The end of the year always presents a great opportunity for organizations to take stock of their current competencies and plan how to improve for the following year.

At Econsultancy, we’ve heard a lot from our partners about how they plan to educate their workforces in 2019 and wanted to share that information here.

Our work with thousands of global marketers has led us to identify areas that can help you and your organization navigate these complex times effectively.

1. Customer journey mapping

It’s a popular phrase for a reason: everyone is obsessed with understanding how and why – and through which means – a person becomes a customer. With the explosion of devices, platforms, and touchpoints, the path to purchase is more complex than it has ever been.

Creating frameworks to understand the customer journey involves a rigorous attention to data – through mining and modeling, honest assessments of why customers fail to make a purchase or don’t become repeat customers, and how to ensure customers always have the information they need to grow closer to the brand.

Why is it so important? According to a 2018 Gartner report, 89% of businesses are expected to mostly compete on customer experience in the next few years. It’s crucial that organizations accurately track their customers, so they are providing the right offers at the right opportunity on the right devices.

Smart organizations take a holistic approach to their customers’ journeys. Multiple parts of the organization (sales, customer service, PR, and marketing, to name a few) must share intel and, most importantly, data to form a complete picture. No template exists for all organizations; it requires collaboration, hard work, and attention to detail.

Marketers feel that ‘optimizing the customer journey across multiple touchpoints’ will be ‘very important’ (71%)

– Econsultancy’s Digital Intelligence Briefing

2. Content strategy and editorial planning

Every organization with a serious approach to marketing creates and distributes original content through organic and paid avenues. Consumers continue to ignore display advertising at an alarming frequency, and brands are reconsidering those expenditures.

The proliferation of social media and the seemingly bottomless appetite for content, aided by the rise of mobile technology, offers brands endless ways to reach consumers through smart content strategy.

Creating content is easy. But identifying and producing meaningful content can vex even the most purposeful organizations. The truly enlightened organizations treat their content campaigns as de facto editorial operations.

They hire ex-journalists and give them (mostly) free reign to search for underreported, cool stories and interview key executives. They invest in the appropriate resources to produce high-quality multimedia content. They involve their partners and key associations in mutually beneficial stories.

It takes some dedication and not-an-insignificant amount of work to transform from an organization that occasionally posts content they have on hand to a truly enlightened content factory that places accountability and definable KPIs to every content asset they create and post.

88% of US B2B audience engage with business content online at least once a week.

Clutch, 2018

3. Driving smarter agency-client relationships

Smart organizations have realized some truisms to their work with agency partners. Relationships require constant assessment. Accountability needs to be a two-way street. And sometimes it’s not the agency’s fault!

There are real costs – in time, energy, and actual dollars – associated with failed agency relationships.

It’s become too common for clients to treat their vendors as adversaries instead of as partners. We know from experience, however, that better relationships lead to better results.

It’s important to have a transparent dialogue with agency partners, but also to look truthfully at a company’s own operations. Questions to ask include:

  • Are we unreasonable with our demands?
  • Do we have a healthy relationship on a personal level?
  • Have we done anything to help the agency grow itself (referrals, submission for awards, references)?

Some of the questions require some facilitation, such as through training.

Strong agency relationships lead to better quality of work, more efficiency, and a better work experience for client and vendor.

46% of US organizations using content marketing use between one and three outside agencies.

– Rundown, 2016

The Econsultancy digital transformation team helps marketers address the above and more while identifying their most pressing needs and pain points.

If you want more information about the above training or any other ways you can upskill your organization, contact us today.