23 Actionable Marketing Tactics To Keep Business On Track

5 Key Marketing Trends From The Last Three Years

How to stay on track In honor of publishing our 1,000th blog post tomorrow, we’re presenting special content all week to reflect back on our three years of publishing the Actionable Marketing Blog.

Looking back, here are the five major marketing trends that have emerged over the last three years. Each change has become integral to marketers’ strategies for building their brands, attracting new customers and driving profitable sales.

1. Social media explodes.

While the argument could be made that media has been social since the first messenger carried a note to another person social media are the platforms that enable the interactive web. By engaging users to participate in, comment on and create content as means of communicating with their social graph, other users and the public these dynamic websites empower marketers, prospects, customers and the public alike.

Actionable Marketing Tactics:

  • Stake your turf on major social media entities. A Facebook page is no longer sufficient to define your social media marketing strategy. At a minimum, you need a blog as well as a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.
  • Must be present. Participation is required. Further it’s integral to your core business beliefs and strategy so that this should involve your employees, not something you outsource. Remember you can’t just sit on the sidelines.
  • Requires a level of transparency. Social media means that you can’t fake it or hide the stuff that you don’t want anyone to know because some employee or customer will make it public.

2. Content marketing means you’re a publisher.

Developing relevant sanitized marcom full of empty content no longer makes it anymore. You need to provide quality information that customers seek. It needs to be well written and findable.

Actionable Marketing Tactics:

  • Establish a blogAs a CMS (or content management system), blogs provide a combination content nerve center and social media homebase. Additionally they support your search optimization and answer customer questions.
  • Offer a variety of content types. You can’t assume that your target audience only likes one type of content. Provide different formats to appeal to different segments.

3. Devices mobilize and connect.

Information can be distributed via a variety of devices when and where the prospect, not the business are interested. As a result, marketers no longer control the conversation. Customers do. They determine when they’re in market for a product. They seek information before they’re ready to interact as customers. (Here’s 53 mobile data points and charts to help you.)

Actionable Marketing Tactics:

  • Offer mobile-friendly content. At a minimum, provide a mobile website, mobile app, mobile search and social media (which is already optimized for mobile use.)
  • Ensure that prospects and customers can reach you from any device. This means include your physical address, phone number and email address so people can contact you.

4. Communication becomes multidirectional.

The combination of social media and content marketing translates to the fact that marketers and media organizations no longer control the conversation. Interaction occurs one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-many at the same time. While this may not be new, what’s changes is the fact that it’s amplified to a broad audience, that couldn’t be reached before as frictionlessly or as cheaply. Further, the public can choose where they focus their attention, the true scarce resource.

Actionable Marketing Tactics:

  • Listen to what your prospects, customers and the public are saying about your company, brand and/or product. If you don’t have the budget for expensive tools, use what you can afford.
  • Offer your target audience a variety of ways to get information from you and to communicate with you. Don’t force people to only visit your store or deal with your website. This is guaranteed to loose you potential business.

5. Marketing budget diversifies.

Budgets evolve to encompass a broader array of communications and content. It’s up to marketers to work across their organization to ensure that all content and social media is consistent.

Actionable Marketing Tactics:

  • Create a set of social media guidelines. It’s important to ensure that your entire organization is on the same page. Your employees and customers must know your rules.
  • Break down the silos. Don’t assume that your resources are limited to your department. Work across your organization to eliminate duplication and encourage others to participate in social media and content marketing.

 

Yet the reality is that the more things change the more they stay the same. Here are five marketing elements that have remained an integral part of marketing over the past three years.

1. Customers are central to your business.

People including customers and employees are the fifth marketing P.  Without buyers, you don’t have a business. You need to approach customers from a broad perspective. It’s no longer just the actual buyer who matters but also the influencers and end users that are important.

Actionable Marketing Tactics:

  • Answer your customers’ questions. Until you provide responses to your buyers’ key questions, they won’t buy. Remember this also applies to their influencers and the end users.
  • Provide additional information post-purchase. Don’t assume that you can abandon your buyers after they’ve paid for your offering. You need to support them to ensure that they like your product, can use it and talk about it positively.
  • Support your fans. As research shows, your raving advocates are the ones who talk about your brand in real life and on social media. This is why many people believe that the biggest impact of social media is branding.

2. Brands continue to enhance your company’s value.

Again this isn’t a new concept. A brand’s inherent value is part of its balance sheet. What’s changed is the fact that brands are no longer two-dimensional.

Actionable Marketing Tactics:

  • Expand your brand beyond your logo. Think 360°. Remember your goal is to remain top of mind.
  • Integrate your brand into every aspect of your social media and content marketing. Your target audience must be able to recognize your brand even when your logo isn’t present.

3. Your business must be findable.

Historically, this referred to search optimization. What’s evolved over the past few years is that it’s no longer limited to showing up in the top five results in Google. Rather prospects, customers and the public must be able to find your firm across channels where they’re looking for answers to their questions.

Actionable Marketing Tactics:

  • Incorporate key search terms in your content marketing and social media. Use every opportunity to support your organization’s search optimization.
  • Create non-search entryways to your business. Think outside of Google. Build email newsletters and social media presences.

4. Sales are critical to your business.

Your firm can build the best product or offer the best service but if you don’t close any deals, then you’ll go out of business. Even more important is that your sales must exceed your costs.

Actionable Marketing Tactics:

  • Keep the scent consistent through your sales process. Make sure that prospects recognize that they’re still on your site or landing page.
  • Create processes for closing sales. Just bringing in new prospects doesn’t mean that you’ll get sales.  You need to qualify and close the sales.
  • Test each step of the sales process. Don’t assume that your work is done. Keep testing different aspects of your sales process.

5. You must measure your business results back to your objectives.

Therefore, it’s helpful if your goals are specific and measurable. To this end, it’s useful to keep track of your prospects and customers and to develop a housefile that enables you to contact your prospects, customers and the public.

Actionable Marketing Tactics:

  • Use a call-to-action. Ask for the sale (or at least the next step in the process.)
  • Choose key metrics. Determine how you’re going to track your marketing and ensure that you have analytics in place.

 

As communications platforms and devices continue to evolve, so will marketing. It’s our job as marketers to stay current and provide our prospects and customers with the information they need to make their lives better.

We would like to thank everyone who has read, contributed, commented and/or shared our content. We appreciate your time, attention and support.

What major changes would you add to this list and why?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies. You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

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