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Building a Next-Generation Digital Marketing Strategy

Holly Pels
Holly Pels , Senior Content Marketing Manager , Emarsys

Marketing has to change. As marketers, we’re under an exceptional amount of pressure. Expectations are higher now than ever before to deliver on revenue goals and drive overall ROMI (return on marketing investment). It’s easy to slip unknowingly from being proactive to reactive while trying to juggle multiple channels, individual point solutions, high-dollar campaigns, and incoming requests from sales teams and other departments.

Adding to the pressure is the issue of data. The good news is that there is an incredible amount of consumer data available to marketers today, information that can be used to deliver truly personal brand interactions.

The bad news? All too often, this data becomes an overwhelming obstacle to sift through, analyze, interpret, and apply to the creation of personalized experiences for each individual.

And for good reason: human-driven personalization doesn’t scale. In fact, most marketers don’t feel adequately equipped to predict the customer journey and drive maximum value in their current state.

The pressure on marketers mounts even higher when board members or the CEO demand a bottom-line rainbow. Marketers are being pressured for results, but lack the ability to accurately measure the impact of their marketing.

Don’t worry, we get it. You’re not alone. These are challenges faced by many of today’s brands. Thankfully, a new era of empowered marketing is dawning. It’s time to revolutionize the role of the marketer and create a marketing strategy that better serves the marketer and the customer.

Revolutionize your role as a marketer with strategic KPIs

Revolutionize the Role of the Marketer

For most marketers, data analysis is not what they signed up for when they made this career decision. Marketers want to be creative and focus on strategy and content. They don’t want to spend hours sifting through, combining, and analyzing data everyday.

But the combination of human and machine is empowering a marketing revolution, allowing marketers to revolutionize their role by turning the traditional world of marketing as we know it on its axis and enabling marketers to do and achieve more without added resources or processes.

Let technology work for you

It’s time to stop focusing so much on manual data work. As mentioned above, human-driven personalization doesn’t scale, and marketers need to be able to let go and let technology work harder for them.

After all, marketers are inundated with tools that promise to simplify their lives while delivering exceptional results for their business. If this is the case, why are so few marketers letting machines help them automate and streamline some of their processes?

For many marketing departments, the sheer amount of tools being used can also be a point of contention. The number of tools available to marketers has grown astronomically over the last 10 years.

Marketers now have over 7,000 options for marketing technology, according to the Martech 5000. Too many disconnected tools mean tons of data to sift through and tons of tools to manage and support. This can be overwhelming and actually create more work for the marketer.

Holistic, integrated marketing platforms are steadily replacing multiple disjointed point solutions that don’t communicate with each other well (or at all).

Emerging technologies make an omnichannel strategy possible and go beyond simply collecting data into multiple silos.

Technology also provides the marketer with human-level insights that allow them to follow through with personalized marketing tactics that fuel and reinforce relationships between brands and consumers.

Let technology identify the KPIs that matter most to your business

Focus on strategy, content, and creative

As this shift for a new kind of marketer has evolved, technology has also been evolving to take the burden off the marketer. Marketing platforms are equipped with artificial intelligence and smart automations that can accurately decide what content to send, which channel to send it through, and when to send it.

Marketing technology should also be able to help marketers get up and running with campaigns and automations quickly. Too often, marketers spend months trying to launch a simple Abandoned Cart campaign. They have to input their data, create their segments, build the automation, format emails, etc.

But this becomes a tedious task that marketers shouldn’t be focusing their time on. Ready-to-implement tactics already built into a platform are a must for marketers to quickly and efficiently execute their strategies.

This shift enables marketers to let the machine do the heavy lifting with the data so they can focus on content, strategy, and creative. This is where marketers shine — the ability to plan and execute creative campaigns that delight customers to the point of purchase.

In the end, that’s what marketing is trying to do — get more customers to keep coming back to their brand. But when too much time is focused on data segmentation, marketers become bogged down with manual tasks and lose the opportunity to do the work they love most.

Create a Next-Generation Digital Marketing Strategy with Strategic KPIs

As marketers focus on revolutionizing their role from data aggregator to creative marketer, it’s also important to look at the strategies they have in place.

All too often marketers are too focused on continuously launching tactics that focus on operational goals, rather than thinking about strategies that impact business goals.

And why wouldn’t they be? With so many tools promising fast results with a single tactic-driven approach, marketers find it hard to pass up a “quick win.”

But while Abandon Browse emails are great and may create a quick win on email open rates, how are they impacting revenue or customer growth? If a marketer can’t answer that question, she needs to rethink the way she’s planning her marketing strategy.

Identify strategic KPIs in the business

This may seem like a tricky endeavor. After all, if it was easy to connect business goals to day-to-day work, wouldn’t marketers already be doing it?

The problem here is that marketers are letting technology tell them what they should report on, by using their operational metric-based reports. Instead of relying on one-off tools with siloed data, start from the top. Look to your CEO to identify the goals most important to your business.

For e-commerce, these goals most likely align to revenue growth, customer growth, and profitability.

Compare the business to others with benchmarking

Once marketers have an objective in mind, like revenue growth, they can use a benchmarking tool to identify top strategies that best align with the high-level objectives they’re looking to impact. Benchmarking gives marketers the ability to see what other successful businesses like theirs are doing and can borrow ideas to use in their own strategies.

If a business identifies revenue growth as a key objective and then sees that other businesses have an overall conversion rate of 14%, while they sit at a 2% conversion rate, they know there is room for improvement. They can identify Increasing Conversion Rate as a strategy that can impact their overall objective of revenue growth.

Create a next-generation marketing strategy that focuses on business objectives

To create a truly next-generation marketing strategy — one that helps marketers make a true impact on the business — marketers must understand what objectives they need to hit to make that impact. The high-level objectives are what drive their strategy forward; it gives them a place to start and a target to work toward.

From there, marketers can map out and plan strategies that can directly impact those objectives.Then tactics can be identified that directly impact this strategy. This is where an Abandon Browse campaign or Welcome series comes in to play.

Tactics shouldn’t even be considered until strategies have been identified. With this approach, marketers have the ability to take their digital strategy to the next level and and influence the next generation of marketing.

Imagine how different a quarterly marketing review would go if a CMO sat down with marketing results that showed a direct impact on revenue and customer growth. Marketers would become the heroes of the organization.

They would become a strategic asset. And marketers have the ability to make this a reality by saying no to siloed tools and data segregation and yes to strategic alignment with the business.

Conclusion

The technology-driven revolution is about delivering solutions to marketers so they can do more than ever before, without increasing manual labor. Marketers can now work alongside machines as they learn to identify real targets, when to engage them, how they will ideally interact with the brand, and what will make them most likely to convert.

From here on, digital marketing will only expand. Over one-third of CMOs believe that digital will account for 75% of marketing spend in the next five years, and content marketing costs just a third of what is typically required for traditional marketing.
With that continued expansion of digital marketing expected, we will also continue to see more data available to marketers.

Unfortunately, this will just further contribute to the problem of data overload, unless brands invest in technological solutions to take on the management, analysis, and application of all that information.

Empowered marketers must rely on software to do the heavy lifting so they can focus more on strategy: identifying strategic KPIs, building high-level campaigns, creating engaging content, and identifying opportunities to deliver value to customers. Artificial intelligence marketing, integrated omnichannel campaigns, and truly personalized content are now integral components of successful marketing strategies.

As a marketer, you’re under more pressure today than ever before. However, you’re also empowered to embrace this next generation of marketing and achieve more than was ever previously possible. All data and control is at your fingertips. Are you ready to join the revolution?

Join the revolution, identify the KPIs that matter most to your business

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