Target Marketing estimated that by 2020, consumers will manage 85 percent of their relationship with a brand without ever interacting with a person.

Even more unbelievable for many brands is the fact that

90 percent of consumers prefer learning about a company through articles instead of ads
and 30 percent of people said that social media played a role in purchase decision.

What This Means For Your Brand

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Courtesy of: Think with Google

The path to purchase no longer fits into the neat package of a funnel. Now, the consumer journey looks more like a country line dance or a break dance fight between competing brands. Everything your audience needs to learn about you is at their fingertips and you have to adapt new strategies to control the messaging that reaches key demographics.

While a lot of brands have jumped on the bandwagon of integrated digital marketing, the truth is that many businesses are still falling short when it comes to the most important part of marketing: business growth.

It's easy to tell your marketing team to "do" integrated marketing, but the real differentiator is in fundamentally changing the way your team thinks of marketing. For instance, if your brand building strategy is still using generalized "demographics" and siloed tactics then you are missing out on opportunities to reach consumers through innovative in-store experiences, social selling, content marketing and paid media.

Here's what you can do to not only keep up with the competition, but surpass them in terms of leads, sales and audience advocacy.

Put Your Audience At The Heart Of Everything You Do

The truth is that

75 percent of consumers don't believe companies tell the truth in advertisements
.

Consumers don't care about what your brand wants to say unless it addresses a pain point and offers useful information on how to solve a problem in their day-to-day life.

So, how do you go about implementing this into your marketing strategy?

1. Segment Your Target Audiences

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2. Define Your Audiences' Worldview

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3. Build Buyer Personas

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Once your brand begins creating content aimed at teaching your audience how to fish instead of thinking that you are doing them a favor by giving them one, you will not only increase traffic to your website, but you will earn more credibility with target demographics and by extension make more money.

Accurately Track Demographics And Conversions For Every Campaign

Tracking the ROI of every campaign you run whether it's content marketing, paid search, SEO, etc. is extremely important.

If you do not have proper tracking set up for all of the efforts that you are pouring time and resources into then you will not always know what tactics are, or are not, driving the most profit for your business. Is it possible that you are pouring money into your SEO strategy but not enough into the user experience of your website to actually get any return on that investment? Is it also possible that you don't have the proper attribution channels set up to ever know whether that is, or is not, the case?

You aren't alone, your competitors are likely experiencing the same problem. Lucky for you, shortly you will have the tools you need to beat the competition.

This year, make sure that you are tracking these key performance indicators (KPIs)

1. Demographics tracking: This gives you in depth insight into the interests, location, language, age and gender of your audience. All you have to do is update a tracking code using the instructions from Google Analytics. No expert analytics skills needed to set it up and it only takes a week to start providing information on your audience.

2. Conversion goals: Set up goals that not only attribute ROI from search strategies, but also that track engagement on your website. How many people felt motivated to fill out a contact form after reading a blog post? How many qualified leads were generated from an eBook download? What about a whitepaper?

These are all goals that you should set up and track on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis if you are really committed to an integrated strategy that takes into account every marketing effort you employ for different products/services.

3. Referral traffic: What percentage of your website's overall traffic is driven by social media? Are people being directed to your blog posts or to landing pages with a clear call-to-action?

4. Social media insights: Facebook and Twitter have become ridiculously advanced in the kind of insight they can provide for brand building. You can find out what interests your audience on social media or even just find out who your audience is on the basic level. Do you have qualified leads engaging with your brand on social media platforms? That sort of thing.
These are all important metrics for ensuring that your marketing efforts are all working together to nurture leads through each phase of the conversion cycle. Plus, they are helpful for retargeting consumers who can then become advocates for your brand.

Adaptive Marketing Is Going To Be A Game-changer For Your Brand

There has been a lot of talk recently about adaptive content, which simply put, is content built around the context of the buyer journey. Adaptive marketing not only takes content into consideration, but also every other touch point between your brand and qualified leads.

Similar to the audience segmentation graphics above, this method requires a team of people to think about where consumers are, both physically and in terms of the buyer journey. The goal is to tailor all of your integrated efforts to reach consumers at key points during the evaluation, consideration and conversion phase.

While it is all well and good to talk about why adaptive marketing is important, you are probably much more interested in the how.For example:

Dynamic form fills: Instead of a standard form fill that asks for the same information each time a user downloads an eBook, whitepaper, infographic, etc. you now have the ability to place a cookie so that each time a returning user downloads a new piece of content the form fill will ask a new set of questions.

Once you have this in place you can really get to know target demographics and what kind of content/call-to-action gets the most engagement. Not only that, you can use this data to make sure that your buyer personas are accurately taking into account real-time information from actual leads on your website.

Mobile vs. Desktop: We have all heard plenty about the importance of websites being optimized for desktop users and mobile. However, is your brand really leveraging everything possible in terms of mobile user experience? Have you thrown around the idea of building an app? Is all of your content built to provide just as much value to mobile traffic as it does to desktop traffic? Consumers largely use mobile during the consideration and evaluation phase, which is leading to an increasing population of people who make purchases on mobile devices.

Is your brand able to capitalize on this ever-growing market or are your competitors positioning themselves better with mobile traffic?

Each strategy listed above should help your brand building campaign become even more effective in the new year. Are there any tactics not listed above that either you've used or you have been researching and believe would be beneficial for other members of the audience to know?