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The 4 keys to New School Marketing success

Savvy marketers understand the secret to success in the digital age: consumers are in control -- of the messages they receive, how they receive them and when they receive them. Companies that "get" this new paradigm are engaging consumers across the channels they use almost simultaneously every day -- from email and mobile to social and the web.

Then there are the others: marketers who have only recently come to accept that the days of 30-second televisions spots and shotgun-style email blasts are over. They're waking up to a world where a digital campaign that was booming a year ago may be on the verge of going bust today. So how do you know where you fit on the spectrum of New School Marketers, as we like to call them?

Here are four factors to consider when assessing your marketing strategy's ROI:

New subscriber opt-ins

Interactive channels like e-mail are crucial drivers of revenue. Companies should be aggressive and consistent about growing their e-mail subscriber lists, both to attract new customers and to replace natural churn. In order to do that, marketers need constantly to ask themselves key questions, such as:

  • What percentage of your online sales is attributable to email?
  • What are you doing to add subscribers? Are you, for instance, using a single opt-in form on your website? Do you give customers the opportunity to opt-out of email communications when at the online checkout?
  • How are you measuring the success of your email campaign? Do you simply compare the number of sign-ups or sales to past campaigns or industry statistics? Do you track how many sales or leads a campaign generated?

Customer data

You want to engage customers on their own terms, with relevant content delivered over the right channels at the right time. To do this, you must keep customers engaged with creative and personalized messages that are communicated across devices, channels or any other instance where they interact with your brand. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you send generic messages to your entire audience -- or do you segment your customers and then target them based on their distinguishing traits?
  • Do you track your customers' behavior, including purchases, across multiple channels?
  • Do you have access to customer data beyond an email address and maybe a few profile data points -- or do you use internal and external data points to paint a complete picture of your customer?

Automation & efficiency

The only way you can market effectively in the digital age is to collect real-time updates on your customers' profiles, behaviors, and preferences. This will allow you to respond almost instantly to their changing needs and wants. Consider these questions:

  1. Do you have the staff and tools you need to achieve your marketing goals?
  2. Do you have a variety of templates you can use for crafting and delivering individual messages?
  3. Do you have the capacity to identify and add new customer data as it becomes available?

Cross-channel coordination

Successful marketing in the digital age isn't just about getting the right message to the right person. You need to deliver that message in the right channel, whether it's email, Facebook, SMS text or an online display ad. The right message delivered to the wrong channel will backfire. Ask yourself:

  1. Is there one person who oversees all of your digital marketing channels -- or is one person responsible for, say, email, and another for social media?
  2. Do you let your customers indicate which mediums you can use to communicate with them?
  3. How much mobile and social marketing are you doing right now?

Following these four rules of New School Marketing will help you craft the right messaging for your company and your customers. Above all, remember that the key to successful campaigns is flexibility. Be able to determine what's not working early -- and to change gears fast.

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