As we begin 2022, we face the third year in which the pandemic is transforming our business reality. The acceleration of digital behaviors isn’t abating, nor are your customers’ expectations.
As the crisis persists, this is a year for marketing leaders to redouble their commitment to accelerating transformation at scale. With the widespread recognition of their impact on sales, outcomes, and growth, marketers have a new mandate to take center stage in their organizations, connecting the dots across customer needs and data, business priorities, and the digital agenda to aggressively drive growth and create value.
The question is: How can CMOs drive change and create value fastest? Based on what I’m seeing as I work with CMOs on data-driven transformation of marketing, e-commerce, and every aspect of the customer journey, I recommend marketing leaders consider five actions to drive more impact:
1. Your company now recognizes that marketing drives revenue. Seize the shift.
It wasn’t fun when marketing was a cost center, particularly when the CFO needed to cut an area of discretionary spend. But now, marketing is understood as a revenue driver, integrally tied to sales.
Today’s media types, like social, search, and programmatic, are all highly measurable and have positively habituated leaders across the executive team to expect results from marketing spend. Certainly, over-indexing on performance-only spend (like last-click online sales) can sacrifice brand health and equity. The best strategies balance short and long-term results. But the productive impact of the performance dollar swing is that leaders outside of the marketing function now see the tangible impact of marketing at work.
This offers an opportunity for marketers to be on more equal footing with the traditional revenue leaders of the organization — sales — and marketers should seize this shift. In 2022, the key will be to make results understandable to broader audiences across the company. Attribution, or the math that allows us to know which marketing efforts drove results, continues to challenge us all, as mobile platforms, browsers, and walled gardens in e-commerce and social media continue to change the rules and fragment the landscape. But marketers shouldn’t be afraid to create “good enough” math to understand dollars throughout the full funnel — from top-of-funnel brand awareness to bottom-of-funnel click-to-purchase moments. The more holistically companies see spend as driving some form of performance, the better. The key is to focus less on each individual line of spend and more on the predictive and collective value of them in combination.
2. Grab the end-to-end growth agenda as the rightful domain of marketing.
Today’s growth agenda doesn’t respect prior organizational boundaries confined to conventional notions of marketing or other adjacent functions. Marketers must stake an explicit claim to drive the growth agenda and provide cohesive business leadership.
This is not about building a fiefdom to grab the data, analytics or technology agenda, teams, or budget. It’s about building the right internal connectivity through the lens of the customer journey. Customers don’t care about internal organizational boundaries — they expect their experiences to be intuitive, anticipatory, and relevant. Handoffs across organizational functions often stand in the way of that goal.
Take the fast-paced growth of social commerce, which is a great example of the seamless new growth agenda. Media put forward to consumers is targeted with tremendous precision and should connect directly to an effective, personalized e-commerce experience. The connected social commerce journey should also recognize users are most likely on a mobile device and therefore require a fast, frictionless, mobile-first payment experience. Any barrier to check-out prevents marketing from turning into a sale. Marketers must work with their colleagues who create online product pages and payment mechanics to create an experience with minimal friction. Simply put, it all must flow naturally and that will take more real-time coordination than most current organizational boundaries allow.
A recent EY/Financial Times survey of approximately 200 senior marketing executives showed that 77% of the respondents believe the marketing function needs a stronger voice in setting corporate strategy as owners of the customer journey. Areas like data-driven marketing, e-commerce, and CRM cannot afford to be led in silos given how quickly friction must come out of the customer journey to accelerate topline growth.
3. Stop ignoring the foundational data work that enables digital transformation, even if it’s not sexy.
The pandemic united C-suite leadership teams like never before, so digital transformation got an unquestionable acceleration at many companies. However, the success of a digital transformation relies on the success of the data transformation. Companies may implement technology like CRM or consolidate sources into a single data lake, but key questions often still need to be addressed, such as the true level of data quality and how to manage the ongoing health of data throughout the organization. Marketers should be keenly focused on the right sources of quality data fueling the engine. Value is created by more holistic analytics models driving last-mile decisions as opposed to siloed, one-off solutions hard-coded for a moment in time or a specific business use case.
It’s only through the true partnership of functional business leaders in sales and marketing, technology, data/analytics, and finance that more sustainable and meaningful change can happen. In fact, the EY/Financial Times survey heard from 600 cross-functional senior executive respondents in marketing, technology, and finance who highlighted that the data strategy is more distributed than ever across executive roles including the CEO, CFO, COO, CTO, CISO, and CMO.
Scaling results requires that the data, technology, and business transformations are fully in sync — and the answer is not simply a better “dashboard” or data visualization. The work to integrate data into digital technology and process can be daunting, particularly at global scale, but if done right, the value creation will build momentum and belief.
4. Prioritize talent issues ASAP, and don’t be afraid to try something new or radical.
For all the talk about data and technology, the talent issue is likely to be the most vexing challenge in 2022. Based on extensive conversations over the last year with CMOs across sectors, from consumer goods to technology to manufacturing, there is wide agreement on the talent challenges, including data-driven skill scarcity, overall retention challenges, and incentive alignment.
To succeed, today’s marketers need both diverse and detailed expertise, breadth, and depth. This is forcing leaders to look at how they structure and train their teams, manage and collaborate with external partners, like agencies, and embrace new labor models, while driving the right balance of consistency and independence. Many leaders are taking matters into their own hands, creating new curricula to transform their current talent to become modern, full-stack marketers. These actions create more consistency, and even mobility, within the company.
5. As you get more data driven, don’t lose that creative spark.
The data revolution means that there’s far more future-forward thinking. Today’s marketers should spend less time looking in the rearview mirror to analyze prior results, and instead use predictive analytics to forecast the future. These new superpowers allow marketers to drive both growth and operational efficiency in profound ways as they, for example, can not only target advertising, but also make sure that they’re only running it when the company’s supply chain is positioned to deliver the products.
However, if marketers become unilaterally data driven and lean too far into automation, they will lose their most differentiating skills around human intuition and creativity. The art of the storytelling craft will be more important than ever to ensure that, even when targeted well and at speed, creative messaging still connects with humans. New marketing options and formats will continue to emerge, from retail media networks in the physical and digital world to virtual branding and transactional experiences in the metaverse. There must be space to take risks and be distinctive, regardless of whether the math is fully understood from the start.
In 2022, marketing leaders have the opportunity to connect the customer journey to the full-growth agenda, retaining their creativity while scaling data and technology in more meaningful ways than ever before. The speed with which decisions need to be made will only become faster, while also becoming more multivariable, connected, and complex. Those who can build the internal connective tissue will transform their companies to be dramatically more competitive and unlock new levels of value creation, taking center stage in the growth strategy and C-suite.
5 Ways to Control Your Inventory So It Doesn’t Control You
Managing inventory is a task that can make or break your small business. With too much inventory, profits suffer and storerooms overflow. With too little, items get back-ordered, customers get frustrated and business is lost. And striking a balance is hard, especially with disruptions to the global supply chain in the last few years causing delayed deliveries.
While you can’t control the supply chain, you can take steps to prevent common problems like product shortages and excess stock. Here’s how.
1. Stick to the story
Donna Daniel owns and operates three connected small businesses in Claremont, California: The Grove Clothing, The Grove Home and The Outdoor Store, which sell women’s clothing, home goods and unisex adventure-themed gear, respectively. To run all three of her stores, Daniel needs to keep an impressive variety and quantity of inventory in stock — and ensure it moves quickly to make room for seasonal items and new shipments.
To keep her inventory cohesive within each store, she arranges it in themed displays — or what she calls “stories” — which tie together dozens of different items to appeal to a color, season or activity.
“I don’t buy anything outside of the stories,” she says, which helps her collect data on sales and seasonal trends, and keeps her stock to what’s most likely to sell.
She keeps most of her inventory on the shop floor, with stock in each store’s backroom and larger items in a nearby storage unit. In the backrooms and warehouse, she stores items according to product type and size — not by story — so employees can easily restock displays and substitute a similar item if necessary.
2. Double down on your reliable inventory
“Just-in-time inventory is much more difficult to do today,” says Mark Baxa, president and CEO of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, a global trade association for supply chain professionals. Baxa adds that since the supply chain is less stable than it was pre-pandemic, businesses may need to lean on their most reliable products and vendors.
Courtney Cowan, owner and founder of Los Angeles bakery Milk Jar Cookies, keeps supply needs and consumer demand stable with a very consistent product line. Her 16-flavor menu has “changed very little” in the bakery’s nine-year history, though she leaves room for a rare seasonal standout to join the rotation. Since her store pre-mixes and preserves dough in a deep freezer, she can ensure that her bestsellers are always in stock.
Though some businesses may prefer a bit more variety, in uncertain times — over-ordering on go-to products with a dependable profit margin can help fill the gaps and keep sales steady.
3. Keep products moving
Longtime retailers know that while running out of inventory is bad, having too much can be worse. “Too much backstock eats up all your capital,” Daniel says. She prevents this from happening by planning ahead and using sales sections to make room for new merchandise.
Daniel reorders seasonal inventory as far as a year ahead by using recent sales reports as a baseline. But with this commitment to hundreds of new products arriving every month, she makes sure that items don’t sit on shelves for more than a few weeks.
“I do not like merchandise hanging around,” she says, explaining that if an item isn’t clearing out quickly enough, she’ll move it to the sales rack and discount it until it’s gone.
Though selling an item for a fraction of its original price may seem painful, it may be worth doing to keep inventory moving and keep customers coming back for new products.
4. Get to know your supply chain
Especially in periods of supply chain disruption, getting to know your vendors can make a big difference in your day-to-day operations. “Hold your supplier base accountable,” Baxa says. He suggests finding the “shortest path” possible, including finding local and sustainable suppliers, to help ensure consistent, reliable supply.
Daniel follows the same principle, sourcing her inventory from mostly local vendors so she can pick up items instead of shipping. She weighs several factors, including production time, available quantity and shelf life to figure out how much to order and how often.
Cowan’s inventory is perishable, so she needs her wholesale ingredients to arrive on a tight schedule. Her bakery receives truck deliveries directly from the restaurant supplier Sysco and wholesale store Costco, which keeps her supply chain close to home.
“We keep it as centralized as possible,” Cowan says. For special ingredients like nuts and candy, she places advance orders with small online vendors.
Clear communication with vendors can help business owners figure out limitations, plan ahead and mitigate risk.
5. Use a point-of-sale system with inventory management tools
For the past five years, Daniel has been using Lightspeed, a POS system with standout inventory management tools. The software can track her inventory across all three of her stores, and it generates reports that help her analyze seasonal sales data and follow her businesses’ growth.
This data is essential for her to plan reorder points and determine which items will reliably sell. Especially with a small staff and multiple locations, an all-in-one POS system can help minimize costs and labor.
Best POS for inventory management
Lightspeed Retail POS
Cost: Software $69 per month (billed annually) and up. Hardware quote-based.
Lightspeed’s retail point-of-sale system is built for inventory management. It can keep detailed records of your products across multiple locations and set automatic reorder points, so you don’t run out. The software also offers employee and customer relationship management tools, as well as advanced analytics features on its higher-priced plans.
You have the option to use a third-party payment processor, or Lightspeed’s in-house processor with per-transaction fees at 2.6% plus 10 cents for swipe, dip and contactless payments and 2.6% plus 30 cents for keyed-in transactions.
Square for Retail
Cost: Software free and up. Hardware from free card reader to $799 terminal and up.
Square’s retail-specific POS software offers inventory management tools and multi-location capabilities as well. The free version has a variety of other useful features including reporting tools, customer and employee management. Email marketing, loyalty programs and payroll are available with a higher-priced plan or as a paid add-on.
Though its inventory management isn’t quite as deep as Lightspeed’s, Square’s user-friendly interface and accessible pricing make it a great choice for most retail businesses. Payment processing fees vary per plan, but with the free retail plan, costs are 2.6% plus 10 cents per in-person transaction, 2.9% plus 30 cents per online transaction and 3.5% plus 15 cents per keyed transaction.
Cost: Software $29 to $299 and up. Hardware $49 and up.
Shopify’s point-of-sale system is geared for businesses that primarily sell online. The software tracks inventory, hides out-of-stock products on your website and offers basic inventory analysis. It also facilitates drop-shipping, curbside pickup and local delivery options, plus access to vendors and third-party applications.
Shopify helps businesses manage inventory across online and in-store locations. Its Pro version can create purchase orders, run inventory counts, perform advanced inventory analysis and generate low-stock reports. However, it’s not ideal for a business that only sells in store. Payment processing varies by plan, with in-person fees starting at 2.4% with Shopify POS Lite.
How Online Presence Makes Your Business More Trustworthy
Have you ever made a dining decision based on a review you saw on the internet? You may have picked a product because it seemed “more trustworthy” online. It’s also a deal breaker if it isn’t handled correctly.
Customers are more inclined to believe in your company if it presents itself well on the internet. Whether a startup or a large corporation, your online appearance and behaviour matter to your consumers if you own an offline or online company.
Why Should Your Business Go Online?
In addition to being available for your consumers, here are other reasons to consider your online presence.
It Improves Your Company’s Accessibility
When you don’t sell anything online, a solid online presence can help you make more money from the internet if you aren’t engaged on social media.
Before making a purchase, most consumers do internet research to learn more about the company and the goods. Being at the right place at the right time is simply good business.
It Takes Care of Your Marketing and Branding
An internet presence provides a steady supply of customers for your company. Customer feedback and social media participation may help boost purchases. It’s easier for consumers to identify your online presence with a website or social media account.
It May Boosts Your Company’s Credibility
Having an online presence is essential for your organisation to be taken seriously. A startup might have difficulty being accepted as a legitimate organisation in its early stages. It’s essential to have a strong internet presence before people take you seriously. It’s easier to get quick loans at gdayloans.com.au to expand your company.
It Aids in the Comprehension of Your Target Market
When you have an online presence, you can engage with your audience in a two-way conversation to get valuable feedback or evaluations. In addition, it helps you learn more about your prospective consumers and the things they’re looking for. If a restaurant uses polls on its Facebook page, it may determine which specials and goods are most popular with its patrons.
How Can You Evaluate and Enhance Your Company’s Web Presence?
Analysing your online reputation simply means monitoring what others say about you online. Then you make it work for you.
You can monitor and enhance your company’s online appearance by following these three steps.:
Monitor Mentions of Your Business
Monitoring your company’s internet mentions can help you track what’s being said about you and mitigate unfavourable publicity. This can also help you identify communication gaps.
Google Alerts can help you track online references of your company. Set up notifications for your business/product name and relevant keywords, and you’ll be alerted promptly whenever you’re mentioned anyplace online.
Analyse Your Website Traffic
The source of your traffic (and how much) might assist you in evaluating your internet presence. It may be necessary to expand your internet activities beyond your website. For example, low social media traffic might imply a poor social presence.
Tracking your website’s traffic with Google Analytics might reveal secret traffic sources that your Google search may have overlooked. It will also help you find unnoticed remarks or backlinks.
Assess Your Social Media Engagement
Your social media presence affects your online reputation as well. Active consumers on your social media platforms help build trust and confidence.
Consider checking a company’s and a competitor’s Facebook accounts. You may observe that one firm interacts with clients while the other has a few likes but no comments. Which do you prefer?
An active social media presence gives the impression of reliability while also conveying a sense of humanity and authenticity. Your audience will be more engaged as your social media presence improves.
To keep up with your target audience, you need to be one step ahead of them online. The first step is to become well-versed in everything your consumers discover about your company through the internet. Your internet presence must be understood, monitored, and improved to reach this goal.
Ways to Market Your Tech Company
Tech companies need to make a name for themselves and stand out from the competition. This is no easy task, as there are many different ways to market a tech company. It’s essential to find the right strategy that will work best for your consumer tech PR needs.
This article will explore some of the most important ways to market a tech company.
Why Tech Marketing is Important
There are many reasons why marketing is essential for tech companies.
First and foremost, it’s a way to build brand awareness. To be successful, people need to know who they are and what they do. Secondly, marketing can help you attract new customers and clients. It’s also a great way to keep existing customers engaged. Finally, marketing can help you differentiate yourself from the competition. With so many tech companies out there, it’s essential to find a way to stand out from the crowd.
Social media is one of the essential tools for marketing a tech company. It allows you to reach a large audience quickly and easily. You can use social media to promote your product or service and engage with potential customers.
There are many different social media platforms, so choosing the most relevant ones for your target audience is essential.
Content marketing is another important way to market a tech company. Content marketing can be blog posts, articles, videos, or even infographics.
Creating high-quality content can help you attract attention and build trust with potential customers. You can use content marketing to educate people about your product or service and show them how it can benefit them.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) optimizes your website to rank higher in search engine results. This is important because it can help you attract more traffic to your site and ultimately convert more visitors into customers. Many different factors contribute to good SEO, so it’s essential to research and use the best techniques.
Paid advertising is another effective way to market a tech company. With paid advertising, you can reach a large audience quickly and easily. You can use various platforms such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, or Facebook Ads to promote your product or service. Paid advertising can be a great way to generate leads and sales.
Public relations (PR) is managing your company’s reputation. This is important because it can help you build trust and credibility with potential customers. PR can be in press releases, media relations, or event planning.
Referral marketing is getting customers to recommend your product or service to others. This is an effective way to market a tech company because it can reach a larger audience through word-of-mouth. You can use referral programs, social media, or email marketing to promote your referral program.
Event marketing is another excellent way to market a tech company. This involves planning and hosting events that promote your product or service. Events can be in trade shows, conferences, or even meetups. Event marketing can be a great way to generate leads and sales.
Original Video Content
Video content is another excellent way to market a tech company. This can be in product demos, how-to videos, or even customer testimonials. Video content is a great way to engage with potential customers and promote your product or service.
Finally, on-site activity is another important way to market a tech company. This involves having a blog, providing customer support, or even offering free trials. On-site activity can be a great way to engage with potential customers and build trust.
Marketing a tech company can be a challenge, but it’s crucial to find the right strategy that will work best for your business. This article has explored some of the most important ways to market a tech company.
Choose the most relevant strategy for your business, and start implementing them today.
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