People Innovation Excellence
 

THE SIX MOST COMMON BUSINESS OBJECTIVES FOR MARKETERS

After striving to be hyper specific and focused, it may seem odd to take a step back and look at generalities. However, as you work to craft your SMART marketing objective, reviewing some of the more common objectives can be a helpful place to start. If you think about it, most of what we do in marketing falls into one of six larger categories of objective: branding, public relations, community-building, market research, customer service, and leads/sales.

You may be looking at this list and thinking, “We do all of that!” That may be, but in focusing your digital marketing, start small. Select an objective or two and build your map out from there (many marketers employ a primary/secondary objective approach). To help you decide, let’s take a closer look at each one.

 

Branding

Branding can be hard to get your arms around. As an objective it can encompass basic brand building, growing your brand, and protecting your brand. Your objective depends on what stage your brand is at. Are you a new brand entering the market or an established brand entering a new market? In either case, your branding objective will be focused on awareness-building and communicating the core messages established in your brand blueprint.

Oakland-based start-up GoldieBlox, a toy company out to inspire the next generation of female engineers, has built their business and their brand almost entirely online. “Online branding has been a key part of the growth and success of our business,” said GoldieBlox founder Debbie Sterling. The company launched via Kickstarter and reached their goal of raising 150,000 in just four days. This brand awareness eventually led to a call from the head buyer of construction toys at Toys R Us.

“We launched on Kickstarter, continued to raise awareness of our brand through engagement with fans and customers via our social channels, and even won our very own advertisement during the Super Bowl through an online competition with Intuit. We’re still a young company, and social branding and marketing has allowed us to spread our mission to a larger audience than we could have ever dreamed of.”

In 2002, Procter & Gamble discontinued their Vidal Sassoon line of low-cost salon-quality hair care products. As need in the marketplace emerged once again, they reintroduced the brand a decade later. Given how crowded the health and beauty category is and how complex the media landscape had gotten since the last time they had product on the shelves, Vidal Sassoon kicked off with a campaign designed to help rebuild their brand of everyday hair care. They accomplished this by inviting fans on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to post photos using the hashtag #ShowYourGenius. Fans who participated were rewarded with prizes, even at the most basic level, while Vidal Sassoon enjoyed a digital brand comeback.

Whether you’re building from scratch or rebuilding, branding will always be a solid marketing objective.

Public Relations

Another consistent objective for marketers involves the art of public relations. With experience in reaching out to influencers and media outlets as well as in dealing with the public at large, many public relations pros have been quick to harness the power of today’s digital marketing tools to scale these efforts.

The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon has used social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to help engage and interact with every audience critical to the event’s success, including outreach to sponsors and potential sponsors as well as participants and observers of the event itself.

“Social media helps the marathon accomplish multiple goals, including building year-round community, improving customer service, eliminating the ‘scare’ factor for first-time marathoners, and supporting registration goals,” said Heather Whaling, whose firm Geben Communication works alongside the marathon’s PR agency to manage the social media aspects of the event. “Since the Columbus Marathon decided to take a proactive, strategic approach to social media, the event has sold out faster and faster each year, while continuing to expand the field of participants. At the same time, social media allows the event to provide an additional channel to connect sponsors with participants.”

Social media can also serve as a great quick-response mechanism when you find yourself in a public-relations firestorm. When one of their planes landed nose first at LaGuardia in 2013, Southwest Airlines began issuing statements immediately via Facebook and Twitter to control the story and the flow of news. While it’s easy to look at situations and say, “Yep, we’ll use social media if that happens,” the only way to ensure success is to have a plan already in place.

With tools like Facebook and Twitter, the lines between marketing and PR are more blurred than ever for many organizations. However, digital media offers us an array of powerful new tools we can use to get the right story and narrative in front of our customers and community.

Community Building

Among the new opportunities digital marketing has brought about is the ability to cultivate and grow online communities. We don’t simply talk at our fans and customers anymore. We have conversations with them that help us build community. Ultimately, as evidenced in the story of GoldieBlox, a passionate, brand-driven community can be a powerful way to connect people and create an army of brand ambassadors. But how does one go about accomplishing this objective?

New Belgium Brewing is a great example of a scrappy brand for many reasons. First, in addition to their main Instagram and Twitter accounts, the Fort Collins, Colorado-based brewery has nearly 30 local Instagram and Twitter pages across more than a dozen strategic local markets. This doesn’t sound as daunting when you consider the fact that these pages are maintained by their local field marketers—brand ambassadors—in each state. Those same field marketers also post geo-targeted messages from the main New Belgium Facebook page.

“The content on the local pages is controlled by the field marketer living in that market,” says Kevin Darst of New Belgium. “They know the region/city better than we do, so it is better that they contribute the regular content. We do have a content calendar for things that are nationally relevant: new beer releases, national events, significant New Belgium Brewing cultural happenings, etc. But for the most part the field marketers are handed the keys and told to own their market.”

Your community isn’t always homogeneous, either. Another option when it comes to community building is creating custom content around subgroups within your community. Sporting goods retailer Scheels does a great job of this through their Scheels Community Blog, which houses content across a wide variety of affinity and interest areas complementing the chain’s major offerings, from bass-fishing and archery to camping and fitness. In addition to helpful content written by expert contributors, each area also features a “brag board” where fans can post their latest catch or outdoor accomplishment.

This connected hive of followers can be a tremendous asset. That’s why community building has emerged as a critical marketing objective for brands of all shapes and sizes.

 

Market Research

Another advantage of the multidirectional conversations we now enjoy with our community is the fact that we can use them to help improve our products and services. Traditionally, marketers had to rely on formal research and focus groups to gather consumer insights. Today we can launch surveys using tools like Survey Monkey to gather feedback on products, services, and events using social media channels to ask questions.

Taken to the extreme, Starbucks has built a massive idea engine using Salesforce’s Force.com platform. My Starbucks Idea (mystarbucksidea.com) provides fans with opportunities to share, view, and vote on ideas for how to improve the Starbucks experience. These ideas range from menu suggestions (“Have the pumpkin spice latte available all year round”) to promotional improvements (“Free drinks should not expire so quickly”). Finally, community members can view “Ideas in Action” that have been implemented by Starbucks. Since launching in 2008, My Starbucks Idea has had over 150,000 ideas submitted from customers. This social site has delivered countless innovations and successes to the coffee giant, including the “skinny” beverage, digital rewards through the Starbucks Card, and free WiFi.

Before you hang your head and fall prey to the Myth of Big, you should know that you don’t have to create a crowd-sourcing idea site to build close relationships with your community. Businesses of all sizes can gain greater transparency and trust while conducting a bit of market research via their Facebook page and other social sites. Simply asking questions about what you could improve or having customers vote between your two finalists for a new package design or product name can go a long way toward building community and conducting market research.

Customer Service

In the book The Now Revolution, authors Jay Baer and Amber Naslund refer to social media as “the new telephone,” issuing a stern warning to us all that we

must remember to answer it.13 This metaphor is applicable to the business objective of customer service and support as well. Essentially, if customer service is a need you have across other channels, you must ensure that you are answering your social support line as well.

Businesses of all shapes and sizes are using the social telephone to right wrongs online and off. New Pioneer Co-op, a natural food store and bakehouse in Iowa City, Iowa, used a bit of online customer service to intervene in an offline issue. Recently, while on a quick lunch date, my wife experienced a problem with her deli sandwich that wasn’t corrected by the staff on site. I did what any digitally savvy husband would do and took to Twitter to complain about the experience. Within minutes, the co-op engaged with a bit of good humor (I may have called the deli workers “sammich hippies” in the heat of the moment), took the matter offline, and had a gift card out by the end of the week. This story isn’t particularly remarkable. It was classic customer service in action. What’s noteworthy is that this journey began offline in the store, was addressed online through social media, and was ultimately made right through an old-fashioned gift card delivered via snail mail.

Warby Parker is changing the way we purchase glasses by shifting as much of the experience online as possible. Customers are sent frames at home to try on before purchasing. As this is a complex purchase that usually involves a lot of questions in-store, Warby Parker steps up to the plate online with answers as well. When someone tweets a question about a particular frame they receive a reply with a custom video from the team addressing them by name, showing them the glasses up close, answering questions, and making recommendations based on their selection. A point worth driving home is the fact that these are custom videos, not simply canned responses about their frames. The short videos usually begin with a rep calling you by name and answering your questions. What an effective way of delivering highly personalized service.

Even if customer service isn’t a core component of your business model, you should be prepared for the fact that your community will talk back and can now find you if they need you. Will you be ready for them?

Leads and Sales

Cha-ching! Making money from the Internet! Woo-hoo! This is usually where most marketers perk up with excitement in their eyes. If you skipped the other objectives and came straight here, you should go back and at least learn about the others as there are both indirect and direct ways of influencing your bottomline online, which we’ll examine further when we discuss measurement in

That said, generating leads and sales is a legitimate need for many. The marketers at Scratch Cupcakery, a four-location cupcake bakery in Iowa, focus on driving in-store traffic with their social media activity through updates containing new product information, in-store events, and special offers and sales. “We have been very intentional about only offering deals via social media— never in print,” explains owner Natalie Brown. “Our offers don’t require printing or scanning of a bar code—they are measured in foot traffic. Word spreads quickly—we’ve seen upwards of 450,000 views on a single deal post. We have gone from a relatively busy day to complete insanity in a number of minutes after posting a great deal. Our social offers double our in-store traffic and cause spikes in future orders as well.”

Businesses in the more complex world of B2B may find themselves focusing on lead generation rather than direct sales. Kinvey, a “Backend as a Service” platform that makes it easy for developers to set up, use, and operate a cloud backend for their mobile apps, uses engaging content to drive leads. Their e-book “How to Make an App: Android Edition” is responsible for 40 percent of the new accounts that are opened.

Lead generation and sales can also be a business objective in a complex industry such as the automotive sector. Ford has been a social media pioneer since their Fiesta Movement, featuring driver-generated content. They also accomplished another industry first by launching their redesigned Explorer on Facebook rather than competing with the rest of the marketplace noise at a traditional auto show. The result allowed them to dominate the news for a day and, more importantly, generate buzz and capture new leads for their dealers.

Regardless of which stage of the sales funnel you focus on, lead generation and sales drives business for many.

 

Sumber: Get Scrappy Book by Nick Westergaard


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