Marketing has changed (and still is) considerably over the past several years. Traditional channels just don't provide the ROI that digital platforms do. And marketing tactics continue to evolve as new technologies appear and audiences change.
Although it varies by industry, many companies spend five percent of revenue on marketing. If your campaigns are becoming too costly, it's time to re-strategize. Start with building a better marketing team.
Here are some ways to do this without overspending.
1. Choose the Best Tools
Successful marketing needs to have built-in efficiency like any other business function. This helps to reduce costs, even if there's additional expense up front. But you should have the right tools and software for your specific needs.
One tool you can't do without is email software. Email marketing and sales is a highly cost-efficient technique. It allows you to reach potentially thousands of people with minimal effort. With modern solutions, you can be highly creative yet personalize every email sent.
Ensure you have the customer data to back it up. Capturing data on customer behavior for analysis provides a means of refining your content and boosting ROI. Robust systems can aggregate information, generate reports, and engage with customers in near real-time. For example, Tealium AudienceStream can segregate customers across all channels and collect data and create profiles. Evergage is a platform that uses machine learning in its behavioral analytics to help you create triggers for everything: from an abandoned cart, to actions based on demographic parameters.
The greatest potential is in automation and AI, although it presents a risk due to the learning curve associated with tuning the automation. Your marketing team should be focused on creativity while computers handle the growing need for data management. This is especially helpful in developing organic SEO and social media content.
2. Exchange of Services
Trading services with other companies can raise your brand awareness and save you money. At events such as conferences and trade shows, keep an eye open for the outside talents you need. If you can reciprocate with your own special skills form an agreement to swap services, hopefully at no or low additional cost.
You can also do this online, such as on social media. For instance, you could connect with an IT firm that does development work and in exchange offer help with their email campaigns. They may jump at the chance if you're offering equal or greater value than what they provide you.
There are sites set up especially to connect businesses in this way, like the International Reciprocal Trade Association (IRTA), the National Association of Trade Exchanges (NATE), Bizx or BarterDaddy. Just be sure to check out what sort of fees might be involved in determining relative value. Hopefully, you can get written agreements or guarantees.
3. Motivate Your Team
Inspiring the best in others will optimize ROI. Increasingly, this is based as much on on the company culture as personal leadership. While monetary incentives are powerful motivators, many star performers focus on finding a great company to work for.
A meaningful vision that others will be drawn to can help make up for not being able to pay for what may be perceived as the best talent. Finding team members that want to be a part of that vision is important to winning their loyalty and maximizing productivity. A loyal, motivated staff is a better business solution than paying top dollar for a team of highly sought-after prodigies lacking buy-in in your company.
Your culture should fit your brand and leadership style. It might be a spirit of fun, creativity, or open collaboration. But an engaging atmosphere is necessary for high morale.
Your marketing team should be connected at a personal and emotional level to the mission and to each other. Allow employees transparency into processes and goals. Ideally, they should feel self-empowered through freedom of expression and recognition of their accomplishments.
4. Improve Your Existing Team
A vibrant company culture is an essential foundation. A shared loyalty and sense of purpose will make implementing improvements easier. If your people love their jobs and your brand voice, that enthusiasm will positively influence your audience.
Gauging performance includes not just results obtained, but loyalty, work ethic, cooperation, and integrity. Track individual contributions with fair and consistent metrics to work out a numeric score. You won't know your team's strengths and weaknesses if you don't keep accurate data on their performance.
Every facet of your marketing should be documented. This provides learning opportunities. One of the most important things to document is to outline your goals and review them often as a team.
You should also make note of "gaps". Maybe your current team doesn't have the skills or experience to make an impact in a younger target market. Be prepared to hire someone with the right skills to remove this obstacle in the future and perhaps teach your team some new tricks.
With a strong team, even major issues become problems that each person is committed to solving. Growth and productivity follow from high morale more than from financial reward.
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