Marketing Tools for Effective Communication
I always start with the customer. By spending more of my time learning about how our customers want to find, learn about, evaluate and buy our products, then all of our tactical plans fall into place. Many of the more common discussions I hear among marketers seem to revolve around the increasing complexity of marketing given all of the different channels available to us. I don’t look at it that way. We have tools available to us today that have never been available to us before. Data analysis tools. Campaign management tools. Marketing ROI tools. All of these and others can be used to learn about our customers and the power of our investments which then enables us to make smarter decisions based on data versus guesses. To me, that simplifies our lives, doesn’t make them more complex.
I also believe that marketing is no longer just about stringing together a sequence of tactics in hopes of creating a measurable response. Marketing is about being present… in environments where our customers go to learn and interact. Being present in online communities or events or affiliations by participating in dialogue and offering up points of view is increasingly more important than running an ad or shooting off a direct mail piece for a 2% response rate. Customers want us to be genuine with them by engaging in dialogue that is real, transparent and truly intended to meet their needs. They learn to trust us more because we are actively engaging with them on their terms and creating customer experiences that they appreciate and want to experience over and over again.
Yes, things are happening fast, new channels are emerging every day and new technologies are being introduced at a rate and pace never seen before. But then again, that’s always been the case. It’s just relative and it shouldn’t be an excuse. Our #1 job as marketing leaders is to harness the change and be relentless students of everything around us…our businesses, our customers and the many technologies available to us to help simplify our lives and make us more effective growth drivers and change agents.
I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that none of this could happen without an incredibly strong relationship with my CIO. We share the same deep interest in learning about our customers and the same deep belief that our learning should drive everything we do. My CIO partners with me to ensure we have the tools we need to learn and act. I partner with my CIO in sharing our learning and the outcomes he has enabled. It’s a terrific partnership that brings great results to our company.