Strategy gap: Planning for proliferation in media channels

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One of the core issues that marketers are currently maneuvering through is proliferation. The marketing landscape has been transformed by technology, media segmentation, and expanding distribution channels.

Executive-level business-to-business marketers have increasingly bought-in to the idea of devoting large shares of the budget to digital channels and online media. However, several factors constrain successful execution of these growth strategies. Many are failing to balance short-term goals with long-term strategic marketing plans.

Here are some tips for overcoming the gap between online execution and corporate marketing strategy.

Don't use technology for technology's sake. Understand your audience and make realistic assessments of the media your audience consumes. Podcasts are great, but it is unlikely that your customer will download and listen to a podcast that is simply the audio version of a product brochure, or read a blog about the virtues of your manufacturing process. Almost all of the established and emerging digital channels have some value to marketers, but only certain kinds will have value to you.

Create cadence. Too many marketers have been overwhelmed by the abundance of options when it comes to tactical planning for online marketing. Rather than committing to a unified campaign, they get caught in the trap of dabbling with various technologies and tactics that lead to inconsistency, customer confusion, and wasted budget. Plan multi-touch, multimedia campaigns with the understanding of how they work together and how they impact each other and craft your message and offer accordingly.

Focus on measurement and feedback. The immediacy of direct feedback and data that online channels provide is a marketer's dream. This information holds infinite opportunities to increase engagement, acquisition, loyalty and retention. Use the data to create campaigns that drive registrations, generate more sign-ups, gather relevant data, increase purchase intent and, ultimately, drive revenue.

Build flexibility into your programs. Optimization may be the most important element in creating successful, high-performance online campaigns. Create a culture in your marketing organization that allows for responsiveness and you will make it easier to respond quickly to the feedback your campaigns provide. Work within your campaign strategy and dynamically test your messaging. Measure and compare the results from multiple touch points, and try to understand how these variables combine to affect your results.

Leverage your resources. The exponential speed at which the online marketing industry is progressing is nearly impossible for individuals to keep up with. Engage experts both within the organization and externally to help focus your efforts and make your campaigns as efficient and effective as possible. Use your agency partners to develop, execute and optimize your online awareness and demand generation campaigns. Make sure they are all working together.

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