From self-proclaimed, to award winning, to unsung geniuses; there are many definitions of what makes someone a marketing expert. As techniques and technology evolve, so have the characteristics of a marketing expert. Here are some of the signs that make marketers stand out to me.
1. Marketing experts use content to tell a story
Storytelling gives your content a soul. Use words, text, images, sounds and/or video to tell the story of your solution/product by wrapping the value, capabilities, and details in a relatable, compelling way that evokes emotion and action. You take all of the information from the product team, sales professionals, executives, and customers and create a narrative that excites and engages the right audience. Why not show two scenarios: one without your solution and the better scenario with your solutions.
2. Marketing experts measure everything
The data tells the story of what content grabs your target audience (personas), what's working and what may not be resonating. This is why great marketers always measure. We measure every aspect of marketing such as:
3. Marketing experts understand the value of conversions over clicks
If you like high numbers, then counting clicks is certainly an option to measure response to your content. If you like to be certain you are targeting the right audience and moving them along the buyer’s journey, then it might make more sense to measure conversions. Anytime your prospect takes an action like filling out a form vs. simply clicking, you have a conversion. This tells you that your content is valuable to the market. Great job!
4. Marketing experts get an A in A/B testing
Do you test which color web button or link gets the best response? Do hyperlinks or colorful graphics generate the most calls-to-action for your content? Does one headline get better conversions than a different headline on your email or landing page? If these are questions you ask and test to answer on almost every marketing initiative, you rank at the top of the class!
5. Marketing experts are lead scoring believers
A single download does not make a marketing qualified lead (MQL), but many downloads, social interations, and page visits do. Lead scoring can help you identify when you have an ideally qualified lead. Lead scoring is a great way to measure the ranking of prospects against a scale or number that represents the perceived value each lead means to your organization. Assign a score to a particular action (like eBook download, demo request, white paper download) and see an individual prospect's score increase with each action (conversion) they take with your content. The resulting score is used to determine when sales should follow-up to to take the next step towards convert those MQLs to sales qualified leads (SQL).
6. Marketing experts speak customer value vs. feature/function
Value is what separates feature telling from storytelling. Feature telling is a tough sell with your external customer prospects. Avoid the pressure from product development and sale executives who find it easier to list all the features and functions. Help them better understand that demonstrating the value in storytelling from the customer perspective will give a much better ROI and conversions than only showing bullet points of product features and functionality.
7. Marketing experts speak to targeted personas
Some marketing content tends to speak to the creating company itself instead of to the target market or specific customer persona. Many businesses use feature telling, as mentioned above, or they talk about their organization, but they don't speak to their intended audience in a way that has meaning or relevance. Marketing experts; however, understand each of their targeted personas before they even begin to create content. These experts understand each of their personas' pains and motivators. They know what types of content their desired customers like, and even know the best places to put content to better engage with their desired audience.
8. Marketing experts create content along the buyer’s journey
A great marketing strategy includes targeted content that makes sense at each part of the buyer's journey. This keeps your prospects engaged and coming back for more.
This is where marketing experts spend most of their content creation time. They know that their targeted personas spend a lot of time gathering and uncovering answers related to their nagging challenges before they move on to the next phase.
This is where your prospects are looking for more details. They like to see use cases and webinars, or read white papers and case studies. Give them content that begins to generate demand for your solutions or products.
Now you can speak about feature functions. Map customer insights back to your specific solution/product.
Now that you have your ideal customer, the journey continues. Convert these customers into evangelists who can share the good news and success stories about your solution, product or company.
9. Marketing experts use emails to nurture, not just solicit
eMail blasts. I really dislike eMail blasts. They result in angry opt-outs, unseen messages in SPAM folders, and very low conversions. I do however, like email that nurtures. The illustration above shows what I mean. Marketing experts create content that gets found. That content results in form submissions that get followed-up with nurture emails. These emails give more "free" content that helps the persona along the buyer journey. Sure there is always a way to request a demo or schedule a meeting, but the focus is on giving more content to the persona that supports the story of whatever prompted them to download your content in the first place.
This list is by no means complete. There are many other traits that marketing experts have? Please feel free to share your thoughts on what you consider marketing expertise.
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