From time to time, team members will share their views on a piece by an industry thought leader. Here, our CEO, Lisa Maier, discusses McKinsey’s Using marketing analytics to drive superior growth.
Many companies in the manufacturing sector have an unprecedented opportunity to change the playing field in their particular industries in two specific ways: one, by revamping business processes and two, by rethinking their traditional marketing approaches. Both are based on the dramatic change in the way their customers seek information, solve problems and make decisions in this new digital age.
In this digital age, many say that old ways of marketing are outdated, but I would modify that comment to say that while many of the old tactics may still have some effectiveness, there is an opportunity for first movers to actually meet their customers where they now live, and to overtake these old-way thinkers, mainly by using data-driven approaches for understanding and decision-making.
To me, the situation faced by manufacturers is akin to the one faced by yellow pages publishers in the mid-1990s. Change was certainly afoot with the advent of search engines, but instead of embracing the reality of the earth-shaking changes about to manifest in the way consumers searched for businesses, publishers chose to dig in and became entrenched in the old way of doing things. Well, we all know the end of this story as we’ve seen the painful writhing during the contraction of this industry, and we all see the puny yellow pages delivered to our doors each year, a sorry reminder of the costs of ignoring the obvious.
The important point, though, is that there was a period in which the old ways still seemed to work, even as adoption of the new ways was undertaken by first movers. So this is a pivotal moment in which manufacturers can cling to the old way of marketing and marketing decision-making OR they can choose to be a first mover in the shake-up of the playing field. And that shake up is going to be based on superior use of marketing analytics combined with informed, agile business decision-making.
This article gives some great ideas about how to face the digital age that is based on gathering and using marketing data to gain some real advantage. Key points include first looking to your business strategy when determining what data to gather and what marketing analytics approaches and tools to use. Otherwise, you will waste money or use outdated heuristics in decision-making.
Second is to keenly understand customer buying behavior as the basis for marketing decisions. A great example was given about an appliance manufacturer that studied their consumers’ method of seeking purchasing information, only to discover that it was not their own website that was visited, but those of their retailers. When the company shifted spending away from general advertising to distributor website content, it gained 21 percent in e-commerce sales.
Finally, and importantly, is discussion about how different analytics approaches may help business decision makers to determine the proper marketing mix. Sometimes several approaches can and should be combined to understand short-term and long-term effects of marketing choices, gain a deeper understanding of the marketing tactics that support both customer acquisition and retention, as well as to determine how to drive optimization of in-progress campaigns, particularly of digital marketing channels.
It is crucial for manufacturers who want take advantage of this technology-driven shake up in their industries to fully embrace the unfolding opportunities that come from this data-rich, digital environment. We can assist you as you begin this journey, either with specific elements of your plan or as your fully outsourced technology-based marketing partner.