Digital transformation, new business models, many companies are trying to re-invent themselves in order to keep up the pace. The market is moving and shaking and off course none of us wants to lose the game. When trying to re-invent ourselves new opportunities emerge that can even have a disruptive character. It takes some time for people to understand and support such ideas and plans. If I speak for myself, the idea we created about 2 years ago and it took us that long to bring it to its inception in the next few weeks. Looking back I think it was already a great journey. It started during an off side with the management team where we decided to form a couple of project groups around some strategic topics. When trying to re-invent ourselves new opportunities emerge that can even have a disruptive character.One of them was social: how could Exact embrace the social market trend and could that lead us to new business models. At the same time working on that project the last two years many topics arise within the marketing profession. Content marketing, customer journeys, customer experience, marketing automation etc. And inspired by some great examples this year it is about disruption, exponential growth and how to support this from a marketing perspective. But can we?
Marketing is the product is the experience
I strongly believe that the product = marketing = the experience. In other words marketing and the product we offer becomes more and more integrated. By delivering great experiences people start to engage and get activated. And as we all know happy customers tend to stay and can even start to recommend us to others. In many occasions it is marketing that creates the first moment of touch with a potential customer, a prospect. From that very first moment as a modern marketer you want to deliver the ultimate experience. Great content, personalized and tailored to the receiver. But till what extent are we marketers able to serve that experience? We have the ability to do this in many formats, from infographics to whitepapers, videoclips and animations. We use data in order to reach our audiences as targetted as possible. But doesn’t it feel this like scratching the surface? I mean people read or watch stuff and than they are gone. How as a marketer can you deliver a wow experience as from the start in such a way people come back to get even more (value). I think we found a way that could be considered as the new way of practicing marketing that has the potential to drive exponential growth. The way how the Ubers and Airbnb’s of today build their brands and customer base on a global scale.
Marketing model for exponential growth
Apart from the social project during this summer as a marketing team we started to think about how to support the company with its ambition: becoming the a top 3 player in cloud business software for small and medium sized companies. And with the pace the market is developing we need to think about models for exponential growth. In order to determine the key drivers for this I created a simple model demonstrating the impact once we optimize marketing efforts in certrain areas.
The illustration above shows the customer buying journey in its most simple form. We start to build reach towards our target audience and the persona’s within it. By serving appealing messages it should drive traffic towards specific landing pages where we offer attractive content. In this phase we start to register Marketing Qualified Interest and Marketing Qualified Lead enquiries, this within Exact we call Product Awareness. Couple of conversions already took place. Impression of for instance an online banner and someone clicking on it. Than redirected to a landing page where content is offered and a conversion to either a MQi or MQL. Conversion all has to do with relevance. Having 5 different target audiences in 7 different countries becomes a true demand generation engine.The more relevance the more chance people start to engage. When building reach, depending on the messaging and people we reach out to we can either redirect to the Product Awareness phase or the Leadgen phase. Here we try to convert into a Sales Accepted Lead. This SAL is being qualified by sales and becomes hopefully a Sales Qualified Lead. The ultimate goal is to sign up this contact for one of our cloud business software subscriptions.
Just improving on increasing reach and conversion percentages results into linear growth. Customers starting recommending us has exponential impact.
So some key drivers already identified here which is about building reach and conversions. Taking into account the different stages in the customer buying journey, we defined seven, the variety of media channels and content formats we can serve this already becomes quite a complex thing to develop, create, execute, measure and improve. Having 5 different target audiences in 7 different countries becomes a true demand generation engine.
Key marketing driver for exponential growth
Another key driver is our ability to make the customer recommend us to others. Besides the fact it means a happy customer we found out that this is one of the key drivers for exponential growth coming from a marketing perspective. Just improving on increasing reach and conversion percentages results into linear growth. Customers starting recommending us has exponential impact.
The model above is a fictional model showing the impact of recommendations. Even if we decrease the year on year recommendation percentage to 15% the exponential curve remains almost the same. A very usefull exercise with the marketing team to build awareness what to do to have the biggest impact within our demand generation engine. Remains the final question: how to make customers recommend us in all these different countries in a scaleable way?
In order to drive recommendations media channels like social and applying analytics and algorythms comes into play. Here we defined a model to expand our reach dramatically which has a major impact on the model above. This goes even beyond the way most companies practice marketing today. Contemporary means delivering value from the very first touch with people coming back to you because of the value that has been delivered. I hear you thinking tell us more, what is that about! Be patient, we will come up with some neat stuff. We won’t wait untill we release, we will take you on that journey with us and you can even be part of it. Think about marketing being integral part of the product, think about the product being marketing and the ultimate experience that delivers value from the very first moment you touch it. To be continued.