How to develop a profitable digital marketing concept
In many of our client discussions with managers and executives of medium-sized companies, the question is whether a digital marketing concept can really contribute measurably to company growth.
The Social Media Problem
A typical customer reaction to the topic of content marketing in the corporate sector often sounds like this:
"I have no idea about this new social media world, and I don't really like it. I have an efficient daily routine and I can't stand spending my energy and time on something that changes almost every day. Social media is a playground for young people. That's why we hired a young intern to post company information for us on Facebook and Twitter. That should do the trick!"
Unfortunately, this is not true. With such a strategy, you as an entrepreneur are symbolically burying your head in the sand without your company achieving better results.
Countless studies have shown that the interaction between the buyer and seller has changed dramatically over the last 15 years.
It is all too understandable that decision-makers ignore topics you don't like or don't understand well enough and basically leave everything as it is. The digital transformation has completely changed the markets: today's market leaders first analyse the needs of their customers. Based on this, they create valuable and customised content for their customers. These typical measures are often summarised under the umbrella term inbound marketing.
Inbound Marketing & Storytelling
Inbound marketing starts with your customer. Nowadays, prospects and potential customers do research on the internet before they actually contact your company. For this reason, many of the old marketing concepts are less effective:
- It is increasingly unnecessary to work with traditional marketing "tools" such as advertisements, purchased email lists or cold calling.
- Far more promising are informative contents with the aim that potential customers become attentive and draw information about your problem solution on their own.
So companies that use inbound marketing are no longer looking for customers, but let you find them. To achieve this, they use special inbound marketing methods: for example, they publish helpful, informative and free websites, blogs and articles that are tailored to unerringly attract the attention of potential customers on the internet. This is achieved, among other things, through "SEO", an optimisation of search words. So to make your product attractive, you need to know in advance exactly what appeals to your potential customers and what terms they enter in search engines. Once you know this, you can start to personalise your marketing to a large extent. Here is a comparison of the marketing concepts of the pre-Internet era with today's concepts:
- Relatively uninformed
- Linear customer journey
- Marketing: cold calling and interruption marketing
- Well informed
- Variable random customer journey that often starts with a Google search
- Marketing: thoughtful content creation
Why interruption marketing no longer works
There are 3 reasons why customers are sceptical about brands and why cold calling doesn't work as well as it used to:
- The proliferation of media. A multitude of magazines, TV channels, radio stations and above all, an unbelievable number of websites constantly bombard us with their news about the most diverse topics in the world. We can no longer see the trees for the forest.
- Marketing has a bad reputation for fraud and deception. Unfortunately, consumers have been lied to and deceived so often in the past by false advertising promises and exaggerations. That is why they are less and less likely to believe advertisements, no matter how true and clever they may be. According to the results of the 2014 Edelmann Trust Barometer, 63% of consumers need to hear a company's advertising message 3-5 times before they actually believe it.
- Today's consumers are technically savvy and understand how to fade out annoying and interrupting advertising messages accordingly. They determine and research for themselves at what time they want what information. This makes it particularly clear why it is more effective today to ask customers for permission in advance rather than simply contacting them and invading their privacy without asking. By tailoring information to your audience's needs, you arouse their interest much more easily and gain their consent to further interactions. Prospects convert much more easily this way to so-called "leads", i.e. potential customers. As soon as they sign a sales contract, the "leads" turn into customers. The next step is optimally to inspire your customers so much that they become ambassadors of your brand and recommend your company and product to others.
The great opportunity for sustainably oriented companies
Based on the development described above, we see a great opportunity for sustainable and ethical companies, but also for service and educational institutions. With the inbound marketing method, you have a powerful tool to help your brand break through: tell your potential customers the true story about your product and your company. You are in a unique situation and position: your company and your product are attractive to your potential customers because you tell an honest and positive story. In contrast, listed companies in particular, which often focus on profit maximisation, find it difficult to adopt such an ethical approach (see VW).
Tell the story of how your business came into being
With our company Greenblut, we have specialised in inbound marketing and see ourselves as a green content marketing agency. With our services, we support green, sustainable or ethical companies in their growth, especially in the service, education and textile sectors. We firmly believe that sustainability is becoming an increasingly important megatrend. Who would you trust?
- a conventional brand that is willing to do anything just to increase its profit and that even accepts to cheat and swindle?
- a green, sustainable or ethical brand that has anchored ethical values in its entire value chain and your corporate philosophy and actively implements, lives and communicates these values?
You may be asking yourself now:
- how you can get started with social media?
- what are "best practices"?
- how can you measure success?
The SMART marketing concept: Set smart goals!
The first step is to set SMART Goals, i.e. set smart goals.
Smart stands for:
Specific(specific): A goal that you set must be formulated briefly, concisely and as precisely as possible. A statement such as: "This year we must grow" is not enough. What is missing is a short but precise description of what exactly is to be achieved. Pack the goal into a few sentences so that you could, for example, impressively present it to an imaginary CEO you happen to meet in the lift on the way from one floor to the next. This means you only have a little more than 1 minute to do so, the statement must be short and concentrated.
Measurable: It is also not enough to simply say that your company wants to increase the number of "social media" subscribers. This is a goal, but it doesn't make much sense: theoretically, you would already be successful if you had increased the number from 560 to 561. It would be effective to assign a percentage to the goal. For example, you determine that you are aiming for an increase of 30%. Now you can constantly monitor the development and check every month whether you are still on track or whether additional measures need to be taken in order to achieve the goal.
Attainable: Of course, record-breaking targets can be useful (this is where Greenblut comes in) - but it is important to remain realistic. Let's assume that your company has been able to generate 50 leads per month. If you were now to get to 1000 leads/month, we would be talking about an extreme increase. Of course, a company could push its employees to reach such a target. However, the employees would certainly feel discouraged by such a demand, because they would consider the task unachievable from the very beginning.
Relevant (appropriate): Think carefully about the target you set yourself. Let's say you produce balloons and up to now you have produced a maximum of 10,000 balloons per month. It would make little sense to set a target of producing 20,000 balloons per month in the future without your wholesale partners guaranteeing you correspondingly larger purchase quantities beforehand. A better alternative would be to first expand the distribution channels by a certain percentage.
Time Bound: All the points listed so far contribute to solid goal setting. However, it is also very important that you pay attention to timing. For example, if you are aiming to expand distribution channels, you must also set a deadline by which the goal must be achieved. Only then can the increase in production (in this example: balloons) be planned in such a way that it goes hand in hand with the expansion of the distribution channels. You don't want to end up with an enlarged distribution network but too few balloons......