There are unlimited ways to connect with your consumer base in recent years. Although that is freeing, it also can become overwhelming very quickly. From social media, to billboards, traditional copy or emails, there are countless platforms to feature and promote your brand. This article will dive into the top 6 email marketing trends of 2020. 

Businesses large and small can benefit from a successful email campaign. However, many tactics should be kept in mind. Of course, email marketing has been available and heavily utilized for years. But, it is important to note that what worked ten years ago will not be effective today. 

Take a look below to see if your email marketing trends are up to date. 

Target Your Specific Audience and Subscribers 

This is one of the most obvious of the email marketing trends and, of course, applies to all kinds of marketing campaigns. Each company has a target audience and it is important to find that demographic. For instance, if selling diapers or baby supplies, make sure your emails are going to new parents.  

Sending an automated email to all emails on your list can absolutely feel enticing. However, if the content is irrelevant to their interests or needs, that message is going straight into the trash anyway. The best way to ensure your emails are going to the right customer base is to create targeted groups. These can be segmented by location, age, gender, etc.. Sending valuable content to specific groups will create better engagement and lower email opt-out rate. 

Grab Their Attention with Quality, Relevant Content

Once you create targeted groups, it is vital to only send relevant content. Yet, that is typically not enough. You must get creative with copy and images throughout your emails to immediately grab their attention. Do not send the same email or information constantly, and make sure you continue to learn and inquire what your audience is looking for. However, keep in mind two items:

  1. Create catchy subject lines. Add in emojis, exclamation points or capital letters to guide your audience to open your email. Especially when your emails fall into the promotional folder. Most email users are flooded with hundreds of promo emails a day. Try to create an engaging subject line to entice your subscribers to click.
  2. Limit your email blasts. Even with targeted groups, your audience does not want to be spammed. Only send a few emails a week and make sure each email creates a memorable experience.

Create Customized Blasts

As you get more comfortable with your target audiences, it is time to create a more specific email marketing campaign. There are several ways to ensure your subscribers are getting the right information that they are most likely to engage with. 

  1. Try out some A/B test emails to really learn what works. If unfamiliar with this technique, A/B testing is when you create two emails, send them out to different members of the same demographic, and see which one gets more clicks. Monitor these results and proceed with that copy and design.
  2. Make sure you prioritize the users that interact with each email blast. There are many programs that make it simple to monitor clicks, readership, etc. of your emails. Send follow up or extra information to those that always read your emails and bring them to your website or business. 

Create Engaging Content and Campaigns

Too much written copy and monochromatic images/logos can be boring for the everyday consumer. With so many promo emails coming in every day, it is important to create interesting content. 

Perhaps the most effective way to do this is creating an incentive for interacting with your company. Subscribing to your email or newsletter or liking your social media pages are all great ways to get content to your audience. Create a campaign such as “get 10% off your first order when subscribing to our emails.” 

Extra tip: add your social media links to the bottom of your email for quick and easy access!

Easy to Sign Up and Easy to Unsubscribe

Of course, it is necessary to have clear direction on how to subscribe to your email list. Add an email sign-up pop up on all content you put into the world: your website, blog posts, etc.. Make sure your pop up only requires a bit of information, even just the email itself will suffice. If you ask for too much personal information during the sign up, many will choose to opt out. 

Consumers are typically subscribed to several companies’ promo emails. As time goes on, needs and wants change and some businesses become obsolete to that specific person. It is vital to make it easy and painless to unsubscribe. You do not want your last interaction with a customer to be negative with spammed emails they already requested not to get. Adding a “You Are Now Unsubscribed” message email can be useful to let the person know it worked. 

Mobile Friendly

Each email you send out should be mobile friendly. As most emails are created on desktop or laptop, this can sometimes be overlooked. The ease of checking emails on a mobile device is apparent. Many smartphone users wake up and immediately check their emails or social platforms. Sending a disorienting mobile device email just looks unprofessional. Luckily, it is simple to avoid this by sending a test email and checking it on your personal mobile device. 

There are so many ways to grow your business with effective marketing campaigns. Email marketing is only part of the puzzle. That being said, it is always important to stay on top of the latest email marketing trends!

Your website is the face of your business. Often, it’s the first point of contact potential customers will have with your brand. Even if you operate a traditional brick and mortar storefront, customer engagement with your website occurs when they search for your contact information, operating hours, location, or details about specific products and services. More and more frequently, this is also where customers go to make purchases or payments on their account.

The problem is many websites can be one dimensional and generally look the same and this makes it difficult for customers to distinguish you from your competition. Think about your favorite restaurants or coffee shops that you might recommend to someone. The first ones that come to mind are those that are doing something different to set them apart. These businesses are likely innovators thinking outside of the box about unique ways to improve the customer experience. They also seem to make a habit of going out of their way to create compelling opportunities that drive customers to interact with their brand.

What a successful website engagement strategy looks like for your brand will greatly depend on what you hope to gain from increased interaction with your customers. Here’s a few ideas to help you get started with increasing website engagement for your business in 2020.

Gamification and Interactive Doodles

Play to Win! Gamification is a great way to reward customers that play games with winnable discounts, loyalty points, or exclusive offers. Don’t want to give away the kitchen sink? Offering non-monetary rewards such as personal recognition through badges, special mention on social media platforms, newsletters, etc. can offer your customers the same gratification.

By adding a layer of interaction that could be as simple as moving around puzzle pieces, spinning a wheel, or popping a balloon, you create a connection with your customer.  They have a chance to get a benefit to something they wouldn’t normally have access to. Not to mention, this is all while having some fun.


Enter to win! Win big when you organize a contest, giveaways, drawings, or sweepstakes. Who doesn’t love free stuff? Despite outward appearances, contests can be a very cost-effective method to help your business. For instance, giveaways can drive traffic to your website, generate leads, segment email lists, grow brand awareness, promote products, improve brand loyalty, and grow your social following.

After all, nothing really comes for free. Potential and returning customers are required to perform certain measurable activities like visiting your website and inputting personal information such as receipt number or email address. Where your competition might be asking for this same information, are they offering a chance to win in return?


Create an emotional connection with your customer. Do you have an emotionally compelling product success story or an exciting service use case? If so, storytelling might be for you!

Stories give your customers the opportunity to relate personal experiences and values to your brand. A great example of using storytelling to drive online engagement is revamping your About section with compelling media. Customers want to  visualize the early beginnings of your brand story and follow along your road to success. This will create a rare connection that allows you to highlight your company values and relate to your customers on a deeper level.

Push Notifications

When used in concert with other website engagement metrics, direct customer messaging (push notifications) can be a powerful customer communication tool. Instant contact with customers is a privilege so be mindful of your messaging and it’s value to your customers. Here’s some great ways to leverage push notifications to strengthen your customer relationships.


Connect with your customers anytime from anywhere. LiveChat offers a wide array of customer centric value propositions. From anticipating customer needs, to addressing pain points – when you respond to customers in real time, you increase conversions. Businesses that use the chat function, boost productivity and minimize phone support costs by creating automated workflows triggered by specific activities.

Here are some initial examples of ways to best utilize live chat: Build rapport through positive scripting, up sell bundles and add-ons, offer personalized discounts, and give relevant product information.

Website Design UX/UI

Catch them off guard! Your website paints a picture and sets the tone for sales conversions. With hundreds of design layouts to choose from and customize, why would you want a cookie cutter template? While we encourage you to keep the structure simple and consistent, that doesn’t mean that you can’t change it up a bit with your design. Think about what makes sense for your customers. Below you can find some common designs to help you decide which is right for your business.

The list goes on and ultimately you can work with a designer to create a custom design that speaks to your customers in a way only you can.

Consumer Education Tools

Figure it out! Website engagement statistics show that roughly 70% of consumers want to learn from your website before taking additional action. In today’s day and age consumers like to make informed purchases. Whether you’re involved in high-end technology sales or in the business of selling common goods you can’t go wrong when you add value to your website.

With the information superhighway at their fingertips it’s important that you establish yourself as a trusted advisor and an authority in your market.

When you utilize website engagement tools, they need calculate the value and/or functionality of your product or perform side-by-side product comparisons you equip yourself with valuable product feedback and create trust between you and your customer. This can lead to fewer customer service issues, and faster sales cycles. The bottom line is an informed customer is a happy customer.

Effects and Animations

Wow visitors with responsive interactive design sets to showcase your offerings and your ability to innovate in style. Fluid effects, transition animations, 3D models or scanning, map pins, drag and drop shopping carts, hover effects, timeline markers, music bars, and so many more!

Choose the right combination effects and animations to create micro interactions.

Remember, you only get one chance to create a memorable first impression. A positive perception can bring additional opportunities to interact and engage with your customer. These key factors lead to an increased customer lifetime value. However, it is important that you engage with your audience in a meaningful, exciting way.

Will Website Engagement Ideas Work?

Clearly defined and measurable objectives are critical in the success of any website engagement plan. When website engagement ideas are implemented, individual goals may vary. It’s important not to initiate multiple website changes at once to measure specific outcomes of website engagement models.

These tips will help you engage your clientele throughout your website in 2020!

As marketers, it is commonly known that what works today, may not work tomorrow. The field is constantly evolving and sometimes it is hard to stay on top of current trends. Now, in the social media era, this ever-changing environment is even more relevant. 

Social media has taken over and is now an integral part of everyday life for many people.  Of course, it only makes sense that social media is now used for marketing, selling products, etc.. However, utilizing these platforms can be tricky for many reasons. Among some of them are that new apps emerge, some become obsolete, and how they are used change as users or the apps evolve. This can make social media marketing hard to always use to its highest potential. 

Although there are many ways to better utilize social media marketing. Here are some of the top trends for 2020. 

Start Using Influencer Marketing


Influencer marketing is key for a new age business. Across all platforms, Facebook to Youtube to even Linkedin, there are influencers for different niche groups. Influencers are useful across so many diverse industries. These individuals have varied reach depending on followers, but they can offer amazing benefits to companies.  

Of course, influencer marketing is not a new way to market and has ultimately changed recently. The most important part of influencer marketing is finding someone who is trustworthy. Traffic is much more important than likes for a page. According to a HYPR study, in 2018, 64% of influencers admitted to buying likes. More importantly, an August 2019 study by GlobalWebIndex indicates that social media users are more interested in the type of content that influencers share rather than how many likes they get.  

That being said, trustworthiness for celebrities and other high paid influencers has gone down since they are making so much money. Their posts and recommendations do not seem genuine anymore. Companies should begin utilizing smaller, maybe local, influencers that have better relationships with their followers. These individuals do not cost as much money and are likely to help sell your products, service, and brand. 

There is more detail about Influencer Marketing on our other blog

Social Groups and Communities 


Similar to influencer marketing, social media groups and communities are not a new feature. However, they are more popular than ever–especially Facebook groups. These social communities are made by brands, local communities,  music fans, political parties and everything in between. Individuals can express their beliefs, ideas, or opinions and share it with like-minded individuals. These communities have really become more niche and unique as time has gone on–it seems as though there is a group for anything. 

Brands can utilize these groups by creating a new one specifically for their company or joining existing groups that align with the products or services that they offer. This can increase exposure to the precise target audience any brand is looking for. Then, once the traffic is there, brands can release new products and get real time customer feedback.

Use as Customer Service


This brings the next point. In this age, immediate responses are expected by consumers. Not to mention, friends and family. 

Customers look to social media to write reviews, good or bad, to ask questions, among many other things. According to Conversocial’s 2018 report, 37% of people expect a response within 30 minutes, 31% want one in two hours, 26% in four hours and only 6% do not expect a response. Great customer service is clearly judged on a fast response time. Facebook even lets consumers know what the expected wait time is based on the average response time of the company. 

This form of customer service is sometimes the first interaction an individual has with a company. And, of course, you want to make a good first impression. In 2020, it is important to utilize this feature of social media to better present your brand and offer the same kind of service that someone would get if they picked up the phone or came into the store/office.

Utilize Alternative Services


For typical B2C companies, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have long been the most popular platforms for advertising. LinkedIn has shown to be great for B2B tactics. However, as time moves on, more apps are created and can have their own advantages in social media marketing. Not to mention, Facebook has lost 15 million users in the past two years, especially those in younger generations.

This year, it will be important to explore all platform options to find the best representation. Target audience will depict which alternative services are best for each brand. For example, TikTok, which was launched in 2016, has a huge following of people ages 16-24.  Also, Pinterest has become a great place for e-commerce as 75% of users say they are interested in buying new products compared to other digital platforms. 

What Kind of Content Should We Be Creating?

Ephemeral Content 


One other trend that is dominating is ephemeral content. Attention spans are not what they used to be. The everyday individual, for personal or commercial use, wants quality, fast content. Instagram stories, snap chat stories, tiktok videos, etc. are all great examples of this type of content. These features and apps have also gained so much popularity due to the engaging, short content. Social media users can spend hours clicking through 10 second videos. 

Video Content


According to a Cisco Study, by 2022 82% of online content will be video. This can be compared to Cisco’s 2016 study that predicted that videos would make up 75% of all online content in 2020. Clearly, video content is beginning to have control of media and it should be included in a content schedule and strategy. 

Short stories on Snapchat or Instagram is  a great way to get started utilizing ephemeral, video content. 

There are many ways to utilize social media to gain brand recognition or sell products and services. This year, these are the trends that will help your company the most. 



As we all know, a successful business model includes a strong and multifaceted marketing strategy. When we talk with clients there is often confusion about different types of marketing efforts, and their relative value and purpose. The most common misconceptions clients communicate have to do with influencers and media. For that reason, we’ve put together some valuable information to help clear things up. 

Let’s start from the beginning. 

What is marketing media?

Media in marketing is broken down into four parts: owned, shared, paid, and earned. These parts are not mutually exclusive. A comprehensive marketing strategy will encompass a combination to meet specific campaign objectives. 

Types of media and differences table

Owned Media

Owned media is paid for, owned, and distributed by you. This includes business assets such as your website, blogs, white papers, case studies, brochures, signage, email, newsletters, staff uniforms, company vehicle markers, other promotional materials and so on. Owned media is considered an investment in business and is best kept evergreen.

Shared Media 

Shared media is paid by you, owned by a third party, and distributed by you. It encompasses social networks and Brand Channels like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Yelp, et. al. While most networks are free, they should not be taken lightly. Social media is said to influence some of the most intimate of consumer decisions and most of them have come under fire for unethically manipulating both network control and reach. 

We like social media because it offers channel diversity for your customer and further strengthens that bond and more broadly your brand presence when you’re able to meet your customers where they are.

Some consider “shared media” as “owned media” but in the recent past, we’ve seen companies involved in controversial industries lose Brand Channels despite massive following.

Paid Media

Paid media is paid by you and owned and distributed by a third party. Commonly referred to as advertising, this includes any media you pay for on various mediums such as; billboards, radio, print, video, and banner ads. Other paid media might include product placement, sponsorship, teleshopping, and affiliate networking.

Paid media is attractive because it is the most direct path to get your products and offerings in front of customers. Digital giants like Google and Facebook have become experts at reaching targeted demographics. They’ve made it their business on making quality connections between advertisers and consumers.  

Earned Media 

Earned media is considered the most esteemed media and usually falls under public relations. You can’t purchase good earned media; it is voluntarily given. This includes media you are not directly responsible for, such as news coverage, broadcasts, press releases, radio talk show mentions, magazines, digital and print publications, ratings, reviews, word of mouth, referrals, and endorsements. 

These types of media coverage are accomplished through any reputable media outlet. It’s verifiable and consistent. For this reason, coverage is of extremely high value. 

Convergence Media

There’s a segment of industry professionals that will call any combination of the above media types “Convergence Media”. Due to the complexity in variables and highly specific nature of convergence media we aren’t going to dive too deeply into this type of media.

A great example of convergence media is to do with influencers. Depending on the influencer, there might be an unspecified combination of paid, earned, shared, and owned media, to meet specific objectives or contract terms. While it’s impossible to clearly define convergence media, it’s important that you know it exists and that it is not in itself actually a type of media. 

Integrated communication marketing and PR diagram and chart

Who are influencers?

An influencer can be defined as any person with a measurable influence over a substantial audience that is typically identified by industry focus. This is a broad definition that might include political lobbyists, activists, market analysts, journalists, editors, authors, bloggers, thought leaders, public speakers, comedians, athletes, musicians, celebrities, reality TV stars, models, entrepreneurs and niche industry experts.

Influencers come in all shapes and sizes. They are best categorized by the size of their following, how they achieved it, and whether or not they are monetizing it. 

Celebrity – 5M+ Following

Celebrity influencers extend brand reach exponentially with 5 Million+ active followers. Think of A-list celebs such as Adam Sandler, LeBron James, or Elon Musk. These influencers are household names, and because of that many have leveraged their reach to grow their own Brand Channels. Some excellent example of this is Jessica Alba’s all-natural product line, Honest Company. These stars can cost, on average, in the neighborhood of $1 million dollars for a single social media post.

Mega Influencers – 1M -5M Followers

Mega Influencers are content creating machines that usually have a team of people helping to manage their channels. These influencers have refined their personal branding and are capable of earning a noteworthy income from their influencer status and may or may not already be considered B-list celebs on the red carpet. These influencers make an estimated $50k per post.

Macro Influencers – 500K – 1M Followers

The Macro influencer category is loaded with social media stars that earned their claim to fame by generating shareable content.  They are almost certainly monetizing their following and looking to move onto the next level. This tier can make six-figures and consist of a montage of influencer types, niches, and personalities. These influencers are estimated to make an average of $15k per post.

Mid-Tier – 50K – 500K Followers 

Mid-Tier influencers are working hard to engage and grow their target audience. They are the bread and butter of the influencer world driving the highest ROI for brand and channel partners. Maybe that’s because mid-tier influencers are likely working hard to increase their influencer revenue which can average $5k per post.

Micro Influencers – 10K – 50K Followers 

These influencers aren’t usually getting photographed in the supermarket and may not be a universally recognized authority in their market, but they pack a healthy punch and know their value. With a loyal and dedicated following we see many micro influencers helping brands bring products to market. Micro influencers have earned the trust of their audience over time and are likely monetizing their following as they can earn up to $5k per post.

Nano Influencers – 1K – 10K Followers 

If nano influencers have a notable reach but have not likely clearly defined their influence. They are usually looking to monetize, which for obvious reasons, and can make up to $1,500 per post depending on a variety of other factors such as niche, platform, and the personality of the influencer. These are the influencers to watch, you likely have a few in your own network.

Now that we understand what marketing media consist of and who influencers are, we can clear the air we can dissuade confusion. 

Key differences between influencers and media

Media is content. Whether it’s physical, digital, word-of-mouth, or ad copy – it’s content that requires distribution channel to reach an audience.

Influencers are individuals (usually people, but sometimes animals). Brand Channels are frequently mistaken as influencers. It might be tempting to think of the New York Times or Facebook as an “influencer” the reality is, they are media outlets that allow their users to create brand channels. 

A key point to remember is that while you may produce media for specific Brand Channels, media outlets, or influencers, the media itself, does not embody a single distribution channel. A perfect example of this would be a cross-channel marketing campaign to promote an instore sale. That campaign would likely produce a combination of media, such as: flyers, emails, social media posts, influencer video requests, and pay-per-click ads. All the marketing deliverables in this scenario are types of media with varied methods of distribution. 

Components and Purpose of Public Relations

Our clients visualize their success daily. They utilize our marketing expertise as their vehicle of choice to help get them to the finish line. If we think of various marketing media initiatives and influencer engagement models we deploy as drivers of success for that vehicle, we recognize that some drivers maneuver the road more gracefully than others, while some put the pedal to the metal but at the cost of the car. We notice that a few might have impeccable night vision, and maybe a even let you roll the windows down to take in the view. 

Now, I want you think specifically about public relations. In this scenario, PR is the road your traveling on and your customers are the landscape on which that road exist. It controls, monitors, and guides brand messages across multiple channels, ultimately paving the way for customers to interact with your brand. 

The climate of public relations offers unique and sometimes unexpected challenges. It heavily impacts brand viability and can dramatically increase awareness of leadership and your company. The purpose of PR is to maintain, enhance, or adapt a company’s public image based on deliberate objectives in support of your brand schema. 

Without public relations, it would be impossible to unify brand messages regardless of the amount of money paid to influencers or third-party advertisers. That’s precisely why PR experts are the people brands turn to when facing negative publicity. Hopefully this helps clarify a few things, for a few people. 

“The outside perception and inside perception of Microsoft are so different. The view of Microsoft inside Microsoft is always kind of an underdog thing.” Bill Gates

Speaking to a digital device brings back memories of old Star Trek reruns with actors speaking into a handheld device: “Beam me up, Scotty. There’s no intelligent life down here.” In those days, communicating through voice automation was about as likely as speaking to your lamp or coffee maker: “Turn on!”

But, alas, with the voice automation technology of today, we can do just that. Personal assistants can hear, understand, and follow our commands to turn on appliances, check the weather, and even order a pizza. Is voice automation a temporary fad or a vital new methodology for business?

With 46% of the US population using an Intelligent Personal Assistant (IPA) in order to keep their hands free to perform other tasks, many are already using voice automation to search the internet for information. So, businesses that use paid search advertising need to be to catch that wave, because voice automation for paid search is here.

How Many People are Using Voice Automation?

Surprisingly, a growing number of people are using voice automation for more and more tasks. Take a look at these revealing numbers:

How Can I Adjust My Paid Search Strategy for Voice Automation?

With users speaking into a device in order to effect an internet search, you can expect some notable differences over text queries. Let’s take a look at each and decide how to handle them in paid search.

Lengthen Queries

When typing in a search on Google, we commonly use the fewest number of words possible. “Paid search” or “pizza near me” are good examples. We can then refine if needed from the results that are delivered.

With voice search, queries tend to be longer and more conversational. The above examples would likely become, “How can I increase paid search?” or “Where is a good pizza place near me?” We speak in a more natural manner when searching by voice than when we type.

Therefore, your paid search keywords need to be longer and more natural. For instance, instead of just using “pizza” or “pizza near me,” you may also want to include, “good pizza near me,” “best pizza near me,” “new york style pizza near me,” or even “best pizza in town.” Try to think of how users would speak to a friend, and use that basic phrasing when choosing keyword phrases for paid search.

Add Questions

Voice automation searches also tend to be in the form of questions. After all, we are “asking” Siri or Cortana or Google to help us, so why not do so politely, as we’ve been taught? So, using our example above, some of your keyword phrases should look like this:

Get Local

Mobile voice search is three times more likely to be local-based than text search. This is because most smartphone searches are also local. How simple is it to whip out your phone and say, “Hey Siri, are there any new york style pizza places near old town?” The local reference combined with standard location tracking software enabled on most phones allows for very accurate local searches.

How can you get more local with your paid search listings? Use local places of interest that matter to your business. “Where is the best pizza near the University of Oklahoma?” “Who makes the best new york style pizza in Times Square?” These local identifiers can be even more profitable than simply adding “near me” to every phrase.

Update Your Third-party Listings

When using voice automation search, the results are often in the form of local or business listings or crowd-sourced sites. That means a user will only see your business contact information.

Be sure your opening and closing times are accurate as well as your address and phone number in every public listing. Users will often click the available links to complete their business, and if yours are inaccurate, they will move on to the next one.

Taking Advantage of Voice Automation

By nailing down and using keyword phrases that better suit voice automation tendencies in your paid search, you can leverage these technological advances to speed ahead of your competition.

How do you know if all these changes are working? As with any SEO strategy, testing and adjusting is an ongoing process. Make the changes illustrated above and do some testing. Adjust. Repeat. Too busy for all that? That’s why we are here.

At Cast Influence, we live for applying agile approaches like voice automation search to help you engage and activate your audience. Drop us a line and let’s chat about how our disruptive innovation and growth strategies can give a boost to your business marketing strategy.


Once upon a time, a marketing leader was hired to boost sales for a company. The company paid this person well. However, they did not supply the marketer with any of the digital tools needed to succeed, or the necessary support team across development, design, and support, since they invested all their budget in the marketer’s salary. While this marketing leader was a great team-builder and organizer, like most marketers, he wasn’t an expert in every niche of marketing strategy or implementation.

Because his leaders did not understand his role or allow his knowledge to have any influence on company decisions, he (and his bosses) were frustrated at his lack of success. Like most companies, they poured the majority of their resources into engineering and development with little to none dedicated to marketing to obtain the necessary tools. They made a common mistaken assumption: they believed that simply hiring a marketing person to “do the marketing” was all that was required.

The Current State of Marketing

The marketing landscape resembles the mythological shapeshifter, constantly evolving, changing, and becoming more complex as consumers rely on a multitude of devices to consume media from various sources (mobile, social, billboards, TV, radio, web, email, news, etc.). Marketing professionals who desire to be successful will find it necessary to master a panorama of tactics, skills, and tools. It will literally require a new way of thinking.

Consider an example: During the 1950’s, the construction of the interstate highway system virtually changed the face of America. Travel patterns changed. McDonald’s saw this coming and still today there are golden arches off most interstate exits. The Internet is the modern “highway” consumers travel.

Instead of paved ribbons connecting homes and businesses, we now have search engines that show the quickest route to digital companies. Those who become masters of SEO practices get their products and services before everyone who digitally drives by.

Instead of asphalt roadways that take us to our favorite local movie theater, we now navigate to YouTube in our pajamas. Marketers who realize the huge appeal of YouTube can showcase their products in numerous ways.

Instead of skipping down the street to our friend’s house, we socialize over Facebook. Wise marketers have learned how to insert their own agenda into the conversation in ways both subtle and overt.

Fostering community relations along this new media highway is even more important than the community relationships found in the neighborhoods of a bygone era. More than just corporate window dressing, commitment to the local and global community is now viewed as an integral part of core business strategy. Companies who embody this relational aspect attract and retain top employees and also gain a positive standing among consumers. Positive connections to the community mean a boost in the bottom line.

Just as the modern interstate highway contributed to modernization and automation in automobiles, the Internet has made possible a wide variety of tools to automate many marketing tasks. HubSpot, MailChimp, Google Analytics, Mixpanel, WordPress, Asana, Trello, Eloqua, Infusionsoft, and Marketo all provide the capacity to better share with, collaborate for, analyze, inform, and educate target audiences. The right tools for the right tasks save your company hundreds of man-hours in time and resources.

What is the Root Cause for the Lack of Resources Given to Marketing Departments?

The absolute root cause for failure is a gross lack of understanding of the needs demanded by today’s marketing environment. Consequently, marketing takes a back seat to other company departments such as IT, sales, or engineering. It is now impossible to hire a “marketing person” that can do it all and expect them to succeed. And yet, this practice continues.

This lack of understanding breeds impatience and criticism from the executive team of the company. The only budget available is for the marketing leader’s salary, with nothing left for tools or a team. There is no tracking, no lead analysis, no data available to begin such vital functions. Sales are not climbing in the first months after the marketing leader comes on board, so the leadership becomes disgruntled. The CEO who fancies himself/herself a marketing expert, although never having done the job, fails to realize that modern marketing is a long term investment. And because the CEO and others without marketing knowledge are in control of plotting the company’s business strategy, with little or no input allowed from the marketing leader, marketing problems only grow worse.

How Can Companies Solve This Problem?

When your company realizes a comprehensive marketing mix of strategies and professionals is integral to its survival, it’s time to take a deep breath and reevaluate resource allocation, personnel, and processes. Here are some suggestions:

Before you ever bring on a marketing leader, solidify your marketing goals. What does your company wish to achieve through its marketing strategy? Research what a client is worth to your company and work backward on metrics you need to see.

Establish a budget that fits within the dollar amounts you realistically can achieve. Look at your processes and staff and see if you have the right apps and tools your marketer needs to be successful. If not, can you afford to get them these tools?

Perhaps the most cost-effective solution for your company is to contract a third party agency to provide niched marketing solutions to solve the daily problems of your marketing department. For more about this, read how we view the marketing department of the future.

Marketing’s core mission is to connect with key customers where they are and deliver targeted messages about products and services that are relevant, timely and compelling. However, as technology advances and customers are browsing the web, interacting on social media, viewing videos on small screens and relying on technology to enhance their lives, marketing needs to be there, too. For most mid- and small-sized businesses, staying current and relevant in an industry is enough of a challenge. Responding to additional changes in marketing can overwhelm even the most tightly run organizations. It’s time to borrow a concept from IT and use Managed Marketing as a Service (MMaaS) to stay agile and adapt to the latest marketing trends.

New marketing solutions follow the IT model

A managed IT service delivers a collection of benefits to its clients. An outsourced solution ends the break-fix model of calling in an IT service to bring a system or functionality back online. You’ve likely worked in an office that outsourced its IT – where systems and equipment were maintained externally and system issues were monitored to prevent costly repairs and downtime. Agile businesses rely on this model to keep their technology up and running and to update their equipment and functionality. Outsourcing this work allows the business to have access to a team of experts when their business’s budget and size wouldn’t allow them to have these experts on the full-time payroll.

Marketing has become a multi-niched industry and thus can follow this same modeled approach.

The Value of MMaaS

This is a boon for small- and mid-sized businesses, who can benefit by taking advantage of this outsourcing model called MMaaS. Like its IT cousin, MMaaS gives businesses access to a highly skilled team without the expense of these experts’ annual salaries.

The benefits of an MMaaS service are:

Brands may still complete some marketing efforts in-house, but time-consuming projects or those that require specialist training or sky high software expenses can be outsourced, freeing up business leaders to explore methods, platforms, venues and audiences to gauge a project’s long-term effectiveness. The flexibility MMaaS provides ensures profitability, while reaching customers in new ways.

Effective Marketing Outsourcing to Accommodate Businesses’ Needs

Many teams hold a misconception that outsourcing is a sign of weakness or even laziness. On the contrary — marketing team diversity provides a competitive edge over organizations who hire one or two people to perform all marketing functions. Consider your current limitations like your team’s access to workflow software. Are you satisfied with the tools your company uses for campaign management, marketing automation, web analytics and standard CRM? Pricing for Salesforce Marketing Cloud starts at $400 per month for email, mobile, and web marketing and Social Studio is even more at $1,000 per month.

I’m an advocate for MMaaS as a turn-key solution that frees up a brand’s time and capital to focus on the core mission: providing their customers with high-quality goods and services.

Picking a Marketing Agency

Just as your business evaluates purchases and new hires, so too should your business have a process for selecting MMaaS for outsourced work. Check the agency’s references with a call to previous clients. Ask them about their experiences, how easy it was to work with the agency and how committed the agency is to timely delivery.

Ask your agency contact about their processes. Verify that their workflows are intuitive and that they fit well with how your business operates. Request the agency provide you with samples of their work. View their blog to see if the agency blogs regularly with engaging, useful posts.

Ask yourself these questions: Does the agency understand what you want, are they capable of the work and are they a good fit for your company culture? Answer yes to these questions and you can feel good about contracting with them for your outsourced marketing work.

Build Your Business with Managed Marketing Solutions

As you continue to grow your business, your focus should be on continuously improving your product or service; as well as hiring the right people. The time you spend outside your brand’s core mission takes away from your core mission, making it a wise decision to leverage the power and flexibility of MMaaS.

Want to learn more about how your organization can leverage MMaaS or Marketing Solutions? Contact us here