It’s an age-old question: Is the discipline of marketing an art or a science? The answer to this question has radically changed over the years as marketing has ultimately shifted from the realm of the creative types to that of business leaders who are just as much linked to revenue creation as those who manage products and services.
Today’s reality is that marketing is a healthy dose of both art and science. It is as important as ever that marketing leaders and personnel bring to their craft creativity that can translate the value of company products and services in a way that captures the attention of prospective clients. Equally as important, however, is that the marketing discipline be capable of measuring its performance against its one true objective: generating revenue through the capture of new customers. The days of marketing efforts being driven based upon their “feel good” quotient are over. If you’re a marketing leader you know the drill. It’s not about creating a nice commercial or developing aesthetically pleasing websites, brochures and white papers, although these things are required. What is expected are qualified leads along with an automated marketing flow that nurtures prospects, driving them through the buying cycle until they are revenue-producing customers. That’s the bottom line and that is the way in which today’s modern marketing organizations and their leaders are measured.
Does this describe your marketing organization and its personnel? Don’t feel bad if it doesn’t; the reality is that most marketing organizations are not well-oiled machines possessing a healthy combination of creative expertise and scientific automation. In fact, very few organizations can claim to have made this “digital transformation.” In my experience, the majority of marketing organizations tend to fall more on the art side of the spectrum with a healthy desire to integrate science. How can you determine where you reside? Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have a detailed calendar of events, webcasts, white papers, video streaming and social media planned for at least the next six months?
- Are you using some form of marketing automation technology as a means of tracking client interactions with the content you are utilizing, including prospect interaction with your website?
- Do you have a method in place to score client readiness to purchase such as BANT (budget, authority, need, timing)?
- Are you tracking and categorizing clients as marketing or sales qualified leads and do you have an inside sales group engaging clients when the time is right?
- Do you have a set of defined metrics to measure the effectiveness of your marketing initiatives? Are your KPIs benchmarked against industry best practices?
If you can’t answer yes to any of the questions above, you’re still living in the world of artistry. If you can answer in the affirmative for a few of the questions, good news — you’re on your way to becoming a modern marketing operation.
Making this transition, particularly for those organizations that have taken a traditional approach to marketing, is not simple. But don’t fret, because with some simple planning you can begin making the move toward marketing excellence. The most common question is, where to start?
Today’s effective modern marketing organizations have one thing in common: they have great content. As marketers, we’ve all heard “content is king.” In today’s world of content overload and 24×7 noise, the key to capturing the mind of the customer is valuable content delivered to the right target audience at the right time. There is clearly an art and science to this process, but the fact remains that good process and automation are useless if your content is no good.
For this reason, content should be your first priority when making the move to effective modern marketing. Of course, content comes in many forms, and while there is no hard and fast rule stating that you have to create all of the aforementioned content types, in my opinion, the most powerful is video, and live video in particular. In a study conducted by New York Magazine and Livestream (now part of Vimeo), 82% of brand audiences preferred live video from a brand to social posts. And according to Cisco, online video content will account for more than 80% of internet traffic by 2022. These data points are highly relevant. While blogs, articles, websites, white papers, brochures, webcasts and other forms of marketing content will certainly not go away, video plays a vital role. Of course, the shift to modern marketing excellence comprises many other facets beyond content, which will be addressed in future blogs.
The art of marketing will never go away. By leveraging marketing’s artistic legacy, integrating video into your marketing initiatives and sprinkling in a little science, you can hope to more effectively achieve marketing’s true calling; capturing new revenue-producing customers.