Always-on marketing is a rather new term to the field. Since it’s a relatively novel concept and represents a unique strategy, there’s confusion and misconceptions. Defining what always-on means isn’t easy or necessarily straightforward. As a result, you may still be in search of demystification, and that’s our aim with this post. We’ll define it, document its challenges, and provide tips to ensure it’s part of your content strategy.
What Is Always-On Marketing, Exactly?
Content marketing is, by nature, considered to be always on because it’s always accessible. Your website where it lives doesn’t take a snooze. The channels where you distribute it, like social media and email marketing, remain ready for anyone to click on no matter when you posted it or sent it. You don’t need a team working 24-7 to ensure this. It’s just the way the modern digital world works.
You can convert a user that completes a form for an ebook or white paper while you sleep peacefully. With this in mind, it seems we’ve solved the puzzle of what always-on marketing is.
However, you might want to back up a little and rethink the difference between always-on and always accessible. When you approach from this lens, you’ll find that always-on is a little more complex than providing uninterrupted access to content.
A More Precise Definition of Always-On Marketing
The best way to define always-on marketing is as an ongoing, non-campaign approach. Its objective is to deliver exceptional brand experiences at scale. To achieve this, you must optimize across the funnel. This is the key difference of being always on and always available.
The image below from Widerfunnel’s Chris Goward illustrates this well.
Image credit: WiderFunnel.com
The diagram replaces “evolutionary site redesign” with one element of the buying experience to optimize over time. For example, your brand could offer the most robust and personalized feature comparison tool on the market.
You’ll continue to enhance this experience by using an evolutionary optimization pattern. You can apply this same method to other buying journey experiences. And just like that, you have always-on marketing.
With narrower optimization windows, you have a far less chance of being “off” when it matters most. This concept may seem a bit abstract. However, it’s the same as a comedian who constantly tests and tweaks new material or a magician that continues to hone their act.
What Keeps Brands from Performing Always-On Marketing?
As you know by now, being always on is much more than flipping a switch. In his overview for building an always-on model, Greg Poffenroth identified three factors preventing brands from achieving always-on marketing.
First, brands need “usable data.” Usable data is what you may learn from content analytics or demographics to improve personalization and relevance. You’ve got a lot of data related to customers, channels, engagement, and more. In that, you have first-, second-, and third-party personalization. Here’s a quick primer on each:
- First-party personalization: This is the information about your customers that you own. You collect this through channels you own, like your website and customer service interactions. It can also include engagement data from social media. It’s high-quality data, accurate, and doesn’t hit any privacy concerns because customers consented to provide it.
- Second-party personalization: This information comes from your partners, like those that sell your products. It’s also great data to have since your partners have close connections to your customers.
- Third-party personalization: This type of data is what you buy to identify and understand your target audience. It can be expensive but valuable. It often provides rich insights that complement first- and second-party.
Companies need “supporting architecture” via connected systems to scale personalization and relevance. As Poffenroth noted, “You want these systems to learn about individual behaviors and apply the knowledge to each new interaction.”
So, that involves your marketing tools sharing data and integrating with each other. Or, you could have a system that covers many aspects of the marketing ecosystem.
You’re constantly tweaking and improving. Each new iteration would need new content that follows a sound testing model. Many enterprises struggle with both content volume and testing consistency at the beginning.
How Can You Get Started with Always-On Marketing?
Most enterprise marketing teams proactively optimize lots of brand experiences. That may seem overwhelming, but they didn’t get to this place overnight. They had to start somewhere and gradually operationalized it for scale.
You can start your always-on marketing initiatives by:
- Identifying one or two specific buying journey experiences that are the most critical for your company
- Considering opportunities where a personalized content experience would be meaningful to you and your audience
- Pinpointing where your brand really shines in the process of making customers feel engaged and connected
- Determining what’s within your current capabilities based on technology, resources, and budgets
By creating a plan, deploying it, and sustaining it, you can find success in these moments. Then you can apply them to every experience down the road.
How Can DivvyHQ Help You Execute Always-On Marketing?
Technology is a crucial player in always-on marketing. With our custom workflow feature, you can optimize from the start of content projects. Most content workflows end at the “publish” or “promote” phase. With Divvy, you can insert pre-scheduled, systematic content updates to maintain and improve experiences.
By leveraging optimization from the start, you ensure that you don’t skip over any fundamental steps. It will add more work to your team’s plate. However, this is an ongoing directive — it’s called always-on for a reason!
Your team can find ways to optimize the process as much as the content by using our tools, like the content analytics dashboard, content workflows, content automation, and content calendar.
If you want to be “always-on” or just more “on,” you’ll appreciate our content marketing platform. Its features empower content marketers, much more so than standard project management software or manual processes. See how it works today by starting a free trial.