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May 7, 2018

Has marketing changed over the years? ‘Yes’… and an even bigger ‘No!’

We hear it all the time… “Marketing is so different compared to the way it used to be.” Or, “Marketing is changing so fast that I can’t keep up.” And you know what? Both statements are true.

Think of all the technology-driven tools, developed in just the past few years, that have impacted the way we work: marketing & email automation, social media, CRM and SFA, data & analytics, SEO and – more recently – chatbots, AI and blockchain. In fact, there are more than 5,000 (!) software platforms and apps purpose-built to support marketing and sales. (Want to see them? Click here: https://cdn.chiefmartec.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/marketing_technology_landscape_2018_slide.jpg)

It’s mind-numbing!

But here’s the real problem… too many firms make a decision to buy the latest piece of technology, confident that it’s the answer to their marketing & sales prayers. They are unwilling to put in the time up front – the man-power and the brain-power – to think about and plan for what needs to be done before they execute. They’re looking for a technology shortcut to revenue growth. A hack.

In addition, all of those technologies are simply tools providing a pathway to [maybe] doing their marketing & sales jobs faster, more efficiently and less expensively.

With all of the technology, though, the fundamentals of marketing and sales are still the fundamentals. They haven’t gone anywhere.

For example, firms still need to develop a Unique Value Proposition to compete in the marketplace. That proposition drives messaging and helps to differentiate these firms from their competitors. Technology might help them do the research to develop their proposition and it can certainly help with disseminating the messaging… but it’s the people behind the technology who do the hard work of determining what that proposition should be.

People can’t do business with you if they don’t know you exist. Building awareness is the first step in the buying-and-selling process. And while technology can help you to ‘spread the word’ about your firm and its services, it’s the people behind the technology that determine where to spread that word and what those words should be.

Not all sales leads become clients… but every client started out as a sales lead. There’s no way around it. And while technology can be used to help collect and manage the contact information of those leads (and even qualify them), it’s the people behind the technology who network and exhibit at conferences – you know, actually talking with people – who stir up leads. And it’s people who are creating the ‘gated’ content that visitors (a.k.a. sales leads) will download from your website.

The same could be said of lead nurturing, gaining first-time clients, securing repeat clients and every other aspect of your marketing & sales program.

There’s nothing wrong with using technology to help. In fact, we have a pretty comprehensive “marketing stack” here to help us manage the marketing we execute on behalf of our clients. But technology should be the last piece of the puzzle you put in place. First, make sure you’re doing the hard, human work – the ‘thinking’ and ‘planning’ – upfront. Then, use the technology to enhance your implementation and measurement.

Think about it this way… if you have bad ideas or bad processes, the use of technology will only help you to do those bad things faster. And I’m pretty sure that’s not a good thing.

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