Marketing Now: New World, New Rules -- Think Fast

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

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Heads up! Catch the wild curve ball that is 2020 (and maybe even turn it into some sales). It’s time for an entirely new marketing scheme — one that is digital, agile, and tested.

Last month, we covered the customer experience. In this article, we’ll focus on digital marketing and failing fast. Innovate, experiment, reevaluate, and repeat with these easy steps.

Step 1. Accept digital dominance. It’s where we are — literally — all day, every day. You start and end your day on your cell phone or tablet. You spend the bulk of your day on your laptop. So do your prospects. In our current world, digital marketing IS your platform to your current and potential audience. Meet your potential where they’re at . . . and they’re on their computer.

Step 2. Figure out what works. Any good plan starts with an assessment. What can you commit to financially? What is your personal bandwidth or your in-house marketing capabilities? Where is your audience tuning in? How can you find them? A little research goes a long way.

Step 3. Try new digital tools. There has never been a better time to try something new. To give manufacturers better options, AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology and GBM – Gardner Business Media launched IMTS spark. Using IMTS spark, manufacturing technology’s makers and doers can find products, solutions, and connections. Join more than 2,000 exhibitors on IMTS spark today. It is the modern meeting place for manufacturers.

From the digital platforms of traditional media outlets to hyperfocused subject matter chat rooms, there are hundreds of natural gathering places online — no matter what you are selling. Find your customers there.

Step 4. Fail fast. If you try new things, you will fail sometimes. That’s fine. Just do it — quickly. Try, fail, try again.

[F]ailure is an essential ingredient for radical innovation,” explained Sunnie Giles in Forbes. “We need to encourage others to fail fast and safely. Then we need to glean lessons learned and disseminate the learning throughout the team as soon as possible.”

Failing fast is a powerful tool for every area of business — from marketing to information technology. Set a timeline for trying a new approach and follow it. If it doesn’t work in the allotted time, move on.

Step 5. Optimize. To know when to try again and when to push forward, you have to measure the effectiveness of your efforts. There are several ways to optimize marketing campaigns:

  1. Survey – Ask your customers what they want. Listen.
  2. A/B testing – Prepare two versions of an ad campaign, email or website, with just slight variations. For example, you might prepare one ad with a picture of a machine and one with a logo and a description. Send them both out to a small test group. See which one performs better. Go with that one.
  3. Customer journey mapping – A customer’s journey is their experience with your company. It includes all their touchpoints — or interactions with your brand — from visiting your website, to purchasing a product or service, to accessing customer service, to recommending a peer. This exercise helps you see the customer’s perspective on your company — and improve their experience.
  4. Focus groups – Digital focus groups are faster and more cost effective than in person focus groups. They are also the only option right now. Give them a try.

No matter what approach you use to evaluate your marketing, you have to be willing to act. If something is working, keep going. Things that sort of work may benefit from tweaking and further testing. If something fails out of the gate, abandon it — fast.

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