Tips for Smarter Digital Marketing are essentials for knowledge. Digital marketing isn’t going anywhere. However, new technologies bring about constant shifts, making it hard to keep up without the right strategy.
Recently, I hosted a webinar with Marketo on how to create a smarter digital marketing strategy that allows you to optimize your campaigns, even with a tight budget or resource constraints. In this blog, I’ll answer the top seven questions that I received from our attendees:
1. What does it mean to be scrappy?
Scrappy means a lot of things to different people, but to me, scrappy comes down to doing more with less. It’s an alternative to checklist marketing, which consists of just checking things off a list instead of doing what makes the most sense.
Scrappy marketing means:
Putting brains before the budget
Being both efficient and effective
Seeing ideas everywhere
When I was talking to the team at Schwinn Bicycles about the scrappy concept, marketing manager Samantha Hersil said, “You know what, we could all use a few people and a few dollars more.” That’s the bottom line. No one has unlimited resources these days. As marketing continues to change, we have to come up with smarter systems for getting the work done.
2. How do the scrappy strategies apply to B2B marketers with a longer sales cycle?
For all marketers, strategy is a critical first step. But the longer the sales cycle, the more you have to do with less to continue to keep your buyers engaged over time. Marketers with a longer sales cycle, which includes B2B marketers and consumer marketers selling considered purchase products, need to focus their scrappy strategy on what they’re trying to do, who they’re trying to reach, and when they’re trying to reach them. Strategy first. Always.
3. For a company that markets to both businesses and consumers, how do you differentiate between multiple audiences?
Once again, differentiate with strategy. Sketch out a scrappy strategy that answers the following questions for each audience:
Why are we doing this?
What are we doing?
When does this happen?
Where does this happen?
Who does this involve?
How do we get it done?
You may find areas of overlap, but you also might find areas where you can focus your efforts even further.
4. How do you recommend looking at other brands in your industry to see what’s working best?
Seeing ideas everywhere is one of the key concepts in the scrappy mindset that I outline in my book. In this day and age, we rely a little too heavily on case studies. We wait to see what a company like ours, with a CEO the same height as ours, is doing. Instead, we need to get better at looking at other marketers in other industries. What’s working for them? Could you drop that into your industry?
5. Using people’s power requires a change in the work culture. How do you go about getting management’s buy-in to change the culture?
Too often, we spend too much time talking about people’s problems and not people’s power. People are one of your biggest assets, and culture is one of the single most important factors in marketing success. To change your work culture, you have to start with buy-in from the top and work your way through the management and finally to individual team members.
It’s important to remind management and HR that talent isn’t about finding “unicorns.” Especially for social media, engagement and people skills are sometimes more important than technical skills, which can easily be taught. Getting buy-in isn’t easy, but the impact can be potent. Back to strategy—make sure you start this process by sharing your strategy both up and down your org chart. Your people can only help you if they know what it is you’re trying to do.
6. For a lean team or smaller company, what should be the top priorities to get started in digital marketing?
Think about business objectives that you can ground in your strategy (e.g. branding, community building, public relations, market research, customer services, leads, and sales). I know I sound like a broken record here, but a small team has to focus on strategy. You can’t afford to do anything that you don’t have the resources for. Who are you trying to reach? What action do you want them to take? Work on answering these simple questions and you’ll be on your way to creating scrappy marketing.
7. What are your best social media tips, specifically for Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest?
For all social media platforms, remember that whether you’re marketing to consumers or businesses, they are still people. They can still be reached with emotional appeals.
Take advantage of the visual platforms of Instagram and Pinterest. For consumer marketers, they are valuable platforms for them to connect with their audience on. However, these sites are just as critical for B2B marketers, who may struggle with trying to market rather technical subjects. Images and videos allow your audience to easily digest your content.
Facebook is the 800-lb gorilla in the social media marketing conversation. Both B2B and consumer marketers need a robust plan for all aspects of this platform—both organic and increasingly paid, due to Facebook’s constantly changing algorithms. We have to look for ways to focus on what we’re doing and simplify our marketing for the long haul.
Were these tips helpful? Check out the on-demand webinar Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small if you’re interested in learning more. And if you have any other questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!
Ah. Such a simple title. Such a complex problem. Such huge stakes at play for marketing and the company as a whole.
Now that we’ve seen what can happen when the strategy is misaligned, let’s explore how to set a good strategy on the right course from the get-go.
Another acronym framework can be useful here for evaluating goals and objectives – using SMART, which stands for:
A S.M.A.R.T. goal is defined as being: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Timebound.
This simple little acronym will help you stay on track when you sit down for creative brainstorms and defining goals for a digital marketing campaign or a business itself. Without being specific, you can’t measure anything. If it’s not achievable and results-focused it makes it tough to justify the investment and know if you’re getting anywhere. Finally, not putting a time limit down makes it easy to drag out an initiative.
Let’s say we’re tasked with a vague directive like “marketing needs to increase overall sales for the company”.
We would come back with the following questions for a smart digital strategy:
- Specific: “Are we talking about increasing profitability or just overall sales? Internally, we would ask ourselves how we might do this using our POST framework. For example, we might say “We’ll increase sales and profitability by increasing site traffic to our most profitable product through a blend of social media, content creation, and search engine rankings.”
- Measurable: Next, we’d ask “By what percentage points?” We need to know what the mark is and that it can indeed be quantified. Know what you’ll be measuring and how you’ll do it before you commit. You might need to bump up website traffic by 300% over the year to drive 5% in sales. That’s measurable for sure (and tough to do). Something nebulous like “grows brand awareness in our market” is too vague to quantify.
- Achievable: This question is critical: “Is this goal realistic given our brand’s trajectory, resources, and time?” Make sure you review things like sales history, market trends, site traffic, and your customer feedback to make sure the goal is possible. If the company has experienced year-over-year sales growth of 5% and suddenly the goal is 20% with no other change in the product mix or budget, it is likely that marketing is getting set up for a spectacular failure. Building a powerful brand takes time, money, and ingenuity – which eventually leads to better sales and/or margins. Yet, digital marketing for all its speed can’t work miracles.
- Results-focused: Perhaps the most important question: “How will we know we’re making progress?” Here is where you put down the small victories, in relation to the big goal. If the goal is for increasing sales by 5% over the whole year, you might break down site traffic by month and increasing it by X% through the ideas outlined above. Closely following conversions and sales on a weekly basis can be very helpful to tweak the marketing efforts versus waiting till the very end. Small corrections done on a regular basis are much easier than giant shifts.
- Timebound: Last question: “This goal for the fiscal year or calendar year?” Know how much time you have to achieve the objective. Some companies go by a different fiscal calendar versus a traditional calendar, so make sure you know how long you have to deliver the result.
The above framework is really just a simple checklist. But it ensures you have nailed all the key components for getting a successful strategy together.