Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” It can also be a metaphor for the current state of digital marketing. Getting hit is part and parcel of daily life, and yet marketers struggle with what to do when the unexpected happens.
Marketers have taken a lot of hits over the years — algorithms change, target audiences flow in and out of social networks, email rises and falls as an effective conversion tool, content needs to be published on an abundance of platforms — the list goes on. And even after all these years, marketers struggle when the jabs, hooks and even sucker punches start flying.
Rolling with the punches has never been the problem — there’s always something else to try. But if you’ve ever sparred in a boxing ring, you know that the wrong counter move can wind up with you blocking a punch with your face. And if you’ve ever made the wrong pivot in your marketing plan, then your paid search costs might soar, your marketing automation can get blacklisted, your social media reach might tank and you’re down with a ten-count knockout.
So the question to ask yourself is this: “How do I restart the revenue machine when Facebook or Google or any of my channels decide to make a huge change?”
Focus On Users, Not Buyers
This one is tricky and perhaps a little counterintuitive on the surface. Of course, you want to find the people who give you money — that’s why we do what we do. But you want to find the people who give you money repeatedly. They’re the people who will tell their friends, renew or buy again, and become a reliable revenue base.
The 80/20 model says that 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of the people you talk to. That 20% can be broken down further: 80% of the revenue out of that top 20% comes from just 20% of them, and on and on.
It’s easy to get lost in KPIs and direct ROI. Instead of the binary view of converted/did not convert, focus on the micro-yes moments for your prospects. What happens to the prospects that engage with your brand but do not convert on visit one (or five)? Consider identifying what lead nurture or personalized retargeting capabilities could be leveraged to push these prospects further down the conversion path.
Map Your Revenue Path
How exactly does your organization generate revenue? Map the buyers to strategies and find the high margin. Of course, you might think. But how are you exploiting the available white space in your industry? Where are the gaps? Consider a manufacturing company that has built success through wholesale partnerships and expansive retail distribution. Perhaps it’s launched an e-commerce site with the ability to sell 1:1. Consider this approach for identifying which products are in the initial e-commerce rollout.
- Analyze current product SKUs (contribution margin, seasonality, geography, shipping weight, etc.)
- Determine search volume/competition level for top products by platform (Google, Amazon, etc.)
- Identify the minimum threshold required for paid media budget by platform
- Prioritize top e-commerce products/selected platform based on paid media budget
- Provide forecasting effort for spend intervals + ROI metrics (“$X” spend threshold expects “Y” ROI)
Obviously, you’re always on the hunt for all of the above. But chances are you haven’t mapped it out. Find the 20% within the 20%, and don’t get distracted by the periphery.
Operationalize A Marketing Stack
Despite the fact that some martech tools yield a high ROI — conversion rate optimization solutions have shown an average 223.7% ROI — less than 10% of companies have invested in a complete, fully utilized martech stack, according to a report by Ascend2.
A major mistake that most companies make is confusing “more” with “better.” Your marketing stack can be as complex as it needs to be, but it shouldn’t be any more complex than it has to be.
You can start to define “right” by having a system that aligns sales and marketing in a clear, closed loop. If you have a tool that contributes to that loop, you made the right choice. And if you’ve got a hole, do whatever it takes to fill it.
Build A Revenue Machine
When you turn on your external channels that trigger your marketing stack behavior, you’ve got a revenue machine. Pause. Do you have a revenue machine?
Chances are, you’re struggling in this department. According to report findings, only 10% of companies surveyed said their sales and marketing teams are aligned with each other. Of the 90% who aren’t, almost half (40%) said this misalignment makes it difficult to effectively close deals.
Your revenue machine is only effective when you can close the loop between sales and marketing. Consider this path forward:
- Create attribution models focused on assisted conversions
- Agree that not every tactic/dollar spent is a 1:1 return
- Focus digital marketing efforts as additional air cover for the sales department (not replacing the sales department)
Protect Against Load-Bearing Tactics
One of the hard parts of strategy is not allowing your system to have load-bearing tactics. Load-bearing tactics are what you do over and over again to get the results you need. When that platform shifts, you have no plan and no revenue.
In 2018, Facebook has already shaken the data privacy world and hammered the final nail in brand pages with the News Feed algorithm update. So how do you react? You may not be able to replicate Facebook’s broad reach or targeting, but you may be able to replicate the value via a different channel.
Marketers are taking jabs and sucker punches all the time, but you don’t have to completely overturn your entire marketing strategy. If you want to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, then strategy has to trump tactics. That way, when a platform changes your tactics — and they always do — you have smart adjustments ready to go.
The practice of marketing is the pursuit of being able to make the right adjustment at the right time.