This article is about being in the driver’s seat of a marketing, sales and customer experience ecosystem.
Imagine being in control of a dashboard with as many gauges as a jet airliner. That’s a good analogy for the shear number of gauges, buttons and levers you can have at your fingertips within even a modest digital marketing ecosystem (aka lead generation machine).
No matter your company’s type, size or industry, acquiring, keeping and growing the value of your customers is at the core of almost any successful organization.
In the book “Traction” the authors' speak about the “19 Traction Channels for Growth.” Marketing ecosystems are purpose-built platforms for planning, testing, monitoring and optimizing the results from these on-and-offline traction channels.
Creating, capturing and responding to “actions” by your target audience is now what new business development and the customer experience is all about.
Being where the action is at makes me think of being age 21. The Who's song Let's See Action and seeing the band three times in 1982, once in JFK Stadium in Philadelphia with The Clash and Santana, and two more nights in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, where the photo above of Pete Townshend flying through the air was taken.
Today, marketing and sales is all about creating and feeding off a mutual energy or interest. It's no longer about the website you build, but the available "stages" the internet offers you access to, like social media to amplify your pages and content online, all of which generates the needed energy for the interactions, leads and sales you want to experience.
Inbound marketing helps your fans find you and hopefully fall in love with your products, brands and services.
Marketing automation application suites like HubSpot give you an off the shelf set of tools for creating this "action" from your most desired target customer types. This less than ten year old set of cloud-based technologies offers an always-on and improving platform for deploying an organization's marketing, sales and customer experience performance stage and a dashboard that works a lot like a recording studio mixing board.
In fact, I would argue that the long-term value you create from building out your own technology stack and customer ecosystem has far eclipsed the value you can generate from most companies' websites. Statistics show that people are spending far more time on their devices using apps and social than visiting privately owned websites.
Today (and even more in the future) you need a systematic process for gaining a competitive advantage driven through analytics and insights from your marketing, sales and customer engagement channels. The book Traction introduces a three-ringed bulls-eye methodology to help you develop and determine which of these many channels, message, content and offers types perform best for your specific set of business variables
Now for the bad news. For many of you all these gauges are resting at zero. This means you know next to nothing about what will work, how much it will cost and how many widgets each strategy investment will help sell for your business. Notice I said “help sell”. Marketing and new business development has become entirely quantitative when it comes to attributing the amount of contribution any online strategy or tactic makes to growing the customer relationship on buyer’s journey to making a purchase.
Be forewarned this not something you can fully budget for before actually doing. Just like rock bands and race cars, these machines' require testing and development.
You need to be better than your competition at understanding how and why your clients find and research a purchase in your category well before they identify themselves to you or they most likely will become your competition’s customer first.
There are now over 7,000 MarTech applications you need to choose from to assemble your own digital ecosystem. In a recent nationwide cross-industry study, the average business surveyed is using over a dozen marketing and sales technology applications to find, retain, and delight their new leads, customers and fans.
The Marketing, Sales and Customer Experience guide was written to help you create a "spec-sheet" for your marketing ecosystem. It will really help you advance your digital mindset for starting this ecosystem design, construction and management process. This is a lot like right-sizing and equipping a brick and mortar building for your business. How much office space, warehouse and factory space do you need to meet your growth expectations? Go cheap initially with a low cost Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application and you may find a year from now it lacks the integration capabilities you need for a value-adding feature-set your team should be using to save time and money through sales automation. You need to develop a vision for where you are going to want to be with your ecosystem’s capabilities two to five years from now, because switching out these core ecosystem applications like Salesforce CRM midstream is akin to performing a brain transplant on your business.
My best advice is to start with only a few gauges on your dashboard, even though your lead generation machine has room to add-on or switch-on many more powerful capabilities and visualizations down the road.
Do the math for ramp-up costs and factor in the plausibility of reaching your first revenue milestone first. You will want to prepare your team for both success and failures early on. Both will generate experience and valuable new powers of insight from the inbound marketing methodologies (see image) this content and technology-driven approach is based on.
As things start to hum with your new ecosystem, the rock-star strategies for creating "action" will begin to emerge and your team will revel in logging into your Marketing and Sales Automation Dashboard each day and seeing more and more of the needles of the gauges (or charts) move in the right direction.
You will need to brainstorm and connect the dots on why some channels flop and others continue to surprise you. In short, you will become addicted (like me) to the thrill of being in the digital ecosystem driver's seat generating and understanding the reasons what creates these interactions and engagement from the online content you're creating, publishing and promoting.
MORE Online NOW LLC was founded to help you achieve success building, owning and operating your own rock-star marketing ecosystem. Our value proposition is that we take what we know from the years of experience with these internet-based information systems and enable you to accomplish more in less time with fewer costly mistakes. We can fully manage this process for you, help you establish completely in-house or work with your team supporting a combination of both.
In the next article, I will go into more detail on what gauges should be on the dashboard of an early-stage marketing, sales and customer experience ecosystem and also and even more importantly, how to gain traction (aka action), calibrate the needles for your business and begin to produce results across the Buyer’s Journey to increased sales and becoming a expert on and offline promoter of your company’s products and/or services through inbound marketing and sales lead generation. We will help you build that missing GPS display for your lead generation machine to guide you to where you want to go and be seen.
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