By Shawn Elledge,
The biggest challenge for marketing professionals a decade ago was getting online, and transforming their mass communications-style marketing efforts into more segmented online models.
But now that online marketing is a standard element of every company’s efforts, one expert believes that many of those campaigns are falling short because companies don’t use newer technologies aimed at tracking their online tactics.
“The first hurdle for businesses in the Internet age was just to get online with a Web site that was engaging and thought-provoking,” said Shawn Elledge, chief engagement officer of the Integrated Marketing Summit (www.integratedmarketingsummit.com), the only regional educational marketing event in the U.S. that deals specifically with the integration between marketing channels. “Soon, the challenge became devising a way to use that site to engender and even close sales. Today, however, many companies are missing the boat because they aren’t truly tracking their online efforts in ways that could help them get even more business. They still don’t understand the technology completely, so instead of finding comprehensive ways to integrate it with their marketing strategies, they compartmentalize it and keep it separate. If they want to be competitive, that dog just won’t hunt.”
Forrester Research reported that an integrated marketing strategy can outperform a non-integrated marketing strategy by as much as 800 percent. That’s why Elledge, a marketing veteran of more than 20 years, is such an advocate of integration and automation in modern marketing.
“In the early days of television you could run a TV ad on the three networks and reach 85percent of the entire U.S. population,” he added. “Thanks to the Internet, buying behavior has changed forever, and it’s the consumers who now determine how you reach them, instead of the other way around before there were 1,000 channels. This paradigm shift in the marketplace has made it increasingly difficult for marketers to manage and maintain any sense of brand integrity. The sheer number of marketing channels combined with an ever increasing number of applications is forcing marketers to learn new techniques and technologies if they want to be successful or just keep their job.”
Elledge’s tips for companies who want to get on the integration bandwagon include:
- If you want to become more efficient, you have to add automation. You cannot hope to integrate your myriad online and offline marketing tactics if there isn’t some level of automation in both the execution and tracking of your marketing arsenal.
- If you want to become more effective you must integrate all your online channels, and ensure they connect to your offline marketing strategies.
- The need to learn new technologies in today’s market is imperative for success. If you’re not up to speed on the current marketing technologies available, you can bet your competitors already are.
- If you are selling a product or service today you must adopt technologies that will track and score prospected online behavior, otherwise you’ll forfeit the ability to tell hot leads from cold ones. That results in wasted time, inefficiency and lost sales.
“If you know what you’re doing, you can use automation and online tracking to get a clearer picture than ever before of what works and what doesn’t work,” Elledge said. “That’s the soul of efficient marketing, because it gives companies the ability to stop spending money that doesn’t generate revenue, and focus the marketing budget on what does. And at the end of the day, it’s all about spending the least amount of money to drive the most revenue you can.”
Shawn Elledge is a veteran marketing executive, with more than 20 years in the field. He is currently the chief engagement officer of the Integrated Marketing Summit (www.integratedmarketingsummit.com), the signature summit for marketing, advertising and PR professionals in both B-to-B and B-to-C markets throughout the U.S. The Integrated Marketing Summit provides actionable insights, expertise and cutting-edge information in a convenient, affordable one-day educational format. And the best continues, with next-day, hands-on workshops presented by leading practitioners.