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Are These 3 Points of Interest on Your Marketing Road Map?

marketing-roadmap-coverBeing effective marketers in today’s world of emerging technology and changing attitudes requires us to look one (or several) steps ahead. Let’s discuss three – advocate marketers, money for distribution, and “automagic” integration – that are worth your attention from among the many helpful themes, trends, and studies detailed in the infographic created by our team at Uberflip, shown below.

Lobby for an advocate marketer

What do you do when you absolutely LOVE a product or service? I tell anyone and everyone who will listen how much I love my <insert shiny new gadget/app/service> for three reasons.

First, I think that good companies should get a shout-out. Second, if I can connect friends or colleagues with something that makes their lives better, it makes me happy. Third, if you show a little love, you get a little love.

For example, I mentioned Trello in a blog post because I use and like the platform. So, my team was sent some swag.

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The same thing happened with Unbounce after I made a comment about it on Quora. In fact, Unbounce went above and beyond with this Instagram post. I have similar stories with other companies like MailChimp and Invision.

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See what I did just now? That was me being an advocate for a few companies I love.

Bottom line: If I love what you’re doing, I’d be a great advocate for your company. But how can you harness the power of a die-hard fan?

Enter the “advocate marketer” – it’s about time. According to Demand Gen Report, 97% of B2B buyers trust user-generated content (UGC) and peer reviews more than any other type of content. Then why don’t we, as marketers, actually ask our customers to do this? Unfortunately, many organizations don’t prioritize the role of the advocate marketer.

Whether your customers are sharing blog posts, creating content that helps promote your brand, providing reviews, or giving testimonials, having a system that encourages these activities (and rewards those who go above and beyond for you) will ultimately benefit your bottom line.

An advocate marketer, armed with the right customer marketing tools, can have a huge impact on retention, exposure, net promoter score, and new referrals.

“Today’s buyers want an environment of trust, not more marketing materials thrust upon them. The future belongs to those companies who surround buyers with social proof, sourced by intelligent development and mobilization of their advocates.” – Mark Organ, Founder & CEO, Influitive

Show me the money (for distribution)

At one time, long ago, you could create a blog post, pack it with the right keywords, give it a killer headline, then copy/paste the URL throughout the interwebs – then just sit back and watch as the traffic rolled in and search rankings soared. Not anymore.

In a study on the content marketing software landscape conducted by the Altimeter Group, 53% of marketers identified distribution as a need in their content marketing strategy. When we take a closer look at the data, many marketers are only leveraging one side of the equation. The same study shows that only 26% are investing in distribution. Moving forward, this is going to have to change, especially as various channels evolve and become more saturated, making it difficult to cut through the noise.

Let’s take Facebook as an example, a company that seems to have firmly locked itself into a love-hate relationship with many marketers. In 2013, brand page organic reach on Facebook was 12% and dropped to 6% in 2014. In the not-too-distant future, the organic reach of a brand page on Facebook is expected to reach 0%.

Like any good growth-focused marketer, you have to keep searching for new ways to drive distribution. While you might be able to find one or two effective channels that are scalable, it’s more likely that your distribution strategy will include a variety of channels that might be more niche and more targeted in nature (especially if you’re in the B2B space). As you explore your options, keep your buyer personas and audience in mind and look for where they live online.

“Content is king, but distribution is queen and she wears the pants.” – Jonathan Perelman, Vice President, BuzzFeed

Integrate ‘automagic’

Eighty-seven percent of top-performing firms use a marketing automation platform (MAP), according to The Aberdeen Group’s State of Marketing Automation 2014 (September 2014). Email, website forms, and segmentation/targeting are its top three uses.

But, some major issues still exist when it comes to the use and implementation of a MAP within an organization. According to a report by VentureBeat, marketers use only 32% of technology they have, and Altimeter Group states that only 10% of marketers claim that their solutions are integrated across their people, processes, and other platforms.

This is a huge issue and one of the things bound to make your marketing automation investment worthless. Implementing a MAP should be a way to enhance and improve your existing processes. Bottom line: You can’t automate a process that doesn’t exist.

A report by SiruisDecisions about measuring the ROI of marketing automation demonstrates that relying on technology alone – without the right people and processes to leverage it – could lead to a negative return. Putting thought into people and process before you implement a MAP is going to help you avoid a potentially disastrous scenario and see better results across your sales funnel.

“Marketing automation is the technology that propels your business into a new era of relationship-based marketing with quantifiable results. When powerful technology meets effective implementation and internal process management, your company will soon find itself on a journey that leads to new heights of business success.” – Jon Miller, Co-Founder, Marketo

But wait, there’s more

Seems like we covered a lot of ground, doesn’t it? In fact, we could easily delve deeper into any of these topics. But when it comes to putting this information into practice, it boils down to defining your own objectives and determining what (if any) of these three trends (or others identified in the infographic) will impact how you execute. Because the reality is that we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s to come.

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Do you have any key trends or technologies that you’re excited about in the coming year? Leave a comment below.

Influencer marketing is one trend that generates a lot of attention. Looking for more guidance on how to maximize your influencer marketing? Download our tool kit, The Complete Guide to Influencer Marketing: Strategies, Templates & Tools.

Cover image by Viktor Hanacek, picjumbo, via