Who? What? Where? When?
Any company looking to share its message with the public needs to ask these questions first. But you already knew that, right?
It's crucial these days that marketing dollars are used in the most effective ways possible. So companies must try to determine beyond a shadow of a doubt who to target, what message works, where the most effective medium will be and when to share it. After all, you'll get a bigger bang for your buck if you get it right the first time.
The key to getting it right is gaining a deep understanding of your customer through proper data-capture and analysis. From there, with the right tools, you should be able to extrapolate the key points, creative elements, offers and media that will produce a positive return on investment.
Many companies are now using data tools to help them make the most informed marketing decisions possible. Although countless tools exist for marketing automation, sales force automation, data analytics and CRM, it's important to choose the best tool for your specific business needs. Greater investments, research and time on the front end will help eliminate redundancy and improve data quality, which will in turn cut costs and make your processes more efficient and effective. Keep it simple: Select the right tools to gather the data you really need.
For example, two options are Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce, which have many of the same functions. Using both systems, however, could be creating bottlenecks and redundancies that might actually skew results. Conduct a requirements assessment, and determine which tool meets most if not all of your needs and select that one.
Frankly, most companies are collecting reams of data in many different places without forethought. Over-dependence on capturing data without thinking how the data will be analyzed and used to improve marketing results is a major risk factor for companies of any size. Wiser companies know how to simplify. Sometimes it really pays to focus attention on fewer key performance indicators that have the biggest impact on customer acquisition, conversion and loyalty than on the dozens of possible data points that may or may not have real statistical meaning.
The trick is to use a system or pick the right tools to elevate your customer experience and create the highest possible sales and profits. For example, if you sell your product or service directly to your customer, you will need tools that integrate customer service, payment and delivery data in real-time with your marketing data. On the other hand, if you sell through a third party channel or partner, you might not need real-time integration, and you might have other data challenges related to gathering relevant and actionable marketing data.
Whatever your situation, the quality of your marketing data will provide deeper customer insight to better test your creative strategy. This in turn will enable marketers to better target their resource spending. In some cases, this might even offer chances to reduce spending without decreasing overall bottom-line results.
While these approaches may require more initial effort and upfront costs, your campaigns will ultimately be more successful and generate greater returns in the long run.
Read more of Melinda Partin's Work Tank blog
As CEO and co-founder of Worktank, Melinda leads the company's strategic direction with the goal of worldwide expansion to better serve our global customer base. Her vision is central to Worktank's mission of helping clients find new and compelling ways to establish meaningful relationships with their customers.
Drawing on over a decade of interactive experience, Melinda helps companies transition from traditional marketing to Web- and interactive-based channels. Her wide-ranging background includes Fortune 500 and small- to mid-sized companies in technology, real estate, corporate housing, and telecommunications, and the non-profit sector in HIV/AIDS and hunger issues. Melinda moved to the agency side after stints with Microsoft Sidewalk and Microsoft Studios, where she pushed the edge of media technology.