The best marketing campaigns in the traditional and digital age have come from innovation. Creative messaging has the potential to make a lasting impact on how customers interact with and remember an organization. When marketers don’t have the proper tools, resources or environment in which to work, innovation can be stifled. In the long run, this will hurt any brand’s exposure, longevity and sales.
Challenges to Marketing Innovation
There are a few common areas where marketers face roadblocks on the path to innovation. When marketers overcome these challenges, they are better able to offer superior customer experiences and stay relevant to target audiences.
Cohesive Communication Across Teams
Because many marketing teams have employees with several different roles (e.g. content, SEO and social media), it is critical that all employees are on the same page. Miscommunication about messaging, campaign launches or analytics can cause confusion on how to best optimize efforts across channels.
Cohesive communication of campaign messaging and metrics is also important for other teams that work hand-in-hand with marketing, like sales and customer support. These areas can no longer be siloed, especially in the digital age. Now, all customer experiences with a brand are lumped together and work to either influence or discourage purchases.
To combat mixed signals, all divisions need to be working from the same understanding of who to target, what is the ideal messaging for that audience, which channels are successful and which are underperforming. If each team is looking at metrics from various platforms that cannot be normalized and compared, there is bound to be incongruity in the campaign. To minimize this, marketers must focus on gathering person-level metrics through a unified measurement model. This will give each division of the marketing team, and other stakeholders, an accurate starting point of information that is transferable across business units.
Working in a Creative, Inspiring Environment
No matter the industry, marketers should feel that their work environment allows the freedom to explore new ideas, concepts or a change in the status quo. When working in an industry that is heavily regulated, B2B-focused, or simply “not that exciting,” it’s is important for marketers to feel inspired and challenged (in a good way).
Even if a company is very black and white, consider what can be done in the marketing department to better focus on innovation. Build in a half day or a few hours per week for brainstorming sessions or independent time for employees to ruminate on new ideas.
The culture of the marketing department will also make a big difference. Marketers should feel comfortable going to co-workers or their supervisors with questions or ideas that could make campaigns better. Many companies have utilized a collaborative note taking doc, Slack channel, office whiteboard, or recurring innovation meeting that encourages everyone to speak up about their ideas. When creative people feel supported, they are much more likely to have creative ideas.
Getting Stakeholder Buy-In
When it comes to creativity, many stakeholders do not care about how it’s done as much as whether it’s contributing to the bottom line. Marketing attribution is key here, as it allows teams to prove their value to stakeholders. That’s why, marketers need to ensure they have the attribution tools that enable them show the leads and conversions brought in by their campaigns, and more crucially, to inform them of underperforming campaigns that can be course corrected for better ROI.
When presenting this information, it is important to remember that because many stakeholders or executive team members aren’t marketers themselves, they need concepts explained clearly and concisely. For instance, diluting ideas into high-level explanations through a few slides in a presentation will likely have a much better reception than a multi-page report full of terms and metrics that stakeholders don’t intuitively understand.
It’s key to gain support from the people running the larger teams and the company, so ask them what they’d like to see and then groom your approach accordingly. If they aren’t sure what they are looking for, focus on the main company goals and explain how marketing can help meet these goals.
Using the Right Tools
The best marketing tools can have a huge impact on not only day to day marketing measurement and optimization but also marketing attribution when it comes to evaluating goal progress. Without proper data that correctly identify the success or failure of campaigns, marketers are unable to decipher which ideas should continue and which would be better abandoned for new ideas or ones that are working.
Choosing the best tools for an organization and its marketing efforts is a feat in itself. There are hundreds of tools available, all with different features, user experience, and price points.
For the most part, a marketing team of a medium to large sized business likely needs the following tools, depending on their strategies and campaigns:
- Analytics/Data Tracking: What is the conversion rate of pages? What is the average amount of time spent on site? How are individuals engaging with your messaging? A data analytics platform is crucial for answering these types of questions.
- SEO Tool Suite: These tools assist with keyword research, track rankings, analyze on-page SEO elements, and more with a tool suite like Ahrefs or SEMrush. These vary widely in features and price, so research well and utilize free trials to get a sense of what’s best for you.
- Social Media Marketing: Schedule and response tools like Hootsuite, SproutSocial, and Buffer allow marketers to schedule social media updates, run click reports, and identify top-performing posts. Some also allow users to respond to comments, reviews, or private messages directly from the central dashboard.
Using proper tools not only helps marketers plan and execute projects, it also allows for proper marketing measurement and optimization to tweak campaigns to improve performance.
The best marketers in their industry know how to prove the success of their efforts, but they are never too prideful to not stay on top of current marketing trends. As digital marketing continues to evolve with new strategies and technologies, it’s up to marketers to stay relevant and open to new ideas. By collaborating with different teams and making sure to correctly track results with data, innovation can become a key part of any team’s progress.