No, I have nothing to sell you. Rather, I want to remind you of a profound truth you may have forgotten: that the most powerful tool for marketing your business efficiently is one you already have. It’s the world’s most advanced computational engine – your own brain.
The call to actually use your own noggin is one we hear all the time. It’s what parents and teachers say to kids, what frustrated managers say to employees and what angry clients tell their vendors. So how can the old warning to THINK help us with marketing technology? To answer that question, we have to go back to basics.
What is Marketing? What is Technology?
Although The MarTech Blog is filled with fantastic ideas for improving your online marketing and amazing products for increasing conversion, there’s not been too much discussion about what the words “marketing” and “technology” actually mean. Writing your own definition is a great way to think more clearly. Here’s what I think about these words:
- Marketing – The provision of relevant information about your products, services and brand to an audience of potential customers and advocates.
- Technology – The application of science and logic to a process in order to drive systemic improvements to productivity.
As with any definition, there’s far more to the concept than those words. But note the phrasing I used: Marketing is about provision, whereas technology is all about application. That means marketing is something you have to summon up, corral and doll out to the right place, where as technology is more about putting pieces together.
According to my own definitions, the focus of marketing is quite different than the focus of technology. We should be using marketing as a way to reach out to potential customers and advocates. But technology should really result in measurable improvements through the use of a system.
When we put those two words together, marketing technology has to be both focused on the audience and systematic. With that thought, much of our business efforts come into sharp focus. By simply noting how well our activities match our definitions, we can get a sense for why our marketing technology efforts might be succeeding or failing.
Good systems, wrong audience
Do you scan every business card you get into your email marketing database and begin sending them messages right away? If so, that means you’ve got a fantastic system for processing business cards. But I bet your open rates are low and you have frequent unsubscribes. That’s because every single business card you get probably does not represent the right audience for your product. You’re using a great tool but with the wrong people.
Right audience, no systems
Do you go on fantastic sales calls with strong candidates but forget to follow up? You must be doing some excellent marketing to find those people, whether its through networking, advertising or other sources. But if you’re not diligent about making the next call to close the deal, you don’t have a reliable sales system. The greatest leads in the world are worthless if you never actually sign a contract.
Time for a Pop Quiz
Here are some failures in marketing technology I’ve experienced in the last week. It’s easy to see why they are problematic. See if you can figure out what failure caused the problem. (Select the text between the [like this] for the answer.)
- You handed out a flyer for your upcoming speaking event, but did not include the location [low tech failure: you need a checklist for making flyers]
- You gave me a business card for your nationwide web advertising company, but your email address is with Hotmail [marketing failure: you think your audience doesn’t know/care about a true domain name]
- Your one voicemail asks two questions: Have I heard of your service? Or, am I already a member who has questions about? [marketing failure: you’ve combined two totally separate audiences into one market]
- At a networking event, you promise to send me information later that day but don’t write it down. I never hear from you. tech failure: you don’t have a pattern for documentation]
Albert Einstein is reported to have once said that “The significant problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.” If you want to solve your marketing technology problems, get back to the basics of thinking clearly. Assess your definitions. Figure out what you’re doing wrong so you can begin to do things right.