Traditional marketing 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 with more than 500 employees spend an average 16% of their operating budget on marketing. If your campaigns are becoming too costly, it's time to re-strategize. The first step: Build a better marketing team.
Here are four ways to improve your team without overspending.
1. Evaluate Innovative Tools
As with any corporate department, successful marketing needs to have built-in efficiency. 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 segment 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 e-commerce cart to actions based on demographic parameters.
There is great potential in automation and AI, although they also present a risk due to the learning curve associated with tuning the automation. Your marketing team should focus on creativity while computers handle the growing need for data management. This notion is especially helpful in developing organic SEO and social media content.
2. Exchange Your 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 example, you could connect with an IT firm that does development work and, in exchange, offer help with the firm's email campaigns. The company may jump at the chance if you're offering equal or greater value than what it provides 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), and BizX. Just be sure to check out what sort of fees might be involved in determining relative value. Also, strive to get written agreements or guarantees.
3. Motivate Your Team
Inspiring the best in others will optimize ROI. Increasingly, this is based as much on 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 at 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.
Marketing team members should connect at a personal and emotional level to the mission and to each other. Give 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 individuals' performance.
Also, document every facet of your marketing. Doing so provides learning opportunities. One of the most important things to document is a team's goals, and teams should review them often.
As part of that review, make note of "gaps". Maybe your current team doesn't have the skills or experience to make an impact on 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 new perspectives.
With a strong marketing dream 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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