Marketing pioneer John Wanamaker famously once said “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” He said that 100 years ago, but for far too many marketers today, it’s still a true statement. It doesn’t have to be though. Here’s how to drive sales and maximize your marketing budget with closed-loop marketing.
Closed-loop marketing is the process by which customer data feeds marketing campaigns to boost sales. The key to effective closed-loop marketing is information—Sales has to report to Marketing about what happens to leads they receive, which helps Marketing leverage their best lead sources and cut off their worst.
At the last meeting of the NJ Chapter of MENG (Marketing Executives Networking Group), Morten Hjelmsoe, Agnitio CEO and founder, shared how technology is the means to closing the loop in marketing and building strong relationships with customers.
To be clear, technology by itself isn’t going to solve the problem of closing the loop. As Hjelmsoe notes, closed-loop marketing isn’t about going digital; it’s about going individual. It’s about using digital to go individual.
Let’s unpack that a little bit: prior to the industrial age, everything was tailor-made. This made for highly individualized products, but because of all the time it takes to make customized products, they have a very low reach. (Think of a cobbler making shoes by hand—the shoes will fit your feet, but since they take so long to make, the cobbler won’t make very many of them). This changed with the advent of machinery. Suddenly, things were automated, which meant that products could be made quickly and have a big reach, but that they were one-size-fits-all. (Think most modern sneaker companies in the past 50 years).
Now in the information age, it’s possible to get the best of both worlds: highly customized products with a big reach and high level of automation. In other words, now you can make it individual every time. (Think Converse’s service that allows customers to design their own Chuck Taylors).
Hjelmsoe described what this tech-driven individualization looks like in his company. Agnitio makes software for pharmaceutical companies to better market their drugs to doctors.
Designed for iPads, the software allows doctors to customize the content of their meetings with pharma sales reps in the first two seconds of a meeting with just a few finger swipes on the screen. During the meeting, the software also captures a tremendous amount of data about the doctor, prescribing habits, and make up of his/her practice. Using this data, the sales rep can create a highly customized microsite for the doctor after the meeting with all the info that the doctor needs in the areas that he/she wants it in. That’s speaking your customer’s language!
The data the software gathers closes the marketing loop.
Don’t miss the point here: the technology by itself isn’t the answer. It works because it provides an individualized experience each and every time. It works because it puts the customer first. Think about that when you apply technology to close the loop in your marketing.
What might that look like for your company? Look for ways to make each contact with a customer relevant. For example, good e-readers keep track of where you are in a book, so that you can read a book on your phone and then pick the book up where you left it off on your tablet. With e-readers, knowledge follows the customer around, yet when it comes to marketing, usually the customer has to start over at each step (contact with a sales rep, visit to website, etc.)
How can you make knowledge follow your customers, rather than start over at each step? This is where innovation comes in.
What might closing the loop look like for you in your company?