If you graduated with a marketing degree more than a few years ago, your expertise remains valuable but it could be starting to show its age. As you know, the world has become more connected, more social, and more instantaneous. Consumers have different expectations than they did before the era of instant communication. As such, classic marketing techniques have changed – have you kept up with the times?
Let’s use the common press release as an example. In the past, press releases were written for journalists; they were a means of convincing journalists to share their stories with their readers. While marketers continue to send press releases to newspaper reporters and broadcasters, they have switched gears. Today, instead of crafting press releases for news organizations, marketers write them with a much broader market in mind: customers and prospects. In addition, these press releases are posted on company webpages, blogs, social media sites, and press release distribution sites.
Another shift has to do with graphic design. It’s no longer enough to create a logo and color scheme and use them consistently. All interactions across all channels should be branded; they should be highly visual and engaging. They should be easy to digest and understand. The keyword here is unified messaging. While larger companies have graphic design teams that largely handle the design and user experience, marketers today must be knowledgeable about both visual design and usability concepts as they tend to be more involved in the process than they have been in the past.
Content marketing has emerged as a major force in the digital era. The days of spending months planning a single 30-second television advertisement are becoming relics of the past. Today, marketers must create heaps of content including everything from traditional advertisements to blog posts, online videos, special reports, articles, social media posts, eBooks, white papers, and more. Not only that, these materials are highly interactive, requiring marketers to respond to comments and questions posted by readers.
In addition, analytical tools allow marketers to gauge the response to their materials in real time. Split testing and data from past campaigns are used to fine-tune future content generation efforts. In order to best meet the needs of the target audience and align with corporate goals, marketers must ensure that their efforts are both well-received and effective, and metrics and analytics play a crucial role.
Older outbound marketing techniques often centered around seasonal campaigns. For example, linens and towels and other “white sale” items were traditionally heavily promoted in January while outdoor furniture and grills typically go on sale in the summer months. Meanwhile, while seasons still affect purchases to some extent, marketing cycles aren’t as prominent as they once were – and the consumers largely ignore them. The advent of the DVR means that viewers regularly skip commercials.
At the same time, they use other channels to actively research products and services relevant to them. With outbound marketing, companies used to push what they thought consumers needed at the time; with inbound marketing, consumers seek their own information about products and services that matter to them.
Thus, if your marketing education has not evolved to accommodate the numerous changes that have taken place over the last few years, your marketing techniques may be a little too old-fashioned for today’s consumers. Instead of pushing messages to journalists in an attempt to win their favor and create buzz, consider adopting a modern inbound marketing approach that attracts the right consumers to your marketing materials and then engages, nurtures, and converts them.