Getting Serious About Marketing In The Digital Era


Mollie Barnett is the owner of S.M.A.R.T. Strategic Marketing & Communications.

Your business has been toiling away, closing deals, advertising, attending shows and generating leads. Your competition right next door is on your radar. You have a product, and they have a product. You have an ad, and they have an ad. You’re at the show, and they are at the show… then, suddenly, it is as if they boarded a rocket that launched them to a new altitude.

And, in fact, they did. Only it wasn’t a rocket. It was marketing: real marketing.

As business moves into the digital space, your virtual footprint needs to get larger. Whether you call it scaling or growth marketing, it needs to work like a cell that seems to double exponentially without much effort and takes over those wide-open marketing spaces.

What does that look like in the digital world?

What will your digital storefront look like?

Your digital storefront should feel like something people want to walk into, spend some time in and browse around. Yep, we are talking about your website.

Whether you are a main street business selling a lot of goods or a “business business” that hopes someone comes in to interact, discuss their pain point and learn more about how you’re going to help them solve their problem, you want the audience to stay awhile. That’s because if they like spending time with you, they might want to come back. And if they don’t, well, they might go somewhere else.

How do customers find you in a virtual world?

Just like in the real world, there are a lot of different ways to make your presence bigger. SEO may help with real estate. Upping your search engine optimization efforts is like having a big main street office.

Maybe you advertise, use social channels and lead people back to your website. Send out newsletters, use banner ads and use influencers. Just like in the real world, there are lots of different ways to point people in your direction.

How do you know what works?

That is what your analytics are for. What comes through, where and when? How did it arrive? Did people like your content? Did they engage with it? Maybe they called? Did someone like that interaction? At what point did they buy? Did they go somewhere else? Why? Why not?

Who is coming in via your website, the marketing funnel, omnichannel marketing, your storefront, your advertising efforts and your sales efforts?

Let’s put it in a spreadsheet—or, better yet, a database.

The vintage view looked something like this:

“If you look at the figures, we can see that when we went to the trade show we had a 20% jump in sales when we used that two-for-one promotional postcard.”

Today, using omnichannel data, when a lead comes in via our landing page for a new product and hits “download,” we can calculate, with great precision, that if we automatically send that lead to a salesman, and he follows up with a call, the chance of converting that person into a sale within 24 hours is 80 times greater than any other place in the web sales funnel.

Customer analytics, combined with automated push content based on intelligent insights from our own channels, can create kinetic movement that offers unprecedented, agile precision based on the intent of the audience while in the marketing stages of the sale cycle.

Hence, we’re on the rocket ship—intent marketing.

Now, of course, everyone wants to jump right to the rocket ship, but getting on it requires them to do the prerequisite work. You can’t have the rocket without the landing pad. It won’t move without the gas. Of course, you have to think about what type of rocket you’ll use. What kind of mission are you embarking on? This will likely be a collaborative one: a mission that requires a team.

And all good missions have a point of origin: a marketing action plan that encompasses the goals, steps, processes and people needed to get there.Who are we trying to reach with our message? What is the best direction to go? What has worked in the past? How can we improve? Finally, how can we bring prospects “home” faster and make them customers?

Planning, team effort and collaboration are part of the process, and although there are many parts, you should have a singular point of origin for your message and an objective destination goal mapped out in a plan for continued guidance to ensure everyone stays on course.

Fast forward to next year’s trade show. Are you standing there with your product in your hand? Or have you spent the time planning for takeoff?


Forbes Communications Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?




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