Five reasons to fire your marketing director

Attention CEOs! Brightfire boss John Hornell (pictured) tells us five things you marketing director ought to know about online by now.

You may not believe it but the marketing world still has a few dinosaurs roaming around! In the figurative sense of the word, of course. Is your marketing director still focused on trade shows, cold calling, traditional PR and interruptive marketing techniques?

Last week I had a CEO from a traditional retailer come to our office and tell me that the substantial six figure budget they were spending on yellow pages, leaflet drops, local newspaper advertising and cold calling was simply not working; in fact, he said and I quote “the model is broken”. He had found out that one of his leading competitors was generating 40% of their new business leads online. You can imagine where our conversation is heading next!

So whilst it would be an overstatement to say that traditional marketing methods no longer work, there is strong evidence to suggest that companies are experiencing diminishing returns, although this will, of course, vary by sector.

Recent research supports this (HubSpot 2011 State of Marketing Report), with companies increasingly opting for permission-based inbound marketing techniques, such as search, blogging and creating quality content, which rely on attracting the audience to your business..

And if this is not a solid enough argument for infusing digital into your marketing strategy, then think about your target audience: consumer behaviour has changed dramatically with today’s consumers using the web to research products and services before purchase, and using social media to increase customer engagement, share and gain recommendations. Your company needs to participate.

So here’s your modern-day marketing checklist:

1. Does your business have an integrated online strategy with clear objectives and goals?

And if you’re thinking: “Of course, we are planning to redesign our website so that it looks more attractive,” I’ll say, don’t waste your time and money. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, although creating a likeable web presence is of the utmost importance, a great-looking website is not a marketing strategy. Adopting an integrated approach to marketing and sales online with clear return on investment numbers, on the other hand, is.

2. Does your business have specific lead generation strategies and measurement techniques?

Unless you have a clear view about how you convert website visitors to leads and ultimately to customers, you simply do not get online marketing. A comprehensive roadmap for integrated online marketing activities that will generate leads and drive sales is a fundamental step to successful online marketing.

3. Does your marketing director understand the value of social media?

And that is not about whether your marketing director is aware that Facebook and Twitter combined have nearly 1 billion users, but whether they know how to leverage social media as a business tool and integrate it with your other online activities. A successful marketing director is one who is a social media pro, or at least knows they need to appoint one to the team.

4. Is your business a content machine?

The ‘content is king’ mantra has never been truer than in the world of inbound marketing. However, publishing random content won’t do the job. You need to create compelling content that is valued by your audience and is part of structured campaign plans to support lead generation. Your content has to make you stand out from the crowd, help you earn the right to continue the conversation and build the trust of your audience.

5. Do you actively monitor your online performance?

Tracking and comparing your online performance over time is important as it gives you cues about what you need to change to improve future campaigns. Likewise, it’s critical to know where you stand in relation to your competitors so you should be actively gauging their performance against your own, as well. Some channels, such as social media, may require daily monitoring, whilst analysing audience statistics, leads and sales could be a weekly activity. As CEO, you should have a comprehensive monthly report telling you how your company is performing online.

Does your marketing director tick all the boxes? If they do, then you are well on your way to success online. If not, then why not share this blog post with them?

John Hornell

John is Brightfire founder and CEO. His foray into digital media dates back to 1997, when he was director at a leading new media agency. A graduate of Strathclyde University Business School and an online veteran, he has now fully recovered from spending his early career in the financial service industry. He is passionate about inbound marketing and the business benefits it brings to clients.

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