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A Quick and Simple Framework for Marketing Strategies


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Do you share the feeling that a 'marketing strategy' should be higher on your list of priorities, but there are too many more urgent day-to-day tactical activities for you to think about the higher level right now?

Marketers are faced with a greater selection of channels, websites & services than ever before, and this growth in opportunities has also increased the complexity of creating a successful marketing plan. The planning process is often time-consuming & expensive, and may still not guide any actual action for your team or business, even after months of work.

In contrast, this presentation from State of Search demonstrates a framework & tools that will help you create a first version of your new marketing strategy in a matter of hours.

Published in: Marketing
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A Quick and Simple Framework for Marketing Strategies

  1. 1. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch Rob Ousbey A Quick & Simple Framework for Marketing Strategies State Of Search 2017
  2. 2. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch The Creative To begin, I want to share the story of a creative campaign we launched on behalf of a client.
  3. 3. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch The Coverage We earned coverage from practically every blog and news website we could have hoped for.
  4. 4. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch The Results 1,600 45,000 15,000 3,000 Linking Root Domains Facebook Likes Twitter Tweets LinkedIn Shares ReferringDomains And the piece continues to earn links: three years later, we still average a new linking domain every day
  5. 5. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch The Client’s Reaction Not long after, the client fired us. In the short time we’d worked together, we’d done a great job of everything we had planned to, but hadn’t moved the right needles for them. We had a timescale for success in our heads, but we’d not show them how this work was going to impact the numbers they care about.
  6. 6. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch The Only Ways We Fail We failed to do the things we set out to do. We achieved the things we wanted to, but they didn’t have the anticipated effect. “Execution Failures” “Strategic Failures” As a consulting agency, we get to post-mortem, debug and try again. I’ve outlined two failures modes here: execution failures, and strategic failures – this presentation focuses on avoiding the second type.
  7. 7. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch What is ‘Strategy’? Objectives What do we want to achieve? Tactics The things we’ll do to get there. Strategy How can we achieve it? You can tell when a strategy is set well, because it allows you to look at any part of your to-do list, and ask ‘why?’ all the back up to the top level goals.
  8. 8. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch The Nested Dolls of Strategy The overall ‘business objective’ may generate tactics for individual teams (such as logistics, finance, sales, marketing, etc.) That then sets an objective for each team, who develop their own strategy and tactics. If the marketing strategy suggests investing in PPC, social and email marketing, then each of those departments will now have an objective, and can start their own process. This presentation focusses on the marketing portion – turning marketing objectives into tactics.
  9. 9. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch The Nested Dolls of Strategy Objectives Strategy Tactics Objectives Strategy Tactics Objectives Strategy Tactics
  10. 10. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch Why do we need another framework? Many other strategy frameworks exist, but there are always parts that I find lacking, particularly given the way the internet has changed the options available to us, and made new data available. But mostly I wanted a process that we could go through very quickly, and get an answer we were 90% confident about in 1/10th the time it could take us.
  11. 11. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch Getting Things Done ‘Doing strategy’ often seems particularly time consuming, and it sometimes seems to be a wonderful way to ever get real work done. If you have people who can get on with executing; give them your best guess of things to do while you’re researching/planning - and treat it as a test to see what happens. I'm also OK with tactics influencing strategy. If you have a tactic that you’ve found is working well; then look for insights. That can contribute to the process.
  12. 12. WHOare we trying to reach? For this framework, you’ll be answering FIVE fundamental questions. Simple! 
  13. 13. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch Be Selective You can’t be all things to all people. There’s a well understood process of ‘persona identification’
  14. 14. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch Prioritize Beyond identifying a number of persona, you should prioritize them – and understand which groups you’re not going to target.
  15. 15. Factors we may want to describe in the persona: Gender Level of Education Location Type (geographic, rural/urban) Situational (marriage, kids, studying, working) Age group Behavioural Their location & language Interests Values (internal beliefs that influence a purchase decision) External influences Things that change quite rarely Things that change more often
  16. 16. Factors we may want to describe in the persona: Business or Personal Purchase? For brand like these, you’ll also be asking “is this person making a business or personal buying decision?”
  17. 17. Guesswork & Gut is Rarely Enough It’s tempting to take a guess at the personas for your business, but we can do better that.
  18. 18. 51% of people believe it is important that brands ask about their needs. 10% of people said that their favorite brands do this well. You Have Permission to Ask Edelman surveyed 11,000 people across 212 brands in 12 market sectors. The results show that people really don’t mind brands asking about their needs!
  19. 19. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch Survey Process We run surveys by emailing a segment of existing customers, with various questions to answer.
  20. 20. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch Beyond basic demographic data, you can find out a lot about the customers’ values and interests.
  21. 21. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch Interviews We then group the data by similar responses and pick representative people from each major group to speak to for longer. This gives us the chance to look for recurring themes, and even particular quotes that we can incorporate into a persona. Although it’s more geared toward product development, the ethos of the questions in Zac Cohn’s deck are well worth considering.
  22. 22. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch Scaling with Existing Data But it’s 2017! There’s enough data available to us that we should be able to generate some insights before we have to turn to surveying/interviewing people. The place to begin is any interesting data submitted by customers. For example: customer lead forms, questions submitted, special requests, etc.
  23. 23. Existing Data Sources: User Data The FullContact API will take an email and return age, gender, location and lots of other demographic stuff, for a few cents per result. It also gets: location, their employer, and tries to find their interests (based on an aggregation of lots of data) Consider running this over all your customer records (or just those in a certain segment, such as the top 20% of customers by revenue) to find out who they really are.
  24. 24. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch Existing Data Sources: User Data They have API libraries for a bunch of languages. You could even just do it in a spreadsheet!
  25. 25. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch Existing Data Sources: User Data social media – digital marketing – digital marketer – internet marketing – marketing agency – search engine – web design – online marketing – marketing strategist – search marketing – media marketing – content marketing – real estate – husband father – marketing consultant – local search – fort worth – small business – #seo #ppc – seo ppc – small businesses – marketing manager – seo sem – keynote speaker – digital media Followerwonk (a Moz tool) can parse all of your Twitter followers, and review their bios to find common themes.
  26. 26. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch Existing Data Sources: User Data Twitter Analytics can analyze your audience, and compare it to a benchmark population.
  27. 27. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch Existing Data Sources: User Data Google Analytics gives affinity/in-market data for your visitors. You could filter this data by converting users or basket sizes. It can also be used for creating custom reports which can be analyzed or used later for retargeting.
  28. 28. Overlooked Personae Don’t overlook a couple of interesting groups: people who already know & feel positively about your brand (but need activating), and previous customers that haven’t purchased in a while (and need reactivating.)
  29. 29. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch Third Party Data Surveys You can run brand awareness/affinity/association surveys using AYTM, Google Consumer Surveys or SurveyMonkey Audience.
  30. 30. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch Third Party Data Surveys For example: 70% of mothers with young children have heard of Zulily. This might suggest that they should focus on activation rather than awareness.
  31. 31. An example of a fully-fleshed persona. This was one of three, created for a consumer electronics company. Countless other example exist online!
  32. 32. We describe Geeky Gary by his background, his influences, his likes & dislikes
  33. 33. We also described the process he went through to become a customer. In his case, this included loads of research.
  34. 34. This was obviously very fleshed out, with a deck full of detailed information. It’s very boardroom friendly, and this client used these personas to build out all of their sales & marketing over the following years.
  35. 35. WHO When running through the process quickly, you don’t need fancy stock photos. A quick sketch can remind you who is who.
  36. 36. WHEN during the customer journey do we want to reach them?
  37. 37. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch Traditional Customer Paths The traditional purchase funnel was developed in 1898. The modern reality is that it’s a lot harder to quantify where people are at. This model also doesn’t include a stage before they realize they need to solve a particular problem.
  38. 38. Customer Modalities Various modes exist. People are likely to have fairly unique experiences in getting from awareness to purchase.
  39. 39. Examples of Triggers I deserve a holiday! My coffee machine is broken. I’d never even thought about replacing my thermostat! Intrinsic: External: Opportunistic: Different triggers may help the customer determine they have a problem, such as intrinsic/situational, external, or opportunistic. has a model with eight different trigger types.
  40. 40. A New Model of Customer Modes Blissful ignorance, no problems Determines they have an issue that needs solving Recurring issue ←→ once-in-a-lifetime question Maybe researches solutions Maybe gets influenced; maybe they’ve already been exposed Could be passively or actively searching Maybe they have a favorite brand Makes decisions about what brand & product to buy Decides where to buy it from And the pattern of modes they pass through will be intertwined with their persona. One group might quickly decide what they want to buy, and then spend ages comparing different places to buy it – but another group might be so brand loyal to a particular retailer that it’s no question.
  41. 41. Example: Market Leaders with Predictable Paths We worked with a client who makes some of the hidden hardware behind ‘connected home’ technology. With an ~80% share, they benefit from just getting people into the market, rather then necessarily having to sell them on the brand itself.
  42. 42. Example: Market Leaders with Predictable Paths Which is quite reminiscent of De Beers in the 80s: they only had to persuade people to buy diamond engagement rings, and they would always benefit.
  43. 43. Example: Very Different Paths People can take extremely different paths within the same market, such as our divorce lawyer client. Some people spend a long time thinking about getting a divorce and researching lawyers. Other people have just had papers served, and have to choose a lawyer extremely quickly.
  44. 44. WHO - WHEN Problem Definition Awareness Research Conversion
  45. 45. WHO - WHEN Problem Definition Awareness Research Conversion You can now decide when you are going to engage with each of those personae, ie: what mode will they be in when they first see your content/messaging?
  46. 46. message would you like those potential customers to hear? WHAT
  47. 47. What’s the message? For those people, at that moment: what do you want them to hear? How do you want to change their mind? Maybe share a USP or value prop to support their research? Maybe a clear, commercial call to action? Maybe you just want to tell them you exist, or even just help them out with an issue they have right now – even if that doesn’t generate a sale for you.
  48. 48. Product Feature Messages Relevance Low High Differentiation Low High Neutrals Must Haves Drivers Fools’ Gold If your messaging is about product features, the McKinsey’s model reminds us to ask how differentiated your product is – and how much the consumers care about that. In hindsight, I’ve had clients distracted by marketing a message that was “fools’ gold” – an feature where they were highly differentiated, but that the market wasn’t interested in. The ‘drivers’ are where you should be taking the opportunity to show off!
  49. 49. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch Personality Messages The message you want to share might be your brand’s personality. You can’t always just tell people this – they may have to be shown and infer it for themselves. This guest post on AVC is the jumping off point for thinking about personality in brand and marketing.
  50. 50. For example:: Johnnie Walker is a good time drink. It loves parties, it loves people. It hates things that are normal.
  51. 51. Glenfiddich loves the outdoors and solitude. It hates people and wants to be as far away from them as possible.
  52. 52. Social Proof Messages Social proof is one example of message; the brand isn’t touting how good the product is: people just like the target persona are validating it..
  53. 53. Testing Messages Your surveys can also pick up on the importance of different things, and the messages that will resonate with those people at that moment; ConversionXL has some more good information about that, You can test messages through PPC (as Tim Feriss did for Four Hour Workweek), or see what generates engagement on your social channels.
  54. 54. WHO - WHEN - WHAT Problem Definition Awareness Research Conversion
  55. 55. WHO - WHEN - WHAT Problem Definition Awareness Research Conversion BRAND X IS AN OPTION I DIDN’T KNOW YOU COULD …. BRAND X IS A NOVEL SOLUTION BRAND X IS AVAILABLE AT MY STORE Now you can take you ‘who’ and ‘when’ and determine ‘what’ message you want them to take away from the engagement.
  56. 56. do we get that message to them? WHERE
  57. 57. paid search • organic search • local search • product search • display • retargeting • gmail ads • owned social • social coverage • bought social • social advertising • social retargeting • referral traffic • review sites • blog coverage • product placement • content amplification • news coverage • media buys • email • earned email • paid email • partners • affiliates • events Channels Pretty much every channel has earned, owned & paid components. When you SWOT individual channels, one ‘strength' might be your existing presence there
  58. 58. Choosing Channels Content & channel are well linked. Use the content matrix to cross reference a point in the process and a message type , to choose a content type / channel.
  59. 59. Which sites influence these people? If you’re looking to get coverage on other sites, you could extract links from the social posts of your followers, and see which domains are most impactful and influential to them.
  60. 60. Which social channels are they on? Instagram Pinterest LinkedIn
  61. 61. Which social channels are they on? Instagram Pinterest LinkedIn Social channels are all completely different. You’ll already be familiar with the differences, but use the data that is out there to help with selection.
  62. 62. Intermediaries of Influence Which intermediaries do these people use? Who are ‘celebrities’ to them? For any given channel, who are the major influencers for this persona?
  63. 63. Example: PR coverage + Amplification This article presumably converts really well – and the brand gets more eyeballs on it by using content amplification within BusinessInsider, via Taboola.
  64. 64. Does your website need to be in the process? McKinsey shared an example from a home appliance manufacturer, who spent most of their marketing dollars on content for their website – and had advertising spend across print, TV and display.
  65. 65. Picking Appropriate Channels Insight: Less than 9% of customers went to manufacturer website. Action: Brand reduced spend on their website & traditional advertising Increased spend on content for retailer websites Outcome: Lead to an immediate 21% uplift in ecommerce sales
  67. 67. WHO - WHEN - WHAT - WHERE Problem Definition Awareness Research Conversion IN THE PRESS TWITTER REVIEW SITES Now decide where you’re going to get that message in front of the right people.
  68. 68. are you doing this? WHY
  69. 69. Moving the Needle The easiest way to win in the short term is to measure all the needles. That way, you always have something you can celebrate, because some metric has always improved over the last month/quarter. This is the measurement/analytics part. If you’re not measuring, you won’t know it’s working. You have to move the needle!
  70. 70. # of top of funnel content pages produced # of commercial landing pages optimized # of bloggers, influencers, journalists engaged with # of pages indexed by Google # of new linking root domains Domain Authority Ranking positions Organic traffic to TOF pages Organic traffic to product pages Organic traffic $$$ contribution to conversions Activities Leading Indicators Success Metrics Indicators & Metrics: Example for SEO Differentiate between the important indicators and the actual metrics of success.
  71. 71. WHO - WHEN - WHAT - WHERE - WHY Problem Definition Awareness Research Conversion IN THE PRESS TWITTER REVIEW SITES
  72. 72. WHO - WHEN - WHAT - WHERE - WHY Problem Definition Awareness Research Conversion SOCIAL INFLUENCE PRESS HITS REFERAL TRAFFIC ON SITE ENGAGEMENT Define your leading indicators & success metrics for each channel.
  73. 73. will you engage there? HOW
  74. 74. Putting it into Action Now you have to take the WHO, WHEN, WHAT, WHERE, WHY and do something with it. Hopefully as you answer those questions, the ‘how’ itself becomes pretty emergent.
  75. 75. EXAMPLEHere’s an example, where we used this framework to very quickly get a marketing plan together for the client. It was based on some existing industry insights, and that took less than a couple of hours,
  76. 76. The Business The client supports people’s genealogy research. For example: if I wanted data from the records office in a small Polish city, or if I wanted to photograph the gravestone of an ancestor in Sweden, I’d have to get on a plane to visit, and probably hire a local translator. This client has a network of freelancers, providing genealogy services to people between different countries, and can service people everywhere. They’re also aware that as well as an older crowd, genealogy is finding a new surge in popularity with young folks.
  77. 77. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch Who Sylvia the Silver Surfer - Retirement has left her with plenty of time & money, but the arrival of another grandson is making her think about the legacy she’ll leave. Tech savvy & matriarch of the family records - she’s currently researching their European ancestors. Casey the Crafter - Just started senior year at high school. Loves crafting & is always on the lookout for her next project. She had her first taste of genealogy through a ‘family tree’ project at school.
  78. 78. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch When We want to reach her while she’s trying to uncover hard-to-access records in foreign countries. We want to reach her as she begins her genealogy journey - possibly many years before her first purchase.
  79. 79. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch What We have experts in the countries you need, who can retrieve records, take photos, compile information - they’ll work on as much or as little of the process as you’d like. Using our independent researchers is significantly cheaper than flying to Europe, especially if you’ll need to hire a translator. Genealogy can be loads of fun - and it’s good to have a friend to help you along the way. Our team have put together tons of free resources & genealogy information for you - including scrapbook & family tree templates, and we’ve reviewed all the best free research & design software. “ “
  80. 80. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch Where Search: commercial keyword terms; target with PPC immediately and a medium-term investment in SEO Social: through Facebook; earning coverage from the brands she follows, and through targeted ads. Social: mainly through Pinterest & Instagram, showing designs and templates Blogs: craft & design bloggers (guest posts & placements) Search: responding to ‘how-to’ and ‘resource queries’
  81. 81. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch How Examples of what visibility will look like on search and social
  82. 82. @RobOusbey @Distilled #StateOfSearch How Lots of resource content will be posted on our site, and we’ll push some to other sites as guest posts. On Pinterest we don’t own a popular channel yet, so we’ll earn coverage and pay our way in as well.
  83. 83. who • when • what • where • why RECAP
  84. 84. WHO Who are we trying to reach?
  85. 85. WHO - WHEN Problem Definition Awareness Research Conversion When during the customer journey do we want to reach them?
  86. 86. WHO - WHEN - WHAT Problem Definition Awareness Research Conversion BRAND X IS AN OPTION BRAND X IS A NOVEL SOLUTION BRAND X IS AVAILABLE AT MY STORE I DIDN’T KNOW YOU COULD …. What message would we like those potential customers to hear?
  87. 87. WHO - WHEN - WHAT - WHERE Problem Definition Awareness Research Conversion IN THE PRESS TWITTER REVIEW SITES Where do we get that message to them?
  88. 88. WHO - WHEN - WHAT - WHERE - WHY Problem Definition Awareness Research Conversion SOCIAL INFLUENCE PRESS COVERAGE REFERAL TRAFFIC ON SITE ENGAGEMENT Why are we doing this? Which metrics measure success?
  89. 89. Thanks! Send me your feedback via @RobOusbey or Click here to help others by sharing this deck on Twitter!