In the early 1980’s, a friend of mine told me I needed to start buying up domain names. He suggested buying domains and basically “squatting” until a buyer with deep pockets came along. My response was “I am not going to waste my money on that. The internet will never be a mainstream offering like cable.”
Now 30 years later, companies are not considered legitimate without a website, and mostly all marketing material is either in print or electronic or in most cases both. But what many companies need to understand is that as the new generation of buyers gravitate more and more to the internet for decision making when contemplating a purchase, C-Levels and business owners need to fully embrace cloud based analytics and most importantly, understand how to use them to provide meaningful insights and predictive insights into the buying habits of perspective and existing customers.
Microsoft CMO Lead for Worldwide Enterprise Marketing Jeff Marcoux was recently quoted as saying “…now we have even more the emergence of things like data enrichment services that have only gotten more and more advanced… and then you add on top of that machine learning and predictive marketing, and next thing you know you have all of these different data sources and we as marketers have to figure out ‘how do we bring these together?’ …it’s the data, and merging and using that data, and activating around that data as marketers that’s the absolute key to unlocking amazing customer experiences and amazing marketing ROI…”
Many companies will embrace this philosophy, but equally will not know how to achieve the desired result, and probably lack the staff expertise to employ an analytics strategy that will provide such meaningful results from so many different sources of data, or worse, have not embraced the cloud for anything more than a static website with limited SEO and/or brand recognition to sell their products.
Traditional brick and mortar businesses are also embracing the cloud to provide alternatives to customers who live too far away from a physical location, or who want items that are not normally carried in store.
The average time spent online is 27 hours a week. 28% of that time is spent on social networks. If you look at the statistics across the digital media spectrum, the average American spends on average 11 hours a day on various forms of digital media. So if you are not leveraging your web presence through an interactive website, and social media, you are probably missing the boat on any meaningful analytics for your company.
So how does a company prepare itself for cloud marketing, that is what strategy should companies apply to their marketing campaigns?
One of the most important things that come to mind is “Know your target audience.” In some cases even that may not be enough. In order to know your target audience, you need to understand their shopping and browsing habits. Things like social media and what type of website demographic does your potential audience fit into? What type of internet users are most likely to consider buying your product via a digital marketing strategy?
The second thing is knowing the objective of your campaign or strategy, in other words what’s the plan? What is the desired outcome? How will I know when it has been reached? How do I measure success?
A great free tool to start some analysis is the Google Keywords Tool https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner. The tool will help your ad writer determine what the right words are for your marketing campaign. Unless it is a targeted list, writing marketing ads is similar to fishing. You get the best results when you use the “right bait.”
While quantitative and qualitative analytics have relied heavily on statistical, computational and mathematical techniques, the landscape has changed with the growth of digital marketing, which is increasingly growing in its user base and popularity. While these techniques will continue to be the baseline for garnering results, the techniques and methodologies for capturing meaningful data will need to change.
Market research has traditionally been divided into three sections, Market Segmentation, Market Trends and SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).
The next factor to be measured is the effectiveness of a current or proposed marketing plan. Marketing analysis should consist of:
- Customer Analysis – Using existing data you can dissect and break your current customer base into certain segments and determine what the attributes of each segment are. You may have desirable traits and undesirable traits that you may want to segment.
- Choice Modeling – Choice modeling allows segmentation of he target audience by determining what choices a potential customer would make in deciding whether to buy a product from you or your competitor. Again an existing customer base may be a good measure for what products you have sold successfully, where the demand was, and what swayed the customer to buy your product as opposed to your competition.
- Competitor Analysis – Know your enemy. Analyse their products and determine how to sway the competitive edge back to your company. I recently spoke to a friend of mine who had amassed a great deal of wealth selling products on amazon. I asked him his secret and it was simple. Find out what the best selling products are, find someone to manufacture the product for less, and undercut the competition. A simple formula but one that works. Sell to an audience that wants to buy and you are not selling anymore. You are fulfilling a need and selling the customer what it is that they want to buy. There is always an audience for your product on the internet. the key is to grow your competitive advantage.
- Risk Analysis – Analyse the risks and use them to your advantage. Look at your risks and minimize them and capitalize on the risks of your competitors, and most importantly, advertise them. People want to bet on the winning horse. If you can paint risk for your company in a positive light, and risk for your competitors in a negative light, you can capitalize on the consumer’s view of risk and alleviate their fears by letting them see that your company understands and mitigates risk, and mitigates it beeter than your competitor.
The other key is interaction. cloud marketing needs to include an interactive experience for the consumer. Interactive experiences speak to the consumer’s personal wants and needs, and if the interaction strikes a chord at a personal level with the consumer, the chances are that you will turn the consumer into a customer.
Setting up an analytical strategy should take all these measures into consideration. Google analytics and Google ad words are great tools for seeing where your campaign is succeeding and failing, and gives the marketing professional the ability to retarget the individual and essentially get a second chance to win their business. Retargeting has to be a part of the strategy that is not viewed as a marketing failure, but rather as an opportunity to get a second shot at a potential set of consumers.
These tools allow marketing professionals to consistently measure and retool their campaigns until they hone in on the audience they are trying to reach. The wealth of knowledge that can be easily attained is phenomenal and rewarding for the marketing professional.
If you haven’t honed your cloud strategy, now is the best time to do it. It is the most cost effective and equally rewarding part of a marketing strategy that while vastly used, in many ways has been ineffective because the strategy was flawed or the concepts are new to the marketing professional. But if you begin to experiment now, the possibilities are endless, and eventually with good analytics, will strike the right balance between the consumer and the sale.