DigitalPR With Celestine Achi: 10 STRATEGIC STEPS FOR THE DIGITAL CMO OF TOMORROW

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10 STRATEGIC STEPS FOR THE DIGITAL CMO OF TOMORROW

Friday, July 31, 2015

 
The functions of digital media have and continue to transform into that which was never anticipated. Most founders of social networks are surprised with the diverse and astounding ways users are able to engage and utilize their platform.

In the developing world, the internet has led to solutions and services even more forward thinking than those in advanced nations, further highlighting the transformative nature of these networks and their capacity to incite change to promote the kind of development countries like Nigeria need.

The adoption of digital marketing as professional tools by CMO’s seems to be fraught with some intimidation, plenty of procrastination and occasional arrogance. Interestingly, no matter which side of the divide you’re on, it is more than ever difficult to deny the impact that digital media has on modern business practices and the opportunity it poses for savvy CMOs to generate broader brand awareness and equity.

Digital has in more than one way disrupted the traditional communication and marketing channels. On the old model, companies were solely focused on achieving a sale and that’s where customer interaction used to end. Retention, Perception and Advocacy were by-products rather than the aim. Today, it’s now about going the extra mile, and caring about the digital community and stakeholders while having strategic thoughts on where digital economy is headed.

Based on my several interactions and selective surveys with some CMOs, I’ve put together ten key commitments that will help CMOs of all stages of digital media leverage on the power that the digital and social media enables.

This content highlights the next strategic seven steps that the smart and digital CMOs must take in order to create a winning and secure marketing strategy.

Re-Think Visibility: As google continue to grow revenue from online ads and AdWords, it is now more difficult for your brand to appear within the top organic listings. Over the years we have seen Google continuously increase the average price an advertiser has to pay for someone to click on their advert and this isn’t going to stop anytime soon.

If one of your top lead sources is Google natural, you need to take action now. Google are continuously making changes to their algorithms making it harder for websites to rank. Just take a look at the Google Algorithm Change History timeline featured on Moz to see just how many updates Google are making each year.

Don’t let Google catch you out. Diversify your marketing channels so you are not reliant on Google!

Have A Blended Strategy: Having a blended marketing strategy is an absolute necessity in today’s digital age. As mentioned, you need to ensure you are not focusing all your efforts in one channel. In addition, certain core marketing channels need to integrate with other channels in order to get the most out of them. Firstly you need to look at your overall marketing strategy and ask yourself the follow questions:

Diverse
  • Do you have several different marketing channels?
  • Are they the right channels for you?
  • When did you last add or remove a channel?

Goal Focused
  • Do you fully understand what you are looking to achieve from each channel?
  • Is your goal to drive leads, sales, signups, etc
  • Are the goals different per channel?

Measured
  • Are you tracking the performance of each channel?
  • Can you tell what is working and what is not?
  • Do you know how long to wait before switching off a channel if it is not working?

Cost Effective
  • Have you worked out what your target Cost per Acquisition (CPA) is?
  • What is the highest amount you can afford to pay for a conversion?
  • Are each of your channels currently delivering within that limit?

Secure
  • Could you afford to lose one of your top performing channels?
  • How many channels are responsible for driving the bulk of your business?
By answering these questions, you should be able to identify where you need to focus your time and effort; which will help establish where you’ll receive the quickest wins and if any changes to your strategy are needed.

The first marketing channel I am going to use is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). On page optimisation is now more important than ever before, but the links and citations to a site still have a big influence on your rankings (whatever Google would have you believe).

Content Marketing: Create compelling contents that are useful, targeted and sharable. By doing this, you are focusing your efforts on getting the attention of your target audience and using them to generate links and citation naturally. Not to mention driving people to your site who could potentially buy from you, regardless of Google.

Once you have created the content, you should be using social media to seed that content within your target audience. Social media platforms are fantastic for giving the content you create a nice push to grow the awareness of that piece. You are simply pointing people in the direction of your content, but if the content is not well thought-out, targeted, interesting or entertaining, people will not share it.

Re-marketing is a very cost effective way of keeping your brand in the forefront of people’s minds. If a potential customer visits your website, but does not complete your desired goal, you can use remarketing to target that customer with a branded advert when they are searching on other websites. This helps to keep you fresh in the customer’s mind, helping to drive them back into your website to convert when the time is right.
White Space Marketing. This is where you don’t follow the crowd, you look for angles that your competitors have not taken and you aim to do something completely different that has not been done in your industry before. For me this is the most effective way to market your business for two reasons:
  • You can be positioned as a market leader within your niche
  • You can uncover a new audience that may not have been marketed to in your niche before

When you are looking for new marketing ideas, one of the first places companies tend to look is at their competitors. You see that they are doing something that looks good and it is logical to assume that if you do the same or something similar, you will be able to get results. This may be the case in some instances, but as mentioned, you don’t know what results your competitor actually got from that marketing campaign, so you could be spending time creating something similar that may not actually work.

You often see examples of companies following the crowd when it comes to competition giveaways. I have lost count how many times I have seen people giving away iPads to the lucky winner! The trick is to look for things that your competitors are not doing, test it on a small scale initially, measure the success and if it works roll it out on a larger scale.

Master LinkedIn: Misconceptions regarding the motivation for being active on social platforms haunt CMOs. Among them, “LinkedIn is only for job hunting,” and “Twitter may be great for listening to our customers, but it’s not an executive-communication tool.” The proliferation of platforms has compounded the challenge of where to focus their efforts. CMOs need to concentrate on LinkedIn plus one other. Why? LinkedIn is now a top destination for industry news, and the search volume on the platform demonstrates that it is now a critical platform for finding solutions to pressing business issues as well as an essential platform for any CMO to master.

Your choice of a second platform is up to you. Working in business-to-business? Create lots of presentations? Investigate SlideShare. Love video? Consider Youtube, Vimeo, Vine or Instagram. Focusing on your preferred platform enables you to build expertise and influence.

Focus on your expertise: The burden of having something “interesting” to say is the No. 1 obstacle preventing CMOs from going deep on social, especially Twitter. Don’t be paralyzed by that—you have reached the pinnacle of your careers based on your professional judgment, and the audience is wide and deep enough in social that an interested one will find you. Decide what you want to be famous for—your specialization could be based on an industry vertical (e.g., software) or aspect of marketing (branding, ROI). Once you have identified your focus area(s), communicate that in your profiles description and use your specialty as a filter for the insights your share on social platforms. While it is critical to demonstrate a point of view (you are a marketing leader), don’t feel that you must originate every insight. Be generous about sharing views of colleagues and others in your category. Your followers will appreciate your ability to curate relevant data and views.

Find your teacher: Digital media is changing rapidly. This context has caused many CMOs to abdicate from using the platform because they feel they are either late to the party or they can’t keep up. The solution is to find a good teacher. The best teachers understand your industry as well as the mechanics of the platforms. They help accelerate learning and, most important, build your confidence—like a coach. A novel approach is to assign a mentor at your firm to guide and compel you to participate on social. Selecting a mentor who knows your industry and your involvement sends a very powerful signal to the firm about your commitment to learning from others.

Do it yourself: By the time many marketers reach the role of CMO, they have learned to build functional organizations, delegate tactics and focus on strategy. Digital media, however, is a contact sport—you cannot truly appreciate its nature without actively participating. I’m not suggesting that you take over the role of social media manager for your organization—I’m recommending that you use the technology yourself. Above all, avoid the temptation to delegate managing your personal updates to a team member. Authenticity notwithstanding, by delegating social, you forfeit the chance to be personally involved in the conversation in your market, and the opportunity to influence it.

Integrate social into your daily routine: We seem poised for more institutions, publishers, and businesses large and small to adopt and focus on the email newsletter as a way to better connect to their audiences. But as with any form of media, it’s not only important to focus on the content being delivered, but to consider how this media can be used to develop a new stream for revenue.

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