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Marketing has changed immensely over the last decade. Primarily, customers now expect to interact with brands the same way across different channels. This poses a problem for the traditional marketer targeting a single channel. Marketers need to adapt and refocus their aim on a specific audience but across ALL channels. From websites to in-store visits to mobile apps, customers want to have the same experience of that company across the board. So how do you change? Going from one channel to multiple has to be hard, right? Actually, it’s an easier adjustment than you think. Here are 10 skills that can help make your transition simple.
Skill #1: Customer Experience
In today’s marketing landscape, customer experience is the number one brand differentiator — even more important than product, price, place or promotions. Customer satisfaction is shaped by the customer experience across all channels. The modern consumer expects interactions across physical and digital touchpoints that are seamless and intuitive.
To achieve this, marketers have to stop selling and start serving. Rather than luring the customer in to close the deal, focus on actively helping them. If you aim to bring maximum value to the client, they will gladly reward the company and support its development — a win-win relationship. To see how your customer experience stacks up, take the J&C customer experience self-assessment.
Skill #2: Customer Journey Mapping/Tracking
From learning of a brand on social media to receiving a “thank you” note after a purchase, customers interact with brands in many ways. Trying to keep track of those interactions can be tricky, which is why Customer Journey Mapping exists.
However, a typical A to B journey no longer works. Consumers today create their own purchase paths, going back and forth across channels, which can be hard to visualize. Before creating a map, you first have to collect data from your customers. This will help you structure touchpoints to create the most efficient and effective process for your customers. The Customer Journey Map will help you see if your customers are currently reaching those touchpoints and, if not, how you can lead them there.
Skill #3: Balancing Logic and Emotion
You may know that demographics, attitudes, motivations and intention are fundamental factors of decision making. However, remember to be careful about only focusing on the logic side and look toward measuring the emotions that drive product interaction. Those emotions can spark unique behavioral outcomes and are impressionable, as they can draw consumers into a brand’s experience. Marketers need to use insights and emotions to create relationships, not statistics.
Skill #4: Storytelling
Stories are the most powerful tool used to communicate information. Your brand story is more than what you tell people. It is what they believe about you based on all the signals your brand sends out. In order to break through to people used to tuning things out, stories must be emotionally compelling and authentic. They have to be well constructed, like a conversation, not a marketing communication. To do this, your story must start and end with human empathy. Customers don’t care about your brand’s story, they care about their own story. Making them the hero of the story resonates well with customers, drawing them closer to your brand.
Skill #5: Content Marketing
Content marketing involves creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content in order to build prospect and customer relationships. This can be partnered with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to capture names of users, update, and send links to additional content. To reach all the different types of viewers, you need to use different types of channels/medias: case studies, eBooks, GIFs, live streams, blogs, podcasts, even memes.
The most forgotten aspect of content marketing is that it can be repurposed. Content can be modified and published across all channels. Podcasts can be turned into audio clips. Research studies can be rewritten as blog posts. There are plenty of ways to convert and publish content, you just have to start creating.
Skill #6: SEO/SEM
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a method of using key words and optimizing your online content to obtain a high-ranking placement on a search results page. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) has the same goal but achieves it with the paid promotion of content to increase online traffic. This involves Pay-Per-Click (PPC) listing and advertisements, where marketers pay a set amount each time their advertisements get a view. However, it’s not as easy as paying for an ad and waiting for it to work its magic. SEM and SEO often need each other to work well. SEM and PPC will get you immediate visibility, while SEO will be more cost efficient and build you credibility in the long run.
Skill #7: Google and Web Analytics
Google Analytics is one of the best web analytics tools out there — and it’s free. It offers the same amount or more functionalities as similar paid tools. Google Analytics can help you do a handful of extremely useful things. This includes identifying sources of incoming traffic. By finding out where your customers are coming from, you can target those channels and keywords to gain more prospects. This tool also works hand-in-hand with Search Engine Optimization.
Google Analytics can let you know the number of new visitors your SEO campaign brings in. This allows you to modify your strategy and adjust to target certain customer segments. Your website itself can also benefit from this free tool. After discovering which keywords bring the most traffic, you can fine tune your website and make copy changes to boost traffic to an individual page. Did we mention it is free?
Skill #8: Marketing Data
There are four different types of marketing data: zero-party data, first-party data, second-party data and third-party data. Zero-party data is data that customers own and willingly provide to an organization. This data, such as purchase intent and preferences, is used by marketers to personalize and improve the customer experience.
First-party data is data that is collected and owned by an organization. This data includes demographic information, email addresses, website interactions, ad impressions, and more. First -party data is also specific to a company’s existing customers, which allows for a hyper-personalized experience.
Second-party data is data that is bought by one company from another. Only the purchasing company gets access to the data for a specific use such as an email campaign.
Third-party data is data collected by a data aggregator who purchased from other data owners. Because of the volume of data available, it is useful to marketers looking to expand their audience and target specific segments.
Skill #9: Marketing Experiments (Testing)
Testing in marketing is essentially an experiment. You have a hypothesis about how well you think a campaign will do and you test that theory. You can test a complete campaign or just smaller components. This includes the words you use in the opening sentence of an email or the picture of a puppy on your advertisement. These experiments are very similar to scientific experiments. The variables must be independent, the samples must be randomized, and some sort of statistical analysis must be completed.
The goal of these tests isn’t to fail, but every failure brings you closer to the right answer. Marketers test every aspect of their campaigns with their target audiences in order to ensure they will hit their mark. One example of these tests is A/B Testing, or Split Testing. This kind of testing compares a potential improvement against the original version in order to determine the best combination of elements.
Skill #10: Marketing Attribution and Measurement
In order to improve and adapt, marketers have to measure their marketing efforts. Each type of attribution model works to let you know which touchpoint in your customer experience journey gets the most credit of the purchase. This helps marketers decide what to continue and what to change in their marketing campaigns.
One common type of attribution model is a First Touch or Last Touch Model. These, like the name implies, give purchase credit to the first or last touch, click, or visit on the customer experience. A Linear Attribution Model gives each touchpoint an equal percentage of credit. Which model would be right for your business?