The ultimate marketing goal is to reach more targeted visitors and convert those visitors with less money and less effort.
But how can businesses, specifically their marketing team or the agencies and individual marketers they hire to run their campaigns, achieve such a lofty goal?
By streamlining their marketing process!
This simply means putting the entire marketing process, from initial marketing strategy and goals to the actual traffic and conversion methods that will help achieve those goals, into practical and simple steps that leave little room for error.
According to Corporate Executive Board (CEB), an insights and technology company, companies who simplified and streamlined their marketing process and strategy increased their chances of making a sale by 80 percent.
Marketing mission and process
Ok, so how does one simplify and streamline their marketing process?
First, understand what marketing means to your business.
In order to understand what marketing can do for your business, you should have a strong grasp on what marketing is in the first place.
Marketing is not sales!
However, if marketing is done right, it makes the process of selling a whole lot easier.
Marketing is a process, first and foremost, and not just the act of promoting or advertising your business or offer.
Marketing does not just attract a customer to a business, a product, a service or an offer, but first takes the goals of a business and the problems it has identified within its market through research to come up with a strategic, step-by-step approach to bring awareness of the problem to the market and offer them a solution.
To put it more succinctly, marketing is the process of getting people interested in your product or service before asking them to purchase it.
Streamlined marketing is optimized marketing. It is the process of developing a framework from which to run more effective, efficient, meaningful, and measurable marketing campaigns.
Again, how does one do that?
Here are the steps:
- Create marketing goals that everyone on your marketing team understands.
- Assemble the marketing team in a concise and cohesive manner.
- Figure out what the most optimal marketing channels are to achieve your marketing objectives.
- Collect and gather market & audience data in an organized and accessible way.
- Decide on whether to use paid or free (organic) marketing methods to create awareness about your brand and its solutions.
1. Marketing goals
As long as you know what your business goals are, it is relatively simple to come up with marketing objectives to meet those goals.
There are 7 basic marketing objectives businesses of all kinds seek to achieve through their marketing efforts.
They are as follows:
- Increased Sales & Profits
- Brand Awareness
- Product & Service Launches
- Increased Customer Base
- Increased Customer Relations
- Growing Market Share
- Entering New Markets
Once one or more of these marketing objectives have been defined as a “fit” for your overall marketing strategy, you can then further break them down into more specific subcategories using the SMART approach.
The SMART approach utilizes a set of criteria to ensure that your marketing campaigns work in sync with your general marketing objectives and overall business goals.
According to SMART marketing principles, your marketing objectives need to be:
Using these above standards will help everyone involved in your marketing campaigns understand what the end result should be and therefore work more cohesively as a single unit to achieve the desired outcomes.
2. Marketing project management (team assembly)
Once everyone on your marketing team understands what the specific marketing objectives are, they must also be made aware of what is expected of each of them. In other words, what are the specific tasks, duties, and roles each member is going to play to help the company realize its marketing goals.
It may be helpful here to take inspiration from Henry Ford’s assembly line strategy.
You may be thinking:
“What does an automotive assembly line have to do with managing a marketing campaign?”
Well, the similarities do not lie in the exact output but in the process. In other words, Henry Ford’s assembly line strategy can be applied to a marketing strategy, at least as it pertains to the management side of things.
As every member of the marketing team is working on the campaign (i.e. marketing project), it is useful to instruct each member how to assemble the campaign much like a car is assembled on an assembly line.
Ford understood that if he could assemble a car faster by defining each assembly line workers roles, more time could be spent on other important aspects of car production, like public relations and customer support.
Similarly, the marketing project managers must find a way in which to identify and allocate tasks and roles in a way that frees up each member’s time to work on more creative aspects of the campaign, specifically audience engagement.
Instead of having each member work on various aspects of the campaign, it will be more efficient to have them specialize in a particular area of the campaign such as data analysis, social media management, search engine optimization (SEO), and paid traffic.
Aside from focusing on their specific tasks, each member of the marketing team should be aware of the following items as well:
- Particular marketing procedures to complete their tasks.
- Specific software to complete their tasks.
- Schedules, calendars, and time-allocation sheets from which they can measure their workflow and timelines.
Splitting up each task will make the entire marketing project move along much faster and with less chaos.
Even though the team will seem like they are working from an individual perspective, they are actually working as a single unit to bring about the desired result in a more efficient manner.
3. Marketing communication channels
A marketing communication channel just means a media channel in which you can deliver your marketing message to your target audience.
The challenge, however, is how to find the right media channel where your target audience hangs out and how to best deliver your message to them in a way that is desirable for them and the channel being used.
Traditionally, media channels would include the following:
- Print publications
- Postal mail
However, since the advent of the internet, media channels are more synonymous with the following:
- Websites and blogs
- Social media
- Video sharing sites
Within these media channels, there are various methods and strategies from which to choose, both offline and online.
When choosing marketing channels, businesses are often limited by their budget. The good news is that online marketing offers many more options when working with a smaller budget. The ability to tap into multi-channel marketing resources is also very easy when targeting an online audience.
This does not mean, however, that offline communication channels should be ignored completely. It just means that marketers and businesses with a smaller budget would probably do better to choose more online media channels than offline ones as this will give them more bang for their buck. In other words, they can reach a larger audience at a lower cost.
A brief summary regarding the purpose of the 5 most popular online media communication channels can be seen below:
- PPC Ads (paid ads): For driving traffic instantly either for awareness, leads, or sales.
- Email marketing: Great for building brand loyalty and increasing ROI and profit margins.
- Videos: Targeting those searching for “How-To” solutions.
- Social media: Building brand awareness, customer engagement, and customer loyalty.
- SEO: Long-term website traffic strategy – best used in conjunction with PPC advertising.
4. Market, customer and audience data
According to Widen, a digital asset management solution company, the biggest challenge when it comes to online data is not collecting it but simplifying it.
Technology has simplified the process of collecting data from online media channels but humans still have to sift through that data to find out the key metrics that are most important for their marketing campaigns.
Finding the right metrics starts with asking the right questions:
- Are my paid ads converting and bringing in enough return on investment (ROI) or are they just an unnecessary expenditure?
- Are my blogs engaging readers or are visitors leaving immediately right after they hit my page?
- Are my product walk through and how-to videos generating traffic to my site?
- Are my emails being opened – do my mailings provide value to my list?
The questions can go on and on but the point is that the metrics you seek should be in accordance with the results of the marketing methods you have chosen.
Measuring data in a streamlined way requires organization and accessibility.
Again, taking an example from the automotive industry, automotive products and parts analysis requires measured data which can contain millions of measurements. If these measurements are not broken down into separate and clear categories then trying to find the right measurement to analyze can be a constant time drain.
For marketers, organizing and accessing the right measurements can be simplified using a measurement planned data board.
As the four main goals of any website are attracting visitors, engaging those visitors, converting those visitors, and building customer loyalty, information related to each can be split into these 4 main categories to draw upon and analyze.
Here is an example:
Metric: Number of Visitors to Site
Metric: Non-Bounced Sessions
Metric: Goal Conversion Rate (i.e., leads, sales)
Metric: Number of Returning Customers
5. Organic traffic + paid traffic (SEO + PPC)
If you have done any online marketing in the past you are probably already familiar with the SEO and PPC terms. Just to be sure though, let us define each one to better understand how they both can work in conjunction to meet your marketing objectives.
According to Search Engine Land, an online digital marketing publication, SEO stands for “search engine optimization” and it is the process of acquiring traffic for free by ranking high on the search engines through various onsite and offsite optimization methods and strategies.
It is considered a long-term traffic generation strategy as it can often take 3 to 6 weeks or even months in order for a particular page to get ranked.
The benefits of SEO is that once the work has been done successfully, it can potentially generate a flood of traffic without further work for years to come.
Some of its drawbacks, however, are that optimizing a site for search engines is not a guaranteed process as you will be competing with other sites who are also optimizing their sites through the same or similar keywords, backlinks, and domain authority measurements, to name but a few of the hundreds of ranking measures search engines often employ.
Also, search engines like Google often change their ranking algorithms so a site that was “optimized” last year or even a month ago may not be optimized now and so will not rank on the first page anymore. All your traffic could disappear in a single day!
PPC stands for “pay-per-click”. It is a paid form of traffic generation that utilizes search engines, social media sites, and other media channels to drive traffic to a particular site, page, or offer.
Basically, an advertiser has to pay the advertising platform – the fee is usually based on a particular bidding strategy particular to the chosen advertising platform – every time their ad is clicked and a visitor is redirected to their site.
Its most obvious benefit is that it offers the ability to tap into a target audience almost immediately and drive traffic to a specific page instantly.
Its major drawback is that it costs money and if done incorrectly, the advertiser may not generate awareness, engagement, or brand loyalty even though they drove a large number of visitors to their site by paying for it.
PPC marketing is ideal for driving an immediate action like a purchase or increasing attendance for an online event such as a webinar.
Using SEO & PPC together
Both SEO and PPC are proven methods to drive attention, engagement, and conversions. However, SEO is primarily used to establish a stronger bond between the customer and the brand with more informative content through website articles, blog posts, and video.
PPC, on the other hand, is ideal for making quick sales, testing campaigns, and increasing profits.
They are not in opposition to one another but rather are complimentary traffic generation methods that help streamline marketing campaigns to achieve both short-term and long-term goals.
Streamlining your marketing campaigns is not a difficult process. You simply have to follow a short set of guidelines, like the ones listed here, to simplify your marketing system so that the entire marketing team can work along the same lines and towards the business’s established goals and objectives.
Again, this can be done by adhering to the following guidelines:
First, understand how marketing can help you achieve your business goals.
Then, create clear goals that everyone working on your marketing campaign can easily understand.
After that, choose the best media channels for your campaigns – choose the ones that allow you to market in accordance with your business goals and marketing objectives.
Always remember to organize collected customer data and marketing metrics and make them accessible to everyone on your marketing team.
Finally, use both organic and paid forms of advertising, specifically SEO & PPC, to meet both short-term and long-term marketing objectives.
Once all of this is done, you will have a smooth running marketing strategy that can be replicated with minor variations to meet future company goals and congruent marketing objectives.
This guest blog article was written by Jen McKenzie is an independent business consultant from New York. She writes extensively on business, education and human resource topics. When Jennifer is not at her desk working, you can usually find her hiking or taking a road trip with her two dogs. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie.