7 Marketing 3.0 Lessons from Inbound 2012
Wow! A great conference and a lot to think about as the pace of new marketing, Marketing 3.0, heats up. It's been all about content for a while but it's getting harder to get found as the volume of content increases. According to Gary Vaynerchuck (keynote speaker, wine connoisseur and author) more data was created in 2010 than in all the years up to 2003. And that's a lot!
The game has shifted. Remarkable content is just the ante. Remarkable content that your prospects and customers each need right now is what's required. No longer can you get away with one size fits all. No longer is it acceptable to develop content for yesterday's problem. Someone else already did that. Social media is an imperative. And It's getting more and more crowded out there. More online competitors , more content, more decision makers to convince.
Here are a few take-aways from last week's Inbound 2012 conference:
- Marketing automation is necessary but not sufficient. Inbound marketing is becoming harder to do well. It's important to know the best practices, to have a more in depth customer understanding and to use automation to test everything from messaging, to landing pages to calls-to-action and buttons. Yet the rewards are also significant for those who get it right - more leads, more customers, a better customer experience and a lower cost of customer acquisition. Creating remarkable content is also necessary but not sufficient. Content relevancy (i.e. context) is key and that means as much segmentation and personalization as you can muster.
- Market to what's happening right now, not last year. Understand the challenges your customers and prospects face in real-time using social media to find out about their current issues and concerns. This is easier said than done but if you find yourself messaging about the benefits of virtualization, the need to do more with less, or how to deal with HIPAA, think again. It's not that you don't have a strong argument. It's just that these things are yesterday’s issues and the train has left the station.
- Social media is now where you'll not only find the most qualified eyeballs, it's where the conversations are being held. If you want to engage with prospects before they make critical buying decisions, social media is the way to go. Check out the industry blogs, look for relevant hash tags, communities on LinkedIn and Google+, etc. It's not about ROI it's about the necessity of understanding what's being said and by whom.
- Automation tools that can't track a prospects journey through your content, whether it's on your website, downloaded or on social media, may not be worth the candle. If you are not able to see what interests each prospect, you'll likely lose out to your competitors who can. Marketing needs this information to ensure the funnel is working and to successfully create each new campaign. Sales needs it to be able to engage with the prospects in ways that are seen as positive and helpful - that increase the likelihood of conversion.
- Love your customer and love marketing. The degree to which you have to have intimate knowledge of both as gone up by an order of magnitude. Those with the best customer understanding will generate truly useful content and attract new prospects. Plus, in today's social media-driven world, your customers are your best evangelists. Treat them well and they will return the favor. Treat them badly and they will return that too! On the marketing front, the pace of change is so rapid that only those who are really enamored will be able to keep up. How many marketing blog posts did you read today?
- Keep up with the latest search trends too - not just SEO. One of the keys to online success has always been SEO but it's one of the most rapidly changing sciences. As Google, and no doubt the other search engine companies, continue to modify their algorithms, new approaches are needed. The core remains keyword selection - check out the chunky middle as well as the long tail - and great content. However the rules on inbound links have changed, social media is playing an increasingly important role and page titles can have a remarkably big impact on CTR.
- Finally, don't ignore your introverts! Keynote speaker Susan Cain (and bestselling author) points out that the most spectacularly creative people tend to be introverts and that introverted leaders often produce better results. She recommends creating teams with both introverts and extroverts and implementing processes to make sure both types get their needs met. We all knew that marketing and sales alignment was a challenge. Now we know why!
Happy Marketing 3.0!
What did you learn at Inbound 2012?By Ray Wright