Companies that spot trends early on and get transform their business focus at the right time are in the minority. Why do some companies have blinders on when accessing trends? A company’s very success is often what holds them back from seizing opportunities. The mindset of leaders is crucial to combating this enemy of change.
We tend to be creatures of our past; our experience shapes what we believe and our perception of reality. In sum, everyone is biased. Our history and success are strong sources of our bias. What often sets good leaders apart from leaders who miss opportunities is colored vision. Good leaders see beyond their bias and spot trends that may be disparate from their past experience.
Automatically assuming something based on bias can handcuff you from changing direction to capitalize on a fruitful opportunity. To combat bias and gain clarity, I recommend organizations use numbers and metrics to quantify trends and dispel bias that doesn’t mesh with the trends.
Avoid the enemies of change. Put your history and success in your back pocket while assessing your reality. Use an unbiased view to ensure you can see trends as they really are and find opportunities that you may have missed before.
The Internet Summit was last week in Raleigh, NC and I want to share with you five nuggets I took away from the panel sessions I attended.
1) Blogging is Not Dead
Didn’t really think blogging was dead, but I guess with a few bloggers ditching blogging for micro-blogging some were wondering where the blog fits in. The take-away is that blogs should be a hub for your online marketing initiatives. For B2B folks, they’re great for thought-leadership positioning too.
2) Search Marketers Start with Google
Google AdWords is easy to use and on the platform where more than 60% of search traffic resides. Unless you know your audience is on Yahoo/Bing, or your budget is significantly lacking, Google is where you want to start. One other theme around search marketing is that it can also be used effectively for branding purposes.
3) Analytics are Increasingly Important
Think measurement first. Tie your business goals with analytics (read: reverse engineer the goal to the measurement). Include KPIs as part of budget discussion.
4) Email Marketers use Best Practices
Be relevant (know your audience)
Think holistically (where does email fit into your overall marketing campaign)
Segment and personalize emails (this ties back into relevance)
5) Twitter is Versatile
Great for monitoring brand (customer service) and as a content distribution medium. Expectations are that niche providers like Yammer and the like will start gaining popularity in 2010.
What do you think? Did the Internet Summit 09 get it right?
Metrics are becoming more important than ever to verify what works and how to outlay your budget. Are you using metrics to drive your marketing decisions?
To do so you need measurable data. Every program you run should be defined by metrics that are quantifiable. Generally, these metrics should be measured against benchmarks in both your industry and your company.
For example, metrics from an email campaign I run with the goal of generating qualified leads will tell me many things. I’ll know the email rental list’s open, click-to-open, and response rates. But more importantly, I’ll learn what my qualified prospect lives based on which list they came from.
Further, knowing a list’s propensity for qualified leads (measured by metrics like their budget to buy, time-frame to buy, and ability to make the decision to buy) will not only help me focus on the right target customer through other mediums as well, but will also allow me to create a better product since I’ll better understand their specific needs.
Track Marketing Metrics
Keep track of your programs’ success and failures. With each campaign you’ll equip yourself with the knowledge to improve your marketing effectiveness. Marketing efforts that can show solid quantifiable returns on investment make budgeting for future efforts even more fruitful than the first go around.
The Marketing Metrics Process
To recap: Set measurable goals, track your effectiveness, find what works, learn about your customer, increase budget for proven strategies that reach qualified prospects, repeat!