Guest Blogger: Mark Bietz is CMO for Fun.com which is the parent company for HalloweenCostumes.com where he oversees marketing and product.
What are the most interesting trends you’re seeing the in the world of digital marketing?
One major trend that’s been around for a long time but is starting to become more widely used and optimized is personalization. We have all the data and we are starting to learn how to use it to create better customer experiences. One of the biggest areas in which this is happening is merchandising. When someone begins to browse your website each page within a category or product page recommendations should be evolving in close to real time. Using past purchase and browsing history we’re able to not only make the website experience better but also inform our designers and buyers on what products to create next.
How does a company with a small budget best allocate their time and energy when it comes to Digital?
This really depends on the company and where their potential customers are. For example, if you are a company that relies heavily on personal selling or have a more complicated sales process, I’d spend the majority of resources on marketing automation and lead nurturing. Of course, if leads are low, then I’d spend more on lead generation. But it’s good to have an efficient, digitally integrated sales process prior to spending a lot on getting more leads. Investing in a long term SEO strategy, to me, is a good choice along with gaining quick wins via PPC, paid social or display. Speak with a professional or do your research before embarking into a digital marketing strategy.
What are the three most important skills a CMO should be looking for when potentially hiring a new member on a digital team?
This one depends as well. A non-negotiable is a core value fit. If someone is the best digital marketer in the world but doesn’t fit your culture, they will be a drain on the rest of your team. Outside of this, digital marketers need to be extremely curious. Since the industry evolves so quickly, staying on top of new products, channels and techniques are important. Next is the ability to be analytical, with attribution methods being vastly different, it’s important that we always scrutinize the way we are tracking and analyzing. For potential employees that don’t have prior experience in digital marketing, different skill sets and aptitudes work well for different positions. For example, I’d look for someone with a background in finance, economics or chemistry to do PPC. Or, for someone in SEO I’d look for a PR, journalism or copywriting background.
What are your top three “secret weapons” when it comes to digital marketing tools?
The secret weapons aren’t actually secret, but here goes:
1…Using digital marketing to make the entire organization better. One of the most exciting things about we do being so data rich, is being able to push out great insights and strategies to the entire organization, from customer service to product teams.
2…Mentors. There are so many different specialties within marketing that being able to reach out and find smart people to evaluate your efforts is really important.
3…Analytics. We are fortunate to be able to know pretty much everything that’s going on in the digital world, and a properly set up analytics platform will make every decision better along the way.
What’s the biggest challenge small businesses face in Digital over the coming years?
The biggest challenge for small businesses, as with anything, is creativity. Small businesses won’t be able to win on budget or price (usually). So taking care of their customers and being able to leverage happy ones through reviews and referrals can be the difference between success and failure. On top of this, being able to prioritize precious budget dollars is key to being able to move forward the fastest. In order to do this, hire motivated people who can be flexible and wear a couple different hats, and bring in a good agency partner that can help steer the ship and add horsepower.