You’ve probably seen or heard the phrase “digital ecosystem” making its way through the marketing world recently. As a theory, it certainly sounds logical enough: Marketers want integrated solutions that can manage digital marketing across all channels to drive increased demand generation and customer acquisition.
But moving from theory to practice is easier said than done. Read on to see what goes into a digital ecosystem, and the steps you need to take to ensure a successful deployment that will help you enhance your demand generation activities and drive leads to sales.
It’s not just about the Web
The truth is, “digital marketing” isn’t just about the Web anymore—it’s certainly not just about Web sites. If your only method of interacting with your prospects is through your Web site, you’re left with partial toolset.
What about e-mail, mobile, social media or online communities? Don’t forget about digitally-enabled offline channels like CR codes and QR codes! There are a wide variety platforms to engage your audience how and where they want to be—each an essential part of complete digital ecosystem.
The challenge is, how do you bring the different capabilities and platforms into perspective? What is a complete ecosystem? What about platforms with overlapping capabilities?
This is where we need to apply a systematic approach that, when followed, can lead us to the right mix of capabilities, and eventually, platforms that we would implement.
The approach is based on three steps. Some require a bit of work, but the results provide the clarity needed to make thoughtful platform selections that impact your marketing performance.
- Understand your Prospects and Customers: Understand their industries, roles and needs; their buying cycle, pain points and motivators.
- Identify Needed Capabilities: Informed by your customer understanding, what are the fundamental capabilities you need to market and engage your prospects and customers?
- Identify the Supporting Platforms: Your required capabilities dictate potential platforms.
Let’s take a closer look at the first of these three steps.
Understand your Customer
In order to engage your prospects and customers, you need to understand them. Understanding them sufficiently requires three efforts.
Buying Cycle Analysis: All customers make their way through a buying cycle—whereas the sales process is how we see them move through the funnel—the buying cycle is from the customer’s perspective. It helps us understand how they get from “awareness” to “commitment” within the buying process.
Segmentation Analysis: Here we identify the parameters that are relevant when targeting your customers—their role, industry, income and other potential segmentation parameters.
Pain Point and Motivators Analysis: Pain points and motivators are identified per buying cycle state and segmentation parameter—this enables you to create a context-driven engagement.
All these layers, when overlayed—the buying cycle stages, segmentation parameters, pain points and motivators—provide a matrix that enables you to precisely target your audience.
This matrix is like an empty Christmas tree without ornaments; your next task is to identify marketing messages — the ornaments — to populate the tree for each common permutation for each stage of the buying process, segmentation, pain points and motivators.
When you understand how your customer buys from you, and how to precisely match their journey with targeted messaging, you’ve taken the first step to figuring out how to engage with them.
Tackling Steps Two and Three
Now that you’ve got a better understanding of who your customers are and what motivates them, you’re ready to think about how to effectively engage with them.