We are regularly asked by CEOs and CMOs – “What is the one thing that we can do that will make a difference?”
The answer is simple. There is no ONE thing. To really create what we at Red Javelin call the “surround sound effect” you need to implement many activities to garner earned media, as well as create and publish your own content (owned media), and supplement with paid media to build a robust and successful program. Successful programs target very specific audiences, establish a definitive and measurable goal, and use many cross-functional marketing and communications tactics that are ultimately integrated into a cohesive strategy. Then the program needs to be executed flawlessly to gain the desired results.
Let’s take a look at the essential elements of successful programs:
1. A defined goal with metrics: Without a goal and defined metrics, all you have is a group of marketing activities that use up your marketing dollars – accomplishing what? Why do it if you can’t measure how it helps the business?
2. Measurement tools: You need tools that can help measure against the goals that you have defined. In today’s digitally-focused world, the most cohesive tools come in the form of marketing automation. Without an inbound platform, you can cobble a number of tools together however it is more cumbersome and much more time consuming.
3. Earned Media: A Nielsen study in 2013 found that earned media (which also includes word-of-mouth) is the most trusted source of information in all countries it surveyed worldwide. It also found that earned media is the channel most likely to stimulate the buyer to action and it emerged as the most effective information source at all stages of the buying lifecycle. Earned media was cited as 88% more effective than branded content.
4. Owned Media: Owned media is all of your branded content that you create and publish to tell your story. It includes your web site, blog, sales tools, white papers, infographics, videos, etc. Several recent studies have concluded that 60-90% of the B2B buying process is complete before a buyer contacts a vendor.
5. Promotional activities: Promotional activities amplify your message and inspires prospects to come you. Promotional activities generate interest and leads - top of the funnel activities. These activities include newsletter campaigns, promotional social media campaigns, direct mail, and online and in-person events, landing pages, and paid media (online advertising, print advertising, PPC, social ad words, etc.)
6. Nurturing programs: Once the leads are in your funnel, then another set of tactics are used to develop nurturing programs to convert these leads into solid prospects.
You need all of these elements to create a successful program. Doing one without the other simply limits the effectiveness of all the activities. There is no silver bullet.