Marketing’s a busy field, and sometimes its hard to pull up and think about what can be done to make our lives easier and our work more effective. Here are a few plays we’ve seen your peers call to take advantage of missed opportunities:
Simplifying segmentation. All marketers – both in B2B and B2C industries – segment their customer base in some way. And with the advent of new digital tools that allow the easier and more precise targeting of messages and communications, it’s easy to segment your customers in infinite ways, searching for new niches and new messages to push.
But, like everything else, returns to segmentation activities diminish at some point. What we’ve found – over and over again – is that the best segmentation protocols are simple, consistent, and focused on identifying and developing high-value customers.
To see how some of your peers have simplified their segmentation schemes, check out La-Z-Boy’s simple in-store segmentation, Square-D’s Opportunity-Fit Matrix, our segmentation objective setting tools, and our Segmentation Playbook.
Enhancing the customer experience. Consumers and businesses are pressed for time and money, and as such are examining their purchases with a hard lens. They’re focusing more on price and value, and less on the other drivers of sales, like brands or long-standing supplier relationships.
So what does that mean for marketers? It means that the traditional levers by which we convinced buyers to pay higher prices aren’t as useful as they used to be. And it means that, to preserve margins, companies should focus on new levers. For B2Bs and B2Cs, we’ve found that focusing on the customer experience – making it simpler and addressing unarticulated needs in a way that highlights your company’s unique benefits – is an important driver of margins.
To see how some of your peers have enhanced their customer experiences, check out our Customer Experience Playbooks (B2C, B2B), our most popular customer experience case, FedEx’s Brand Delivery Scorecard, and Tesco’s Annual Customer Plan.
Taking better advantage of local market potential. As more brands and companies have hurried in recent years to take advantage of growth in emerging markets, they’ve built – sometimes hastily – local marketing organizations to contextualize the brand to local cultures. But those local marketing arms are not always well-integrated into the marketing mothership, so to speak – leading to inefficiencies and missed opportunities.
To see how some of your peers have better-integrated local marketing organizations, check out our Global Marketing Resource Center, the Global Marketing Anatomy, and our recent research on structuring for global marketing success.
Align innovation efforts to customer needs. To stay relevant, you have to stay innovative – and staying innovative is a key mandate faced by many marketing organizations. But in our research into innovation, we’ve noticed that many companies follow flawed innovation processes. Some are guaranteed to produce small, incremental innovations rather than home runs; others aren’t tightly oriented around customer needs and as such are more likely to reflect internal biases or other considerations.
We’ve noticed that the best innovation efforts have a few things in common. First, they’re oriented disproportionately to radical innovation. Some incremental innovation is important, of course – but the most innovative companies put more effort into frame-breaking ideas than others. The second is that they’re very tightly focused on unarticulated customer needs – knowledge of which arises from a deep understanding of what the customer aims to achieve with the brand’s product or service.
To see how some of your peers have taken innovation to a new level, please check our our Innovation Playbook, our recent research on generating radical innovation, as well as our case on the innovation process at Reynolds and Reynolds.
Simplify and align marketing plans. Marketing planning is tough. As consumers behave differently week by week, new channels emerge daily, and markets are impossible to predict, the planning process for many companies is beginning to resemble an absurd exercise in planning the unplannable. Further, many marketing plans are aimed at achieving marketing‘s goals, rather than broader corporate priorities.
Two things we’ve noticed about the best marketing planning processes: first, they’re simple. Extremely simple, in some cases. Simplicity is not only easier for marketers, it also allows more flexibility when circumstances change. Second, they’re tightly aligned to broader corporate goals, and they make the alignment explicit – ensuring that Marketing contributes to firm success.