Fresh Out of Ideas? That’s OK. The Marketing Tech Landscape is Full of Them. Part of LinkedIn #BringItOn Series

Originally published via LinkedIn July 7, 2016 

Got a good idea about a marketing story you want to share? Write about it as part of LinkedIn #BringItOn series.

Hello, my name is Erika and I’m suffering from writer’s block. It has been 119 days since my last blog.

Last week a friend and former Tech Data colleague, Jeff Salanco, reached out via LinkedIn wondering where my latest writing was. In the recent weeks, several friends and contacts have reached out to me wondering the same thing.  I’m actually shocked that many people (like 5) noticed I hadn’t posted a blog in a while.

I’ve been making excuses to make me feel better. Busy travel schedule. Obligations to my family. Managing a big team. The crush of EOQ. Yoga class. Each night I lay there sorting the hurricane of thoughts in my head. Often, the last thought that enters my brain before I fall asleep is what an imposter I am. Ugh.

In the past 119 days I’ve written enough emails, meeting recaps, and Power Points to fill a really long, painfully boring novel, but as a marketer, I feel like my job should be to come up with new ideas and here I am struggling to think of a topic to write a blog about! Hence my imposter syndrome.

It’s occurred to me how much a marketing manager’s role is changing.

More than ever, the digital marketing age is exploding with unparalleled opportunity. In 2011, there were approximately 150 companies that could offer meaningful marketing services to manufactures. In 2016, there are over 3,500.

Back in May, I attended the Sirius Decisions Summit in Nashville. This summit had some of the best marketing vendors in the industry all under one roof, some of them fledgling start-ups still gathering backing for their genius idea. The influx of cutting edge marketing strategies was overwhelming. I took more notes during that week than I did in four years of college.

While the summit was thick with marketing jargon (net waterfall throughput, anyone?), there were some absolute gems of brilliance. I walked away with a stack of business cards, 20+ invites on my calendar for follow-up meetings, and pages of other people’s ideas for how to drive my business.

I noticed some trends in the marketing strategies presented at the summit and in many of the current marketing articles and industry blogs I read. In the conversations I had with vendors during and after the summit, I’ve found some shine brighter than others. Below are the trends I find most intriguing and the vendors I feel are doing a good job taking advantage of them.

Personalization: Expanding target customer base is a huge part of driving more sales. Duh. Customers buy for different reasons. A CIO wants something cost effective. An IT manager wants to reduce the time he spends doing PITA, time-consuming tasks that eat away at his weekend. Understanding those personas and personalizing the content they consume drastically increases the likelihood they buy your product. The ability we have today to personalize content to accomplish this is an amazing thing. Remarketing tactics have been utilizing this technology for years. Well beyond the suggestion of a product that matches your recent Google searches or a ‘personalized’ email, manufacturers have the ability to pinpoint exactly who is visiting their website and then redirect them to the content they find the most valuable. In essence they use data and algorithms to create thousands of unique experiences in one website. Companies like Triblio are doing just this for their clients as part of their account based marketing strategy. They use data gathered by companies like KickFire who provide real-time company information, social profiles, currently used services, and IP addresses. Manufactures who offer trials often find users with email addresses like Ibeballin@gmail.com and partyanimal69@aol.com (yes, some people still use AOL, ahem, me) downloading trials. This makes it difficult to pinpoint exactly who the user is, but knowing their IP address can offer more details, like what company they work and their location.

Video: According to a report published by Forrester, including video in an email leads to a whopping 200-300% increase in click-through rate. People love to watch videos. They are easily consumable, entertaining, funny, emotion-provoking, and have the ability to show rather than tell more than other media. Many manufacturers still use YouTube, which is excellent, but it’s not the only option. Brightcove, for example, offers video cloud services that house your videos, create custom players, and optimize your videos so you can gather data to better understand your customer. Another choice is Vidyard. Their software integrates with tools like Marketo and Eloqua, making data analysis streamlined.

Predictive Marketing: In itself, this is not new. But harnessing all the pieces, content, tactics, and media to accomplish a full-fledged strategic content marketing approach can be daunting. Companies like MRP have the experience, software, and data to execute meaningful campaigns. Prior to building your marketing campaigns, Sirius Decisionsoffers advisory services that can guide you in choosing vendors and the data to ensure your predictive marketing strategies are on-point.

Breakthrough marketing: This sits on the same realm with ‘disruptive technologies’. Companies like Bulldog Solutions are creating ‘killer content that engages and converts’.  Their technical approach is helpful for channel-based IT businesses. One day, these are the guys that are going to create an app that implants ads in customers’ brains. Personalized ads of course.

Orchestration: This is the synchronization of purposeful interactions into coordinated plays that align to account plans and goals. In other words, the maestro that helps guide your customers through their buyer’s journey. Companies like Engagio use the ‘account based everything’ approach to drive multi-threaded and relevant contact to targets, both to expand and land named accounts.

Marketing is a hi-tech business. I’m learning it might not always be my role to be the ‘idea’ person. I’m finding I’m now more the person who gathers the ideas  and technology of others and applies them to our product. And, thankfully, the ideas out there are endless.

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