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2016 Marketing Predictions

Well, it’s almost 2016 and the world is filled with articles and posts focused on marketing predictions…so I thought I would take this opportunity to offer some comments on a few of those articles and posts.

Focus Remains on Tech Rather than Audience Insight

Read all the articles and posts, chances are the focus is on technology rather than understanding your audience and the importance of consistently offering a unique differentiated solution to an unmet/under-served need and/or want.

In the past year, I worked with half a dozen colleges and businesses  that shared these elements:

  • They were spending a lot of money on marketing technology like CRM and Marketing Automation – in several instances, almost 50% of their annual budget.
  • They had no one on staff that was trained on the marketing technology – typically because the cost of training was deemed to be too expensive.
  • They had no one on staff that had experience in data management so there was no clear process for capturing the right data in the right place so it could be stored and accessed for analysis.
  • They bought marketing technology because they thought it would force effective processes upon them and they were reducing staff size because they believed that marketing technology would bring greater efficiency and replace the need for people to .
  • They hadn’t done any research into their target audience in order to really understand their needs, wants, perceptions and expectations – which meant that every “lead” received the same messages and offers regardless of the fact that [ex] Lead 1 was concerned about cost and Lead 2 was concerned about balancing school with work and home.

If you don’t know who your audience is you can’t know what your audience needs and wants so you make it extremely difficult to develop a uniquely valuable solution to their needs and wants.

And that creates ‘content’ that fails to engage…

Content and “We’re all authors” Remains Popular

Marketing has always been about getting the right information to the right person at the right time via the right channel in order to motivate them to make the right decision and take the right next step.

And what is currently referred to as ‘content’ used to be collateral.

And no matter what you call it, it’s always been critical.

But in 2016, as in 2015 and 2014, we will see more and more pundits scream about “…creating engaging content…” which you really can’t do if you don’t know your audience and have a unique, valuable solution to offer them.

If you don’t know your audience and you have product, pricing and/or distribution strategies that suck – not to mention targeting sucks – it’s impossible to create engaging content.

And as for the suggestion that we are all authors…that’s pure bullshit.  Some of us can write well, some of us cannot.  You need something written well, hire a writer.

Just because you can write doesn’t mean you should. Just because you do write doesn’t mean you’re good. You could call yourself an Olympic diver, but that doesn’t mean you are.[/bockquote1]  Source: Why You Shouldn’t Be A Writer

You don’t hire anyone to handle your plumbing or HVAC or legal or medical needs so don’t fool yourself into believe the pundits that scream “we’re all authors.”

Big Data. Little Data.  Thick Data.  Underused Data.

When was the last time you took your best customers and appended data in order to identify segments and get a deeper understanding of how many existed (market size) and where they lived?  And for you B2B folks, when was the last time you took a look at your best customers in order to determine their size, location, industry etc?

Never? Couple years ago?

Some of you might have a good sense of what campaigns are producing the most and/or lowest cost per lead – but do you know what campaigns produced the most sales or the lowest cost per sale?

Do you know why customers leave you and shift their buying to the competition?  And have you taken any steps to prevent that from happening again?

Here’s my suggestion – sit down and answer the following questions:

  • What information do we need to help us lower the cost to acquire a new customer?
  • What information do we need to help us increase the average order size?
  • What information do we need to help us increase order frequency?
  • What information do we need to help us identify opportunities for new products and services?
  • What information do we need to help us improve retention rates?
  • What information do we need to help us improve referrals?

Figure out what information you need, then how you will acquire that information and where you will store the information so that it can be analyzed and used to drive actions aimed at improving results.

 

So what do you think?  Do you agree with all of this – or do you think some or all of this is so far off base it deserves a stern rebuttal?  Got better ideas – share them!

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