17 September 2014
There are a lot of innovations out there, but which ideas get implemented (and how they get implemented) depends on your company’s marketing culture.
In their report “Culture Is Key To Marketing Innovation Velocity”, Forrester identifies four different marketing cultures and measures their success. Forrester recommends an open attitude towards innovation that drives growth. In each of these models, Forrester defines these common archetypes, and we at Dynamicweb offer an ecommerce tip for each one to take a step towards new practices that drive growth.
The Pragmatic marketing culture is a conservative one. Forrester’s analysis defines the Pragmatist as driven by consensus. This means that new ideas are vetted up and down the chain of command. The approval process slows innovation and allows competitors to get the jump on the Pragmatist. While the Pragmatic marketing culture believes it has a focus on customers, it mainly focuses on the products or services themselves.
Ecommerce Tip for the Pragmatist:
If your company’s marketing culture is resistant to change and primarily focused on products, then do your best job to market those products! Spice up product descriptions. Include vivid images with multiple angles. For manufacturers, offer downloadable CADs. If you want to inch your way towards more innovative practices, introduce video content. Instructionals and videos that show off specific features are popular types of video. This focus on the products themselves should gain approval easily and won’t rock the boat, but they are very important towards displaying your products in the best light.
The Risk-Averse company is even more conservative than the Pragmatist. In Forrester’s report, Risk-Averse marketing cultures are usually the result of highly-regulated industries, such as health care or government services. As a result, Risk-Averse marketing cultures prefer the tried and true over innovative practices. They operate as an entrenched business, secure in its space.
Ecommerce Tip for the Risk-Adverse:
Email marketing. Even the most cautious CEOs sign onto email marketing. Email is a time-tested way to communicate with your customers. Whether following up on leads or keeping in touch with existing customers, email gives you flexibility, especially when you personalize the content by integrating your email campaigns with your CRM. Email allows you to offer promotions, give discounts, and continue your customer support. Risk-Adverse marketing cultures have a lot to gain in customer outreach with minimal risk. Just make sure that you have an option to easily unsubscribe from any lists, so you don’t bother customers with emails they don’t want.
On the flip side of the coin is the Experimenter. Think of the Experimenter marketing culture as the opposite of the Risk-Adverse. They are quick and nimble, compared to slow and deliberate. The Experimenter constantly comes up with innovations using a relatively larger budget for new marketing programs. According to Forrester, however, this company doesn’t build a long-term strategy with these innovations, and partially because of the rapid process, they don’t learn from their successes and failures.
Ecommerce Tip for the Experimenter:
We have a soft spot for the Experimenter. We admire their courage to try new things and explore uncharted territory. Unfortunately, nobody wants to fail. And even worse than failure is failure without learning any lessons.
So if you’re going to try new techniques and innovative campaigns, use analytics to test your success. Use A/B testing for new landing pages or product descriptions or content changes. Find out which page or piece of content converts the most and continue with your successes. Experimenters make the most out of their experiments when they learn and optimize their marketing.
Forrester found that companies that were Customer-Obsessed outperformed the other models listed, despite being the least prevalent. A Customer-Obsessed marketing culture thinks and acts on the desires of its customers. Customer-Obsessed companies were flexible in innovation, but always put their goals in perspective of how that innovation benefits a customer.
Ecommerce Tip for the Customer-Obsessed:
First off, congratulations on being the most successful of the marketing culture models. With that said, Customer-Obsessed companies benefit with community building. Communities draw in new customers and give a place for existing customers to congregate and continue to give feedback. Use this feedback to continue to refine your messaging. The job is never done. Content such as blog posts or forums offers customers a chance at direct communication. Webinars and other participatory content also enable customers to connect with your brand and company.
A Final Word
These marketing cultures as described by Forrester are a guide. If one of these looks familiar, then seriously consider how your company innovates or reacts to innovation. Are you slow or fast? Creative or safe? If you want to innovate more with your online marketing and drive more business, then consider each of these ecommerce tips for a company like yours.
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