Marketing has undergone a tremendous transformation in recent years, driven largely by the widespread adoption of digital technologies and the rise of social media. As we enter 2023, it's clear that modern marketing transformation continues to be an ongoing process that requires businesses to constantly adapt to new technologies and changing consumer behaviors.
One of the biggest trends driving modern marketing transformation is the growing importance of personalization. Consumers today expect brands to deliver personalized experiences that are tailored to their individual preferences and needs. This requires companies to collect and analyze vast amounts of data on their customers, which can be used to create highly targeted marketing campaigns and customized product offerings.
Another key trend in modern marketing transformation is the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning. These technologies are increasingly being used to automate various aspects of the marketing process, from lead generation and customer segmentation to content creation and campaign optimization. By leveraging AI and machine learning, businesses can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their marketing efforts, while also freeing up resources to focus on more strategic initiatives.
In addition, the ongoing shift towards mobile and social media continues to transform the marketing landscape. Today's consumers are more connected than ever before, and they expect brands to be present and active on the channels they prefer. This means that businesses need to have a strong social media presence and a mobile-friendly website that's optimized for smaller screens and faster load times.
At the same time, modern marketing transformation is also about embracing new business models and revenue streams. Subscription services, for example, are becoming increasingly popular, with many companies now offering ongoing access to products or services for a monthly or yearly fee. This model allows businesses to build long-term relationships with customers while also providing a steady stream of revenue.
Finally, modern marketing transformation requires businesses to be agile and adaptable in the face of constant change. The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and companies that are able to quickly pivot and respond to new trends and technologies are the ones that are most likely to succeed in the long run. This requires a culture of innovation and experimentation, where failure is seen as an opportunity to learn and improve.
In conclusion, modern marketing transformation is an ongoing process that requires businesses to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and consumer trends. By embracing personalization, AI and machine learning, mobile and social media, new business models, and an agile mindset, companies can create more effective marketing campaigns and build stronger relationships with their customers in 2023 and beyond.
Most CEOs are action-oriented by nature—and get certain results from “just getting it done.” Once the strategic direction is set, they are often pulled into putting out the “tactical” fires. While putting out tactical fires may give you the feeling that you’re making progress, it’s far more important to set your organization up for success by creating a cohesive, growth-oriented business strategy and marketing plan. Transforming into a modern marketing organization involves building an approach based on not only where your company currently is, but where you want it to go. With this mindset, you will realize tangible results faster and more effectively.
What to avoid when developing your modern marketing strategy
Before you build a fully-fledged action plan, it’s critical to understand what not to do. Based on my work with a variety of B2B and B2C businesses who are looking to reenergize their growth, the six most important “don’ts” of marketing transformation are:
1. Don’t start until you know the dynamics that drive your business.
You can’t change what you don’t know. Before your company puts together a transformation strategy, you need to understand where your current growth is coming from—or why it is stagnant—and where the opportunities for growth exist. In some cases, the business that you’re in isn’t ripe for growth. If you do have a high penetration in your marketplace, you’ll need qualitative and quantitative data to help you determine where you’re going to continue to find success, as well as how to plant seeds in adjacent or new markets. This is Step One in modern marketing transformation—alignment.
Two of the most important factors for growing in your current space include market share and margin. Understanding your margin of new revenue is particularly essential. And, most importantly, do you like the margin profile of your new growth strategy? For example, if you’re selling a certain product, and your margins are declining, you know you probably need to explore new markets or targets in new or adjacent markets. A 360-degree view of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats via a SWOT analysis will help you understand your internal and external environment, so you can adjust your overall strategic plan.
2. Don’t ask for a website design, just yet…
Many C-suites spend much of their time focusing on poor website or Google rankings. They think that by redesigning the look of their hub and its landing pages, they will quickly get a better response and be found by more customers. The truth is, websites are more tactical than strategic. Unless you have an eCommerce business, you’re merely treating symptoms, instead of mending the cause of what is ailing your business.
The sickness that you’re sensing is the lack of a message that truly resonates with your audience. In most cases, you’ll need to design and employ an entirely new content marketing strategy that addresses your buyers’ needs and how you want to grow, before you ever consider something like site changes.
3. Don’t ask why results aren’t high on Google, or copy edit emails, and so on—ever.
Business strategy is nebulous—and it’s far easier to wrap your head around the language of a marketing email or the results of a PPC campaign. While scheduling meetings about your Google and social media analytics may provide you with temporary control and comfort, you should be gathering your fellow executives in the conference room instead. When I consult with organizations about their foremost challenges, the issue typically boils down to lack of alignment. For instance, the CEO may feel that growth is necessary in a certain arena, but the CTO and CFO may not agree.
Again, it’s important to force the conversation about market share, margin, and new revenue with each member of your executive team. Once you’re all on the same page of what constitutes as healthy growth for your company, you can provide marketing with the information they need to design and launch an effective content plan.
4. Don’t pick the wrong technology.
It’s tempting to pick the marketing tools with the most bells and whistles—or head straight to Gartner to choose the upper right magic quadrant. Neither is the correct answer. Instead, it’s important to pick the software that is right for your business. Instead of overinvesting in a high-cost program with every marketing automation and lead assistant known to man, work with your C-suite to pinpoint which types of software will help you penetrate a new audience or nurture the existing one.
Your CFO can provide you with recommendations on your marketing budget—and your CTO and CMO can inform you on what types of analytics dashboards, scheduling assistants, and lead management tools are appropriate for a business of your size and industry. If you start with a few essential products, you’ll have better control of how to scale them over time.
5. Don’t choose the wrong partner(s).
Agencies and integrators are the most significant cost drivers of any modern digital marketing transformation. Choosing the wrong partner can make the quicksand of stagnant or nonexistent growth even harder to dig out of than it was to begin with. Having a command of your needs and budget will help you choose the agency or professional that will not only provide you with the services you require but will also provide you with the right expertise in making the appropriate messaging changes.
Costs rise—and projects fail. Marketing teams are always going to build to budget—and if they’re halfway decent, they’ve been conspiring with IT on what they would do if they ever got the go ahead. Ensure they are building to scale and hiring help in a way that is credible, transparent, and aligned for success in approaching new industries and niches.
6. Don’t forget to make the right cultural changes.
Despite what you may think, cultural shifts aren’t going to slow business down. Once the process is through, your marketing team will be high functioning and collaborative, driving insights for not only the C-suite, but also the sales team. Transform your organizational culture by defining your vision, values and behaviors based on your growth expectations and insights. Ensure each cultural process aligns with your strategy.
Additional methods of driving transformational change includes ensuring each member of every department has a way to measure accountability. Provide feedback and recognition, which helps reinforce your expectations and celebrates progress. Extend your cultural shifts to the hiring process. Make sure every new candidate you bring on your staff appreciates your values and the way you use them to inform the tactics and tools in your growth strategy.
How to get started on your transformation
Modern marketing transformation can be a complex and challenging process, but there are several key aspects that businesses should consider before embarking on this journey. Here are five important things to know before starting your modern marketing transformation:
Understand Your Audience: Before you can create effective marketing campaigns, you need to have a deep understanding of your target audience. This includes knowing their demographics, interests, pain points, and buying behaviors. Collecting and analyzing customer data can help you gain valuable insights that you can use to tailor your marketing efforts and create personalized experiences.
Define Your Goals: Modern marketing transformation is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and different businesses will have different objectives. Whether your goal is to increase sales, build brand awareness, or drive engagement, it's important to define your goals and set clear benchmarks for success.
Develop a Strategy: Once you understand your audience and have defined your goals, you need to develop a strategy that aligns with your business objectives. This should include a detailed plan for how you will reach your target audience, what channels you will use, what messaging you will use, and how you will measure success.
Invest in Technology: Modern marketing transformation relies heavily on technology, so it's important to invest in the right tools and platforms to support your efforts. This may include marketing automation software, data analytics tools, social media management platforms, and more.
Foster a Culture of Innovation: Modern marketing transformation is an ongoing process that requires businesses to be agile and adaptable in the face of constant change. This requires a culture of innovation and experimentation, where failure is seen as an opportunity to learn and improve. Encouraging creativity, collaboration, and a willingness to take risks can help your organization stay ahead of the curve and remain competitive in the marketplace.
In conclusion, starting a modern marketing transformation requires a clear understanding of your audience, defined goals, a comprehensive strategy, investment in technology, and a culture of innovation. By keeping these important aspects in mind, businesses can successfully navigate the challenges and opportunities of modern marketing transformation and achieve long-term success.