“I’m helping them market.”

There are times when for one reason or another I feel compelled to tweet out or post a thanks or a photo with a caption to a specific brand or company. My husband does not share in this kind of desire and instead asks, “why? Can you just tell me why you have to do that now?” My simplest answer, and one that seems to have held the most water with him is, “I’m helping them market.”

It’s true. When I feel like someone should receive a kudos or a shout out, or just a simple “Hey thanks for being there.” I feel like that brand should hear that kind of sentiment from me, or any customer. After all, I know very well that brands work hard for that kind of word of mouth marketing. Large brands, and especially consumer facing brands, have it easier than others when it comes to people thinking of them and taking part in word of mouth marketing. But, none the less, I am a marketer. Regardless of whether I work for you or  not, I will help you market, if I believe in your cause.

 

Re-Branding

Re-branding a brand can be difficult.  Besides worrying about a new logo, message, or product offering you also have to worry about how the customers will receive these changes.  Will they talk in a positive or negative light? Will they think you’ve simply rebranded to freshen things up but in reality are hiding the fact that your offering is dated? Will you fall off the map entirely because your new refresh gets you overlooked among your competition? Will your rebranding make it clearer to the consumer what your brand is about? (Such as in the example above)

Here is a very good tip from an article written about the J.Crew turnaround: “Offer quality products while always looking for new ways to meet customer demands.”

So what does this mean? To me it means that you need to look at your products and ensure that they still offer the customer the safe/quality/hip/etc product they have come to expect from you (unless you’re heading in an entirely different direction and are trying to show customers that your products are not cheap, in which case that’s a whole other mountain to climb…talk to your PR department about how to spin the messaging on that).  Then look at how to expand that product offering by including new products.  Don’t just jump in and waste time, resources, and money on new products that may not be market ready yet.

As you transition to the new look and feel of your brand, keep a pulse on the demand and what the customers are looking for and need.  Keep your eye on competition, talk to customers, learn about what it is that will make the biggest splash.  But with the biggest splash in mind, don’t just splash and flop, make sure that the new product(s) you’re going to launch meet the needs of your key customers.

Good luck!

Attribution Models

In the last two jobs that I have held we have used both single source attribution and fractional attribution models…without really knowing that what we were doing had a name to it.

What I mean is, we looked at both the final place that a lead converted from, i.e. the lead’s final click, as well as some of their history with the company.  Sometimes, an eblast would trigger a former customer to place an order because of their favorable experience with the products. But at the end of the day, we put emphasis on the fact that the eblast or social interaction triggered that conversion or sale.

For those in the same boat, a recent article talks about how to look at how to calculate inbound marketing ROI through attribution modeling…because really, it’s time we started using the appropriate wording for what we’re already doing!

Thank you New Breed for the blog post on the topic.

Lead Scoring

My first experience with lead scoring came when we implemented Pardot.  The new platform allowed for improved nurturing of our leads and a better way to understand where in the buying funnel each lead was at any given time. However, the one issue we ran into was that sales was starving for leads and we couldn’t wholeheartedly just hang on to some leads to properly nurture them.  So while sales was following up on the prospects, we nurtured them simultaneously and hoped for the best.  So keep that in mind when you’re being pushed to score your leads and not throw every prospect possible over the fence.

Hubspot goes over lead scoring, and your organization’s readiness for it.  Take a look and determine whether to take the next step.

Account Based Marketing

Account based marketing focuses on the key accounts that will generate revenue.  In my B2B past, we viewed these as target markets.  When I created a roadmap for our marketing efforts, I would consult sales to better understand when certain markets were going to be making their purchases for our products and marketing to them leading up to and during that time.

Each market had its own demographic and its own buying time.  This kind of roadmap allowed for the department to put greater focus on specific times during a key time during the year.  It allowed us to hone in on our various initiatives and better analyze the results, rather than taking a shot gun approach and hitting all customers at once with one blanket message regardless of their interest, purchasing power, or specific need.

Account based marketing, takes some of the above into account and puts it into 5 key steps, at least according to Marketo’s findings:

  1. Discover & Define Your Key Prospects
  2. Define Personalized and Effective Messaging
  3. Determine Optimal Channels
  4. Execute Targeted Campaigns
  5. Measure, Learn & Optimize

What approach are you taking to ensure that you are focusing on key markets, or accounts, during the right time in their buying process?

Marketing Management

Marketing management – it means a lot of things to a lot of people.  Marketing seems simple, and so the trouble becomes that everyone thinks they are an expert and have the best ideas, and why doesn’t marketing “just do it.”

Well, some things can be done on the fly, as a test or as a last minute initiative, but for the most part, some kind of planning and thought has to go into a new initiative.  Simple things such as:

  • Who will do the work?  Can my staff take this new thing on, or should I drive the bus for a while until we get some steam under it?
  • Is there a strategy for this new initiative? (Does content need to be generated? Who will generate that content?)
  • Why are we doing this new thing? Is our customer base asking for it?  Is just one customer asking for it?
  • What is the return on our investment, monetary or time based.
  • Does this fit with who our brand is?  (ex: should we do a flash mob as a pharmaceutical company?)
  • Does this fit in to everything else we are doing and if not, at what expense will this come?  Do we stop investing in PR or advertising to focus on this new initiative?

All good questions, but unfortunately they are sometimes seen as push back and an unwillingness to “just do it.”  When in reality, as a marketer, you know the implications of just doing something, sometimes there are none, but often times it derails the team and the overall focus of the marketing roadmap that has been set out.  It might also confuse your customer base, which is an even bigger price to pay. Oh, and there is also the fact that if you just ask “how high?” every time someone says “jump!” you’ll be expected to ask that every time.

So what’s our lesson here?  You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, in terms of convincing someone that a strategy is needed when they’re not used to having one, but what you can do is perhaps show the implications of doing this one thing instead of something else you are already doing.  Will doing this new thing really pay off in the long run?  If you realize that it might, then explain why you will be needing to put something else on pause.

It’s a slippery slope.  You have to educate people and explain the (who/what/when/where/why) and the reason that you even need to consider all of those things before “just doing it.”

Good luck!

Global Marketing Strategies

Who cares about a global marketing strategy, or central brand guidelines, or a cohesive language…right?  Well, when your brand looks different the world over, then it becomes a problem. Different marketing strategies will apply to different regions across the globe, but the general language and message should be the same.  The brand should look the same, the customer facing material should look the same, and most certainly the answer to “who are we?” should be consistent.

When you line up all the collateral, no matter in what language, it should look like it comes from one source, even if the internal information is specifically tailored to a specific market or region.  Below are my suggestions on where to start:

  • Gather the global marketing managers together and talk about what’s being done where
  • Understand what’s working, and what’s not, where and why
  • Discuss having a cohesive marketing plan
  • Begin to update your brand guidelines that include the information gathered above
  • Ensure that the brand guidelines address issues such as:
    • The look of the web, collateral, advertising, etc

It’s a long process but it’s absolutely something that is needed, especially if you are trying to build out your brand and are having issues with brand awareness in any of the global regions.

I also know that I’m not *the* expert, I’m just one gal with an opinion and someone who’s seen things done both ways.  So, here are some additional resources for your perusal:

Global Marketing Strategy (Four Benefits):

A global marketing strategy is one component of a global strategy. To be effective, it must incorporate all functional aspects of a business – from finance to operations to R&D…Don’t think for a moment that you can minimize country-to-country differences! Embrace them and develop your strategy in such a way as to complement the differences.

10 Businesses We Admire for Brilliant Global Marketing:

Unlike Craigslist, Airbnb has a fun, more user-friendly website that showcases the brand’s transparent, trusting personality. The website is now available in 21 languages with consistent information, style, and personality to appeal to like-minded users across cultures.

7 Recommendations for a Balanced Global Marketing Strategy:

Global marketing can indeed work, drive synergies and economies of scale whilst preserving specific local needs and cultural considerations.

However, as with most marketing approaches, the key to success is a balanced approach.  Not all marketing activities can or should be driven from the centre.

Digital Marketing Advances

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There are so many new things happening in digital, and I have to be honest and say that I miss working with people in the know.

That’s a direct shout out to you, KoMarketing Associates and Klunk & Millan.

Most aspects of today’s marketing hinge on digital, but it has become a kind of “word of the day.” So let’s break it down and then see what all the new cool advances are.

Digital Marketing 101: It all stems from the web.  It is then parlayed into how your website functions on a mobile device and how well your website is found via search engines and PPC (i.e. SEM), hence…how well it is optimized. But, before we go any further, here is a quick reference.

In essence, “Digital Marketing encompasses all the activities a business conducts via the worldwide web with the aim of attracting new business, retaining current business and continuing to develop and evolve its brand identity.” Which really truly is most of what we marketers do all day, for the exception of maybe sending out flyers…although in some aspect that could fall into a sub bucket of digital as you are more than likely hoping that people will come back to your website to either purchase, download, or learn more about your product or service.

One major advantage of digital, or online, marketing is that everything is traceable. You can see how your website is doing, where your web traffic is coming from, the level of engagement customers have with your website, what the conversion factor is and most importantly of all, what marketing initiatives are paying off the most!

Digital Marketing Advances: So what’s “hot” right now that might be useful for you to at a minimum look into?  Well, none of it is rocket science but it’s good to get a pulse check and make sure that the things you think might work, are actually what some experts say will as well.

Below I highlight the portions of the article I think might get you the most bang for your buck, regardless of the kind of business you are running, B2B or B2C:

  • Facebook Look Alike Audiences – “Let’s say you have an email marketing database over 5,000 contacts and are in the heating and cooling industry. You can upload this onto Facebook’s advertising platform and target the EXACT demographic similar to your existing customers!” (This one is news to me and I think it’s pretty darn clever.)
  • Email marketing – “According to econsultancy.com, email marketing remains the best digital channel for ROI. Start strategizing heavily as to how you will make this for of online marketing work for you business in 2015!”
  • Blogging – “We like to refer to blog content as the match that starts the fire. When you write a compelling blog, it has the potential to rank well organically in the search engines.”
  • YouTube (owned by Google) – “By implementing videos into your online marketing mix, you can start to get search engine exposure for the videos that you upload onto YouTube! There are a lot of great tricks to obtain more video SEO Exposure. Choosing a proper title tag, uploading a transcript and embedding the YouTube video are just some of the tricks for optimal SEO exposure.”
  • Content Contribution – “If you want your content to be seen by more eyeballs and gain more exposure, start contributing content to other blogs in similar fields.”
  • Digital PR – “You can build off of the content contribution by implementing a Digital PR strategy. If you reach out to various media related websites and send them over a solid pitch, they might just write an article on your company or feature your CEO in a blog post.”

As you may notice, I did not include SEO on here…I would assume, hopefully accurately, that this is a no brainer if you want to succeed in digital marketing.  So focus on your title tags, meta descriptions, new content, alt tags, and link building and drive your SEO rankings up!

Good luck!

Marketing Syllabus

There have been times when I’ve toyed with the idea of getting in to teaching.  Let’s pretend that today is the day and put down a straw man of a Marketing Syllabus for high school students.

I would break the elective up in to 5 stages. But before divining in, we would look at B2B vs. B2C marketing and explore fun, and equally boring, examples of companies that fall in to the B2B & B2C spaces.  Companies such as:

B2C companies: Wendy’s & any hotel chain

B2B companies: Hubspot & Intel

B2B & B2C companies: Coke & Reebok (explore why that is)

The next step would be to explain what digital means, as people use the term rather loosely, as it does encompass many things, but most all of it hinges on web.

So what are the 5 stages that would take up the majority of the semester?

Stage 1: Digital/Social Marketing – explain how both of these work and how important it is to track metrics and show ROI

(explain ROI).  Also talk about PPC & SEO and explain how those two work.

Stage 2: Traditional Marketing – go over mailings, PR, advertising & emails – explain how far things have come and what agencies and marketing departments do.

Stage 3: Strategy – A strategy is the glue that holds it all together.  The strategy needs to hinge on company goals that marketing supports through the efforts mentioned above.

Stage 4: Metrics – Metrics/Analytics/Data/ROI/KPI’s – so many words and so many acronyms but all are important for one reason only, to explain what the department has accomplished.  Google Analytics is one tool to rely on, as are specific CRM systems & email platforms that would allow for customer tracking and their readiness to buy.

Stage 5: Exam! Creating a marketing roadmap for a specific business, either B2B or B2C – this would be my favorite part from the kids.  A number of companies in both B2B and B2C spectrums would be in a box and they could choose their assignment.  The assignment would come with some hypothetical information about the company as well as what the marketing department is expected to do.  The students would then need to put together a strategic roadmap of the various kinds of marketing activities that would drive towards a set of goals & show examples of some of those initiatives.

All kidding aside, this would be such a pleasure to teach as I have seen many things done before and many of them haven’t worked out for one main reason – the plan wasn’t followed and everyone was simply reacting to a bunch of “who’ll scream the loudest” scenarios.  Flexibility in certain instances is one thing, being completely unprepared for everything and being unsure of what you’ll do tomorrow is quite another.

What do you all think?  Would you take this kind of course? :)

P.S. Course two would be about new product introductions and planning for new product launches!