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    When we think about the Golden Age of marketing, we start to envision a scene resembling Mad Men. Dark suits and cigarette smoke filling a highrise office conference room while slick-haired men pitch lofty ad campaigns and sip Canadian Club. Well, snub out that Lucky Strike because according to Marketo CMO, Sanjay Dholakia, “We’re [about to] enter the golden age of marketing.”

    And he may be right. The term “Golden Age” refers to years immediately following a major technological advancement when creators ply their skills and accomplish remarkable tasks. With a million resources a click away for not only the marketer, but also the consumer—we’re more enabled than ever before to STILL target customers, personalize content, track impressions, measure results, and ultimately nurture and quickly adapt to your customer’s buying cycles.

    “There’s no such thing as digital marketing. There is marketing—most of which happens to be digital.”

                                                                                              – PepsiCo exec Brad Jakeman

    Still . . . improving your digital footprint

    Your digital footprint is any trace of you ever left online. Have you ever Googled a blind date’s name to see what dirt you could find? Same goes for your business. Customers, prospects, recruits, and other key target audiences will search for your company and your services online and what they find can influence future decisions. A concerted digital marketing effort can not only ensure your company’s virtual calling card is accurate and relevant, but also it proves to inquisitive searchers that your business cares about its digital reputation.
    Considering your company’s digital footprint will spread whether or not you act, how do you manage your company’s digital footprint when every employee with a social media account could potentially sabotage it?

    For starters, establish clear brand guidelines and add them to your employee handbook. This way everyone will  be on the same page and accountable for the messages they communicate about the business. Another tip is to use Google Alerts to monitor mentions of your brand or product—allowing you to quickly extinguish any fires before they reach your customers’ screens.

    Still . . . tracking and optimizing

    John Wanamaker, advertising and marketing pioneer in the late 1800’s, was famously quoted saying “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, the trouble is I don’t know what half.”

    The modern marketer’s ability to quickly qualify, track and improve campaigns would astonish Wanamaker. Without KPIs, exhaustive analytics, and a range of tools to measure the performance of your marketing, you may as well be ‘pulling a Wanamaker.’
    There’s a catch though. How do you get the budget to measure, test and improve if you don’t have the resources and management doesn’t value digital marketing?
    Kieran Flanagan, Marketing Director at HubSpot, says “Marketers who want to push digital forward within their company need to demonstrate positive results before they’ll get the necessary budget [and] resources to make bigger changes.” The answer: educate the non-believers with small victories. Create mini-campaigns (email and vertical landing pages work well) to prove how streamlined content creation, measurement, and improvement can be cost-effective and meaningful.

    Still . . . targeting your ideal customers

    Today’s marketers don’t survive without extensive market and competitor research that inform personas, user flows, and buying cycles—all ensuring you’re putting specific content in front of the right people, at the right time, for the right reasons. It can be pretty tricky if you don’t do your homework. The process begins by identifying marketing segments and creating detailed customer personas. This enables marketers to focus on each persona’s touchpoints with the brand and serve up specific (even location-based) content focused on each segment’s goals and needs. For example, you’re a manufacturer and only want to target users who have recently interacted with your business. You could run a campaign aimed at users who have done the following in the past two weeks:

    – Searched for your business online, and/or
    – Browsed more than five pages on your website, and/or
    – Filled out a web form or sent an inquiry.

    Still . . . nurturing web and mobile visitors

    An alarming 96 percent of your website’s traffic aren’t ready to buy anything from you quite yet. In fact, research shows that proficiently nurturing leads generates 50 percent more sales-ready leads at a 33 percent lower cost. In turn, as digital marketers we must accept this and be patient and strategic. In a marketplace where your customers are increasingly wary of ads and forced marketing, it’s vital to nurture your potential leads who aren’t quite in the buying stage of the user journey through relevant valuable content marketing. As your customers scour the web for answers to their questions and solutions to their problems, savvy brands are able to step in with relevant content at each stage of the user journey. Some popular lead-nurturing content can be:

    – Drip email marketing
    – Social media content
    – Targeted landing pages for long tail searches

    Still . . . preparing for the Internet of Things

    Okay, we bristle at the term too, but the Internet of Things (IoT) isn’t going anywhere so let’s get used to it. Actually, it’s already here and just growing every year. Wearable technology, smart TVs, and connected cars are just the beginning. In fact, in the next five years, the number of internet-connected devices is expected to more than double—making IoT more prolific than smartphones, tablets, and PCs combined. That’s a huge opportunity for marketers to revolutionize their relationships with customers and begin capturing new streams of customer data and take marketing personalization deeper than ever before.