As CEO, one of your jobs is to keep close tabs on your competitors and to stay ahead of them by driving continuous innovation across all aspects of your business-product, sales and marketing.
When you analyze your company's marketing, how do you know if it is giving you a competitive advantage? Many CEOs that I speak with are not satisfied with their marketing because they can't easily measure the impact of their marketing spend.
For more on this topic, read http://www.philharrell.com/blog/how-do-ceos-know-if-their-marketing-is-working. But even worse is their gnawing fear that their competitors are out-marketing them. So CEOs: are your competitors out-marketing you? How can you as a CEO quickly and easily start to figure this out?
A simple way for you to analyze your marketing is to take 20 minutes and pretend that you are your company's ideal buyer. First, go to Google and type in a search term or phrase that your typical buyer would enter when looking for your company's solution. Take a look at the organic search results that are returned and listed in the middle of Google page (NOT the paid ads at the very top and right hand side as noted in the image below). Are any links to your company's web site(s) listed among the top three organic search results on the first page of Google?
Studies show that 90% of the clicks happen on the organic search results (vs. 10% for paid) and of those clicks, 75% occur on the first three organic search results that are presented by Google. 87% of users never scroll past the first page of Google's search results. That means that if links to your competitors' web sites are listed in the first three organic search results above links to your company's web properties, your competitors are getting Google traffic and eyeballs that your company should be getting. And that is one indication that your competitors' marketing departments are out-marketing you.
What should keep all Enterprise CEOs up at night is the simple fact that the Internet levels the playing field when it comes to marketing. The size of a marketer's brain is more important than size of a marketer's wallet. Prior to the Internet era, big companies had a distinct advantage over their smaller competitors-big companies could spend lots of money on paid advertising to interrupt buyers and get them to pay attention to their company's solutions, whereas small companies didn't have the same resources to buy these eyeballs.
But things have dramatically changed-the Internet has put buyers in control by arming them with a bevy of tools to ignore these unwanted, paid advertising messages that big companies have historically relied on. Since buyers are now in control, compelling content is the new currency in the digital marketing era-buyers will give companies their attention if companies give them ideas, engage and teach them. Companies that can consistently generate original, compelling content that pulls their buyers in will have a distinct competitive advantage since Google's organic search results are determined by content quality and quantity. Simply put, in this new world, Google rewards companies that produce a lot of original, quality content with traffic and eyeballs. The implication for CEOs is that your smaller, nimbler companies that can more easily adapt to this content creation model because they're not encumbered by existing processes or bureaucracy can get an out sized presence in Google and on the web. Prospects that should be going to your company are going to your smaller competitors instead.
The second step for you to analyze if your marketing department is being out-marketed by your competitors is to compare the content that was created by your marketing department in the past month vs. your competitors' content. If you were a buyer, which content would you want to read? Does your company's content do a better job of establishing your company as a thought leader in the space, or does your competitors'? Enterprises that can figure out how to expose the collective knowledge of their employees in the most compelling fashion will have a competitive advantage. Simply put, Enterprise marketing departments need to think and act more like publishers-the companies with the most compelling content and therefore the biggest and most engaged readship will win. For more on this subject, you can read this article (http://blog.hubspot.com/opinion/cmo-guide-to-brand-journalism)
As CEO, it is critical that you examine your marketing efforts and compare against your competitors. Buyers have changed and how you market to your buyers must change as well. The companies that figure out how to transform their marketing first will have a huge competitive advantage.