With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we often find ourselves reflecting on our relationships—what makes them work, what needs to be improved upon and how to strengthen the bonds we have with our significant others. As marketing professionals, now is also a good time to ask ourselves these same questions with regard to our clients and customers, particularly in terms of the services we provide them and the benefits they’re seeing.
If you find that you’ve hit a digital marketing rough patch with your customers, for example, you aren’t the only one. Marketers across industries are discovering that digital marketing and marketing automation aren’t yielding the same returns anymore. Why is this? When marketing automation first took off, it was huge. We had a system that continuously attempted to generate leads, while saving marketers time and money. It seemed like a win-win, but now, many marketers are complaining that sales are flat and they can’t break through the noise to reach prospects. So how did we get to this digital marketing plateau?
As it turns out, this stalemate has been caused by a combination of things. The first big issue is sheer volume. With every company out there dipping their toes into marketing automation these days, buyers are turning a blind eye to it because there is just too much to see. Secondly, we’re living in a skeptical world. Credit card fraud, fake news and Internet trolls have left buyers hesitant to believe what they read and see. Customers are shielding themselves with voicemail and spam filters, and even when they do see something, it doesn’t convince them to make the purchase. So, what’s the solution?
Fundamental marketing techniques.
Fundamental marketing techniques like relationship selling can be a love-hate situation, though. With all the new technology available, going back to face-to-face meetings, direct-mail campaigns, third-party endorsements and trade show participation can seem time consuming by comparison. Still, it’s time to once again combine these fundamental marketing activities and use them along with new technology to create a better experience for buyers that cuts through the noise and builds trust. The helpfulness and authenticity gained from face-to-face selling in particular can restore relationships that have been damaged or lost through digital automation.
Marketers need to understand that people want to know they are making the right decision. This means they need to be able to trust your product or service. When it comes to making a buying decision, customers put more trust in people that they’ve come to know than they do in yet another digital ad. They search for and read customer reviews and turn to their peers to gain insight. And, they speak directly with providers at trade shows and other events as a way of evaluating whether a business is trustworthy. For a while, digital marketing replaced some of these tactics, but it’s time to bring them back. Now that everyone is taking part in marketing automation, marketers must find a new way to set themselves apart. Everything old is new again and creativity, not conformity, is where it’s at.
You don’t have to completely break up with digital marketing. Just bring some of these tried and true, fundamental marketing tactics back to the table. Certainly, marketing automation, email campaigns and other digital marketing techniques aren’t going away, nor is a marketer’s need for the quality data they provide. But marketers who see the big picture and apply data and digital tools along with rediscovered practices like direct mail, PR and personal client interaction will set their company on the path to success.
Digital marketing, we can still be friends. But I think I might want to start seeing some other tools, too.
This article was originally published on The Connector blog and was reprinted with permission.