No matter what phase of growth your company is experiencing—start up, mid-stage or late stage—it’s critical for your marketing program to be aligned to your growth strategies so that teams are unified across all brand-building initiatives.
This can be a period of incredible change for your brand. You’re moving out of the early adopter stage and into a bigger market opportunity. Now is the time to employ a strong integrated marketing and PR strategy to reach that next step.
Public relations can no longer stand on its own, especially for brands looking to create deeper connections with their audiences. A successful growth and communications strategy requires an integrated approach. Owned, earned, shared and paid media all work together and support each other—driving one consistent message while effectively aligning resources to spur action and outcome. It’s important to understand the power of integration while moving your brand into its next growth phase. People drive that connection and personalization fuels the engagement.
To assist companies with this integrated journey, PAN has tapped into our 20+ years of experience and success with brands across all stages of growth to develop a model program called ‘NXT stage’. This program offers a library of resources that will help guide growing brands towards scalable market success. Take a look at our microsite filled with tools to uplevel your marketing expertise; read below for further integrated advice or check out our press release here, announcing the launch of ‘NXT Stage’.
Integrate your marketing teams for success
A strong first step starts with a skills audit for your marketing team.
Success requires a data-driven, customer-focused team. You’ll need a diverse set of experiences and true collaboration to move your ideas forward. But, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
In fact, 21 percent of marketers feel that they are not effectively integrating with other marketing teams, including content marketing, lead gen, PR, social, digital, etc. (source: Is It Time to Reengineer your Marketing and Communications Department?, PAN Communications)
If this sounds familiar, it may be time to make some tough decisions. Do you have what you need to navigate through a multi-channel experience? Strategic planning, storytelling, emotional marketing, measurement and analysis—all come together to drive brand awareness and growth.
But it’s not just internal teams that need alignment. Look across all resources and assets—integrated departments, agencies, sales function and channel operations—to gain a clear line of sight on what you’ll need to drive growth at this critical juncture.
If you’re among the 21 percent who are not successfully integrating marketing efforts, you can get a leg up on your competition by going through the below exercise today:
Know your audience better than anyone
A big challenge for brands in all growth stages is personalization and segmentation.
Can you answer the most important question all marketers must address—what is your company’s ideal customer profile?
Understanding behaviors, journeys and content consumption while analyzing data will be a very important step as you stay true to developing buyer personas. 93 percent of companies who exceed lead and revenue goals segment their database by buyer personas. Yet, according to PAN’s 2018 Content Fitness Report, only 47 percent of marketers claimed to be frequently updating their buyer personas and have tailored content strategies mapped to each profile. That’s a big disconnect, one that could be costing your company customers.
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) might be the best example of highly customized content and segmentation. By mapping personas to your existing content, you create a master grid that can identify where you have gaps in content and other places where you can leverage pre-existing assets. If there are important personas in these gaps, you know exactly what content needs building.
ABM is a complement to, not in competition with, content marketing. This, once again, shows the necessity of a truly integrated multi-skill set marketing team—to be able to move effortlessly between PR to social to content to ABM. It’s all part of your winning growth marketing strategy.
Hire an integrated agency for agility
Despite the documented effectiveness of segmentation, only 23 percent of CMOs feel they are producing the right information for the right audience and delivering it at the right time.
Deploying an integrated agency (or multiple agencies) with multi-channel skills could be the secret sauce within your company’s successful path to growth, at any stage. Play to the needs of your audiences and put a laser focus on each channel. This can include a blend of paid, earned and owned efforts, with the right balance and agility for each program.
If your team lacks experience in these marketing channels, you might be missing out. In fact, brands generate a 650 percent ROI for every dollar invested in influencer marketing (source: Tomoson). Is your team agile enough to jump on lucrative marketing channels? If not, it might be time to reassess.
Global efforts benefit from an integrated approach
The world of PR has changed, especially in terms of how, when and where we communicate. This has opened up a new world for PR, quite literally. Regardless of location, a firm, a team and/or individual can have a major impact on a company’s global PR strategy.
Thought leadership and influencer marketing are uniquely suited to global efforts. Local reporters and influencers know these markets better than anyone. These strategies can jump-start developing relationships.
There may be other differences to accommodate. For example, there are more paid media placements and fewer earned opportunities in some countries. Or, perhaps there are fewer financial trade publications in one market compared to another. These factors should impact the PR metrics being set—as one region might have a higher likelihood of success simply based on the opportunities that exist.
Growth marketing requires an integrated playbook
Growth marketing is redefining the very definition of marketing. It’s not enough to drive top-of-funnel activity, it’s about gaining more engaged customers. Brands need to remain top of mind and engage at ideal moments throughout the journey, with connected content that meets their needs. It requires an integrated playbook—bringing together all marketing teams, tapping into every channel and forming that emotional connection.
Traditional tactics no longer cut it. If your growing brand hasn’t turned to integration yet, it might be time to reengineer your marketing and communications department. Your brand’s internal marketing department structure must align with the modern, data-driven services firms are providing today. That is the key to truly effective growth marketing.
This article originally appeared on the PAN Communications blog; reprinted with permission.
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