If you are a B2B marketer and have an active profile on LinkedIn, you are probably overwhelmed and maybe even irritated by the number of "experts" unwelcomingly reaching out to sell their silver bullet that will multiply overnight your lead generation. Those "experts" pitch successful models applied in previous clients that will bring a similar ROI to you - as if it could work like a formula. And let's face it, sometimes the lack of clarity from companies regarding their marketing plans helps to feed that buzz.
I mentor many marketers. And when Digital Marketing is the topic, I always ask - "Do you have the right GTM (go-to-market) Strategy and an always-on, highly-skilled analytics team? A team crossing information from multiple channels, platforms, and tools and creating true insight from them?" So far, all replies assumed a "yes - but" structure. Truthfully, it would be best not to start pouring money into your Digital Marketing Engines and Campaigns if you answered "no" or "yes-but" to the previous question.
And if you did answer "yes-but," start by (re)defining your GTM Marketing Strategy and shedding light on your marketing plans consistently around it. Believe me when I say that your team needs it. As a Marketing Executive, I have had the opportunity to witness many heated discussions about activities where the real issue was a strategic misalignment in the first place. Needless to say, a B2C strategy is different from a B2B one and distinct from a B2B2C. For the luck of B2C marketers, consumers find traditional advertisements more reliable than their digital counterparts, and social media marketing can make it more personal and fun for them, reaching better engagement levels. Combining properly online and offline activities will boost results from Digital. The B2B funnels usually require more robust analytics and dedication to determine what is working, to whom, and why. Each case is unique and has its differences and nuances. Finding the ideal dashboard to monitor and improve performance requires knowledge, a consistent approach, and an exploratory mindset that will push the analytics team into new territories.
I recommend CMOs and Marketing Leaders, regardless of their experience level, to work with Certified Mentors who "have been there and done that." Certified Mentors can help you navigate your specific case by asking the right questions, bringing fresh perspectives, and sharing models and research to support your ideas or not. There are many nuances impacting how effective your marketing strategy will be in execution. Differences in marketing products, services, or solutions. If there is already a demand for your offers or you need to create one. Acting upon the complete cycle from customer acquisition through pipeline acceleration and lead conversion. The different targeted customers and personas. The many customer journeys. The brand experience. The sales channels. The commerce play. The mobility play. What parts must your team handle, and what will you outsource? This list is endless. And yet how to mix and prioritize all that. A mentor will raise your confidence in writing and driving the right strategy, articulate the messages and present it in the best way, and increase the chances of a better ROI. You will not get this level of candid and expert feedback anywhere else, as mentors are entirely devoted to your success only.
Once you have a clear GTM Marketing Strategy and a definition of the roles Digital Marketing will play in your marketing mix, focus on creating a solid Digital Analytics muscle. That is your digital marketing optimization engine. No digital campaign, content, or activity will be correctly designed to reach its full potential without being adjusted a few times. Analytics needs to inform us in numbers what profile of customers we have reached, who reacted, how, when, and where. Where those prospects come from and where they go next. And all information about their behavior in our digital properties and, for the more advanced, on the internet. Digital Analytics is not new or rocket science, but the number of companies claiming to have built that muscle correctly and put it to use systematically is a small fraction of the total - only 7%! Every Digital execution must have a marketing analytics capability to measure performance. You will probably start with your content, SEO, and SEM execution. Then build the outbound and display ads with the correspondent analytics. You will add social marketing, integrating every handle into your engines and ensuring that its flow of potential leads can be redirected, identified, and measured. Every part may feed to a central dashboard where you have a real-time pulse of your execution and so what is working and what is not. When and only when you know the accurate insights behind the statistics of your activities, you can start to raise your investments to production levels.
At this point, you can forecast your ROI with decent precision. Digital Marketing is not about finding the silver bullet but building the right strategy and engines that will empower you to optimize your play and find answers to most of the questions. With those basics in place, a clear GTM Strategy, and a powerful analytics team, you can now talk about ROI and effectiveness, how to help sales with more leads, pipeline acceleration, reaching higher conversion rates, and everything results. And if you don't know the answer to a question, you can quickly put new concepts to the test and make up your mind about the possible paths. The next step will be building your marketing automation and elevating your ROI to new levels. And that is the topic for a future article.