Great results require discipline and hard work. The quick fix is never a solution and rarely is it cheap (money wise). And usually it’s costly (time wise). The time spent waiting for the miracle pill, the silver bullet, means time not spent doing the heavy lifting that sound marketing and pipeline development require.
I have seen companies waste time and money on solutions that are sold as marketing miracles:
- Marketing automation solutions that score leads by tracking visitor activity on the website – six months later the companies have a list of leads but no one know the difference between a score of 20 and a score of 65. Sales quickly lose interest because that ‘hot’ lead, scored at 87 turns out to a voracious white paper reader with no buying authority.
- Telemarketing firms that ‘guarantee’ a certain number of leads only to go dark six weeks into the program or redefine ‘lead’ in order to make their guarantee.
- SEO claims to get a company on the first page of Google with no supporting plan of developing valuable content for visitors once they get to the site.
And when all the dust settles, the cold hard truth is that the business has nothing to show for the investment.
The latest marketing miracle being pushed is Big Data. The idea that by implementing a tool to sift through all the data that you have in your systems and then spit out a profile of what behavior patterns have led to sales so that you can target similar profiles is the hottest new shiny distraction…er…object.
Am I opposed to using data? No. But I offer some cautionary notes on becoming preoccupied with data.
- Looking at past behavior is not a failsafe method of forecasting future behavior. Case in point: Y2K. The analysis on software buyer behavior in 1998 and 1999 would have been useless in forecasting 2000 and, especially 2001 buyer behavior. More recently, the changes in technology have so rapidly and drastically changed the market terrain that the behaviors of three years ago simply don’t map to today (Blackberry and iPhone).
- Company ownership demographics are inching up to a drastic change in leadership. The leaders of tomorrow and future business owners have grown up with radically different attitudes and experience with technology.
- More immediately, pausing your marketing efforts until you see what big data will ultimately show you, means losing valuable time in developing the relationships and executing in the short term.
- Customers are demanding individualization at every point in there relationship with your brand.
Use common sense. For example, one thing that hasn’t changed in the last 20 years is the power of word of mouth and the importance of referrals. How much effort are you exerting to create an environment that fuels positive word of mouth and keeps you top of mind with those likely to make a referral?
You can’t rush a buyer through the marketing hourglass of Know Like Trust Try Buy Repeat Refer. They have to check those boxes. They are navigating that course. Beefing up your content to give you a stronger online presence ensures that those prospective buyers have the information from you to continue their navigation.
Stick to a systematic regimen of brick by brick building and the dividends will far outweigh the one shot gamble.