All marketers, especially modern marketers—B2C, B2B, or otherwise—hear “we should try this” a million times a month. They hear it from non-marketers with no concept of modern marketing as well as actual marketers with cluttered vision and a limited appreciation for the variables involved and resources required to actually impact business growth. When you can push through the non-material ideas by presenting better ideas as mutually exclusive options, you greatly strengthen your ability to move the needle for your business.
The best and worst thing about digital demand generation and marketing is the infinite possibilities. Complexity levels have soared recently with new ad tech tools, advanced attribution models, growing creative needs, and alternate buying methods. There are literally an infinite number of applications and permutations of channels, messages, and experiences you can apply within your online marketing campaigns. Unless your tactics make perfect sense for the brand, the customer and the context, and unless all are aligned with a clear, concise goal, you’re not going to be successful. You’re going to be overwhelmed, under-focused, and out of money.
Here are some ways to block out the noise and get right to the results:
Only Message When You Have Something To Say
If you don’t have a meaningful message for the market that makes your offering compelling, then don’t advertise. There’s always a push for “creative” and wanting a slick new-looking ad design but we forget that if the message isn’t meaningful it doesn’t matter. A simple creative with a killer message that is relevantly placed will over perform a flashy creative with an irrelevant message on all the top sites on the www — all day, everyday.
Talk To People You Will Actually Help
Your entire existence as a marketer should be to make the lives of your customers better. In B2B that means making them better at their jobs and more valuable in their roles—introducing them to content and products that help them grow professionally and grow their companies through the full adoption of your products. In B2C it’s about finding the right audience who is genuinely going to love your product and who can afford it, over and over. If you’re hard-selling, fear-mongering, or using manipulative advertising tactics then you’re likely driving unsustainable revenue for your business.
Focus On In-Market Demand
You may be noticing a trend already, and it won’t be fading any time soon: The key to being successful in modern marketing is understanding what your low-hanging-fruit is. When it comes to deciding where to grow and where to attack, build out your channels containing the highest population of users who are actively looking for your product, or who are at least looking for a solution to a problem your product can solve. Think: paid search, review sites, and retargeting from your website to people who haven’t converted.
Max Out In-Market Demand Before You Min-Out Everything Else
If you’re not fully capturing in-market demand that already exists, why are you trying to drive it? This is something every marketer or stakeholder in growth should ask themselves regarding business investment decisions. Yes, we all want to do something new and shiny, put up this cool video ad promoting this new feature of our product we think is important, but ask yourself if you’re willing to sacrifice that over net market capture. Focus on channels that hold demand that is either in-market (e.g., paid search) or on platforms and/or publisher sites that are saturated with your audience. Take it a step further into audience heavy publishers by building custom programs with the publisher partners. These activities will impact your business results far more than broad based advertising until you’re at the national or global brand budget level.
Don’t Just Look At Data: Look At Big Picture Data
Don’t be myopic in scope when diving into analytics. Too many people get enamored with all-too-tiny segments of endless data available through digital marketing channels. As a result, they miss larger growth opportunities and avenues for significant market capture. Scale your shit and understand the full volume of demand from different pockets—keywords, websites, geographies, messages, etc. Then, and only then, make choices on where to go big and where to go small. It’s important to position your initial investments as upfront investments in future growth for your organization. If you start with tiny segment, staring at hyper-granular data, you’re almost guaranteed to miss your largest growth opportunities.
Choose Your Initiatives Based On That Data
When it comes to data and analytics, don’t think that “thinking big” doesn’t mean “evaluating incrementally.” If you have a quarterly or longer budget, stack larger spend into the first month and get into the habit of loading up on insight. Get as much hands on experience mini-testing things and documenting results as possible. This will allow you to optimize quickly and ultimately even out and maximize ROI over time.
There is so much content on the web about what works and what doesn’t. All of your non-marketer colleagues have read this content and want to act on it. But there are so many nuances to digital marketing strategy, and so many dependencies on varying markets and business models, that your strongest hand is one flush with tangible results. When someone is proposing a “big new idea,” you might know it’s not a winner based on experience, but what you need at your hip is a war-chest of proven stats. It’s better for the business not to waste resources on ultimately petty activities, so the ability to redirect to other key opportunity areas through a lens of results and metrics is an invaluable ability to have.
The Wrap: Mom Always Makes A Difference
You’re passionate about your product and you want to get it into the hands of those that will gladly pay for it. So be helpful to your customer, be clear and authentic in your message, and be thoughtful in your placement and experience. Basically, pretend like you’re selling to your mom. Your prospects won’t fork over their cash quite as quickly as she will, but if your methods pass the Marketing To Mom Test, there’s a very good chance you’ll move the needle.
Feature image courtesy of roommatediaries.com
Jackie Davis is a San Francisco based Engineering Analyst turned Digital and Demand Marketer credited with leading some of B2B tech's largest and most successful digital marketing infrastructures. A lover of all things experiential, world travel, culinary arts, adventures big and small, and charity fund-raising as well as geekier things like building mathematical models and working with publishers to build product in the ad-tech space, Jackie brings a combination of art and science to the complex craft of modern marketing.