NOT JUST MARKETING. It is engagement economy. There is a shrinking gap between companies and their customers because the tools of engagement have evolved to make it a tighter connection. No wonder the sales funnel has skipped right over the sales department. Customers know what they want before they pick up the phone or slide the mouse over the buy icon because engagement allows more research on companies.
Conversely, sellers can do their own research and precisely target a demographic, then re-target that demographic with different engagements.
So what are the new tools of engagement? Here is what the experts say:
Content could be text, videos, social media posts. There are so many different types. The content of the content can be educational. The end purpose is to drive eyeballs, and ultimately drive revenue and sales for an organization. The different types of content help capture attention. Next, you capture trust.
WHY IT WORKS: If you are interested in Oracle Technology, for example, and you see an article about Oracle Technology Solutions, you will read it. If you see a content distributor constantly pumping out valuable pieces of content on that subject, you are going to subscribe and bookmark their website. You might even like their Facebook page. That’s just one person. Now think about scalability. That is why content works. It is building an audience and then constantly engaging with that audience.
EXAMPLES: Blogs, custom content (publications, newsletters) social media posts, white papers and case studies
Video is content that can be put out on many platforms—website, social media sites, YouTube, Reddit, etc. It is an effective way to get your (organic) message distributed on different platforms. Fifteen years ago, brands did not have the power they have today because of video. You could have your own channel in an hour—one that could attract a select number of views or create a small audience.
WHY IT WORKS: Regardless of the technology, people are people. There are very few substitutes for face-to-face marketing. Video puts you “almost there.” You can connect one on one. You can create YouTube stars via vlogging. People relate to the medium. They can put a face to the name. It is powerful because people are visual.
EXAMPLES: One of the most effective things about video is that you can create free educational content. You can pump out genuine value to an audience about your product or service.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)
AI is a mass capturing of data, big data and an analysis of that data of which you can systematically automate certain tasks and decisions based off what you find. Your end goal is to build your brand, and then develop leads and sales.
WHY IT WORKS: Take Facebook, which, whether or not we agree, collects tons of data on users with AI. Even if the user is not active, it can still capture data. Imagine an Excel spreadsheet with your name and different attributes. There are rows of names, ages, genders, favorite sports teams, etc. Thousands of attributes. The data is collected via AI. As you browse the internet, everything you do is tracked, collected, and added to your file. Facebook leverages that data.
EXAMPLES: Say you run a nursing home. You can use AI only advertisements to recently retired people in selected zip codes. Facebook can post ads specifically to that demographic and collect data. Technology like SalesForce Einstein will inform you of the right time to call or email the lead by collecting and providing key data.
DR. PIYUSH KUMAR
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF MARKETING, TERRY COLLEGE OF BUSINESS, UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA
VARIABLE DATA PRINTING/PRINT
Variable Printing uses digital technology to print marketing material in small batches with a high degree of personalization.
WHY IT WORKS: While the idea has been around for more than two decades, the widespread availability of low cost digital printing technology has dramatically increased its usage. In some ways, variable printing has become the simplest way to execute personalized marketing.
EXAMPLES: Marketers use this technology to send mailers and promotional material to current and potential customers, addressing them by name and sharing personalized content. They are also combining this technology with customer databases to offer variable rewards or discounts, alter the visuals according to customer profiles, and change the language in their communications.
AUGMENTED REALITY (AR)/QUICK RESPONSE (QR) CODES
These are matrix barcodes—a machine-readable optical label that contains information about the item to which it is attached.
WHY IT WORKS: QR Codes are a simple way to leverage the widespread use of mobile devices, cameras and scanners to deliver personalized experiences to customers and improve conversion rates.
EXAMPLES: Traditionally, marketers have used QR Codes to validate customer credentials and replace non-digital products such as physical tickets and boarding passes. More recently, marketers have found other creative uses for these codes. For example, QR Codes are being used in point-of-sale displays that enable customers to access dedicated web pages on the spot.
SENIOR BRAND MANAGER, WIX ANSWERS
Experiential marketing enables brands to create enhanced and engaging experiences for target consumers. The idea is to create memorable and personalized campaigns that leave a lasting impact on the audience.
WHY IT WORKS: Experiential marketing allows businesses to bring their mission to life and create an in-person connection that facilitates lasting relationships and drives brand awareness. It is consistently cited as one of the most strategic ways to drive significant ROI.
EXAMPLES: Campaigns range from targeted field events, brand activations, theme-specific installations, and more. Recently, businesses are investing more dollars into experiential marketing as data proves it enables marketers to break through the digital clutter and more effectively capture target markets.
CONTENT STRATEGIST, SOLEADO MARKETING
Social media advertising (pick one) is very strong at targeting, i.e., getting your ad in front of your desired audience. You can see a product in your feed, add it to your cart, and check out without leaving an app. It is dead easy and somewhat addicting.
WHY IT WORKS: Nearly half of the world’s population is active on a social media platform, so it offers a fast, inexpensive and effective way to reach an enormous population.
EXAMPLES: Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more. Users can follow brands they love on different platforms and keep up to date with new products, services, etc.
SEO is all about positioning yourself to be found in searches. To do this, you must identify the keywords people use to search for products and services, and optimize the use of those terms on your website.
WHY IT WORKS: SEO is an ideal way to ensure a site is shown in search engine results. When done correctly, an SEO campaign will put a site in front of the right people and increase traffic from search engines. This is done by pushing the brand higher in search engine rankings and increasing the site’s visibility.
EXAMPLES: There are tons of tips and tricks to consider, including using keywords in specific parts of a page or post, optimizing meta descriptions, optimizing images with alt text, using URL structures that include the keywords, etc.
Trade shows, user conferences or events held by businesses provide opportunities to unveil new products, fortify brand loyalty and show customers a brand cares.
WHY IT WORKS: Events offer a great alternative to digital marketing. It is nice to meet face to face with prospects and customers. People also are hosting events online via webinars, Facebook Live, etc. Social media platforms also make advertising online events doable.
EXAMPLES: Event roadshows. Experiential activation. Startup networking events. Publisher conferences. Virtual events. Seminars. Company meetings. Trade shows. Industry roundtables and award ceremonies. Fundraising galas and product launches.
By: Ray Glier
Printed In the PRIORITIES MAGAZINE