Marketing: More Than Just Paper Hearts and Puffy Paint

It’s that lovey-dovey time of year again. Sales of red and pink paper are at an all-time high and everything cuddly or covered in chocolate is flying off the shelves. St. Valentine’s Day is around the corner. If you’re in marketing, however, this holiday can come at a bit of a price.

The cynics of the season can often be heard muttering things like “it’s just a marketing ploy” under their breath as they rush past heart-laden displays. You know as well as we do that marketing isn’t nearly as simple as cutting out construction paper hearts with a pair of safety scissors. Today’s marketing department shoulders some serious responsibility. Customers expect to be part of the conversation with your brand now, and if they don’t feel they’re being cared for they just might jump ship.

With today’s marketing technology, you can engage proactively in interactions with customers based on their specific interests, their online behavior, and how they interacted with you before. In a world where customers are likely to complete much of their buyer’s journey without making any contact with you, this personalized welcome mat can be the key to future sales.

Your marketing department is now tied more closely than ever to those sales and the people who realize them. By sharing customer insights between the two departments, you’ll know what information to give your customers and when (even if they haven’t asked for it yet). When the customer is ready to buy, the information you share with the sales department lets them know right away.

Your job as a marketer doesn’t end at the sale either. With marketing analytics and social listening, you and your team can see which customers and prospects are engaged, what interests them and what doesn’t, what they are sharing with their friends, as well as where social sentiment could use some extra attention. In online communities, home of the ever-changing landscape, marketing departments are now tasked with keeping a constant finger on the pulse of sentiment, assuring that nothing has been taken negatively and keeping your message clear and strong.

Keeping your campaigns on target also helps you maintain a high return on investment (ROI), something every marketer loves to hear. Come budget meeting time, providing a clear picture of your ROI will have the boss singing your praises. What’s more, by actively tracking your ROI, you gain a clearer picture of which campaigns might benefit from a few extra funds.

While Valentine’s Day marketing sometimes gets a bad rap, it also inspires a lot of caring and love. We raise our hats to you folks in marketing. After all, you help create these same warm feelings and strong relationships every day of the year, holiday or not.

If you’d like to know more about the expanding role of marketing in sales and in building customer relationships, we’ve worked up a quick datasheet for you here (PDF).