How Can Businesses Stay Ahead of the Curve When It Comes to Their Marketing Efforts?
By Mark Montini
Before shifting your attention and your resources to staying ahead of the curve in your marketing efforts, it’s important that you take a few seconds to think about why you started your business in the first place. The answer should be pretty straightforward. You wanted to make money. It’s important to remember that because, while staying ahead of the curve on marketing is a noble objective, it is very often in direct opposition to your original goal of making money.
Here’s a real-life example to illustrate:
Lead generation is a fundamental marketing activity for just about every business. And, Google pay-per-click is certainly a leader in that area and has been for awhile. As a result, very few marketers today would label it as being “ahead of the curve.” That label is reserved for more trendy tactics like Facebook ads, geo-fencing, and growth hacking.
Nonetheless, Google pay-per-click still significantly outperforms those more cutting-edge tactics. I can say this with absolute certainty because our technology tracks the exact monetary ROI from marketing campaigns. And, time after time, Google pay-per-click delivers the highest ROI – sometimes as much as 1,300% higher than marketing channels that are supposedly ahead of the curve.
Despite this fact and our ability to empirically illustrate it, many of our clients still feel motivated to reduced Google pay-per-click spend in order to invest in the latest marketing trend. Yes, they will do it even though we can show them exactly how much LESS money they will make from those tactics.
That’s how strong the allure of staying ahead of the curve can be. Perhaps the modern-day version of the old advertising adage, “An ad wears out in the board room long before it wears out in the living room.” So, before you shift our attention to staying ahead of the curve, make sure you have the following fundamentals in places:
- Predictable, profitable and automated lead generation engine.
- Formal lead conversion process.
- Systematized customer retention campaigns.
When, and only when, you have those proven essentials in place and generating solid ROI for your business, here are some trends to consider to help you stay ahead of the marketing curve in 2016.
- Do-it-for-Me (DIFM) Solutions. After years of spending money on monthly subscriptions to marketing-related SaaS products and never using really utilizing them, business owners have started looking for alternatives. One hot alternative is known as “do-it-for-me,” where companies integrate software and services to actually deliver the service (i.e. send emails) as well as provide the technology to manage the service.
- Integration. Another trend being driven by business-owner’s frustration with SaaS is the popularity of fully-integrated solutions. These solutions will allow you to exchange a number of your standalone marketing software products (and the multitudes of login credentials) into a single, integrated system. Instead of learning, managing, and paying for five different software products, you can now do everything with one.
- Location-based Marketing. With mobile devices quickly becoming the device-of-choice for consumers, the opportunities to target you marketing based on the user (or device) location are increasing rapidly. Whether it’s geo-fencing, beacons, or other location-based tactics, more and more business are now marketing to consumers based on where they are rather than just who they are.
- Direct Buy Options. More and more digital advertising platforms are allowing advertisers to include “Buy Now” or “Reserve Now” options to ads and consumers have responded positively. A growing number of consumers are showing preference to businesses that make it quick and easy for them to act.
- Automation. Sure, marketing automation has been around for a while but most companies still don’t fully-leverage it because of the amount of time and money required to execute it well. There is a growing number of simple marketing automation platforms specifically designed for small businesses and leveraging them to squeeze a few more hours out of your day and conversions out of your marketing can make a huge difference on your bottom line.
Mark Montini is the chief results officer at Promio, an Atlanta-based franchise marketing firm that specializes in strategically integrating technology, marketing, and data to grow their clients’ bottom line.