Sorry Mad Men fans, the Don Draper marketing style of overlaying catchy slogans on sexy images that convinced customers to buy cigarettes or toaster ovens is gonzo. While words and visuals are still important, and a bit of whiskey can still help if you’re stuck for ideas, marketing in the 21st century is a fundamentally different animal. After all, marketing isn’t just for marketers anymore.
Back in the day, even marketing departments were relatively segregated. While you might have met Rachel from legal when you got a little friendly at happy hour, you probably would have stuck with your “own” in the office. A survey from Smart Insights revealed that 24% of respondents still have siloed teams; the print ad associate has no idea what the social media intern is tweeting.
Companies these days are transitioning from Heathers-like cliques to a Breakfast Club boundary-crossing collaboration where colleagues from across departments, locations, and roles are on the same page.
Company structures — and marketing strategies — are adapting to the new normals of complex purchasing behaviors and real-time contact between customers and companies.
Complicated Purchase Decisions
Increasingly complex purchase decisions, modeled in this infographic, have companies struggling to keep up with customers across devices, time, channels, and steps in the purchase process.
Touchpoints in this example included brokers, emails, social media, and even Google search results. The staggering number of ways to find information about a product means more opportunities for companies to interact with customers — or fail to engage them.
Deeper Company-Customer Relationships
Real-time communication between companies and customers — and the rapid-fire pace at which information is available to everyone with a smartphone (read: everyone, even your grandmother) — has changed customers’ expectations about their relationships with products, services, and brands.
Customers aren’t interested in a one-night stand. They want to build committed, collaborative partnerships with their brands. This means that everyone from sales reps to customer support to Web designers need to get intimate and be on-message at all possible touchpoints.
Personalized Content Marketing for the Customer Journey
Almost three quarters of online users become frustrated when a website’s content doesn’t reflect their interests. The best way to encourage customers to stick around is to treat them like people; not humanoid figures with dollar signs for heads, but personalities with unique interests, needs, and dreams.
Personalized content marketing saves customers time and effort by sorting through the clutter of the digital world, delivering only information that’s relevant to their lives. Yet, personalized content marketing is more complex than the right keywords, themes, or CTAs. It’s about leading customers through a funnel with content tailored to every stage of their journey.
In my experience working with businesses, their content marketing focuses on the top of the funnel —enticing unique visitors. But what happens after the handshake and the “Nice to meet you”? Is a flashy visual or a well-produced video alone enough to send customers to sales to seal the deal? As Don Draper would icily tell Peggy Olson, “No.”
The fact is that almost half of customers will dump their carts and leave if they can’t find the information they need, when they need it. To transform customers from passive viewers to buyers and vocal supporters of your brand, you need to hold their hands as they journey down the customer path, anticipating needs and questions.
Personalized content marketing is based on an understanding of how customer behavior changes through the purchase decision and which messages will encourage visitors to stay around longer, sign up, or buy. It’s about shortening the journey where possible by combining blogs posts, videos, and whitepapers with overlay interrupts and signup forms to encourage decision-making. And it’s about staying in touch after a purchase has been made.
So, roles are changing: Marketing isn’t just about lead generation anymore; it’s about lead nurturing, which DemandGen Report suggests increases sales opportunities by 20%. And every employee, not just marketers, is now a potential “brand ambassador,” delivering what customers need at every touchpoint. Don Draper isn’t the only boss anymore.