It’s been six weeks since I started my new job, and not everything has gone according to plan. Data seems to be a challenge to gather, as so much of it sits in silos. But one thing I’m appreciative of is the desire of the business to move forward with transforming itself at a time when most other businesses are retreating into their shells.
Unsurprisingly, education appears to be the Number One thing I spend my day doing. Getting the organization to understand that digital is not just a channel, but an entire business model is going to take time. The pandemic this year has shown that we need to open up this new ways of doing business, as the old ways won’t survive in a time of lock-down or circuit breakers.
From acquisition to conversion to retention, all these business life-cycle phases need to have digital equivalents so that people have the option to continue doing business whit you even though they can’t physically interact with you. That is the ultimate business continuity strategy, and it’s unbelievable that its taken a global pandemic to make that obvious to everyone and their grandmother!
Its no surprise that the stocks that have soared this year are the one’s that are digital native businesses. Netflix, Amazon and Zoom have seen their share prices rise like crazy, while those with physical assets like airlines, hotels and cruises are barely clinging onto survival in this most horrendous of years. It’s at times like these that we need to adapt and change they way we do things.
I for one welcome the change away from the globalised model of the late 20th century, where American hegemony was a given, and we were all passive consumers of content and materials from the west. There’s been a push to go local (no, I’m not talking about the MAGA sickos), to adopt more sustainable practices that benefit people and communities. My recent stint of unemployment has given me a different perspective too, and money isn’t the most important this anymore (though I’m still striving for FIRE in the next 15years).
With that, I’m signing off to go swimming with my family. You take care of yourselves, dear reader, and wear a damn mask!
Happy Friday, dear readers! Today, I’m going to be outlining what I do when I start a new role. The process is basically similar for most general marketing roles, though YMMV if you’re in a more specialized sector, such as media planning or SEO. This is what has worked for me well in the past, and its how I intend to start my next role.
Envision future use case scenarios and develop marketing roadmap [60-90 days]
In this post, I’ll discuss what we need to do in Step 1, and I’ll cover the other 2 steps in subsequent posts.
The objective at this stage is to set the channel baselines for awareness, consideration conversion and retention (or whatever marketing funnel definition is appropriate for your business), identify priorities to go after and leverage digital marketing channels to generate more sales and land some quick wins. (Its always important to start off a new role with some positive results for the business.)
Firstly, look at the following data repositories to build a view of what to keep, what to start, what to stop and what to do better:
Ongoing or recent campaign review with media and onsite performance data
Omniture/Google Analytics data to understand onsite user behavior
Chat log analysis
Historical Paid media reports from agencies/platforms
Social media analytics (listening and engagement)
Lead to sales conversion ratio
Marketing attribution %
I would look at the last 12 months data, so that we can account for seasonality. Every digital channel will then be assessed against how it generates impressions, clicks, leads and revenue. We would then calculate ROI for each channel to determine the most efficient one. We would rank them accordingly, and benchmark against industry standards (or compare against best-in-class)
Tabulate this data and try to draw some conclusions from it. For example, for a particular period, if the CPC of a particular search campaign is low, but the CPA is high, then validate that against the landing page bounce rate to determine if you have a problem with the landing page. It is crucial that you develop as many actionable insights from this process as possible.
In parallel, you should also have started discussions with your internal stakeholders. Mostly, this will be for the purpose of introductions and making connections. It is also an opportunity to gather feedback on what are the priorities for the business (or part of business they are responsible for). The more people you speak to, the better your understanding will be. Start to formulate your marketing priorities by using this process:
A business objective can de defined as the financial goals a business sets based on past and future projected growth. The strategy are the steps it will need to take to achieve those goals. For example, a business objective would be to increase the share-of-wallet for the IT spend by 20%. The strategy would then be to identify a particular segment (e.g. large enterprises) and engaging with IT Professionals. Using this same example, the digital marketing objectives would be to develop though-leadership among the IT Pros, and the digital marketing strategy would be to have a series of virtual roundtables with 50 IT Pros executives per quarter. We can reference back to our tabulated data to determine budget required (CPA x number of leads required), and raise that as a priority.
The next steps is to rank these priorities according to urgency and importance (The Eisenhower Matrix):
Now, once you have used data to identify tactics, and used the above frameworks to determine priorities for the business, you can start developing quick win campaigns. I usually start by putting together a communications framework and/or brief and circulating that among the stakeholders. Feedback and buy-in are vital to ensure that it is not a solo effort, and is instead seen as a team-effort.
Launch a Campaign
The last step would be to launch, within 30 days, the new campaign that is backed by data and is aligned to the business priorities. That is also how you can build momentum and win trust with the business. It also helps you hit the ground running, and we can use that momentum to jump into Step 2, which I’ll talk about in the next post.
COVID-19 has left me with alot of free time on my hands, and apart from reading, I have been spending my down-time working on sharpening up my digital marketing skills. There are a heap of tools, systems and platforms out there, and it can get a little daunting. In this post, I’ll share the ones that I think are fundamental for any digital marketer in 2020.
SEO – My tool of choice is Moz, who I’ve been following for a decade and a half. I love the way they’ve grown from a blog talking about SEO tactics to an entire self-contained solution. The training syllabus covers everything from the very basic fundamentals all the way to using Moz Pro. I was fortunate to be able to sign up for a bunch of the courses for free as they generously allowed all new users to register for free during the COVID-19 lock down.
Paid Media (Search, Display & Video) – No surprises here that I’m recertifying myself on Google Ads, which is the 200 pound gorilla in the ad space. You can get certification for individual products like Search or Display, but I’d recommend that you work your way up to the platform certification (Display and Video 360/ Search Ads 360), as this allows for more holistic campaign reporting. You can sign up at the Skillshop. Wether you are a hands-on campaign manager or a strategic director who relies on an agency to do management, its always good to know about the latest innovations from Google.
Social Media Advertising – I would also recommend that you do the Facebook ads essential course, as the audience targeting can tell you so much about your potential customers. Of all the platforms, I feel they have the most streamlined ad interface, and its so fun to play around in it and see your audience size get more targeted as you add more filters. You can learn more here. Alternatively, if your audience is more B2B, then LinkedIn is the place to be. Their ad interface is not as full-fledged as Facebook, but the ability to filter by company names and job titles makes it a must have for your Account Based Marketing (ABM) strategies. Learn how to use it here.
Web Analytics – We head back to the Skillshop to get our Google Analytics certification at the Analytics Academy. You can work your way up from the beginners course all the way to Google Tag Manager. I managed to complete all the courses in the space of a week, but that was with me spending 12 hours a day dedicated to it. One thing that I realized is how much the suite has changed since I last did my certifications roughly 4 years ago. Its probably a good idea to get recertified once every 2 years, which is right about when the certification will lapse.
Coding Language – Now this is something new! Python is all the rage these days, and is positioned to be the defacto language for data science/ big data/ analytics. To stay relevant for now and future opportunities, this would be the special trick up my sleeves. It is still very early days for me, but I hope to develop some competency with the language by the end of this year.
Marketing Automation – The hardest training of the lot has to be Marketo, which (along with Eloqua) are the standards by which all other MA platforms are measured. The course takes you from the fundamentals, to email basics, to CRM sync and ends with system administration. I’ve been slogging away at this for 2 months, and am only about 30% of the way through it. The content is dense but absolutely essential if you intend to use the system everyday. You sign up for the free training at the Marketo University, and have to arrange for an in-person exam at a later date once you pass the mock online exams. I’m targeting to complete the training and mock exams, but I’ll hold off on the certification until I find an employer to sponsor it!
AWS Cloud Practitioner – Last but not least, this very basic course gives you a very broad understanding of AWS services such as Compute (EC2) and Storage (S3). Its not a technical certification, but helps you understand how and why a cloud infrastructure operates the way it does, and the benefits it can bring for businesses. I’m technically still certified, but with the speed of innovation at Amazon, it does no harm to check in every now and them to see what’s new.
Well, that’s the list of of trainings I’ve embarked on in the past 4 months. These should be prerequisites for any digital marketing professional to stay sharp and up-to-date with the industry. There are other tools that I would recommend, but they would be dependent on the role specific needs such as:
Social Media Listening (e.g. Synthesio, Digimind, Sprout Social)
Social Media Management (Sprinklr, Hootsuite)
Advanced Analytics/ Business Intelligence (Tableau, Microsoft BI)
CMS (AEM, Sitecore, Drupal)
(If you are struggling to get a grip on the Martech space, the Martech 5000 graphic would be an eye-popping place to start. Be warned, you are going to need a magnifying glass! )
Are there any tools that I’ve missed that you think are essential? If so, let me know in the comments below.