Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 | 5 min read
“Specialization equals efficiency” is one of the best-known maxims of modern business. For large organizations, the best way to get results is to build teams around highly specialized functions and hire even more specialized agencies to help them.
This means that the field of marketing has been broken down into narrow teams for functions like strategy, creative, content, PR, consumer insights, and paid media or advertising. This worked very well until social networks arrived on the scene. It used to be enough for all departments to work separately on their primary functions and naturally move customers down the funnel. Things have changed significantly.
A big part of a modern brand’s interaction with its customers – social media, audience insights, content publishing, advertising, customer advocacy, sales – happens in one place. They all take place, increasingly, on social and have empowered marketers to track and manage customer journeys with a level of detail that wasn’t possible before.
The value of this reality for modern marketers is clear. But so is the challenge: how to integrate this new paradigm into traditional, specialized departments.
One solution? Unite teams through technology. A marketing stack (a suite of marketing software) or a single integrated platform can be used to manage the entire marketing process. Software helps marketing teams work together, ensuring everyone is looking at the same numbers and reacting in real time together. The teams retain their original specialized functions, but they are now fully integrated and interconnected.
Here’s what an integrated marketing setup could look like:
Social listening is set up to help you understand what customers think of your products (and competing products), the content or trends they respond well to, and things that they dislike. This happens not as a random, one-off project, but continuously throughout the year – 24/7/365.
Listening data is aggregated and displayed in reporting dashboards, allowing marketers to spot insights, such as topics and executional elements that resonate with customers.
With real-time insights, marketers can work together to create a brief that’s sent straight to the relevant teams and agencies (with integrated software, reporting dashboards, planning, and approvals all in a single environment). This turns into content that’s published across multiple channels – again, all in the same environment.
By looking at listening data, savvy marketers can build a detailed profile of the type of user likely to engage with content, then use this information to plan and target promoted content. For example, if you identified a topic that achieved a high reach through comments and shares from a key demographic, target the same messages with promoted content to a much larger, but similar, audience to scale your exposure.
Now that the right people are engaging with your content, you need to monitor how they engage – and reply to them. Once they convert to an initial action, like visiting your website, you can track their progress using CRM software to understand how ongoing communication affects spend levels.
Tracking engaged individuals and what they say on social will allow you to identify advocates, and arm them with content to extend the reach of your brand. At the same time, you can identify detractors and decide whether you want to cut costs by ignoring them or double-down to save those relationships.
By connecting all the dots across your marketing activities, you can have a complete report on the entire customer journey – from initial data, to first interaction with content, to purchase, to advocacy.
You can use software to build up a profile for each user who interacts with your brand. These profiles can be enriched each time individuals perform an action, such as engaging with content, making a purchase, or talking about your products. This information can then be fed into your customer services system to help agents respond to and resolve issues for each specific type of customer. Advocates, detractors, or high-spend customers can each be treated according to their value or their specific needs. And finally, you are able to track your return on investment in a single environment (and even benchmark your performance against competitors).
When you unite your marketing teams with technology, it doesn’t mean you don’t need specialists anymore – it just means their positions within the marketing process become more dynamic. Instead of fulfilling their roles in a sequential process – insights > strategy > creative > measurement – they are reorganized around a “hub and spoke” model, with technology as the center hub and each specialization as an interconnected spoke.
With the technology we have at our fingertips today, there’s no excuse for allowing your marketing teams to operate in silos. If you put the right technology at the center of your marketing program, you’ll allow your teams of specialists to work together and start harnessing the true power of social.
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