As we settle into 2020, we take a look at the latest predictions and trends for marketing, and specifically martech, for this year.
It’s the time of year everyone sees the latest predictions and trends for the new year in your specific field. It’s no different for me as a marketer and technologist, and it’s easy to get excited by all of the hype about these topics and start goal planning.
It’s always exciting (and sometimes painful) to be on the leading edge of marketing technology, especially these days when there are so many opportunities to apply technology for you and your customers’ benefit.
I have a contrarian view. It’s great to learn about what’s new and changing and staying abreast of this. But, it’s at least equally, if not more important, to understand existing issues facing your use of marketing technology and how to solve these, before, or as part of any new pursuit. The fundamental problem — these new martech trends, tools and technologies may not fix your existing problems or add value to your business.
Without further ado, I will tell you what not to do with your martech and marketing operations in 2020.
1. Don’t continue to use your same marketing metrics
With the wealth of data available from your marketing technology and other customer data sources, you should examine how you can use the data you already have to develop new metrics that can help your business. We are beyond the measures of opens and clicks, and you should start to look into more comprehensive metrics, such as touchpoint analysis, to understand how your customers interact with your brand across all communications and channels before a sale.
This step isn’t necessarily about chasing holy grail metrics like customer lifetime value (LTV), or return on marketing investment (ROMI). Both are often difficult calculations when you consider all relevant variables. This process is about defining new metrics that are meaningful to the business, so that you may bring more value or insights into your team’s marketing work and advance your understanding of the customer with the data you already have.
This process also entails collaborating with other teams in your organization to possibly get existing data to supplement the marketing data, as well as working with your internal customers of marketing (sales, executives, and more) to understand what they care and need to know about.
2. Don’t presume you know what your customers want.
As marketers, our job is often to know what our customers want presumptively. While this can work, it’s better to know what the customer wants definitively. That’s where testing comes in. Setting up a process and structure for doing marketing testing is vital to understand your potential and existing customers, including justifying larger investments for change. Testing can be simple A/B testing on a call to action in an email, but it needs a correct design to be useful.
For example, I was with a large software client who planned to run various tests with outbound communications. In a discussion around one of the email tests, someone asked how long the test would run. The person responsible said “3-4 weeks,” but they hadn’t considered if this amount of time, and the size of the audience, would allow the test to be statistically significant.
Statistical significance is important since it helps determine if the change tested can deliver the expected future business value with larger audiences. This is an example of how methodical and structured testing ensures you obtain accurate learnings. Even big companies aren’t always doing this right.
3. Don’t stop talking to your customers after the sale.
Your customers are still your customers after the sale. Marketing is not only about the sale. It’s about developing lasting relationships with your clients, so don’t only talk to your customers about your company. Both B2C and B2B clients require lasting relationships for multiple reasons (cross-sell, upsell, loyalty, advocacy, and more), and these reasons require an ongoing relationship. As with all relationships, this development entails ongoing communication.
If you aren’t already doing so, you need to start talking to your clients after the sale. This communication can take many forms:
- Post-sale product and service onboarding
- E-newsletter about non-product topics that may be relevant to them
- Voice-of-the-customer or satisfaction surveys
- Review requests
- Thank you notes
While you probably won’t interact with a car salesperson or realtor very frequently, even in these industries, you should continue to build a relationship with your customers. For example, during my time at Toyota, we created several E-newsletters meant to keep the brand in front of the customer during their product lifecycle, which spanned a couple of years.
The content in these varied based on the type of newsletter. For example, the Hybrid newsletter had owner insights about how to increase your car’s mileage, info about new technologies, stories reinforcing their hybrid purchase decision, and more. While we shared a link in the email to see current sales offers, we placed it below the fold of the e-newsletter to detract the emphasis.
We found over time that this “see current sales offers” was always a Top 10 link in the email, often outperforming content links. One of the insights this provided was even though we had predictive customer models to understand when they should be in the market, you can’t account for all of the variables that contribute to someone making a purchase decision.
We learned the value of keeping the brand in front of them. In the end, we moved the link above the fold in a future template redesign, and it continued to perform well.
Chasing the trending topics and technologies aren’t a silver bullet for your existing problems. No one knows your marketing struggles better than you.
And, while the above may not reflect your specific problems, challenge yourself to identify and improve your current solutions in 2020!