5 ways smart marketing can go too far.
There is a phrase in medicine: “the poison is in the dose,” meaning, that no substance is inherently beneficial or dangerous, you just need watch the amount. Humans need vitamin A and water, but ingest too much and they can make you ill or worse yet, dead. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the same can be said of today’s technology-driven marketing practices. Here are five things really smart marketers do to remain successful, that if overdone, can actually impede the success of your plans.
1. Increasing the level of detail in your analytics.
As marketers, we have an unprecedented level of analytics available to us. So, when given the option, why not increase your effectiveness by enhancing the level of analytical detail you collect, right? Before you answer, “yes,” first ask yourself the following questions:
Are you really only substituting increased volume for insight? Most marketers are not taking full advantage of the data they already have.
Have you fully detailed and examined the story your current data and analytics are telling you? Collecting data is one thing; but the actual implications of the data are where many marketers fall short. What insights does your current metrics provide?
What will you do with additional measurement and how will it impact or change your current marketing strategies and behaviors? Is the cost of the additional analytics offset by the potential gains it will provide in sales or other KPIs?
So, what should you do? The truth, for most resource-constrained marketers, is that it’s better to narrow the data points you review to only those that are most important to driving business KPIs. Then prioritize your time and resources optimizing your user experience around those conversion behaviors that drive KPIs.
2. Focusing on your best customers
There has never been a marketer with unlimited time and unlimited money. Resources are always constrained (Geico’s seemingly unlimited television commercial budget notwithstanding). That’s why, as preached in every marketing or business school, the sound strategy is to focus your efforts on maintaining and maximizing relationships with your best customers. It’s the lowest risk way to see a positive return on your investment. That is still true. But often focus turns into exclusivity. What many marketers forget is that when they manage risk down to zero, they will also be managing potential opportunities to zero.
What should you do? The best way to catalyze new opportunities may be allocating a percentage of your marketing budget for experimentation. Test your hunches. Take creative risks. Look for untapped new audiences. But only if you’re committed to systematically measuring and analyzing the results!
3. Going all-in on a mobile first strategy.
While more than 50% of B2B and B2C transactions begin or involve mobile experiences, despite what most marketing publications may be preaching, for most B2B (and some B2C) marketers, it is too soon to abandon or give short shrift to the desktop.
What should you do? Well, the simple answer is support both platforms. Ensure your web experience is fully responsive and offers equal ability to facilitate any and all conversions. The more complex approach is to scour your analytics to fully understand the differences in user behavior across and between platforms. Break down your user flows on each device type into micro-transactions (making sure you implement corresponding hooks in your analytics) to better understand what UX/UI features/moments in the mobile or desktop experiences are enhancing or depressing your overall conversion rates. Then continue to optimize those micro-transactions by platform against your conversion goals. And, of course, continue to monitor ongoing changes in share of user sessions by platform and allocate future development budgets and resources based on your users’ rate of mobile adoption.
4. Maximizing engagement with customers on social media
Where once most marketers used the number of followers as the preeminent measure of a successful social strategy, lately there has been more emphasis on engagement numbers. While both are decent enough measures of activity, they are not proven, in and of themselves, to be drivers of ROI. Further, raw engagement numbers don’t necessarily convey sentiment. And finally, focusing on quantity of engagements versus quality can impart noise into your channels as well as muddy the intended message within each channel.
What should you do? Like most points made here, we suggest thinking first about optimizing or maximizing conversions or behaviors that drive business KPIs. Spend most of your time engaging in conversations that support those goals and metrics. Make all posts and conversations actionable—always try to provide links to conversion points, etc. Perhaps base success not on how many people saw or “liked” your posts, but rather on how many became actively engaged in a behavior you want to drive.
5. Expanding your content library
It seems the majority of B2B marketers have all jumped onto the content train. The idea was that white papers, blog posts and articles are more trusted mediums (versus banner ads or direct marketing) so they would more easily capture attention and pull in more interested customers while they are at their most engaged—researching a given topic. While there is certainly an SEO benefit to adding a greater volume of relevant content to your site, most B2B content is never experienced by the intended audience. Creating good, useful content is time and resource intensive to create. And unless that content is actively engaged with by users, it will not provide the desired lift in online engagement or conversions. In other words, generating content for content’s sake is time and resources wasted.
What should you do? First, understand that more is not better. Better is better. What does that mean? Well, when creating your next piece of content, evaluate if what you are saying is uniquely valuable to your audience. Ask yourself:
Are you providing insights, ideas or factual information that aren’t available already in multiple places?
Is there an audience waiting for content on the topic? Is it really thought leadership, or simply “me too” SEO fodder?
Does the new content present a previously unknown opportunity for action?
Will the content you are creating actively support your strategic business goals?
And, most importantly, what target segments, specifically, will benefit from engaging with the content?
If you can answer all of those questions and still think that producing the content is worth your limited time and resources (as well as the time and resources your customers will expend consuming it), then create it, push it out and promote it like mad.
The short version: do everything, in the right amount, for the right reason!