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‘Quantum marketing’ is the industry’s next skills challenge

The IDM’s Jane Cave says businesses need to stop thinking of training as a ‘zero-sum game’ and marketers need to have an insatiable appetite for new knowledge and skills if they are to survive the digital transformation taking place.

Most of the marketing tasks that once took highly-skilled teams weeks to accomplish can now be actioned in minutes by an individual with a smartphone. Even the most complex programmatic campaigns are triggered, delivered and dynamically optimised in milliseconds. But speed isn’t everything.

According to the latest IDM research on skills and personal development, the drive for increased productivity and efficiency is constrained by the fact that 49% of marketers have not received training in the key skills they believe are essential to progress their careers.

Those skills include: mobile marketing, optimising campaigns, marketing automation and integration, search marketing, analysing customer data/insight, data analysis and reporting, appraising employee performance, presentation/public speaking, marketing finance, client/stakeholder management, briefing agencies and evaluating performance.

Unfortunately, many businesses see professional training as a zero-sum game where some skills must lose out to others, despite the disruptive implications of digital transformation, marketing automation, blockchain and QIS (quantum information science).

Apple CEO Tim Cook is already predicting the end of the smartphone, which has driven digital marketing’s growth. “Things are going to get really weird for everybody,” he says, “not just in terms of individual products but in terms of how we actually live our everyday lives and maybe our humanity itself.”

So how does a marketer prepare for a work environment in which the shrinking shelf life of skills will become even more of a challenge?

The first thing to grasp is that business leader Marshall Goldman is right. His book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, is a wakeup call for us all. Every marketer needs to embrace being permanently out of their comfort zone combined with an insatiable appetite for new knowledge and skills.

On digital transformation he says it will shift the narrative from competitive pricing to delivering better customer experiences.

With regard to blockchain, Goldman suggests it has the potential to make agencies, publishers and platforms a thing of the past.

As to Oracle’s claim that 98% of businesses expect to have installed marketing automation systems across sales, marketing and customer service by 2020, he says it indicates that brands are preparing for direct access to prospects and customers.

How do you plan a campaign for a world where trillions of internet-of-things devices with quantum-enabled microchips are meshed into everything prospects and customers see, buy and use? A world where dynamically optimised customer experiences are delivered direct to consumer contact lenses capable of turning any visible surface to advertising media?

Goldman says to build systems in which customers are as integrated into the business as your workforce will not be a matter of running a faster business, but running a business that is profoundly different.

The business of marketing today has unimaginably changed from that of 40 years ago. So too has the role of the IDM, a professional training organisation that has spent the past 30 years constantly evolving to meet the needs of over 100,000 digital, direct and data-driven professionals in over 30 countries.

As cutting-edge marketing technology companies invent new ways for artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep neural networks to continue reshaping the cybernetic landscape, the biggest transformation in marketing will be a human one. Companies involved in digital transformation have discovered the problem is more often analogue (human) than it is digital. It is often the experts who feel most threatened by fundamental change in work practices.

The challenge of the next 40 years will be as defined by ethics as much as technology. As the managing director of a social enterprise, I am acutely aware of the potential business impact of ethical commerce and corporate philanthropy.

Training the perpetually evolving workforce of the future will require a continuous reimagining of how professional marketers develop the knowledge and skills they need to build successful careers – even in the age of quantum marketing.

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How to Execute Perfect Content Marketing

A large part of our digital marketing campaign will involve content marketing. To execute perfect content marketing, you need a plan. Each offer you make often requires the creation of different pieces of content. As a result, the ideal is to make a content plan for each of your major offers using a resource called the Content Campaign Plan.

The Content Campaign Plan aligns your content marketing with business objectives such as generating leads and sales. You can see the Content Campaign Plan template and can fill out your own by visiting www.digitalmarketer.com.

Following are the steps for creating your first Content Campaign Plan:

– Choose avatars.
– Brainstorm content assets.
– Choose the vehicle and channel.
– Plan for ascension.

Read on to find out more about each of these steps.

Step 1: Choosing avatars

Decide which avatars (also known as a buyer persona) this content targets. Because each avatar has different intents, motivations, and problems he responds to, each avatar requires different content to move him through the awareness, evaluation, and conversion stages. You therefore need to determine which existing content to use or what new content to create to move the avatar through the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel.

For example, a wealth management firm attempting to sell financial planning should approach a young professional much differently than a near retiree. Some content will appeal to both, but the most effective content will speak directly to a specific avatar.

Step 2: Brainstorming content assets

Use what you know about your customer avatar to create descriptions for content that you can create to reach that persona.

REMEMBER: Plan to create content at all three stages of the marketing funnel: awareness, evaluation, and conversion. In the wealth management firm example, what content could the firm produce at the top of the funnel to increase awareness for the young professional avatar? What could it produce to move the retiree avatar through the conversion stage?

Step 3: Choosing the vehicle and channel

The vehicle of the content refers to the form the content will take. Will it be text, an image, a video, or an audio asset? The channel refers to where the asset will be published — such as your blog, a Facebook page, or a YouTube channel.

The vehicle can sometimes determine the channel, and vice versa. For example, a video asset often gets published on YouTube, Facebook, and your blog, whereas an image asset is more likely to be on Pinterest.

Step 4: Planning for ascension

In the final step of the Content Campaign Plan, you connect your content to your business goals. Build offers into each piece of content that allow prospects to get more value, either by consuming more content, giving you their contact information for follow-up, or buying a product or service.

TIP: Any call to action is better than none at all, but the highest-converting ascension offers are relevant to the content the prospect is consuming. For example, a blog post entitled “10 Ways to Grow More Nutritious Organic Tomatoes” would do well to make an offer like “50% Off and Free Shipping on Organic Tomato Seeds” rather than an offer for carrot seeds.

If you want to create content that converts prospects at all stages of the funnel, create a Content Campaign Plan and execute it. It works.