Editor’s Note – This is a guest post from CT Moore, a recovering agency hack who helps brand leverage search and social media to meet their business goals online. By day, he heads up Search and Social at Publikit, a boutique web dev agency in Montreal, and also runs Socialed, a digital consultancy that provides digital strategy to both start-ups and multinational brands alike. You can find out more about him through his personal blog.
Aha! Another year is about to come to close and a new one will soon begin. And if you’re any kind of marketer (or business person for that matter), you’ve probably started thinking about what you could start doing in 2014, or at least do better in 2014 than you did in 2013.
Well, if that’s the mind frame you’ve been in, I’d like to suggest 3 potential New Year’s Resolutions that you should probably apply toward your upcoming marketing efforts. I have to warn you, though: if you’ve already made up your mind on how to tackle things in 2014 and aren’t open to feedback, you should probably read no further — I’ll just end up saying “I told you so”
#1 OWN Your Media
Paid media is the placement you pay for: ads, commercials, etc. Earned media is the PR and social media wins you get from doing awesome stuff and providing great customer service.
Owned media, however, is the stuff you produce that people actually care about. In fact, what kinda of makes it “media” is that people actually pay attention to it (unlike ads). It can be anything from just really helpful how-to’s to outright entertaining viral stuff, but the point is that it gets you exposure with the right target market, just like PR or advertising would.
The only difference is that you made it. And right now, 78% of CMOs believe that branded content is the future of marketing, with 25% of budgets going to content. So in 2014, start thinking about how to own your media.
In fact, start investing in media worth owning. Because, at the end of the day, content is a lot like tattoos: it can be either cheap or good, but not both.
Good content costs money to make, and you have to keep at it for a while before it pays-off; but when it pays-off, it really pays-off. From branding to public relations to SEO, it’s one of the few channels that also contributes something to all the other channels.
#2 Get Serious About Mobile
Yeah, I know: a lot of you think you’re serious about mobile? But are you really? I mean, are you anywhere near the companies whose marketing you admire/envy, and/or can you actually implement the kind of strategies they have going on??
Now, I could dig up a bunch of stats and quote them to create urgency and make you sympathetic to my point. But, instead, I’ll just guess (i.e. “assume”) that enough of you reading this have smart phones (and are sufficiently attached to them) that I don’t need to do that kinda thing. So let me leave you with a kind of barometer / checklist to figure out just how the eff you’re supposed to tackle mobile in 2014:
- Mobile Sites: I’m still shocked by just how many top-tier companies/sites/portals fail at this. If you don’t have a mobile site, get one. And if you already have one, make sure that I’m redirect to it if I visit your site from a mobile device.
- Mobile App: If your business is driven by user-experience (e.g. commerce) or content, release that App already! No repeat customer or returning user wants to deal with your mobile site. And even here I can think of a few content portals who have an otherwise great mobile engagement strategy but no mobile app…
- Mobile Campaigns: If you’re already investing in display ads, PPC, and/or SEO, start looking at how you can divert some of that toward targeting mobile users; there are enough of them using mobile apps and searching via mobile devices that you can’t afford no to.
Okay, so you get the point? Good! Let’s move on….
#3 Start Listening to Your Customers
So maybe you’re already doing the mobile and content thing, or may you’re not but (hopefully) are gonna start. Either way, you’re going to have to measure your progress. And, of course, you’re going to be measuring and monitoring what user actually do once they engage with your brand.
But are you being proactive in that measurement? In other words, are you actually trying to gage how your users specifically and the market at large feel about your industry?
For starters, start looking at what people are already saying about both you and your competitors. Tools like Salesforce Marketing Cloud are great for this kind of thing. They let you monitor not only your brand name but what people are saying about your industry and competitors, in general.
Step it up a notch, though, by finding what your actual user and site visitor think. There are a few service providers that can help you do this, but the (ubiquitous) one that comes to mind is iPerceptions. You’ve probably come across them in the form of their 4Q survey, which is a free tool. But they also offer a bunch of voice of customer measurement tools you can upgrade to to make sense of the data that you collect via the 4Q survey.
The point is (1) stop assuming you think you know better than your (potential) customers, and (2) stop looking at what your users might’ve done and start considering what they’re actually looking for. Because that’s the kind of insight that’s not only gonna help you step up your marketing game, but develop better products and services, the likes of which you might’ve not otherwise considered…
New Year, New Start
If you’ve read this far, I want to make one thing clear: I’m not saying you have to follow my advice. I’m just saying you should.
You’re free, of course, to disregard my advice, but I’m confident enough that you’d be wrong to do so that I wrote this blog post and put my name on it. So give it some thought; sleep on it; and do whatever it is that you have to do to “tear sh*t up” in 2014 that you’ll be too busy either optimizing some version of your site or developing new product/service that you won’t give this post another thought
This is from The Hot Iron, a journal on business and technology by Mike Maddaloni.
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