I was recently asked to participate in a panel discussion about marketing trends and challenges for technology consulting firms. I thought the questions and answers were worth sharing.
What’s the latest in SEO strategies, digital marketing, and content tactics?
There are a lot of things going on here that are worth mentioning. With SEO, the reality is that semantic search (understanding your intent as a searcher based on history, where you are, and the device you’re on) and voice search have made a lot of traditional SEO approaches obsolete. You still need links to your site, a technically correct site setup, and good content, but the bottom line is that it’s difficult to get and maintain a top ranking for a broad topic anymore.
On the paid side, AdWords continues to be expensive for more popular terms. LinkedIn advertising is also expensive for the reach unless you have specific targets. We’ve been doing a lot of Facebook Ads for B2B, but only when we can find/develop a clear audience using Facebook tools. Programmatic ads, and especially Geofencing, offer exciting opportunities we’re running for ourselves and a few clients. I’d also add that email (if you consider this digital) has become a lousy way to find new prospects. There’s way too much spam out there, and GDPR/CASL/CA privacy acts are just making it worse. Email works when someone wants to engage (gives you permission), but not until then.
I would say there are two things to pay attention to here:
- Case studies/customer stories continue to work well as conversion offers. Prospects want to know that others like them have benefited from the product/service.
- Content clustering on your website helps a lot with SEO. Beyond that, getting dependable traction from organically distributed content is hard – paying to get eyeballs ton your content, if it’s good content, is worth the investment.
How is technology influencing marketing, both positively and negatively?
Positively – we can do a lot more with integrated technology and track the results. Negatively – because of marketing technology, everyone thinks everything should be trackable, and it’s not (at least not at the budget most SMBs work with). There are also 7000+/- applications to help with marketing; that volume of choice creates a lot of confusion and integration issues. People get lost in the technology as they work toward the goals of building a brand and getting leads.
What are practical tools for maintaining your marketing calendar and goals?
It’s hard to build a plan that runs longer than a rolling 90 days. Some things (like trade shows) you can plan well ahead for, but the market and the tools and the algorithms are always shifting, so set basic metrics and goals to track and then adjust your lead generation marketing plan continually, based on the results you’re seeing.
What’s the best way to address marketing privacy issues?
Read the GDPR rules and then implement them. If you aren’t using a tool for your website, forms, and emails that support the GDPR rules, change your tools. The California privacy act has a lot of the same rules, though is less restrictive, so if you build for GDPR, you’ll meet the CA regulations when they come into effect. (We love HubSpot because of all the work they’ve put into being GDPR compliant.)
When should you hire or outsource?
It's not an either/or conversation. You can’t do everything in-house, so it’s having a solid plan (which you may need help building) and then deciding what you can do in-house with the skills you have/can afford and what you’re best served by outsourcing. You may have a person on staff that understands your business, your customers, and social media well. Use them to do social in-house. But getting that person to run your Facebook advertising may not be the best idea since it requires a different skill set (Facebook Ads are not Facebook posts). If you have a great strategy person on staff, asking them to run a program will waste their talents and frustrate them. So, for management to make a hire/outsource decision, you must first understand what you do and don’t have on the team.
If anything you read here rings true, and you want to discuss it further, contact us.