Marketing your IT services organization is one of the most important activities you will engage in on a daily basis and one that can make the difference between driving significant revenue . . . and the sound of crickets when you are introducing a new product or offering a sale. With effective marketing, you can continually expand your reach and grow your sales through both organic and paid methods. While the focus of IT services marketing has always been to spread the word about your products and services, the delivery mechanisms have changed dramatically over the past ten years. Digital is now the language of marketing and there are advanced technology tools required to make the most of your marketing strategies. From augmented reality to extremely detailed databases, here are the marketing technology solutions that are helping businesses increase their revenue opportunities.
The Marketing Database: Evolved
Does your business have only one database with customer information? If so, you’re already in better shape than many organizations! For years, businesses have found that silos of data continue to thrive — with one list for sending emails, perhaps another for text messages — without a consolidated CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution. This centralized database of customer information is what allows you to evolve your marketing to meet the demands of consumers who are looking for not only simple personalization, but a completely customized customer journey of interactions with your brand. Without a single source or truth that includes customer data, communication with your customer, order information and more, marketers are left struggling to interpret a customer’s needs and present them with the elusive next-best action. Simplification and consolidation of your marketing technology solutions is the “secret sauce” that will allow you to deliver the right information to the right prospect at the right time to turn them into a lifelong customer for your brand.
Geo-Targeting for SEO
Geo-targeting is one of the most-hyped yet still underutilized technologies that can truly make a difference for your business. With geo-targeting, you’re able to provide advertising that immediately relates an individual who is searching for something with the solution that you can provide. Optimizing your website for voice search and ensuring that your products are appropriately tagged and indexed for Google are some of the ways that you can make your website and other communications more engaging and increase the chances that your brand will show up on the crucial first page of search results. Customers are looking for an easy win, and they are often willing to jump brands to go to the first option that seems to solve their problem appropriately. Ensuring that you have bumped up your digital marketing with customer reviews, appropriate keywords, on-page SEO and local content will help you win the battle of geo-targeting for your brand.
The Next Frontier: Augmented Reality
Retail brands have been toying with augmented reality (AR) for several years, but it is still considered an emerging technology for consumers. There are some exceptional implementations of this type of brand/shopper engagement such as Home Depot’s app that allows you to virtually paint your room, while Lowe’s provides instant measuring services with their app. Other retailers are providing you with ways to virtually “place” an item such as furniture or decor in your home so you can see how it will fit with your existing items before you make a major purchase. Consumers are responding positively, showing that not only do they find value in the ability to interact with items that they cannot physically touch but that 61% of these individuals are willing to pay a premium for brands that are smart enough to make the investment. Augmented reality is flooding through the market, but virtual reality — where individuals step into a virtual world — seems to be languishing in terms of brand efforts.
Living Into Big Data
While consumer databases are a crucial step in creating a sustainable digital marketing strategy, the information that is gathered across your various channels of communication provides a wealth of information if you have the right tools in place for analysis. “Big Data” has been a buzzword for years, but it’s never been more critical as marketers are inundated with minute details that may or may not have an impact on their business operations. This could include everything from changing steps in your customer journey based on interactions with individuals across social media, website, advertising, video, chatbot, phone and physical locations as well as quickly spotting trends in buying or pricing across the market as they appear. Having a business analyst as part of your team is an exceptional boon for marketers and one that is often overlooked when you’re creating new positions or teams. All the data that is being generated can easily become noise while marketers continue with “business as usual” without having a firm grasp on the tactics that are producing true results. This can cause your strategy to be unbalanced, as you overspend on tactics that aren’t producing results — even though they appear to be successful based on a limited number of high-level metrics. Truly digging into each step of your customer journey and tying advertising activities to revenue is possible, but it requires discipline and dedication to creating a deep analysis of the millions of data points that are currently available in marketing.
Marketing is everywhere: integral to your various communication channels, important for internal teams to understand the messaging and a vital tool for appropriately messaging to our customers. The next generation of digital IT services and MSP marketing technology will become increasingly integrated, provide better customer insights and help your business grow revenue and retain customers.