How happy are you with your current marketing strategy?
It’s obviously the goal of all companies to be effective with their marketing activities and to get as much “bang for buck” as possible, yet in many companies we see marketing strategies that are misaligned with this goal.
A performance marketing strategy that is focused on revenue generation should be a key focus because it makes sense for the overall health of the business. No one wants to spend serious marketing dollars on strategies that prove to be ineffective.
So how can you create more effective, revenue generating marketing strategies? Here’s how we approach it with our customers:
Why you need a better strategy
When it comes to marketing, companies can take any of a number of paths or key focuses, but what we often find is that there is a disconnect between the activities they are investing in and the results they actually want.
Two types of marketers…
We see two types of marketing teams in companies:
- Those focused on corporate, brand marketing and awareness-raising.
- Those focused on performance marketing, direct response, and conversions.
The first of these concentrates on ensuring your company logo is used in accordance with the brand guidelines. They work on the company’s communications strategy and manage inbound press inquiries. They update the website regularly and ensure the sales teams have the slide decks, datasheets and the other collateral they need.
Brand marketing teams report on big metrics like return on advertising spend (ROAS) and market share, which are difficult to quantify and measure accurately. The majority of the team’s marketing efforts are reactive rather than proactive and ROI is almost impossible to measure accurately.
The second type of marketing team support and drive sales, and work across the whole lifecycle of a customer, from acquisition, to retention and referral. Demand generation is a core part of their role, despite being something that many marketers have never done. It means getting leads, and managing those leads through the funnel. It’s essentially a form of marketing that elicits a specific and measured response from customers, or a direct response to the marketer - hence the term ‘direct response’. ROI here is much easier to measure, so team performance is monitored with metrics such as impressions, clicks, views, conversions and customer acquisition cost.
Both types of marketers are usually needed in any business. For example, it would be difficult to take on a growth marketing role without the foundational aspects put in place by brand marketing, such as brand story, positioning and customer personas.
However, there is a tendency for companies to invest far more in their brand marketing than their growth marketing efforts, despite wanting the kind of results delivered by a growth marketing team.
“There is a disconnect between the results businesses want from marketing teams, and the activities marketers are spending time on.” – Stuart Brameld, CEO, Digital Elite.
It’s part of the human condition to experience FOMO (fear of missing out) sometimes, but in the case of marketing strategy, this can lead to ineffective copying of competitors or just “spray and pray” marketing, rather than measured, strategic plans.
We have asked clients about their marketing strategy and been given answers like:
“Twitter is our main focus at the moment, and we’re revamping our website. We do also have Instagram and Facebook. Our new marketing campaign will be an all singing, all dancing marketing experience with LinkedIn, InMail, PPC, paid advertising and email marketing.” Anonymous.
This is the FOMO approach to marketing. We don’t want to miss anything, so we’ll try to do everything. It’s a terrible way to run a marketing team.
Just because a marketing channel exists doesn’t mean you should market in it. Marketing teams are often struggling to manage many different activities because they simply have too much going on. Which sounds more effective: giving focus to a few key revenue generating activities, or trying to spread thinly across as many as possible?
In addition, the more channels you having driving customer acquisition, the harder it is to provide accurate attribution and marketing ROI reports. Multi-channel attribution remains a huge challenge for even the most well funded and data-driven marketing teams.
“We’ve Always Done It This Way”
The other temptation is to automatically go with what you or a member of your team know from a previous role, or what has been done before at the company. “Search engine marketing worked well last year, so let’s focus on that.”
It is impossible to predict exactly which marketing channel will work the best for your business right now, so be aware of any of those old biases you or your team may carry, favouring a certain channel. The only way to know for sure what will work is to test out your options without bias.
There is no “best” marketing strategy or marketing channel. Facebook Ads aren’t better than Google Ads. You don’t have to be on Twitter. Producing lots of SEO optimised content isn’t necessarily a good idea. What is right for someone else’s businesses isn’t necessarily right for yours.
“There’s no use running if you’re on the wrong road.” – Don Williams.
How to create a performance strategy
To create an effective performance marketing strategy, you need a framework that helps to bring that vital focus to your company.The goal of any marketing effort should be to find the one marketing channel that produces the most significant impact to your business. This means giving attention to the right activities based on your goals, and avoiding simply copying others or doing what you’ve done before.
You probably won’t have a bunch of equally good distribution strategies. Since people don’t know what works, and they haven’t thought about it, they try some sales, BD, advertising, and viral marketing—everything but the kitchen sink. That is a really bad idea. It is very likely that one channel is optimal.” — Peter Thiel, PayPal Founder, Early Facebook Investor, Billionaire.
Look at examples from companies who have been very focused with their marketing efforts. For example, Buffer focused on content marketing for their first year and are now known as leaders in the discipline. “Spray and pray” across multiple platforms just wouldn’t have the same effect.
The Digital Elite approach
Our preference, based on seeing very effective results is to take an approach centred on the “traction framework.” The idea is that you end up with a well-thought-out strategy that takes a proactive rather than reactive approach.
By putting time into thorough research and reasoning behind your marketing choices, marketing gains more credibility and results become easier to quantify. Our approach favours a culture of testing and experimentation, but based upon following a defined process.
Here’s a quick outline of that process:
1) Define a quantifiable goal
- Acquire X new customers in 6 months.
- Increase daily users to X in 3 months.
- Acquire X new leads in 3 months.
The saying “what gets measured gets managed” applies; you need to know what you’re aiming for to determine whether your chosen strategies are effective.
2) Brainstorm all growth channels.
We evaluate 19 possible growth channels, including:
- a) Targeting blogs
- b) Publicity/PR
- c) Unconventional PR
- d) Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- e) Social and display advertising
- f) Offline advertising
- g) Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- h) Content marketing
- i) Email marketing
- j) Viral marketing
- k) Engineering as marketing
- l) Business development and partnerships
- m) Sales
- n) Affiliate programs
- o) Existing platforms
- p) Trade shows
- q) Offline events
- r) Speaking engagements
- s) Community building
For each channel we come up with viable tests that make sense for the business. For example, you might make some logical hypotheses about where the best places to advertise offline are. The idea is to brainstorm as many ideas as possible at this stage.
3) Rank your ideas.
With team members if possible, rank and score each testing idea. You should look at criteria such as:
– Confidence – promising, possible, long-shot?
– Lead Quality – likely quality of leads generated through this idea? are they the right kind of customers?
– Impact – how many customers can you expect to acquire?
– Cost – expected cost to acquire a customer through this idea?
– Effort – effort required to implement? (existing expertise may be a factor here)
Look at your overall scores and use these to prioritise your top three advertising channels. These now become your priority to test.
Create a simple test for each channel to test its effectiveness. These tests should be high impact, cheap (cost less than £1000) and fast (take no longer than 1 month to run).
Identify your best performing channel from test results. Focus on this channel and direct efforts and resources toward it.
When you concentrate wholeheartedly on one channel, you can give it 100% effort. This helps you not only run your marketing campaign at a high level but also achieve the desired results faster. It means you don’t end up in a “jack of all trades, yet master of none” situation.
We have found that when we focus on one effective channel, we get benefits such as:
- We can manage each channel at a high level
- Maximize impact
- Save money
- Better reach to my core audience
- Outperform primary competitors
During years of marketing, if we’ve learned anything that particularly stands out, it’s that simplicity is usually the key to success.
To get started on creating a performance marketing strategy for your company, it’s important to benchmark where you are today, and steps your business needs to take to improve. Take our free marketing strategy assessment today.
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