Taking your marketing to the next level – Part 1
In this new three-part series for IFA Magazine, Sam Turner, Head of Digital at ClientsFirst, examines the factors that elevate marketing strategies from functional tick box exercises to plans that make a real difference for advisory firms’ bottom lines.
Depending on your feelings towards the changing nature of the English language, ‘martech’ may be a word that makes your blood run cold. Unfortunately for language pedants, martech has now entered the common vernacular, at least if you happen to work in marketing. For those outside of the discipline, this could seem, quite apart from being a further blight on the English language, a bit of overkill. Is marketing technology really so developed, so vital and so discussed that it needs its own coded descriptor?
Pull back the curtain just a little into the world of marketing technology, and you’ll find that you’re probably more familiar with it than you first thought. If you are like most advisers in the UK you’ll have a website and get data on visitors and enquiries probably using Google Analytics. You might use a CRM like Salesforce or an industry-specific version, such as Intelliflo. Many advisers have at least dipped their toes into email marketing over the years, meaning use of something like MailChimp or a serviced proposition. This is your ‘martech stack’ and it probably already includes the above elements, even if they’re not something you look at on a daily basis.
The evolving martech stack
Much of present day martech is provided as Software As A Service, or SAAS, which simply means that rather than installing software on your machine or server, it is delivered online, within your internet browser. Like everything else that lives online, martech is evolving quickly and significantly.
The evolution in the martech services available to you is driven primarily by a desire to innovate and provide ‘the next big thing’ and that innovation is being led by industry heavyweights. Take a recently-evolved part of your martech stack; Google Analytics launched in 2005 and since then it has largely been regarded by everyone who has used it as a great product… but slightly too technical. To use it properly and to its full power, you essentially need a qualification in data science.
Recently, Google unveiled Analytics’ new look and a bold side product; Google Data Studio, which allows you to create graphical, drag and drop graphs from the data your Analytics collect. You don’t need a data science degree to use it; in fact, you barely need any data knowledge at all. If you’re still muddling through Analytics trying to find key answers regarding your data, it’s a solution that’s well worth looking at.
Fitting martech to strategy
Your marketing strategy shouldn’t be led by the martech that’s attractive to you, but good martech can make good strategies great and suggest further ideas that make great strategies even greater. With the above changes happening regularly, from all martech providers, that’s a lot of inspiration and new ideas to try.
At the first stage of this journey, when you created your marketing strategy, hopefully you will have mapped your business objectives first, followed by your marketing objectives that help you achieve those business objectives and then the marketing actions that help you achieve your marketing strategy. Using such a process ensures that all your marketing activities contribute directly to your business’ success.
Throughout that process, you will have encountered a certain level of challenge. Maybe you had a sound strategy but just couldn’t find an action that helped you to make the strategy successful. Or maybe you thought you had a strategy that helped your business objectives, but you just couldn’t get to the figures around it; to do with ROI or otherwise.
It’s when you reach these areas that martech can provide a solution. If you’re convinced that a particular marketing-led action helps with your strategy and your objectives then the question merely turns to how you achieve that action.
Consider the following example.
Case study: Getting more data on your website visitors to work towards increasing enquiries
Here’s an example of where your marketing strategy could be at the moment:
Business objective: Increase client numbers by twelve this year.
Marketing strategy: Route to market: website. We should use the website to acquire at least two of these twelve clients.
Marketing actions: Get data on how many website visitors we currently get, then discuss how we go about turning website visitors into clients.
The first part of this action should be relatively easy. You can see monthly visitor levels in Google Analytics; or ask your web developer to provide you with the data.
However, you might need some time to consider the second point. You know how many visitors you currently get, but how can you increase that? What if you currently get a good number? Is increasing the figure even the right way to help your business objective? Maybe all you need is more data on your visitors, or a way of trying to convince them to do something more on your website, like making an enquiry.
This is where martech starts to play a part. You might not have the facility currently to do the above, but there are several martech solutions out there to help you. In this scenario, softwares like Lead Forensics, WhoIsVisiting or Hubspot could all help to one degree or another.
Your job now becomes to assess which one helps you to achieve your objectives, to what degree it helps this, at what cost and with what other benefits.
Take your time. Most martech solutions feature a slick sales and marketing process and being sure that you’re choosing the solution that’s right for your organisation is a big decision with significant implications. Get it right, however, and this choice can make the difference between a simple marketing plan that never meets your objectives and a sophisticated one that helps your firm to grow.
Sam’s original article for IFA Magazine, on creating a marketing strategy for your advisory firm, can be found HERE.
ClientsFirst is a marketing agency which specialises in working with financial services firms. www.clients-first.co.uk