Every marketer has the potential (and responsibility) to be a digital commerce marketer. Research says so. Just take a look at Gartner’s 2015-2016 CMO Spend Survey and the surge in marketing spending on digital commerce.
“But what if my company doesn’t sell online?”
Great question. Selling online or offline, selling to CEOs or soccer moms, matters a lot less than you think. Being a digital commerce marketer is as much about attitude as it is aptitude. Even if you don’t technically have the ability to sell through digital channels, you can adopt the mindset of those who do. And even if you don’t sell online yet, chances are your customers still use digital technology to find your company, research your products and services and form opinions that ultimately lead to buying decisions. Today, that may lead them to a salesperson, but tomorrow it could lead to a mobile app.
What do we mean by attitude? And how can attitude overcome aptitude?
Here are four trade secrets of a digital commerce marketer:
- Customer-centric Most marketers sees the brand or product as the hero, the centre of their campaign. And they see campaign or quarterly sales goal as the mark they need to hit. Achieving sales goals seems right, but not at the expense of margin, long-term growth or customer experience. Digital commerce marketers see beyond the campaign or brand. They make it their goal to get inside the minds of the customer; understand when, where, how and why they buy; and test, relentlessly, to learn how marketing can assist customers in accomplishing that goal.
- Data-driven Most marketers use data to validate their assumptions, help them pitch an idea internally and get the funding they need to do what they already planned to do anyway. Or they ignore data altogether. They listen to their gut or stick with tried and true marketing methods. Digital commerce marketers know that data and analytics are the key to unlocking the minds and hearts of their customers. They’re painfully aware of changing buying habits, which means doing what they’ve always done simply won’t work.
- Collaborative Most marketers stick to their knitting. Social marketers focus on crafting content, measuring engagement and listening to online chatter. Media buyers manage budgets and ad plans, and so long as they get the GRPs, TRPs and impressions they promised, their work is done. Digital commerce marketers stick their nose in where it doesn’t belong. Social marketers deliver insight and make recommendations to strengthen media plans. Marketing leaders look at operational metrics and work with others to improve the customer experience and results.
- Business-oriented Most marketers are heads-down, laser focused on the marketing world, often forgetting about the business itself. They know how to drive web traffic, but they may be unaware of how traffic affects lead generation or referral sources relate to lead quality scores. Digital commerce marketers make it their business to know the business. They ask questions about how the company makes and spends money. They want to know customer pain points. They then align marketing strategies to business objectives, not just revenue, but also retention.
If you sell online, you have the luxury of clearer line of sight from marketing to sales. But it will require access to sales data, an understanding of business processes and analytical ability to connect marketing activities to business results and uncover areas of improvement. If you don’t sell online, your vision may be murky, but you can still build and leverage your relationships with people across functions like sales, customer service and operations, to help you connect the dots and understand where marketing fits in the big picture.
Whatever situation you’re in, the key is understanding where marketing fits in the bigger picture. During a recent flight, there was a standard service announcement letting us know that the flight attendants were there to make our flight enjoyable, but their primary goal was our safety. What if a flight attendant only saw their role through the narrow lens of the day-to-day tasks they performed — closing overhead bins, passing out drinks and peanuts? They might ignore warnings from the pilot, the real-time needs of passengers or the condition of the crew, which affect overall safety.
This week’s Analyst Picks highlight research that explains how marketers are spending, organising and measuring in order to drive digital commerce results, as well as marketing’s use of product content within campaigns and digital commerce experiences. The headlines for this week offer a look at digital commerce trends for 2016, examples of how B2B and B2C companies are responding to those trends and specific details on techniques like mobile commerce and content marketing.
Use the research and headlines to review your own marketing strategy and tactics, organisational structure and measurement hierarchy for opportunities to innovate and improve results. To hear more about why every marketer is a digital commerce marketer and how you can use marketing to make a business impact, join me in San Diego for Gartner’s Digital Marketing Conference where I’ll be presenting the latest research, trends and case studies on the topic.