Marketers, like everyone else, are living in a world of saturation. We’re saturated with media, consumer goods, information. We’re saturated with notifications and alerts. And, professionally, we’re simply over saturated with marketing tactics, tools and strategies.

Every time the digital world takes a step forward – the introduction of the iPhone, the explosion of social media or the burgeoning IoT – marketing scrambles to catch up.

This leaves us with a with a thousand ways to market our products.

In the face of this complexity, we paired up with social media platform Mention to narrow down what are, in our eyes, the eight essential marketing principles of today. Some get back to basics, others might be new to you. Either way, they’re our top picks for what should stay top of mind for the modern marketer.

Note: this article is based on a webinar hosted by Peenaz Devani, Customer Success Manager at AB Tasty, and Sandra Chung, Head of Content at Mention. If you prefer to skip directly to the replay, you can view it here.

1. Understand Your Website Users

As marketers, we know that the customer is supposed to be at the center of our world. But understanding our customers and putting their needs first isn’t as easy as it seems. From a purely operational standpoint, how is one supposed to collect this kind of information? And if we go deeper, can we even be sure we interpret the data we collect correctly? For example, when it comes to trying to see something from someone else’s point of view, we all suffer from ‘projection bias’ – the tendency to think everyone else shares our same way of thinking. Truly putting yourself in your customer’s shoes is indeed quite a challenge.

However, it is also undeniably the starting point of any good marketing campaign.  

So, where should you start when it comes to understanding your website users? User Insight Tools.

User insight techniques like session recording, heat mapping, and page flow analysis can be hugely beneficial for understanding your website users’ unique perspective.  NPS and online surveys, as well as internal feedback sessions require some time from your visitors (so don’t overdo it), but they can add a nice qualitative angle to round out quantitative data like clicks and bounce rates.

2. Test and Learn

This one gets to the very heart of your team and company culture. Are you able to take chances? To be daring? To sometimes fail?

True progress means you have to push the boundaries, and that will sometimes mean failing. In other words, a digital campaign that doesn’t deliver, a website optimization idea that falls flat, or a negative feedback on a social media post. If you learn from what works, as well as what doesn’t, you’re going to make a lot more progress than someone that doesn’t dare to take risks.

If you learn from what works, as well as what doesn’t, you’re going to make a lot more progress than someone that doesn’t dare to take risks.

This is really the backbone of any website optimization tool – having the audacity to throw your website optimization ideas out into the world. A/B, multivariate and split tests, thanks to their statistical rigor, can tell you with near certainty whether your idea has merit. They can also put an end to internal squabbles of the ‘my landing page design is better!’ variety, lead to a culture of continuous optimization, make campaigns more ROI focused, and of course, allow you to better understand your website users.

3. Engage Your Website Users

Think of your website as an open house. People will come to get information, look around, make an assessment. You want the place to look nice, for everyone to be able to get around easily. But if you’re the real estate agent, you don’t want to just let them wander all by themselves – you want to engage with them; start a conversation, ask if they have any questions or concerns, even just make small talk to lighten the mood.

All of this applies to your website visitors. Letting them wander around aimlessly isn’t the most effective use of your digital properties. Depending on their behavior and context, engaging your website visitors with pop-ins, chats, banners, social share buttons and the like is the equivalent of a knowing when to ask someone their thoughts, or to educate them about how great the neighborhood is. Of course, you don’t want to be too pushy, either –  nobody likes to feel harassed, either in person or by an aggressive pop up – but testing different engagement techniques, (see above!) will help you hone in on the perfect time for and level of engagement.

4. Personalize the Visitor Experience

Personalization gets back to relevance, which in turn gets back to oversaturation. We’ve all read the statistics about how many marketing messages the average consumer is exposed to. It’s extremely difficult to shout louder than the hundreds of other brands competing for your target audience’s attention – unless, of course, you make your message hyper relevant by personalizing it.

Personalization, especially website personalization, is about triggering the right message to the right audience at the right time. So, showing ads for men’s parkas to guys in December in NYC is a classic example. But this can also include showing banners to cost conscious shoppers during sales, or promoting a deal exclusively to loyalty card holders, as in the example below.

5. Use the Rule of Seven

This one gets back to another cognitive bias – The Truth Effect, or the fact that repeating information over and over increases our chances of believing it’s true. Recent research has suggested that the magic number is seven; i.e.; that consumers need to be exposed to a marketing message seven times before it sticks.

So, get your message out there with an omnichannel approach; social media (paid and organic), emailings, website, press relations, push notifications, offline ads…diversify your marketing mix to make sure you hit the seven message mark.

6. Dive Into Social Media Analytics

“But how do we measure ROI? What are the KPIs? Is this really a data-driven approach?”

Have you ever heard these concerns from your marketing manager? My guess is yes. Proving the value of marketing campaigns, especially those concerning brand awareness and similar, can be extremely tricky. Globally, marketers often also have issues measuring the impact of their social media strategy, especially organic.

Reporting interfaces like Mention’s can give much needed visibility about brand presence, specifically:

  • Audience Engagement
  • Audience Location
  • Traffic Sources
  • Influencers

Without real-time, easy-to-read reporting interfaces for your social networks, you might as well be throwing your money into a black hole – and no marketing manager wants to do that!

7. Get to Know the Competition

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Good advice from mom, and good advice for the business world, too.

Although we wouldn’t go so far as to say the competition is your ‘enemy’, (‘rival’ is hopefully more accurate), you’ll still want to stay on top of what they’re up to. That’s where social media listening tools can again come in very handy, to keep abreast of things like:

  • New releases from competitors
  • Competitor events
  • Competitor press releases
  • Influencer mentions
  • Negative or positive brand mentions

8. Work With Industry Experts

The internet has democratized the spreading of information, and made it much easier for experts to influence public opinion by taking to the (digital) soapbox.  All you need is a social media account, charismatic personality, (ok, and admittedly a lot of followers), to ascend to the esteemed level of ‘influencer’.

The influencers of your industry hold a lot of power. Partnering with them in the following ways can have a significant impact on how your brand is perceived and engaged with.

You can team up with influencers via:

  • Product or brand placement
  • Guest blogging, video, podcast, AMAs, Social media takeovers: ie: Instagram Stories
  • Product tutorials, reviews or reveals
  • Contests, giveaways

Deep Dive

Want to get into the nitty gritty? View the origional webinar, 8 Actionable Ways to Hack your Marketing, for an in-depth exploration of each of the above topics.