It’s a big world out there, filled with millions of people with differing tastes, differing preferences, and differing views on life. At first glance, this might seem like a marketer’s dream — after all, with so many different viewpoints, any product or service you’re trying to market has to find some sort of success, right?

Maybe. Here's the challenge: Millions of people would make prime targets, but they can be hard to identify. How can marketers gather enough prospect data to make precise marketing efforts?

The key comes in finding the links between all these people — such as behaviors and preferences. The more data you bring in, the easier it is to notice patterns. From there it becomes possible to make reasonably accurate predictions about how customers will respond to different messages and marketing approaches. With enough data, you can put together a strategic marketing campaign that will bring in new customers and improve your relationships with established clients.

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Ever since AT&T posted the first banner ad on Wired magazine’s website in 1994 (convincing 44% of the people who saw it to click), digital marketing has become a behemoth that drives the industry. More than three-quarters (78%) of companies report having dedicated social media teams, and 28% are reducing their traditional advertising budgets in order to fund additional digital marketing. However, almost half (47%) of businesses indicate that they don’t have any defined strategy for doing so.

By employing strategic management marketing, businesses can take a closer look at their own strengths and weaknesses. Companies can employ software suites to track and analyze customer activity on their websites, in their online stores, across social media, and even their responses to various email marketing initiatives.

As companies gather more and more data, they’re able to take a step back and get a holistic view of their entire marketing strategy. Marketing initiatives don’t exist in a vacuum — each action has an impact on all the other avenues the company is pursuing. As companies gather this data, they can base their decisions upon a more complete picture from the highest vantage point possible.

With all of this data coming in from so many different sources, businesses need a way to gather, organize, and analyze it so that they can put it to use. This can be a huge undertaking, as it’s not just a matter of running the analysis once and then moving forward. It’s important to keep track of the ever-changing trends in the market, and customer interests evolve every day. Even internet search activity evolves at an impressive rate — according to one report, 15% of Google searches have never been searched before. In other words, almost one in every seven Google searches is something brand new.

Software solutions simplify this process, gathering the data as needed and putting it into a database where the company can run statistical analyses and make predictions about customer activity. These software suites integrate with customer relationship management (CRM) software to automate email interactions, measure client response, and generate profiles and recognize patterns in customer behavior. Company executives can then make marketing decisions with a clear view of the environment.

An instructional tool kit for SMB marketers.

Once a company has made the decision to implement a strategic marketing management software solution, they have another decision to make: which solution they should implement? The internet is filled with suppliers claiming that their solution is the best option. What is it that makes a solution a good fit? Below, we’ve listed a few of the factors to consider when your company is deciding which software to implement:

Can it do everything you need it to?

If a solution can’t actually fulfill your requirements, then it’s just a wasted investment. What tools does it offer? Can it track website traffic? Does it offer email automation solutions? Can it bring data from social media? What about analytics? When it delivers analyses, does it present the information in an easy-to-understand graphical format, or do you need a PhD in computer science to understand anything?
 

How easy is it for your employees to use?

Some solutions have a difficult learning curve. While they may be able to offer benefits to your marketing strategies, the time and training costs associated with them may be too great. A simple interface that is easy to understand can be incredibly valuable, and multichannel supports options, along with built-in tutorial options, can make a positive difference.
 

As your business grows, can the solution grow with you?

Some solutions work great for small businesses, but as your market grows, they can be overwhelmed. How flexible and scalable is the software?
 

How easy is it to integrate with your system and other tools?

Will you need to buy a huge bank of servers to run the solution properly, or can you use the systems you already have in place? Some solutions are available via the cloud, meaning that all of the processing and heavy lifting is done offsite.

You may have other marketing tools that you want to sync up with your strategic solution as well. How difficult is it to export information from one tool and import it into the other?
 

How much does it cost, and is it worth the expense?

How much of an investment will a new strategic marketing management solution be, and how quickly will you be able to see a return on that investment? Sometimes, a cheaper solution is what you’re looking for, but other times, it pays to invest in a system that will bring the value that your business needs.
 

When you’re trying to market to such a broad variety of people, it’s important to be able to learn more about your customer base. You need to be able to drill deep into specific demographics to find out what motivates them. At the same time, you also need to be able to back up and look at the market as a whole and get a big picture perspective. By implementing strategic marketing management tools, you’ll be able to make better decisions, create better strategy, and improve your business overall.

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