There are dozens and dozens of buzz words out there when it comes to marketing. Most of them have little real meaning or value beyond being trendy. But there are terms in our marketing vocabulary that really do mean something—terms that do your marketing strategy more harm than good just by uttering them. These are the words that hold your marketing back because they are making you focus on the wrong aspects of marketing.
Why? Because they value the cold and impersonal over the delightful and intimate aspects that have been part of marketing since, well, forever. So let’s take a look at four terms you should stop using and what you should use instead:
Marketing automation is, in most people’s minds, synonymous with drip email marketing. But the fact of the matter is marketing automation shouldn’t be used to describe your lead nurturing or email marketing activities at all. Instead, it’s simply there as a background technology that manages your lead flow. It’s more about functionality than marketing strategy.
Rather than focusing on automation as part of your marketing strategy, work on personalization. Marketing is an exercise in human behavioral psychology, after all. Automation, by definition, takes the human element out of the equation. Personalization, on the other hand, makes your marketing more engaging by addressing an individual buyer’s wants and needs. Try as you may, you can’t automate that.
There’s no greater distraction in marketing today than focusing on where you rank for specific keywords. The assumption here is that everyone still has the same search experience and search is the only way people discover a website… both of which are simply false. Plus, with more and more people discovering content on mobile devices that don’t offer the same experience as desktop search, the entire idea of search is rapidly changing.
Instead of focusing on keyword rank, you should spend time analyzing content performance. What blog posts are generating the most traffic? What eBooks are getting you the best leads? More and more, the keyword information is invisible to you, but the way your content performs isn’t. You can determine what content is performing well and what channels (social, search, etc.) are most successful. If you start with the content, you can model new content on past successes and experiment more intelligently.
Link building and keywords used to go hand in hand. We now know that over optimizing the anchor text for links back to your site can be harmful to your search results. And the idea of building links through directory listings or press releases was the best way to move up on SERPs was always an easy way out. With Google cracking down on or ignoring most link building schemes, it’s time to move back to a tried and true way of getting noticed (both online and off): Relationship building.
Relationship building goes beyond simple link earning with guest blogs and good content. Instead, it harkens back to old school public relations where you build up a network of trusted media outlets or, in the world of modern PR, bloggers on whom you can rely for content distribution. Relationship building is also a long-term program rather than a short-term tactic, and the more you put into it, like any relationship, the more you get out.
It seems counterintuitive the word “humanize” would be included here because most of what I’ve discussed is about being more human. But the word “humanize” in marketing terms is usually used in reference to making a brand more accessible to people. Try as we might, accessibility is as far as you can go because, as I’ve said before, brands are not people.
Instead of focusing on humanizing your brand, simply focus on delighting your customers. This can be accomplished by empowering your people to be advocates for your company both online and off. Or you can create marketing content that makes an impression, be it print advertising, emails, eBooks or videos.
The right combination of people power and impressive marketing is really what builds your brand reputation. And you can't automate, rank or link your way to that.
photo credit: k8southern
Dan Stasiewski is Technology Director at Kuno. When he's not talking about marketing data and trends, he's probably in a movie theater... or randomly breaking into song. You can connect with Dan via Twitter, LinkedIn or Google Plus.