In the Wild West of digital marketing, this North Star should guide you

In many ways, digital marketing can feel like the Wild West. Despite decades of exploring the world’s vast digital landscape Savage Web, there is still much to discover as fearless gangs of cowpokes invent exciting new ways to do battle with the herd. But while the ever-changing world of digital marketing can be rewarding, it can also be fraught with uncertainty, risk, and drought if you make the wrong choice. After all, there’s always a coyote or two out there looking to get behind the wheel, garnering some once hard-earned attention for themselves.

But just as the Wild West was conquered, the digital realm can be yours too. All you need to know is how to navigate the scope of opportunities. You see, like explorers of the past, successful marketers don’t let the unknown get in their way. They saddle up and take off, certain that their North Star will keep them on track as they head for the promised land.

What is that North Star that guides great marketers in the dead of night, you ask? The answer is less about what, and more about who – your customer.

Great marketers follow their customers to the ends of the web and back

Customer-centric marketing isn’t a new concept, but it’s often seen as an afterthought for businesses today. In fact, while 58 percent of marketers believe that the customer should be their priority, only 14 percent believe that their organizations make customer centricity a priority.

Faced with the random tasks of an omnichannel environment, it can be easy to place the responsibility for understanding the customer at the feet of CX teams, but that would be a mistake. The truth is, the marketer’s role doesn’t end once a prospect enters the sales funnel. Great marketers are those who choose to venture further.

Success shouldn’t be measured solely on metrics like the amount of content posted, site traffic trends, or social engagement, to name a few. While these data points are certainly important, they don’t tell us everything; nor can they be relied upon to be absolutely correlated to the quality of inbound leads. Great marketers know how to look at the big picture, and that means going beyond the immediacy of just collecting leads.

In a world without cookies, understanding the customer is more important than ever

With 91 percent With modern audiences preferring a personalized experience from brands, it’s no wonder marketers have become dependent on cookie-based data to power their strategies. Of course, a renewed interest in consumer choice in data collection has made it increasingly difficult for marketers to exploit cookies as they once did. So what’s the solution for marketers concerned about adapting? Gain a deep understanding of the customer and let that knowledge guide every choice going forward.

  • Consider all the ways better customer insights could inform your digital marketing decisions: Understanding your customer makes it easier to identify where your audience is most engaged online and the types of conversations they are having. This will help you determine the appropriate tone and syntax to communicate authentically with your audience.
  • Customer outreach makes it easier to determine the types of content that work best to engage your audience. Do they prefer a small infographic, a long white paper, a witty meme, or a video to share? Just as important as where and when you communicate with your audience is how you choose to communicate with your audience.
  • With 91% of audiences preferring visual content as their primary form of delivering information, it’s imperative that your content design reflects an aesthetic that appeals to them. Do they prefer photography or illustration in their content, for example? If it’s an illustration, which style best fits their demographic?

Marketers who put the customer at the center of decision-making 60 percent more profitability for their organization than those who do not. Period.

By identifying consumer needs, interests, motivations and differentiators, great marketers equip themselves to more effectively develop the personas for each audience they want to attract. Only after gaining a thorough understanding of their audiences will these marketers take action, using customer segments to inform every detail of their digital marketing campaigns.

Follow your North Star and never get lost in the vast unknown again

With each passing year, it seems that the field of digital marketing continues to expand with new opportunities to be had. But customer centricity isn’t just another new frontier to explore; rather, it is the method by which to navigate this exploration. When harnessed correctly, customer-centric marketing can be your answer to uncertainty, a hedge against risk, and the best guide to water when drought cannot be avoided. Do you have what it takes to cowboy for your customers?

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

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