Today’s marketers are expected to be visionaries, subject matter experts, and ace customer service agents — all at the same time. It’s a constant struggle to be first, fresh and innovative. You’re supposed to be bold or be boring. But does it really have to be that way?
The short answer is “no.” The fact is that there always needs to be a balance between taking risks and sticking to dependable tactics.
I recently attended the LinkedIn B2B Marketing Trends presentation given by Peter Weinberg and Jon Lombardo, marketing strategists at LinkedIn. It outlined key practices, or as the presenters put it, “a compilation of contrarian best practices” that savvy marketers need to approach the dilemma of thinking big while respecting proven marketing fundamentals.
I’ve already put what I learned from the presentation into practice, and I think some of my takeaways could help other marketers deliver the best results to their clients, too. Here’s what stood out.
Look for repeatable ideas
Replication is key. I strongly believe that constant testing is a science, and it’s crucial. You need to know what works for a particular brand, and you have to be consistent with that messaging across content themes, buying models and audience target tactics.
It’s possible to put a new spin on an existing tactic or idea, but you have to understand and respect the foundation that made the program work in the first place — then innovate within it.
Don’t chase clicks
Clicks are a vanity metric, and they don’t tend to lead to any shift in brand perception. In my experience, it’s much more important to focus on reaching enough of your target audience to move the needle on attributes the client really cares about.
Set a goal for your overall reach so that you can track your progress. If your message isn’t resonating with a wide enough audience, go back to solid blocking and tackling techniques that have worked in the past.
Track your ROI
Proposing big ideas is exciting, but pie-in-the-sky concepts with no formula for a return on investment won’t get you anywhere. These days, everything is trackable, and there are more options than ever for analyzing data. That means big ideas have to be budget smart, and big bets have to be justified with big returns.
Take calculated risks by testing your theories along the way. As soon as you start seeing results, you can pour more resources into your venture and really shoot for something new, innovative and fresh.
Clients aren’t always comfortable with shifting strategies or buying methods, particularly if they are used to a certain way of working. But as marketers, it is our job to educate them on the benefits of new approaches, coupled with the comfort of reliable tricks of the trade.