What I have learnt over time, and I am still learning

Over the last two years, I have learnt a lot about branding, content and marketing when applied to the customer/ business context. It has been an eye opener. I thought it only fair that I pass this on to all of you. So here goes, for whatever it is worth.

We have been engaging with clients in different capacities – sometimes as an extended arm of their marketing teams, sometimes on a project basis for a specific requirement, but mostly as their marketing team owning all their marketing initiatives. When you start engaging with clients and start understanding their marketing needs, their budgetary limitations, the dynamism of their business and most importantly what they would like to prioritize at any given moment, you realize the need to be nimble and pivot your marketing strategies and priorities quickly. This is not something that I look forward to, but given the business context, it has to be done so that marketing quickly aligns with the immediate business need.

From my experience over the last couple of years, what I have realized is that companies usually think about marketing when they need to ramp up campaigns to generate leads. Most of the enquiries land up that way. But it is necessary to educate them on the fact that a living and breathing website is essential for the success of the campaign. What I am referring to is a website with dynamic and updated content, downloadable artefacts and enough call-to-action buttons to engage a visitor and pique their curiosity. The cornerstone of any digital marketing campaign is the website, as that is the digital property where you are driving traffic to. Also, equally important are the marketing artefacts or collaterals that are required to build trust with the visitor/ prospect. We need to understand that a business decision maker uses logic, proof and emotion as every other human before arriving at a decision. So, we need to give them enough reasons to believe. And that can be achieved by sharing useful drips of nuggets to move them from hmm to aah.

Content is king and there’s no two ways about it. Content needs to be built not just for the sake of it, but to communicate the business value to a prospect and provide enough evidence of success that their peers achieved. The content also needs to be customized based on an innate understanding of the company’s vision, offerings portfolio and differentiated value proposition. Positioning and value messaging plays a very important role here. The content then needs to be converted into bite-sized pieces for social media consumption. This has to be decided based on the social media plan and objectives. Once you have the website, content and social media plan in place, you are good to go. Without these, you are setting yourself up for an unsuccessful campaign, however noble the intent.

Once the campaign starts, stats play an important role in figuring out what’s working and what’s not. You can play around with copy, headings, creatives, hashtags, etc., to arrive at the right content mix. What works for one customer need not necessarily work for another. It is pertinent to analyse data, but at the same time you need to be careful not to over analyse things. Heard about analysis paralysis? We have executed multiple social media and email campaigns for our clients. It takes us a minimum of 6-8 weeks to figure out trends that point us to what works most effectively. We then start focusing on and executing to perfection the right content and channel mix to start generating qualified leads and improving brand visibility.

Last but not the least, I personally believe that any marketing engagement works on the basis of trust. You need to be honest with the client and more importantly with yourself. There needs to be an open dialogue on what’s working and what’s not; where should the spend be focused on and what’s needed for making the engagement more effective. Engagements where we have been able to have these open and honest dialogues and build a level of trust have lasted longer. And that again boils down to basic human emotions!

In parting, as an organization, we have learnt a lot and continue to learn every day while delivering business outcomes for our clients. We have had some amazing clients and it has been a pleasure to learn from them and contribute to their business. That’s what makes this a fun and exciting profession to be in. I will continue to share from my experiences and my beliefs. Till the next time, ciao!