An article by Rob Robinson
When one considers that nearly half of all Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) have a core focus on product, service, or experience commercialization with the goal of spurring sales through marketing communications, it seems reasonable to assert that organizations with these types of CMOs place a high value on marketing communication programs that create awareness and drive demand. Also, when one considers the prevalence of digital communications in today’s marketing mix, it also seems reasonable to assert that CMOs focused on commercialization need to have a firm grasp on digital marketing tactics, techniques, and tools that can positively impact the organization’s bottom line, the most important measurement of marketing communication program success.
Having a firm grasp on digital marketing tactics, techniques, and tools does not necessarily require a CMO focused on commercialization to be an expert on all available tools and tactics, but it does seem reasonable to suggest that they should at least have a working knowledge of the capabilities of many of the digital tools employed today. And if they expertly understand and can personally leverage those tools, they can not only ensure those tools are applied correctly but in many cases can make timely additions and adjustments that increase the potential for task success without having to rely on extended teams or outsourced assets to make simple adjustments. This type of experiential understanding by a CMO may also directly contribute to the bottom line by saving time and money in digital marketing program execution.
With the need for a commercialization-focused CMO to understand the capabilities of digital marketing tools in mind, provided below is a short list of digital marketing tools that many organizations find useful in their digital marketing efforts. It would be a stretch to say that all CMOs driving digital marketing efforts should know about and be using these specific tools. But I suggest it would not be a stretch to expect a commercialization-centric CMO to be able to identify the benefits of the capabilities of these tools and consider how to address those capabilities with the tools of their choice.
A Concise List of Selected Digital Marketing Tools
The following list is a non-all-inclusive overview of tools that may be beneficial in creating, distributing, and managing content as part of a digital marketing program. Each tool may not necessarily be the best-in-class tool for accomplishing a specific communication-related task. However, if one views the contribution of each tool as a thread to be woven into the fabric of an awareness and demand generation program, each of the tools may directly add value to marketing efforts and positively impact an organization’s bottom line by saving money, saving time, and increasing digital marketing effectiveness.
- Alexa Skill Blue Prints: An Amazon Alexa-enabled service to create and publish skills and blueprints.
- Amazon Polly: A text-to-speech service that uses deep learning technologies to synthesize speech that sounds like a human voice.
- Bitly: A URL shortening service and a link management platform.
- BrightTALK: A content and demand marketing platform and professional network that provides both content creation and distribution infrastructure for webinar and videos.
- Buffer: A social media management platform that enables the creation, management, and analysis of social media posts.
- Cyfe: A self-service cloud-based business intelligence application that allows for the integration and tracking of crucial business information in real-time from one dashboard.
- Disqus: An blog comment hosting service for website and online communities.
- Facebook: An online social media and social networking service.
- Feedly: A news aggregator application for organizing, reading, and sharing news feeds.
- FireShot: A tool to help capture and edit web page screenshots and save as a PDF (with direct links), PNG, GIF, or BMP file.
- Google Alerts: A content change detection and notification service offered by Google.
- Google Sheets: A spreadsheet program included as part of a free, web-based software office suite from Google.
- Google Pagespeed Insights: A tool that analyzes the content of a web page, then generates suggestions for improved performance.
- GTMetrix: An online service that provides insight into website loads and provides optimization recommendations.
- Instagram: A photo and video-sharing social networking service.
- JD Supra: An online legal publishing service that connects experts and content with audiences of professionals, journalists, and associations.
- LaterPay: An online tool that helps publishers and websites monetize their content with a unique pay later model.
- LexBlog: A legal blogger network and publishing solution that delivers creation, aggregation and syndication capability for news and commentary from the legal community.
- LinkedIn: A business and employment-oriented networking service.
- MailChimp: A marketing automation platform and email marketing service.
- MailPoet: A WordPress newsletter plug-in that integrates, automates, and tracks newsletters directly for WordPress.
- ManageWP: A WordPress management tool that allows for the management of multiple WordPress websites from one dashboard.
- OptinMonster: Online lead generation software tool that integrates with web platforms such as WordPress.
- Patreon: An online membership platform that integrates with other online platforms such as WordPress to allow for the generation of predictable and recurring revenue from creative work.
- PDF Suite: A application that allows you to read, create, convert, edit, review, and secure PDFs.
- PDF Embedder: A WordPress plug-in that enables embedding of PDF documents directly into web pages and posts.
- Pingdom Website Speed Test: Test page load times to analyze and improve performance.
- Pinterest: A social media web software system designed to allow for the sharing and discovery of images and videos.
- Pixabay: A royalty free stock photo and video library.
- Pixelmator: A professional image editing tool for Mac computers.
- PRWeb: An online press release distribution service.
- Promo: An online professional video creation and promotion tool.
- PushCrew: An online push notification tool for sending messages directly to a user’s browser.
- Retently: An online Net Promoter Score (NPS) tool for gathering, analyzing and acting on customer feedback.
- ShortPixel: An image optimization API and WordPress plugin for improving website performance.
- Snappa: An online tool for quickly and professionally creating online graphics.
- Streak: A customer relationship management platform built that can be integrated with and operating within Gmail.
- TablePress: A WordPress plug-in that allows for the creation and management of tables that can be embedded into posts, pages, or text widgets.
- TweetDeck: A social media dashboard for conveniently reviewing and managing Twitter communications.
- Twitter: A social networking service that enables posting and interaction with short messages.
- Uberconference: A comprehensive conferencing platform that provides both a visual interface and integration into leading communications platforms.
- Visual Visitor: An complete website analytics platform for understanding, tracking, and managing website traffic and creating tracking links, to include anonymous visitor identification.
- WiseStamp: A cloud-enabled email signature tool that provides an organizational capability for standardized and dynamic signature blocks for email communications.
- WordPress: An open source content management system that provides communications infrastructure for websites and blog.
- Yoast: A comprehensive WordPress Plugin for website SEO optimization.
- Zapier: An online tool that automates info transfer between web applications.
Execution. Not Just Understanding.
An understanding of these types of tools and the ability to discuss their capability related to awareness creation and demand generation is important. However, the ability to use these types of tools while sharing information that is of value to the right audiences, sequenced for maximum awareness over time while minimizing intrusiveness will determine the level of impact they have on digital marketing program success and correspondingly the impact on the bottom line.
Many marketing leaders can talk about how to implement a comprehensive and cohesive digital marketing program. Some of these leaders can execute such a program or individual tasks within a program for a short period until interest of the program wanes and the day-to-day blocking and tackling begins to border on drudgery. Even fewer of these leaders can execute such a program systematically over time to fully optimize the program’s contribution to awareness and demand generation. So, when considering leaders for an organization’s marketing efforts, it is important to evaluate not only that leader’s understanding of digital marketing tactics, techniques, and tools, but it is also equally important to assess that leader’s ability to execute, not just talk, about digital marketing programs. The key to digital marketing success is in the execution, not just the capability.
PostScript: Bubbles and Cotton Candy
One unspoken but highly relevant factor in a digital marketing program’s success is the health of the target market. One only has to look at the last tech bubble to realize that many individuals who viewed themselves as marketing experts before the bubble burst were more the beneficiaries of great market conditions than great marketers. When the bubble burst, it quickly unmasked those leaders whose marketing programs were not comprehensive or cohesive and whose strong contribution to the organizational bottom line was because of market conditions, not solid marketing efforts.
Bringing value to the bottom line with digital marketing consists of more than regular cotton candy emotional accents on popular topics. It consists of the comprehensive and cohesive use of the proper tactics, techniques, and tools, applied to share the right information with the right audience at the right time to positively inform that audience’s thoughts, decisions, and actions. If a marketing leader can do this consistently over time, they should be able to deliver a positive and quantifiable impact on an organization’s bottom line with digital marketing.