Innovation Marketing is All About Coloring Outside the Lines

April 4, 2018 Rebecca Smith

By Rebecca Smith, Senior Marketing Consultant at Heinz Marketing

Marketing is a lot of trial and error with plenty of uncertainty, and though it’s backed by data, there are times when it can be subjective in nature.  As a marketer, you want to accomplish what others haven’t accomplished before.  You want to find the golden ticket before anyone else does. And, you want it to work.

The other day, I was asked two questions:  what is your favorite part about marketing?  And what is your least favorite part?

Funny enough, my answers were almost contradictory.

My least favorite part about marketing is that it is subjective. Some people won’t like your ideas or recommendations and that’s the way it is. We can’t change that. We’re all entitled to our opinions and we all have a different outlook or perspective on how things should go. That’s the beauty in this because it gets our creative juices flowing – even if it can sometimes feel like a slap in the face.

On the other hand, my favorite part about marketing is that it is trial and error and there is never really a wrong answer, even if it is disliked by some… Sure, there are benchmarks you should be taking into consideration. Sure, there are data and reports that should back up your recommendations. But just because these are out there on the web ready for you to use, it doesn’t mean you can’t make your own.

(Side note: it is usually best to save some of these far-fetched ideas though for your own budget, not your clients’ budgets – just a thought).

For me, this makes my job fun.  It makes me feel like we aren’t walking the same walk with everyone else out there and we aren’t going through the motions of our job without our own perspective.

Have you ever felt like that?  Where you feel like you’re doing the work because you have to, not because it’s exciting, agile and something unique? Because you want to?

I sure have.

It doesn’t help that every year the list of technologies available grows and grows. In 2015, Scott Brinker’s Martech list was 1,876 marketing technologies. In 2016, it was 3,874 technologies. And now it’s 2018, we’re over 5,000 technologies and he can’t even fit them on a single slide anymore, and instead of offering a single view of the technologies, he’s created a DIY ‘Build-Your-Own’ Martech landscape. There are THAT many technologies out there and that number will continue to grow.

How do you know which technology will help you do your job, stand out from the crowd and help you reach your audience in a way that engages them while gets your creative mind working?

Maybe it’s not the technology we should be looking at and it’s the strategy.  Don’t get me wrong, the technology streamlines and helps, but the strategy is the backbone.

Working in an agency, with clients across a number of industries, we get to see the good, the bad and the ugly. Some tactics that work for one client won’t necessarily work for another. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just a learning curve where we can quickly pivot and make the necessary changes to find something that works.

Here are some innovative (or maybe you’ve thought of them yourself) pipeline development ideas rolling through my head.

Simpler Research

We all want stronger leads. Marketing wants to gather stronger MQLs and Sales wants to receive stronger SQLs – the ‘duh’ statement of the day… so how can we gather information from our prospects to nurture them into stronger leads without outright asking if they’re ready to buy?

Take advantage of more surveys. I don’t mean the surveys that are 15 questions long and take you through a website page by page. I mean email surveys.

Start your prospecting outreaches with an email similar to:

Hey <first name>,

Has content got you stumped lately?  It’s the start of Q2 and I’m right there with ya.  Do you resonate with any of the feelings on content marketing below?

Just know you’re not alone and if you ever want to talk strategy, I’m here for you.

Rebecca

See what I did there?  Did any of you struggling with your content marketing strategy follow one of those linked pains?

If you did, you’ll see that you made it to another article all about that negative feeling one is having with their content strategy. Now you’ve got your prospect learning more while building your brand’s credibility AND you’re slightly more knowledgeable about a pain your prospect is having. Win-win. Cha-ching!

Better Experiences

When you read ‘experiential marketing’ do you instantly think events?  I sure did!  But it doesn’t have to be that way. What about interactive content online?

Many of you may think of this as ROI calculators or videos embedded on a page, but it can be bigger than that. Interactive content can take the stage by engaging and hooking your prospects before they even know it’s happening.

Within the last year, we worked with a partner of ours, SnapApp, to do some research and development on the different generations in the workforce and their buying tendencies. Before we launched the final report or data results, SnapApp came up with this awesome idea to turn these pre-results into live, interactive content to get people engaged. With an easy landing page, we were able to create a quiz with questions like:

(Want to take the quick for yourself?  Try it out! And please, I hope you ace this question…)

And the great thing about this quiz is that it’s ungated so participation has zero barrier to entry besides maybe taking some time from your prospect’s day.  In my opinion, this is considered a memorable experience, and they say 65% of brands who use a similar tactic say that it positively correlates with sales.

When the quiz ends, you get offered to read the report yourself and learn more but it’s not a requirement. It’s not even required you give your email at any point in time.

Lately, a lot of marketing conversations stem around the need for delivering stronger leads.  Just because someone downloads your content and gives an email address, doesn’t mean they’re in your buying committee. This report from the quiz above is all about Millennials – how many students do you think have stumbled across this report?  Whatever number you’re thinking, you’re probably right…

Ungated experiences may seem like a lot of work for little return at first, but you don’t know until you try.

Have you noticed a trend yet with these ideas?  The more the content or offers are geared toward the reader, the higher the chance the reader will partake in engaging.

As marketers in a transitional generation, we have to find a balance between doing what we know works and getting innovative in our approaches. Trial and error is only half of the way there. The other half is about engaging your audience throughout the entire pipeline in new ways that capture their attention.

What’s stopping you from getting innovative in your approach?

If you want to hear more about how other companies are taking innovation marketing to the next level, register for SnapApp’s free Innovation Marketing Virtual Summit on April 18th. I may be a little biased because our own Matt Heinz is presenting at 1pm PT, but when you look at the lineup and topics, you know it’s bound to be good.

Hope to see you there!

The post Innovation Marketing is All About Coloring Outside the Lines appeared first on Heinz Marketing.

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