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The temptations of new marketing technologies May 10, 2011

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Operations.
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Technological advancements will continue to offer new and innovative ways for people to communicate with each other and for marketers to streamline the business of marketing. However, if we aren’t careful, these innovations can become a distraction, causing us to take our eyes off of the customer. For example, consider the early days of marketing automation where many marketers considered this technology as the silver bullet that would automatically improve their ROI. The lesson we learned here was “garbage in, garbage out.”  Automating action without regard to an aligned and integrated marketing-sales strategy only led to frustration and miss-set expectations regarding the  larger quantity  of lower quality leads that flowed through the pipeline.  Marketing automation is not a replacement for having a clear and focused strategy. A customer-focused strategy must always come first.

In a similar way, some organizational leaders are tempted to over-emphasize social media within their marketing mix without regard to the appropriateness of how and when prospects process information. Case in point: I was asked to assist a large healthcare business with their social media strategy. They were eager to set up a very aggressive social media outreach effort to reach doctors and nurses regarding a new medical/drug plan. When I asked them how much time they thought doctors and nurses sat around a computer indulging in social media conversations during the day, the room fell silent. Now, that’s not to say that social media can’t or shouldn’t play a role here. However, it was clear that putting 100% of the marketing outreach behind a social media game plan wasn’t the best answer. I later found out that the CEO was heavily pushing social media because it was “sexy and new” and he wanted his company to appear more “hip”. They momentarily lost sight of the customer.

Successful marketing in the 21st century will not be because of any single tool or communication vehicle. It remains about the customer, the type of information and content they are looking for, and which venues and media they prefer to use to collect, store, forward, and consume this information during their buying process. The customer will define what our integrated marketing strategy should be, not the technology.

For more perspectives on becoming the customers’ advocate and determining the optimum marcom mix to reach them, check out The Marketing High Ground (also available on Amazon.com).

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