understanding online marketing, digital marketing key points


it’s pretty easy to see the importance
in the value of building out your online presence with the majority of online
marketing being self-service it’s easy to dive right in and honestly many
businesses are in such a rush to take advantage of the opportunity that they
fail to build out a proper strategy being digital for the sake of just
having a presence in these channels is not the answer the key is to build out a
dedicated strategy that results in a strong return on investment without
investing time in a strategy you’re not only going to miss great opportunities
but you may find your business left behind because online marketing is so
broad it’s easier to look at your strategy as three distinct strategies
that all share a common goal these strategies cover your business your
customer and your marketing now I’ll dig deeper into each of these in the next
few movies and my goal is to help you develop a cohesive online marketing
strategy and to do that you’ll need to understand the plan for your business at
a high level how you intend to be perceived by your market who that market
actually is how your customers are using digital technology and what channels
you’ll build into having a clear and well thought out strategy keeps you
focused and it serves as your roadmap as you explore new marketing channels now
there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution here every business needs to create its
own strategy and that makes sense if you’re selling custom t-shirts to sports
fans online your plan will bear little resemblance to a local restaurant your
strategy will vary but the focus is always to create shared value and shared
value is when the goals of your customer overlap with the goals of your business
your entire marketing strategy should be built with shared value in mind forget
for a moment that you’re selling a product or a service and instead adopt
the mindset that your marketing an experience so as we look at our three
distinct strategies I want you to focus on building each of them out with the
idea that at the end of the day you want to have a shared value experience and
that experience will bring you positive ROI the first of our three strategies is
your business strategy and here we want to identify the mission statement
objectives your value proposition and the elevator pitch these four elements
help to focus our attention and they’ll make it easier as we look at our
customers and marketing strategies but before we get there we need to cross the
basics off the list and these are is your business digital do you have the
right structure in place will your online marketing efforts fit into your
existing process and do you have the time necessary to maintain your strategy
we’ll talk about the minimum effort required in each channel but you’ll
still need to know that you can maintain the day-to-day one of the big challenges
of online marketing is keeping things up to date you can only plan an effective
strategy if you have a clear understanding of your business from the
start you need a big-picture view to determine which route makes the most
sense and when you hit a hurdle you’ll need that big-picture view to pick a new
route that gets you to your destination so let’s get back to building our
business strategy over time you can refine your strategy to find a way to
hit the bullseye so as I mentioned earlier we’re going to identify the
mission statement objectives your value proposition and the elevator pitch okay
so we need to start by defining our mission statement this one sentence
should summarize what we’re trying to do it can be vague but it should be able to
stand up on its own you’ll use your mission statement to keep everything
else in check next we should define at least three organizational objectives
and you can have more if you’re so inclined these should be the pieces that
are necessary to keep the business running and to maintain your brand
identity it can be anything from selling product to increasing signups next
identify the value proposition of those objectives why do you stand out what
makes you unique why would someone choose you over your competitor ideally
you’ll select one or two value propositions for each of your objectives
finally add your elevator pitch your pitch helps you think concisely online
marketing has many channels that limit the amount of information you can
communicate so this is a great opportunity to practice thinking in a
concise manner so pick and choose the elements that are specific to your
business going through this process will help you understand who your business is
and where you want your online marketing efforts to take you next we’ll be
looking at how to add to the strategy with our customer strategy so at this point we’ve got a good
understanding of our business but now we need to understand who our customer is
and where we’ll find them with our customer strategy we’re trying to do
three things the first is to reach the correct audience it would be a waste of
time and advertising spend to pursue the wrong audience the right audience will
have the best return on investment the second is to understand that audience
what it is that motivates them as it relates to our objectives and finally we
want to understand where we’ll find that audience more specifically what
marketing channel we can leverage to connect them with now when we talk about
our online marketing audience we aren’t referring to some special class of
consumer the truth is the customers that shop at a brick-and-mortar are the same
people who will order from an online store the major difference however is
that the digital customer is in control they’re able to drill into a landscape
that is more niche and personalized than ever before this means that when you go
to identify this audience you’re blessed and cursed at the same time you have to
be specific with who you’re targeting there’s no street traffic to market
broadly to each view costs you time and money but because your audience expects
niche you’re able to seek this ultra refined customer out with ease unlike
marketing efforts of the past next we need to put ourselves in the mind of the
target audience what are their goals what are they looking to accomplish list
each goal for that audience below it here you want to identify what mediums
this audience is using is it social if so what network is it a blog are they
likely to be searching on Google or visiting a particular web site from here
we need to drill in and understand our goals for each audience I’ll be
referring to these as our customer segment so we’ll end up creating a new
table to explore these segments in detail for each segment we need to
understand four things first what is our business goal for this segment these
goals are likely a more granular version of our overall business objective second
what is the shared value for this segment if you recall shared value is
when the goals of your customer overlap with the goals of your business next
we’ll look at the key performance indicators these will be what you’re
measuring it could be how many units you’ll sell or how many people visit
your website last we want to create a target and this target will be directly
related to our key performance in next what we need to identify is how our
business goals line up with the goals of our consumer so under each goal list why
the customer is likely to see shared value
finally let’s create a target what are you trying to achieve your target is
directly related to your KPI so take your time and think through your core
demographic the goals for each and what your final target is in the next video
we’ll take that information and build a marketing strategy around it now that we understand our business and
our customer it’s time to identify how we’re going to go about our online
marketing each strategy builds on the strategy that precedes it and each time
we get even more specific our marketing strategy will actually be many
individual plans each tailored to one goal for an audience segment we
specified from here we’re going to look at the channels we intend to market on
and then develop a marketing idea for each of those marketing media’s
available to us paid earned and owned now at this point you might not have a
sense of all the channels available to you and that’s okay take an educated
guess for now and then refine this plan as you continue through the course next
do the same for your earned media because this is our organic effort we’re
really identifying what we’d like to see happen we might need to leverage the
efforts in paid and owned to influence our earned media finally make note of
what you can do with your owned media as it relates to each channel this might be
as simple as posting on Facebook or it might involve a complex email campaign
remember online marketing is an iterative process and you’ll work to
continuously approve upon these ideas as you build out a new audience new
objectives and new channels you’ll want to make sure you have your coverage with
your marketing strategy it’s important to be flexible as you collect more and
more data you’ll be able to get closer and closer to your real targets you may
also learn that your plan was too aggressive or maybe it’s even too
conservative there’s a lot to think about when you build your marketing
strategy spend time doing research to further understand your business your
customer and the marketing channels available to you you may choose to
implement all of the strategies available to you or you may choose to
ignore a few both are valid options depending on what you’re setting out to
do all in all your marketing strategy is the final piece of the puzzle build it
last and revisit it often throughout this course I’ll be using
terminology specific to online marketing I’ll review these terms and their
definitions with you now let’s start with one of the most important pieces of
online marketing your call to action this is an instruction provided to your
audience as a way to provoke a response calls to action typically use a verb
such as save now or by today you’ll find them in banner ads on website landing
pages and in social media posts to name a few as you drive traffic to your site
you’ll encounter what’s called the bounce rate and this is when a visitor
arrives to your website but leaves after visiting only one page they’re said to
have bounced and your bounce rate is the percentage of these visitors and a
bounce rate can apply to an entire web site or a single page now the traffic
that bounced had to come from somewhere whether it was an advertisement or an
email you’ll want to be measuring your click-through rate as marketers will
often measure performance by how many clicks an ad receives every time an
advertisement is shown it counts as an impression and the click-through rate is
how many clicks were received in relation to the amount of impressions so
let’s shift gears now and look at the term abandonment and this is what a user
does not complete the goal you’ve intended for them so a user is following
a particular path say to checkout it from an ecommerce store or to complete
an online form for more information and then they leave the process early in
marketing we aim to reduce that and that’s what we call abandonment as you
begin to scale up your marketing efforts you’ll encounter paid advertising and
the term ad impression each time your advertisement is displayed to a user it
counts as an impression and impressions are often tied to frequency frequency is
the amount of time a single user will see your advertisement so if you had 10
impressions of an ad with a frequency of 2 then 5 individual people will have
seen that advertisement when a user completes your goal whether it’s buying
a product or downloading an application they’re said to have converted your
conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who entered into this
experience and actually completed the goal to understand how a user converted
or when we need to use what’s called a tracking pixel and these are tiny 1×1
pixel images that are installed on your website to track conversions website
visits and add views now advertising only makes sense if it
brings you a positive return on investment to discover that we’ll look
at our cost per acquisition you may also hear this referred to as CPA or in some
cases cost per action this is how much it costs you per goal completion so if
you ran an advertisement with a goal of getting an application download and that
ad cost you $100 then if one person downloaded the app despite the hundreds
that clicked on it the cost per acquisition for that single user would
be $100 that CPA will then be compared to your lifetime value or LTV every
customer has a value some will buy once and never return others will become
repeat buyers your lifetime value is a prediction of the net profit attributed
to that relationship typically with paid advertisements you
want your cost per acquisition to be lower than your lifetime value now later
we’re going to talk more about banner advertisements and display ads and here
I’ll be referring to visual images either static or animated that are used
to generate brand awareness or entice a user to click most banner or display
advertisements will contain a call to action now when you’ve run these
advertisements or share an offer it’s important that the user arrives on a
page that is specific to your promotion if you don’t use one it’s unlikely
they’ll convert this page they first arrive on is called the landing page and
finally let’s look at an organic result when you conduct a search on say Google
you have two types of results paid results which are typically the first
couple of links and a handful of links on the right sidebar and organic
listings which are not paid and instead achieve their rank through search engine
optimization year over year more and more marketing
opportunities present themselves online and this is because people are creating
and adopting new technologies and exploring new ideas the amount of
options available to you as a marketer are almost overwhelming in this course
we’re going to explore the main components of digital marketing but the
concepts will scale to other areas it’s important to keep in mind that your
strategy does not need to include every available marketing channel you may end
up using a handful of the ones we discussed or you may find success in
leveraging other avenues that are not part of these core components with such
a wide array of choices it is important to evaluate which channels make the most
sense if you’re operating with limited resources you may need to prioritize
which channels you want to start with and on the same vein if you’re exploring
a new channel it’s a good idea to explore how it will impact your day to
day so to do that I like to evaluate each based on the effort required to
build out the channel and the value in doing so and from there we can plot them
on a matrix so to show you what I mean let’s look at four areas of our online
marketing strategy SEO search marketing social media and video so the first
thing we need to do is figure out what channel we’re using for these areas so
for SEO we’re going to focus on Google for search marketing
we’ll use Google Adwords and with social media I’m going to start with Facebook
and then for video we’ll use YouTube so let’s drop these four into a table next
we need to score the effort on a scale of 1 to 6 6 being the most amount of
effort and 1 the least will also score the value so which of these are likely
to have the biggest return on investment now these scores are specific to your
business so I’m going to just assign some numbers here as an example now that
we have our scores let’s visualize how we can spend our time and to do that
we’ll create a 6 by 6 grid with one axis for effort and one for value since we’re
using a scale of 1 to 6 we’ll mark each row and column with a corresponding
number now if we break these into 4 separate sections what we have is a
visualization of effort versus value the top left is low value low effort and the
bottom right is high value high effort taking our scores from the previous
table we can plot exactly where these marketing channels land so since I
scored Google a 5 for value and a 4 for effort I’ll place that in the
correct section I’ll repeat this process for Adwords YouTube and Facebook with
the complete matrix it’s easier to decide how we’ll spend our time start
with things in the high value high effort section and work your way back
around the matrix keep in mind that just because something is high effort and low
value doesn’t mean it’s not worth exploring
we’re simply scoring these in relation to one another low value could still
mean a significant return on investment it’s just not as significant as
something in the high value section first of all search is the number one
source currently used when making a decision to purchase something this
comes from consumers all the way up to high level business decision makers your
website’s visibility and search is likely the most valuable real estate
online because searchers are expressing intent and are of Anish they’re an ideal
target paid search is a key piece of today’s digital landscape and the
current leader to buy ads from is Google AdWords now email was once the marketers
dream a quality email list was extremely valuable in the early 2000s now it’s
still effective but it has to be mobile almost 50% of all emails are open on a
mobile device so the landscape has definitely shifted with mobile email the
digital marketplace demands a mobile website we’re seeing a huge trend in
marketing automation as well these concepts involve automated bidding based
on results automatically remarketing to people who visited your site and even
creating custom advertisements specific to what a user was searching for
automation will continue to evolve err the next couple of years and it’s likely
going to stay a key component to the marketers toolkit social media is still
proving to be valuable for many brands there’s been some pushback from the
consumer as it relates to advertisements and social but this marketing style is
still relatively young and has room for improvement we’ll likely see social
advertising remain very popular in today’s landscape and finally we’re in a
mature stage of content marketing building high value content for
audiences is proving to generate significant ROI is for those doing it
well users report interesting content as being one of the top three reasons they
follow a brand now content marketing might actually be in the early stages of
reforming more and more consumers are becoming weary of sensational headlines
and may be responding less effectively to previously comment
geeks such as top ten lists and weird tricks to solve a certain problem now
it’s important to stay in tune with the online marketing landscape I recommend
that as new trends emerge test them out and see how they perform for your brand your website is an important piece of
your digital marketing strategy it may serve as a gateway to gather information
or the actual destination where a sale takes place it’s an opportunity for a
visitor to discover what makes your brand unique to find the information
they’re looking for and to guide them in their decision to buy you may have all
sorts of marketing campaigns running ads on Google post on Facebook blog articles
all of it is bringing in new customers that eventually end up on your website
all of that attention on your website makes it one of the most valuable pieces
of digital real estate you own the better your marketing the more
visibility your website has online consumers of today are fickle and that’s
because digital interactions are so commonplace so users are spoiled by
companies that are doing it well they’re used to things just working and they
expect that the information they want will be available and accurate when it’s
not they’re disappointed and credibility is lost for whatever brand they’re
interacting with the truth is if your website isn’t good you’re going to fall
further and further behind as the landscape evolves and if your website
doesn’t work on mobile you’re already behind chances are there’s a competitor
with a better online experience and your customers will seek them out if they’re
fumbling with yours so let’s talk about how to make sure that your experience is
good enough it doesn’t need to be perfect it just has to be successful an
effective website is simple well-thought-out and highly functional
it should be intuitive and eliminate any and all barriers so your visitor can
accomplish their goals effortlessly in our marketing strategy we’re aiming for
shared value it’s the same with your website your business goals and the
needs of your target market should overlap and while we’re drawing
similarities to our marketing strategy I’ll also point out that your website
only needs to appeal to your target market so spend your effort designing it
to work for that audience as you evaluate your current website take some
time to ask yourself the following questions 1 is it mobile-friendly the
amount of people using their mobile devices to browse the web is staggering
so design with mobile in mind now later in this chapter we’re going to talk
about something called responsive design and that will help give you some more
ideas around the topic of being mobile-friendly now the next question is
does it load properly in all modern web browsers if your site looks one way on
Safari for Mac and another way on Chrome for
PC you’re not really controlling the experience test it out on all of the
modern browsers I recommend browser staff calm as a way
to quickly test your site across platforms does it answer all the
questions my users have or may have now a good practice is to write down things
your customers ask for via phone email or even in your place of business you
can check to see if those answers are easily found on your website and if
they’re not then you should put that information online
next is the site reflective of my brand within the first couple of seconds a
user is going to decide how the site feels to them you need to make sure your
brand is carried through luxury brands need to feel elegant whereas discount
sites can focus more on the current sales make sure your logo tagline and
the color scheme all reflect your brand you definitely want things to be
consistent is it up-to-date nothing is worse than information that’s out of
date it creates concern with users so be sure to keep information current if you
have a blog you should be using it weekly are all of your services and
products easy to find because online marketing is so niche you’re targeting
audience is likely looking for something specific can they find it on your
website if they can’t find it and they call and you say it’s a service or
product you do offer then it needs to be on your site or all of your policies
easy to find that is to say if you ship or handle returns can a user understand
the process clearly will they know how long shipping takes when they can expect
a callback or a product to arrive you want to provide ample feedback so a user
knows where they stand in the process and finally a lot of the best criteria
for your site is how does it compare to your competitor
are you proud or jealous if you’re jealous it’s probably time to seriously
consider whether or not you need to patch up your website leverage your
relationships with existing customers and colleagues as a way to get feedback
on your site ask them what they like what they don’t like and for any ideas
as you go about creating an effective website I also recommend hearing from
someone outside your circle check out peak usertesting.com for no
charge they’ll have a real person spend five minutes on your site and give you
honest and unbiased feedback as I said earlier your website is possibly the
most valuable piece of your digital marketing strategy take your time and
conduct an honest of having the right domain name is
essential your domain name is how your visitors find your website it appears on
your print materials and it’s also shared both online and offline as your
brand recognition increases a poorly chosen domain name will have a
widespread negative impact on your online and offline efforts a good domain
name is relevant memorable and usable so let’s talk about relevant your domain
name should be relevant to your business typically it’ll be your business name
but in some situations it can be a bit more broad if your business name is too
long you may need to creatively shorten it while still remaining on brand the
more relevant your domain name the better even for SEO so stick with what
makes sense to your target market next make it memorable and you’ll do
that by keeping it short using simple terms and by selecting the
most common suffix now what I’m talking about suffixes I’m referring to com net
org and today.com is still King and most people instinctually type com even if
you listed dotnet or org it’s ideal to always have com now some countries have
specific suffixes such as MX or Co UK use the one that is most widespread in
your region if you have a difficult to spell or pronounce business name you’ll
end up with a less than memorable domain name instead you’ll want to try an
alternative domain name that still maintains the feel of your brand and
finally the domain should be usable if you’re adding in hyphens or leveraging
prefixes other than www you might be hampering a visitor’s ability to arrive
at your website the best domain names are short and free of special characters
so after you select your domain name I recommend buying multiple variations and
suffixes to prevent others from registering them also if you’re using a
number in your domain it’s not a bad idea to buy the version with the numbers
spelled out to avoid any complications when sharing a domain name through
word-of-mouth if your domain name is unavailable
it might be worth contacting a current owner to inquire about the cost of
purchasing it if you can’t find their contact information on their website you
can try denta fiying them by running what’s called a who is this will query
the registered owner you’ll find the tools to do this at Whois net or who dot
is it’s hard to change a domain name once you’ve got
your marketing underway so evaluate your options and make the best choice for
your business every website has a goal it could be to
distribute information capture an email address or sell a product
there’s a reason you’re putting an effort into online marketing your goal
is for your visitor to take some sort of action after they land on your website
now depending on your audience you’ll have between 2 and 6 seconds to convince
them to stay once they’ve arrived what happens is these visitors will click
take a glance and then bounce from your site if they’re not interested so
ideally you’re driving this traffic to a specific landing page having specific
destinations allows you to reinforce the decision to click provide an
attention-grabbing visual or headline and frame the information in a way that
helps you achieve your goal now some new visitors will inevitably arrive on your
homepage and that’s okay but it’s important to avoid campaigns that drive
visitors directly to your homepage it’s the least conversion friendly page on
your website since it tends to be fairly broad the key to making your website
convert is to build goal specific landing pages these landing pages come
in a few varieties but I’m going to focus on the four most common types
teaser pages squeeze pages infomercials and viral pages these are all ones
you’ve likely encountered as you’ve browsed the web the first is a teaser
page the objective of a teaser page is to give your visitor just enough
information to get them to click through to the next step of your process teaser
pages are useful for products that are nearing launch by creating anticipation
and excitement you can convince the visitor to take an action such as
providing an email address or even pre-ordering you can also use these
pages to tease out any unqualified leads if you have a special product for a
select audience you can leverage teaser pages to ask them questions one step at
a time slowly revealing more about your product or offering depending on the
answers next we have the squeeze page the goal of the squeeze page is to
capture content and qualifying lead information typically a visitor
exchanges their contact information for something of moderate value say a
webinar ebook or an exclusive discount the lead information can be as simple as
an email or as complex as four or five pre qualifying questions a good squeeze
page keeps the message above the fold stays on target and has a strong enough
value to be effective let’s move on to the viral landing page
the goal of this page is to invite your customers to enlist their friends you
might have a reward that is earned through a number of shares for example
for each friend who signs up you’ll get a $5 credit your viral landing page
might include a funny video or an infographic now finally we have the
infomercial page these are typically designed in the same style as an
infomercial you’d see on TV the idea is one page typically a long page and
you’ll share all the information about the product what it is how it works its
benefits testimonials and a special offer if you buy it today infomercial
pages are effective at driving sales for certain products and are typically used
by affiliate marketers when running large campaigns to build your landing
page select the right type and then focus on these five things you want to
define the goal what needs to happen what information from the user do you
need to accomplish that goal their email phone number credit card outline what
the user needs to do do they need to fill out a form invite a friend and so
on what information does the user need to be convinced what is of shared value
to them and finally how will you track the results it’s important to make sure
your landing page has your logo an explanation of the offer a very
compelling headline related testimonials and links to reviews along with a strong
call-to-action after you build your landing page or if you already have
pages on your site executing these goals it’s important to continuously improve
them when someone starts by clicking on your link
maybe fills out the first page but then never enters their credit card they’ve
abandoned you want to fix abandonment by finding the pain point and we’ll talk
more on this later when we get into conversion funnels but here’s why this
is important if you fix conversions you can increase your revenue without having
to increase your traffic so 10,000 visitors at a 1 percent conversion rate
would equal 100 sales and 10,000 visitors at a 3 percent conversion rate
well that’s 300 sales so focus on keeping your landing pages concise just
the right amount of information necessary to get the job done make sure
you add confidence to your visitors by linking to your email policy having a
valid SSL certificate and including your contact information directly on the page
there are many other ways to improve the version on your website obviously not
every page can be a landing page but landing pages allow you to build
isolated tests and you can then apply those learnings to the rest of your
website here’s the reality people just don’t
read on the internet they scan they’ll jump from a headline to an image and
then scan a few bullet points this means when it comes to the copy on your
website less is more and with less words to work with it’s important that you
make each one count will call all the text on your website copy now I’m not
going to be discussing blog articles that’s a whole different beast for now
we’re going to focus on your web copy writing engaging web copy starts with
knowing your audience your writing specifically for them and no one else
you need to deliver your information in a way that meets their needs and you
have to be mindful of the fact that for whatever reason they’re likely in a
hurry to find that information the goal is to write great copy not just content
it’s different so as you approach your project start by getting rid of any long
introductions and word heavy descriptions stick to clear concise and
punctual copy use clever headings to your advantage and break up your text
with bullet points building on topic and relevant content will not only help your
users but it’ll help you out as you work to rank in the search engines as well
one thing I see often is pages that put their headline as about us or contact us
for the page you’re on now those are helpful in the title or the breadcrumb
but save that heading space for something captivating and
attention-grabbing especially on your landing pages as you
move into the content deliver the most important points of your story first and
then add the supporting details as you go this way if the user stops reading
early they’ve got a gist of what you’re trying to say now before you get started
look at each page of your website and answer these questions who will read
this copy why are they reading this what should they feel when they read this
page what am I trying to accomplish with this copy and what benefit and feature
do I need them to really understand use these answers to build your first draft
save it and then write it again with half as many words compare the two and
only add back in what you need to reinforce the points that are lacking
now at some point you might decide it’s a good idea to hire a professional
copywriter I can’t stress the importance of good copy enough this is a worthwhile
investment if you aren’t able to spend the time to refine your own copywriting
skills when you look for a copywriter read through their work copywriters
often write in specific niches and while they’re happy to adjust their tone and
style for your needs it’s often better to find someone who understands your
audience a copywriter should be invited into the project at the beginning this
way they can gather all the facts understand the challenges ahead and
build you exactly what you need you can utilize a copywriter to write slogans
add ideas entire websites or a focused landing page copy most work on a daily
or half daily rate and expect to pay anywhere from 600 to 800 dollars per day
right with the approach of connecting your audience to your business
convincing them to take the next step and affirming their conversion over the past few years we’ve seen
impressive growth of tablets and smartphones all coming with different
screen sizes it would be an incredible amount of effort to build the design for
each screen size and then try to keep up with new devices on top of it
that’s where responsive web design comes in this approach allows your site to be
adaptive the page responds automatically based on the screen size and even the
orientation a user is viewing it in it works because a responsive website is
designed around building blocks these blocks can break and collapse under one
another stretch and shrink and even adjust the font sizes and image sizes
based on the available screen real estate what’s great is that the same
code is served to all the devices you won’t need to build multiple code bases
you’ll instead rely on your style sheets to handle the scaling advanced
responsive design can even adjust elements on the page adding an
additional content or removing it based on the view you’ll have to decide if
responsive design makes sense for your business personally I’d lean heavily
towards making the investment in this style of web development it’s almost a
necessity if you want to compete in today’s digital marketplace it’ll help
future-proof your brand and it’ll give you amazing flexibility as you expand
your marketing and improve your customers experience as they interact
with your site from various devices now responsive design sounds relatively
simple but it’s a fairly complex endeavor if you’ve built your website on
a framework or a paid template you might be able to find an update that includes
responsive elements if you have a more complex project including say ecommerce
websites it’s probably best to enlist the help of a professional use
responsive design as a tool not a cure-all fix you’ll still need to take
usability into consideration and that might mean changing certain interactions
on your website to accommodate a responsive experience the data you collect on your website
your campaigns and your social media efforts will determine the overall
health of your digital marketing the data is your map without it you’re
flying blind you’ll be using your data to improve your experience listen for
untapped opportunities and pull the plug if you have to on any failing ideas the
amazing thing with digital marketing is we can track just about every action a
user takes there are a number of tools available that help marketers understand
both the qualitative and the quantitative we can track what’s
happening now and even model what is likely to happen in the future let’s dig
a little deeper into measuring data by looking at how we can capture data
within our three media’s paid owned and earn so the easiest place to start is
with your own website here you can track how many visitors where they’re coming
from what pages they’re visiting how long they’ve stayed and even what page
they left from by reviewing your analytics you’ll get a sense of how your
users found your site if they’re finding what they want and if you’re advertising
objectives are driving a meaningful amount of traffic with a resource like
Google Analytics you’ll install a tracking code on every page on your
website from there you’ll have a goldmine of data to leverage segment and
correlate for example if you made a change to your website design and
noticed on that day web traffic dropped dramatically you’ll have a sense of
where to start looking for the problem if you roll out a new landing page you
might see an increase in conversions resulting from that specific page or you
may see a sudden spike in traffic and by drilling into it you can identify the
source say a social media post or a mention or even an online blog now
you’re paid analytics are typically tied to a reporting platform provided by the
tool you’re using to run those ads this data is extremely useful as it can give
you granular details on which ads are working what targeting makes sense and
more however you’ll want to track as much data as you can and another
tracking tool independent of that provider this way you can check the
accuracy and evaluate things from different perspectives this is important
because more often than not the way your platform will report conversions is
different than how you report them and this works by installing a small pixel
on your conversion page which informs the platform that a sale happened so if
you have an advert on Facebook for example driving traffic
to your landing page you’ll want to use campaign tracking tags or goal tracking
in Google Analytics and the Facebook advertising dashboard simultaneously
this way you can compare the data identify any discrepancies and test if
your conversion pixel is actually working now the final part of our
measurement will come from earned media and this one is typically the most
difficult here your outcomes aren’t necessarily determined by spend but how
interesting people think your product and services are here you’re tracking
things like your social media fanbase mentions and interactions on tweets and
video views on YouTube you may have many dashboards that you collect this data in
and you’ll want to look at it alongside all your other advertising metrics the
best way to measure results with earned media is to have your own goals and
objectives that you can measure against so if for example you decide that 10,000
Facebook fans would increase your revenue potential by $1,000 then you can
track how you’re trending towards that goal and the effort you’re investing
there’s an endless amount of data providers out there investigate them
against your needs and keep a system in place that provides you with the
necessary checks and balances I find interpreting your data becomes
easier and more meaningful if you understand the pieces that make data
collection possible every action you take on the web is tracked one way or
another the pages you view the files you download and even demographic and
interest data can be recorded and this data is captured through the use of what
are called cookies and pixels a cookie is a small file that a website stores on
your computer this file might contain the pages you visited and when a unique
identifier and even if you’re authorized to view certain logged in content
typically a cookie doesn’t have much identifying information the website
itself will store its own corresponding file and match your cookie ID to the
records on the server and this is useful for knowing whether a visitor is
returning for the second time how long between visits and even what
advertisements they’ve clicked into speaking of advertising ad platforms
such as Facebook Atlas or Google Adsense use cookies to identify the same user as
they browse the web so you might see an ad from Google on the New York Times and
then another ad from them while you’re browsing a food blog as you continue to
browse the web and load advertisements from the same publisher they’ll see a
list of the type of sites you visit and how you interact with these ads this
information can then be used to sell ads that you’re likely to engage with so
beyond cookies we have the tracking pixel and a tracking pixel stores
information on your web server not your computer a pixel is really just a 1 by 1
transparent image and they’re often used to see if users convert after visiting a
particular ad here’s how they work the server stores a small file call it pixel
gif and every time the server asks for the file it’s going to log that request
now instead of just asking for pixel gif will instead add custom variables to the
requests a pixel gif question mark ID equals one two three and so on and so
forth the server will be successful in delivering the image because all that
extra text is irrelevant so the user won’t see any issues but it does keep a
log of that unique URL and it can use those variables to then match that
transaction back to a particular user or advertising event to put this another
way let’s say you click on an ad to buy movie tickets as soon as you click
you’re going to receive a cookie the cookie will include information
on the time where you clicked what banner was clicked and so on now at this
point the advertising platform knows that the ad received an impression and a
click but it has no record of the sale so now let’s say you continue on and buy
those tickets on the confirmation page the website is going to read the cookie
on your computer pull the information from it and send it back to the server
through the conversion pixel and now the advertising platform will connect the
dots and indicate a sale for that ad we’ll talk more about how these sales
are attributed later there’s some other factors such as how long it’s been since
the click if the click came directly from the last click or maybe if a user
saw an advertisement and purchase without actually clicking but again more
on that later I could go deeper and deeper into the
technical aspects of how cookies and pixels work but the truth of the matter
is you really don’t need to know all the nuances with this high level overview
you’ll be able to make sure yours are set up properly and tracking the right
information conversion funnels helped us see the
sales process or the specific route a user takes to arrive at a sale they’re a
visual representation of each step of the process and they can be fairly
generic referencing sales in general it’s white at the top because that’s
where most of our users are in the process and narrow at the bottom because
we lose people at each step in the process which is shown through the use
of the arrows on the edges of the funnel funnels actually come in all shapes and
sizes a perfect 100 percent conversion funnel
would look like a straight cylinder a typical funnel is really wide at the top
and very narrow at the bottom a well optimized funnel has a more gradual
shape suggesting very limited abandonment and poorly optimized funnels
might have bulges or aggressive drop-off indicating an issue your online
marketing funnel will be specific so we wouldn’t track things so broadly instead
our funnel for a shopping cart might be product page at the top payment form in
the middle and completion as the last step there we could track how many
visitors saw our product page versus how many completed the sale in this example
a visualized funnel will show what steps might cause problems if people aren’t
reaching the payment page or if we have high abandonment right before checkout
we have a problem you’ll use your funnel to test page variations the copy and
language used and even identified bugs or browser issues with Google Analytics
we can create our own visual funnels now once there’s data in this section you’ll
be able to see how many people come in how many people exit on this particular
step and how many move on to the next step in the flow this helps you identify
where issues exist if we notice that a lot of people are making it to the
payment page but then abandoning we’d know that we need to optimize the
payment page perhaps there’s an issue with that page the way that we’re asking
for data maybe the page itself is broken maybe we don’t have a security
certificate maybe people are concerned about their information but we’d
identify that something is happening that prevents people from finalizing
that goal now keep in mind Google Analytics doesn’t calculate funnels
retroactive Lee so you need to set them up from the start and the data will then
start collecting into that funnel moving forward your analytics will have all the
information of what’s going on across your marketing channels but your KPIs
will refine that information to give you a clearer view of how you’re performing
the KPIs will help tell the story of how your online marketing is doing at a
glance if you don’t have them you’ll be overwhelmed with the amount of data
available to you by monitoring your KPIs you’ll see what’s working what’s not and
what is impacting something else when you go about creating your KPIs make
sure they are aligned to your business goals they need to be measurable and
easy to understand so good KPI might be increased traffic five percent
month-over-month whereas a bad KPI would be increased
traffic each month if you don’t have a quantifiable goal it’s not easy to
interpret the results sure you might be satisfied with growing traffic but if
you’re only growing by a few visits per month you’ve got a problem and that
problem wouldn’t be visible if your KP I got a checkmark because it was simply to
increase traffic you want your KPIs to be tied to your marketing objectives
because then they are influenced by your effort they’ll let you know when to
celebrate and when to make something better so for example if you’re running
an advertisement as a test to see if you can get acquisition costs at an
acceptable level you might want a KPI that says achieve a $40 CPA if you went
with achieve 100 sales you’ll be focusing on measuring something you’re
not actually trying to achieve you could succeed at that $40 CPA and then scale
your KPI to be generate 100 sales per month at a $40 cost per acquisition to
help get you started here’s some items to consider creating a KPI around for
online sales look at your conversion rate and the cost per acquisition for
broader marketing objectives set a KPI for total revenue and even the ratio of
new to returning visitors if you’re using a landing page set a bounce rate
KPI this way you can identify if your inbound traffic isn’t targeted enough as
you consider your KPIs do yourself a favor and avoid worrying about things
that aren’t impacting your bottom line pageviews might be impressive but only
if they’re actually driving revenue I track business and marketing KPIs with
an Excel spreadsheet but you can also look at software from Geckoboard calm or
safecom to build out KPI dashboards giving you at a glance information
take your time and pick the metrics that are relevant to you and organize them in
a way that makes sense for your business a lot of online marketing revolves
around encouraging a direct response from a prospective customer will show
them an advertisement a tweet or a special offer via email and measure
success based on the click and subsequent conversion this is what is
referred to as last click attribution the entire value of the customers
conversion is placed on the marketing channel or campaign that delivered the
customer last click attribution is easy to measure because it involves a very
clear process the user takes however this is a really flawed method we know
that customers take a much larger journey they might see an email then
read through a few brand tweets check reviews online and compare prices prior
to purchasing add offline influences and second screen interactions on mobile or
tablet devices and you can see how attributing all the value to a single
source isn’t going to cover it so what do we do from here truthfully it’s an
iterative process unique to each brand so you start with your last click wins
and then apply some weight to your other attributions your view-through
conversions a view through can be measured when an advertising platform
places our cookie when a user receives your ad impression now if they don’t
click but later come to your site and buy your product then it’ll be tracked
as a view through but not all ad impressions are single-handedly
delivering sales again there might be social media or search playing a role as
well but applying some weight to view-through conversions will help
balance the attribution model even further with your paid advertising you
might adjust the view through conversion by reducing the window of time that
you’ll accept the sale is being attributed to an ad impression some
brands might be willing to accept the idea that a 30-day window is reasonable
while others might prefer a much shorter time period be sure to review your
cookie durations with any paid advertising that you’re conducting as
with most everything in marketing the idea is test optimize and test again you
might notice patterns emerge where you’re taking a loss on your search
marketing that is to say your cost per acquisition on a last click attribution
is higher than anticipated but if you stop your search marketing you can see
that your display advertising suffer significantly this might suggest people
see your banner ad search for your brand and click on your paid result if your
banner it was relatively inexpensive your
attribution model might allow you to share some of the costs making both
campaigns pencil out in the green you can boil attribution models down into a
wholesome model or a fractional model so in a wholesome approach you’ll give all
the credit to last click or first click in a fractional model you’ll spread that
attribution out and give credit to certain channels that might only be
assisting on the final decision there are many ways to build out your
attribution models you can track the metrics individually in Excel and make
comparisons between each channel there are also third-party attribution tools
or if you’re using Google Premium you can modify your attribution on-the-fly
now if you’re not on premium you can still get a good idea of various
attribute models by using multi-channel funnels this way you can start seeing
which channels are actually bringing in the most revenue and drive your efforts
in that direction or you can identify which channels aren’t driving a lot of
value and see if you can work on those channels to increase their value it’s
important to understand how you’re attributing your sales so don’t pull the
plug too early on various marketing efforts instead use this data to see if
you can identify why or why not various sources are working now your
model might change so continue to keep tabs on this data and look to see if any
patterns emerge search engine optimization is all about
impacting how visible your website is in a search engines organic results you’ll
be making changes to your site’s technical setup as well as the content
on the page in an effort to improve rank to better understand optimization let’s
start by looking at how search engines work a company like Google will have a
bot basically a software program that crawls the web it does this by following
links and links from your site to other pages on your site and even links from
one site to another the crawler arrives at a page reads the code and stores the
information that stored information is called the index and your initial goal
is to get indexed by Google if your indexed you’ll rank and you might not
rank well but you have the potential for ranking and when I talk about rank I’m
referring to which position you appear in for a particular search query so when
you enter a search term Google will do its best to provide the most important
and relevant answers and then rank them from best to worst the better Google is
at their job the more likely you are to use them and the more money they make so
it’s in Google’s best interest to deliver the best content and because
Google drives a mind-boggling amount of traffic each day it’s in your best
interest to rank well for relevant terms and rank is determined by importance and
relevance a complex algorithm turns through hundreds of variables to decide
where your page lands many of those variables are what you’re aiming to
optimize these variables might include the topics you’re writing about who is
linking to your page how your website is programmed and even if your
mobile-friendly Google even evaluates the quality of the pages that are
linking to you if they’re on brand relevant and popular it’s going to
assume you’re more credible than if off-topic unpopular pages are linking to
your content variables that you can’t control
might include where a user is searching from trending topics and any current
events that could skew results SEO done well can provide an impressive ROI done
poorly and it will negatively impact your organic search efforts in this
chapter we’ll dig into the fundamentals of good SEO and how you can improve the
chances that your page ranks well truthfully SEO is an ongoing effort
there isn’t one specific tactic you can implement at the start to succeed at the
race it’ll require many factors to be evaluated tweaked and then refined with
that said there’s still a handful of variables that are absolutely essential
to your success I’m going to focus on these key areas
for now to give you a solid foundation for your continued effort so first off
search engines are built around their ability to index pages so it’s very
important that your site is accessible to crawlers and that crawlers can get to
every page on your site search engines love text it’s the easiest for them to
parse if your site is built in flash you’re going to have trouble with SEO if
you’re using images in place of text you too will have a problem search engines
also love clicking links if you’ve got your links tucked into a custom
JavaScript navigation your crawl ability might be impaired so as you look at your
site make sure you have at least one regular text-based hyperlink to every
page on your site it’s usually best to build a flat site hierarchy versus a
deep site hierarchy and to help understand this let’s look at a flat
hierarchy there are exceptions to every rule
in some situations there are simply too many categories to show them all at one
level in other cases showing specific topics too soon will just confuse your
audience and users will understand your offerings much better if you include
some intermediary category pages to establish contacts focus on building a
site that is easy to navigate for your users with your most important content
linked clearly and prominently next be sure to look at how your URLs are named
it’s a great idea to have natural language URLs free of any extensions if
you have an e-commerce site a URL of clothing site comm slash men’s slash
pants slash denim – jeans is going to be much better than clothing site com slash
Product ID equals one to three along that same concept be sure your title
tags are unique to each individual page and include a clear topic don’t start
your title tags with your domain name simply append that to the end be sure
each page has a unique Meta Description Google often uses the Meta Description
as the short text visible and search results don’t just list keywords here
create a meaningful sentence or two that will entice the visitor to click Next
make sure you’re taking advantage of heading tags these are the h1 h2 and h3
tags you always want your heading tags to appear in order on your page and you
should only have one heading 1 tag avoid using your heading 1 tag to say things
like about us or contact us instead focus on the core topic for that page
check that every image on your website has a well-defined name and an alt tag
description no need to keyword stuff in your tags just make them natural and
relevant to the user and Google will reward you finally be sure to use a
sitemap both in HTML and XML format along with a well-defined
robots.txt file I also recommend signing up for Google Webmaster Tools it’s a
great dashboard that will help you inspect the overall SEO health of your
site you’ll find the free sign up at google.com/webmasters use the dashboard
to review how many pages have been crawled and indexed see a list of crawl
errors and identify any HTML improvements google recommends for you
if you have a moderately sized site check out the tool screaming frog SEO
spider at screaming frog co uk you can crawl your site just as a search engine
would see a list of any broken links along with an output of all your heading
1 tags meta descriptions and title tags work through each page on your site to
make sure it’s technically sound without great content you’re lost to
Google in order to understand what is going on with your website Google has to
have some information to read and it reads that information with a slight
bias on keywords so earlier we looked at building a list of our important
keywords and now we need to make sure we have content written around those terms
and by writing content for our keywords I’m not talking about blanketing the
page with these keywords back in the late 90s marketers were focused on these
ideas around keyword density title tags stuffing and a whole slew of other
tricks to try to win over a particular search term search engines are now smart
enough to understand the relationship between words and phrases so trying to
reinforce a keyword unnaturally isn’t going to help you if anything it might
negatively impact your effort so when you build your content keep in mind
there is no magic number of words or times to repeat your term instead build
out the information that brings the most value to your user if you’re going after
a particular search term it’s because that term is popular to your user base
and using it naturally will be in your benefit if you really need a formula I’d
stick with this have your keyword or related concept in your heading tag
include your keyword once and maybe twice if it’s not awkward above the fold
in your content and then write supporting copy that includes your
related concepts and terms to give Google an indication of what the theme
of this page is about remember Google is smart if you’re trying to gain the
system chances are you’re just putting yourself
behind take time to build content that is natural easy to read and a value add
for users and you’ll see Google reward that effort over time historically online marketing was a
fairly one-sided approach businesses pushed ideas out and consumers passively
received them but that landscape is shifted the internet has become
extremely interactive and social media has created a new style of communication
and there are now billions of conversations happening online people
are discussing popular news articles sharing photos of their pets and even
engaging with brands and it all feels relatively natural to the consumer it’s
just part of how the web operates all of these conversations however present
exciting opportunities for marketers we can join in on a conversation to drive
brand awareness or create our own conversations and empower our customers
to do the marketing for us done right social media has the potential to
transform your business however it’ll require a good strategy some creativity
and a little bit of luck done wrong and social media might bring unwanted
attention which could potentially harm your business or your brand image
typically when we talk about social media we’re talking about the organic
natural approach of distributing content but it’s more than just sharing updates
because people share so much information on social media we can buy some of the
most targeted advertisements available on the web looking to sell a product to
a new mom Facebook has a targeting option for that want to offer help when
a customer is complaining about your brand twitter has a search feature for
that for many brands social media will be a must-have component of their
digital marketing strategy your social media might feature the major networks
or it could be as simple as a blog a customer forum or a small niche
bookmarking site in this chapter however I’ll be focusing on marketing with the
big four platforms Facebook Twitter Linkedin and Pinterest these four
networks are not the same each has its unique and its own best practices style
and audience so keep this in mind as we develop our plan your social media plan
will simply expand on the marketing plan we designed at the start of this course
I’ll show you what I mean in just a minute
but first I want to clarify a few things so open up a new document or pull out a
piece of paper and make note of the following how much time can your team
spend on social networks you want to plan on at least an hour a day you’ve
got to remember that you need to write copy design or find images to support
your message and then evaluate results so you can improve the strategy next
think about what resources you have available are you doing this yourself
can you train someone on your team to help you will you hire a freelancer once
you factor in the time requirement you might decide it’s worth to pull in some
more help and finally pencil out your budget what are you planning to spend
even if you’re not doing any paid advertising make sure you still factor
the time you or your team will be spending calculate the hourly rate and
then include that as part of your spend if you are doing paid advertising I
would try to allocate at least $500 a month especially at the start when
you’re trying new things and exploring how your spend is most efficient social
media is a moving target if you’re able to adapt and scale alongside of it your
brand will benefit in the long term there’s a fair amount of choices when it
comes to social media and each requires a significant investment in time to find
success to help you decide where to start let’s look at the demographic
overview of Facebook Twitter Linkedin and Pinterest I’ll guide you through the
type of user you’ll find and what marketing styles are most appropriate
the data I’ll be sharing with you comes from the Pew Research Center and you can
find even more of it at Pew Internet org today it feels like it’s impossible to
find someone who isn’t on Facebook and that’s probably because it’s the largest
of the four networks with over 71% of Internet users having a Facebook account
Facebook is great for brands but it’s slowly shifting more and more towards
being a pay-to-play model on Facebook you’ll work to acquire fans for your
business page and you can post status updates videos and photos to your
timeline but truthfully only a fraction of your actual fans may see that content
and new rules have emerged that are making it harder to motivate people to
like your page this doesn’t mean you still won’t find tremendous success with
the largest group of users their paid advertisement brings some of the best
returns on investment in the social media playing field having an active
social media presence and an organic fan base will help lower the cost of your
promoted media Facebook boasts the highest percentage of users who
graduated from college so you’ll find a strong middle class represented if your
brand appeals to those ages 24 to 50 this is an ideal network younger users
are shifting away from Facebook and joining Instagram or snapchat to
communicate digitally it’s fairly well split between male and female users as
well Facebook is great for small and large businesses alike if the
demographic overlaps small businesses might want to focus on paid media to
start and then slowly work towards a growing fan base twitter has around 20%
of the internet population using it and it’s the most popular with the 18
through 29 crowd it’s slightly biased towards women but not by to much
twitter is great for short rapid communication and it tends to be a top
choice for consumers looking to get support or provide a shout out to brands
because of its impressive mobile usage around 30% of twitter users are checking
their feeds multiple times throughout the day if the user follows you on
twitter they’ll receive any of your tweets directly into their timeline now
you’ll be compete with all the other messages buzzing
around but there’s absolute distribution Twitter requires more time investment
than the other networks and it’s paid advertising platform is relatively young
ads on it are more expensive but it’s easier to join conversations and search
for leads because it’s primarily a public network now LinkedIn is the least
frequented social network but it has the highest percentage of professionals and
it’s skewed more in favor of an older demographic LinkedIn is completely
business focused and a brand presence here may or may not bring much value
there’s a lot of opportunity as an individual or if you’re a moderately
sized business as a small business it’s worthwhile to build out a business page
as a backbone to any business lead generation you’re doing you’ll find
LinkedIn to be most effective for connecting with key decision-makers at
other companies and their paid media advertising platform is among the most
expensive in social media but it can be successful for the right advertiser
Pinterest has continued to gain popularity this social network is built
on the idea of bookmarking or pinning things that you find around the web it’s
very visual and the majority of users are young affluent females if your brand
has a strong visual language there’s plenty of opportunities on Pinterest
you’ll find a wide range of companies finding success on Pinterest everything
from coffee shops to Nike it’s a time investment and requires building
followers who will essentially repin your contributions or pin content
directly from your website as you consider where to find your audience on
social media I also recommend taking a look at your
competition or businesses in a similar market look what they’re doing how
they’re engagement appears and how responsive their audiences video marketing is another relatively
new component to online marketing it involves producing video content and
placing on sites like YouTube now you might be asking why is it worth
producing video content for sites like YouTube well if I were to ask you what
the second largest search engine next to Google is what would you say Yahoo Bing
it’s actually YouTube this makes YouTube an incredibly valuable resource for
driving brand awareness and traffic to your website video marketing can be used
to show off your location your products or even help customers through their
buying decision you might make a video to tell your brand story or create your
own commercial and use it to advertise on top of related content a well titled
and described video can appear in Google search results as well driving yet
another opportunity for people to discover your brand now there are
several companies whose success was hinged on viral videos but to come to
mine dollarshaveclub.com and Blendtec Dollar Shave Club is an
online subscription for razor blades the company saw impressive growth after they
posted a comedic viral video on YouTube within the first 48 hours of posting the
video they had over 12,000 new customers and in the first three months they
racked up over four and a half million video views another brand that you may
have seen on YouTube is Blendtec the founder created a YouTube video series
called will it blend and here he puts everything from bricks to golf balls in
his blender to prove it’s one of the best blenders you can buy the videos
were a direct response to customers curious if the Blendtec would blend
things well and so he created a video series that answered their question and
he jumped onto trends as well when the new iPhone was released he made sure it
was dropped straight into the blender there is a huge potential to build video
content that will resonate with your audience and your focus doesn’t have to
be to go viral you may decide video marketing is ideal because it’ll help
you along in your sales journey or maybe answering questions via YouTube will
reinforce your brand’s commitment to customer service it’s possible customers
or competitors are already making videos about your product or services if that’s
the case there’s even more reason to jump in and leverage the power of video
marketing the best impact from video marketing will come from building
interesting and unique content not all video content is created equal
if you decide to pursue video marketing you’ll want to focus on building high
quality and highly targeted material much like your website YouTube viewers
decide whether they’ll keep watching your video within the first few seconds
so you not only need to retain their attention throughout your video but you
need to make sure the first moments are captivating your content should speak
directly to your audience if you’re skewing towards a younger generation
humor is a great approach whereas an older generation might be more
interested in an authentic and authoritative tone some of the best
content answers questions your target audience is already asking as you create
your videos avoid building a sales pitch and instead share the unique aspects of
your product or service that can’t be told with text or pictures what makes
unique what are you proud of what do you highlight when you share your business
offerings with others these are some great questions to help you find what
content to create first as you build this content keep the following in mind
your video should be short less than two minutes is an ideal starting point and
if you plan on using your video as a paid commercial less than 30 seconds
when you go to create your content be sure to use a very high quality camera
focus on good lighting invest in a tripod or a way of keeping the camera
stable and if you do end up shooting with an iPhone remember to turn it
horizontally talk directly to your audience and keep it natural slightly
informal and personal the values of your brand your tone and your visual style
should all be evident in your content and keep future videos consistent so as
not to create confusion when users watch more and more of your material now most
viewers will only make it through about 70% of your video and that’s even
pushing it the shorter your video the better the likelihood users watch it to
the end include a call to action in the middle of your content and again towards
the end and leverage annotations to make the messaging interactive for more
details and best practices I would definitely check out the YouTube
playbook at youtube.com slash playbook now if you’re strapped for ideas
consider reaching out to an agency that specializes in building video content if
you’re doing it yourself consider renting quality lights and video
equipment from a company like borrow lenses calm too many email marketing feels a little
old and antiquated it almost comes across very similar to direct mail in
that you’re sending a newsletter an offer a flashy postcard alongside dozens
of other letters in the hope someone not only reads it but responds to it and
sure the older model of email marketing was a lot like that marketers purchased
giant lists of email addresses and then sent completely irrelevant offers in
hopes of catching a handful of leads and thus the boom of spam and while that
still happens the modern email marketer is turning to
their own lists to drive interaction and revenue and this is because many
customers welcome communication from brands they already interact with just
like our own acceptance and use of snail mail coupons from businesses we frequent
today’s email marketing is typically built on a list of users who have
subscribed to receive communication from you they’re interested in hearing what
you have to say and potentially getting a special offer not available elsewhere
on one hand your email marketing efforts will be about acquiring new subscribers
to your list and on the other retaining and generating revenue from these
subscribers with email marketing you can inform existing customers of new
products upsell them to a more premium package or even encourage them to share
your business with their peers email is very much alive in today’s online
marketing landscape so it’s worth building a strategy around email
marketing is very strategic each message needs to be carefully crafted include a
strong call to action and arrived at just the right moment to get noticed if
it’s not relevant it gets deleted think about your own email habits what are you
opening and why what are you clicking on you might consider keeping track of
every marketing email you open over the next couple of weeks or even looking
back at those you open historically try to identify patterns and use those ideas
to your advantage good email marketing is built on
customer segments anytime you acquire an email you should track where that email
came from if you have the resources it would be ideal to also track which
emails made purchases how much revenue did that email drive and even associate
demographics or persona information if you have it for example I might have
multiple email lists for an online storefront I can have a list of
customers that made a purchase in the last 30 days customers that have made
repeat purchases and a list of people who added an item
to their cart but never converted each of those segments would receive a
different email from me good email marketing is hinged on the idea of a
drip campaign so for our abandoned segments I might send an email in the
first 24 hours that says hey you still have an item in your cart there’s only
one step left to checking out maybe 72 hours later I’ll drop another email free
shipping today with online coupon ship free view your cart now and the
following week I might try one last desperate attempt with another coupon or
a reminder that there’s something in their cart maybe even information on why
the company is so great and that’s just one example of many automated email
marketing is a must-have in today’s digital landscape there’s so much
potential revenue sitting in your email list to get the most value out of email
you won’t be using a typical email client instead you’ll need to leverage
an online provider such as MailChimp or Constant Contact these systems will let
you tailor your lists set up automatic triggers and track results email
marketing is still a valuable tool focus on generating your own email list versus
purchasing one and you’ll likely see much better results to get the most out of email you’ll want
to build a plan that is tailored to your target audience and I know I’m starting
to sound a bit like a broken record but being targeted is incredibly important
before we get into the emails you’re sending let’s talk first about the
acquisition of email subscribers how are you gaining new members to your list
common techniques are to include an email signup link on the important pages
of your website or even in your footer you can use a lead generation page to
capture information or exchange a coupon for their email when they first visit
the site explore email lead generation through social media sites like Twitter
have lead generation cards and Google will even let you run advertisements
where email users can leave their address directly once you understand how
you’ll capture the audience think about the actual email strategy itself start
by identifying your goals it’s okay to have several a goal might be to generate
more sales to increase signups for a conference or to reactivate a former
customer make a list of your goals and then make note of what audience will
most likely fulfill that goal for you the audience you identify will become a
customer segment and you’ll load that segment into your email tool from there
put yourself in the shoes of your customer what does the customer need
from you in order to take action what will motivate them to follow through
with the objective you might find that many customers need a handful of emails
before they’ll take action and in that case you might design a campaign that
has three or four steps before your big ask once you know what your customer
needs build your content to support that answer it might be an image of video
testimonials or even detailed instructions on how to complete a step
in the conversion process as with most things short and sweet is key the
content needs to be compelling the subject engaging and the call-to-action
apparent the design shouldn’t hamper the experience either if you’re reaching a
young extremely mobile audience you might speak to them through the use of
emojis whereas if you’re targeting a small business owner a clean and modern
appearance might win out test your design on mobile and desktop good
content will be lost if the email doesn’t load properly on mobile next
identify how the consumer will interact with your email most of your audience
will be reading this on a mobile device but use your existing
analytics to verify that idea make sure to outline any special considerations
for mobile users you might need to use smaller images bigger buttons and you’ll
want a mobile optimized landing page lastly consider your timing how often do
you need to send your message is it best distributed during the day or at night
do you need it to arrive at 8:00 a.m. Eastern and 8:00 a.m. Pacific is it
seasonal there’s no magical answer you’ll have to use your data to help
guide you in this decision if you’re just starting out with your email
marketing you might not have enough data or customers to fully understand the
opportunities in that case make educated guesses and stick to broad appeal offers
until you’ve collected more subscribers content marketing is all about creating
articles and media that in turn drive brand awareness create new customers and
generate revenue it works because good content is valuable to customers it does
a number of things and the first of which is answering a question people are
curious their research driven and they’ll frequently turn to the web to
identify material surrounding a particular question in some cases
content marketing will even create questions people never knew they had you
might be browsing an article with a recipe when you come across a headline
that reads are you using your ice tray properly and you think yourself I don’t
know am I and before you know it you’ve purchased a new silicon ice tray from a
hip startup the right content is authentic and if it does a good job of
answering the question it can sell without being pushy content marketing is
also authoritative it allows people and brands to establish themselves as
authorities on particular topics a carpet cleaning company might use
content marketing to publish articles on the best methods for removing stains
they may even add videos to their articles helping to demonstrate how
their method works it can be a completely unbiased approach as well but
the fact they’re sharing industry specific information makes them appear
authoritative content marketing also adds value to a customer’s journey by
providing them with the ability to self navigate any announcements you’ve made
in the past or sneak peeks to what lies ahead for your brand the great thing
about content marketing is that is a very low barrier to entry it’s
inexpensive to add articles to your website or leverage a platform such as
WordPress or blogger to build custom content the hardest part of the whole
process is actually creating the material itself good and relevant
content will also add value to your SEO efforts it’s one of the main reasons
companies are leveraging content marketing and it should weigh in to your
decision of starting down this path your content marketing will likely be cross
channel weaving itself through your blog your social media and your email efforts
by producing great content your business will help to answer questions steer
customers journey and become a trusted source of information all of this works
to increase your online reputation and that’s never a bad thing what type of content you produce and
where you distribute it will be uniquely specific to your brand writing articles
through the use of a blog is one of the most common types of content marketing
so I’m going to focus on this for now with that in mind let’s talk about how
to create your own plan and what elements you should carefully consider
now our content plan will start with the same approach as all of our other
strategies identify the core audience what you want them to do higher content
will get them to do it and what you’ll measure to know if you’ve succeeded the
tricky part with content is that it’s most often a comprehensive approach one
article won’t be the primary source of conversions so you’ll want to think
creatively about what types of content you need to produce the strategy here is
to keep things closely related or neatly categorized so as people start
connecting with your content they’re inclined to read more and more you can
encourage this by adding related articles to your blog having a next or
previous link at the bottom of the page or by linking to other articles
throughout the copy of each one place to look for ideas is back to your keyword
research from the SEO portion of online marketing you can start to think of
questions and ideas surrounding those topics and reuse the Google Keyword tool
to identify longtail keywords or topics worth discussing with content marketing
you’ll likely see most of your success in the longtail keywords versus the
short form and what I mean is most of your blog traffic will come from dozens
of different keywords like why is my ice tray always breaking or what are ice
trays made out of versus the short keyword ice trays more content means
more opportunities to collect this smaller trickle of traffic 10 or 20
articles that are model erect might bring in the same amount of traffic as
one decently ranked article but in a lot less time with that said you need a lot
of content and you need it on a consistent basis and this takes a lot of
time part of your plan needs to be thinking about who will write the
articles many companies leverage their own employees but if you don’t have that
luxury you might consider a copywriter or a
freelance journalist stay away from content farms that generate SEO articles
you want to be authoritative and knowledgeable so you need to focus on
quality and these resources are not known for that plan on creating one
article a week to start this is probably the bare minimum if you’re using dates
on your articles to demonstrate their recency it’s even more important to
things fresh as always measure your results to determine what content is
popular or trendy and then continue to build around those ideas while trying
new things in the US alone over 50% of the
population is using mobile devices and they’re spending over two hours a day
interacting with them according to the Pew Research Center businesses are
taking note and the trends indicate that a mobile strategy cannot be ignored if
your business has a mobile user base it’s an absolute that you should explore
mobile marketing next time you’re out and about take a look around
we’re consumed with mobile devices people at bus stops waiting in line at
the grocery store or on a lunch break all likely looking at their mobile
device major brands are taking note of this and providing ample opportunity to
engage with our mobile devices text a short number for special offers or scan
a QR code to pull up product details companies like amazon.com have built
mobile applications that interface with our day-to-day life allowing us to scan
barcodes to find the product cheaper on their website people are downloading a
staggering amount of mobile applications and in them they’re clicking on mobile
optimized advertisements most phones are now linked to GPS so we have
opportunities to engage with customers at a hyper local level companies like
Foursquare and Yelp have built-in reward systems for checking in to local
businesses native applications specific to brand experiences are also
commonplace giving way to a new type of marketing and these are just a handful
of ways businesses are using mobile marketing there’s endless opportunities
but a great starting point is to duplicate your existing efforts but
tailor them to mobile the internet was once dominated by desktop users browsing
the web from home or work and that landscape presented marketers with an
incredible amount of options and opportunities to be creative now that
we’ve gone mobile there’s still those opportunities and then some things span
across multiple screens and it’s not just common anymore it’s expected
carefully consider your prioritization of mobile marketing in your online
digital strategy for most brands it should be near the top you

MBA marketing course | learn marketing main concepts


the marketing planning process has four
phases in the analysis phase you’ll learn about your customers in terms of
how and why they buy your product you’ll analyze the competition and how they
compare it to your company in terms of strengths and weaknesses
you’ll also analyze the overall market to understand its potential and where
the most attractive segments of the market are to earn revenue in the
strategy phase you’ll use what you’ve learned to make decisions around
segmenting the market targeting specific parts of those segments and ultimately
how you will position your products and services to win over customers in the
tactical phase you’ll create marketing programs to execute your strategy you’ll
make decisions around your products and services and how they have to perform in
delivering benefits to your customers you’ll set prices you’ll create sales
support material and you’ll develop a marketing communications campaign and
finally is the measurement phase as the name implies this is the part of the
process where you find out if you’re achieving what you’ve expected to
achieve but it’s not just measuring sales it’s finding out if you’re getting
business from the customers you expected to get business from and it’s also
finding out if they bought your products and services for the reasons you
expected the measurement phase helps you know if you’re getting a good return on
your marketing investments a good marketer is disciplined and doesn’t cut
corners in the planning process it takes time and lots of hard work but in the
end it’s worth it good marketers know the value of a
diverse and talented team of colleagues to help develop and execute their
marketing strategy you’ll need to draw on their expertise their market
knowledge possibly their resources and their network your team will include
colleagues inside the company as well as external partners like advertising and
promotional firms let’s review the various roles of your cross-functional
team first is finance your finance department plays a very important role
in making sure you have sufficient budget dollars to execute your plan now
may at times feel like the finance guys are there just to cut your budget
but believe me they want you to succeed after all the marketing effort is the
key to achieving revenue goals without your efforts budgets might have to
shrink even smaller making their job even tougher finance partners will also
help you in the measurement phase of the planning process they’ll help you
quantify your AR OMI return on marketing investments and they’ll help find ways
to improve it in the next business cycle marketing research is another key role
you’ll need on your team your company may have a separate marketing research
department or it may outsource it but either way you’ll need their help
understanding customer needs testing new product concepts or perhaps testing a
new advertising message marketing research can be applied at just about
every step of the marketing process so be sure to get their advice on the best
way to use this important resource next is your technical team these are the
people who develop your products and services they might be engineers or
scientists in an R&D department or perhaps software developers it depends
on the nature of your business you’ll need their help making sure your
products and services deliver the right benefits to delight your customers
speaking of delighting customers be sure to involve your design team in many
companies design is a separate two part and they can help make sure your
products and services are delivering the right experience for your customers to
build and enhance the brand promise most companies have a sales function and you
should enlist their help in developing a marketing plan after all they’re on the
frontline day-to-day and they have a lot of insight about your customers and your
competition they’ll have ideas about the selling tools they need to succeed be
sure to get their input depending on your business you may also want to
involve colleagues from manufacturing or operations these are the people who make
the products and deliver the service a customer support team for example might
have great insights about customer complaints or service issues external
partners might include your advertising agency your branding company a public
relations firm and perhaps a marketing consultant
they’re there to help you succeed so making them a part of the team from the
very start once you’ve identified the key players on your team make sure
they’re aware of your planning schedule that they know their role and they know
the expectations that you have for each other in developing a great marketing
strategy a formal written marketing plan is a
great way to document the planning process it serves many purposes first it
captures all the things you and your team have learned about the market the
competition and your customers this information is critical because it
becomes the supporting evidence for the strategies that you and your team decide
to pursue second the plan serves as a tool to help you align the organization
marketing involves many people so you’ll need to get everyone on board and going
in the same direction the written plan becomes a source document to create
presentations to conduct training and to give directions to external partners
believe me you’ll use it a lot finally the written plan lays out a
coherent and coordinated set of marketing programs with schedules and
budgets so you can run a smooth operation now there are many formats you
can use for the written plan but most plans will include the following
components an executive summary that gives a brief high-level review of the
plan the situation analysis that documents all the data about your
company’s strengths and weaknesses the market opportunity the competition and
of course the customer the strategies section that outlines how you segment
the market who you plan to target and how you will position your products and
services in the market the tactical programs including what products you
will offer what prices you will charge how you will promote your products and
how you’ll distribute them a financial section that documents your revenue
projections and budget requirements an implementation plan that outlines the
timing of your programs and who’s responsible now to write the plan don’t
wait until the very end of the planning process I like to start writing it from
the very beginning here’s a tip that makes that easy create a blank
PowerPoint presentation with just the headings of each component
on a separate page keep it with you during team meetings as you collect
information or make key decisions write or type that into the appropriate slide
that helps you keep the document up to date as you move to the process when you
have enough written material go ahead and create a first draft but be sure to
date the draft as you’ll be making regular updates and revisions a written
marketing plan is a dynamic document and you should expect to make changes to it
as conditions in the market change if you create a great plan and update it
regularly it’ll help you stay ahead of the competition in marketing you’ll often hear the terms
b2b and b2c b2b means business-to-business
that’s where your business is selling products and services to other
businesses b2c stands for business to consumer where you’re selling goods and
services to everyday people like you and me as you begin the marketing planning
process it’s important to know the key differences between the two keep in mind
that the marketing planning process is exactly the same for each but how you
execute certain steps in the process will vary let’s explore how when people
buy products and services they’re buying a collection of benefits and you can
categorize those benefits into three types functional benefits refer to a
products physical performance economic benefits are related to saving money or
saving time and finally our emotional benefits these are related to the
psychological feelings you get when using a product perhaps the biggest
difference between b2b and b2c marketing is what types of benefits are most
important for consumers emotional benefits tend to be most important while
for companies the economic cost savings and other financial factors will drive
their decisions the other key difference is who’s involved in the purchasing
process in b2b marketing companies usually have a purchasing department buy
goods and services the person involved won’t be the one who actually consumes
the product or service so they’re more logical and unemotional when they make
buying decisions that will affect how you market to them consumers on the
other hand usually buy products for themselves or for others they make the
buying decisions themselves now they too can be quite logical for some purchases
but there’s usually an emotional involvement here too you’ll need to
understand these emotions to develop effective marketing strategies it may sound obvious but the first step
to developing a marketing plan is to know what business you’re in how you
decide that can have a big impact on the size of the market you compete in in the
intensity of competition you face you can define your core business very
broadly or very narrowly or you could define your entire core business around
a primary benefit notice that with each change in the core business definition
the size of the business opportunity gets bigger that might sound like the
way to go the bigger the better right not necessarily with each increasing
level of opportunity comes more challenge you have more competition to
consider but perhaps even more important is that you have to be good at so many
other things you have to decide whether it’s better to focus on the things that
you do really well and deliver that consistently to your customers or you
may want to expand as broadly as you can and try to grow the business my advice
is to define your core business just up to the point where you can still
leverage your core skills or what are called core competencies if you try to
do things that you’re not skilled at doing you’ll run into trouble you can write a marketing plan for one
specific product or service a collection of products or services or for the
company’s entire family of products and services you should decide this before
you start the planning work because how you decide has a dramatic impact on how
you go about marketing when you develop a marketing plan for a single product
the entire focus is on all the resources and activities needed to get just that
product into the hands of prospective customers all your decisions about how
you communicate sell and set prices are about that product only even if you have
other products to offer that might make sense especially for a brand new product
but sometimes it makes more sense to develop your marketing strategy around a
family of products or even all of them it’s usually much more efficient to
spread your marketing dollars across all of your products than concentrating on
just one so how do you decide you don’t the customer decides this for you why do
I say that because in marketing we always want to take the customers
perspective you may be selling a product but your identity in the customers mind
is represented by brands regardless of whether you’re marketing to consumers or
to businesses your brand is how customers understand you
therefore we base our decision from the outside looking in a brand is
essentially the promise that you are making to the customer to deliver a set
of benefits brands usually have an identity in the form of a distinctive
logo or a name if your company and products are known by one brand such as
McDonald’s then it would make sense to develop your strategy at this level of
the firm if your company is not well known to customers but they know your
products brand names very well then it makes more sense to develop your plan
around each specific brand you’ve heard the old saying that customer is always
right when deciding on what level to write your plan take there
vice and write the plan around how they understand you and your family of brands Marketing would be relatively easy if it
were not for the fact that you always face some type of competition a
competitor is anything that once the same thing that you did it can be an
individual a company or even a completely unrelated activity that
distracts your potential customers away from you you need to understand your
competition for a lot of reasons first you need to know which ones to focus on
and which ones to avoid you want to stay away from a competitor if they are much
stronger than you if you take customers away from a stronger competitor you may
trigger a reaction from them that you aren’t prepared to handle the intensity
of competition will affect the overall potential for success of your business
this is why it’s important to consider all types of competition when planning
your business to ensure that you have the edge over others in your industry
you need to compare your strengths and weaknesses to theirs to see how you
match up this will help you select the right strategy to win competitors come
in three different types direct indirect in what are called substitutes a direct
competitor is anyone who is selling the same things you are and delivering the
same benefit an indirect competitor sells similar products with different
benefits a substitute is any unrelated product or service that a consumer can
use in place of your products or services to create a matrix list your
company and your competitors across the top down the side list the things that
you want to compare things like size market share strengths and weaknesses
and especially the key strategy elements like the value propositions what does
each company have in terms of key resources and how do they use those
resources to acquire and retain customers a competitive matrix will vary
a lot depending on the industry if you’re in a high-tech industry you’ll
want to compare R&D activities like spending number of Engineers or
number of new products launched in service industries be sure to compare
things like how each company delivers the service how they train their
employees or how they’re rated for their service every industry has certain key
factors that every competitor has to pay attention to so it’s likely those
factors will be the ones you want to compare a word of caution when you
collect competitive information use only information that is publicly available
never try to get inside information about your competitor that they would
consider confidential when you complete the matrix take a close look at it and
find some insights that you’ll need later when deciding on your strategy
what conclusions can you draw from the matrix by considering all the possible
ways your customer’s needs can be satisfied and creating a strategy for
handling the competition you’ll create powerful advantages in the marketplace when consumers use a product or service
they do so because they seek the bundle of benefits that a particular product or
service delivers to complete the product analysis you need to test each feature
of your product compared to the same feature on your competitors products you
need to determine which feature performed better than the competition
which perform the same and which perform not as well when you complete the
analysis take a close look are there features that need to be improved
are there certain competitors you want to avoid or possibly go after based on
product performance later on you’ll be choosing a high-performing feature and
its benefits to base your marketing strategy on here’s why when you
outperform the competition on a feature that is important to consumers and they
know it guess what you earn a lot of customers and that’s what good marketing
is all about Marketing is about acquiring and
retaining customers so you absolutely have to have a thorough understanding of
who they are where they are what they believe about your products and services
and how they go about purchasing them good customer analysis starts with
deciding on exactly what is a customer how you define a customer will have a
big impact on how you go about reaching them you can define them very broadly or
you can make the definition very narrow and specific a customer is anyone who’s
going to replace their wallet within a year you could even be more specific and
define a customer around their attitudes and brand loyalty
once you define a customer you need to understand what’s going on in their
minds in terms of what’s important to them and what perceptions they have
about your products and services versus the competition customers buy things for
a variety of reasons but some are more important than others if you know what’s
most important to them you can appeal to that need when trying to get them to buy
or you can try to raise the sense of importance they place on another factor
you also need to measure how they rate your product versus others in how it
delivers each benefit they may have misperceptions that you need to change
you may be able to emphasize a key feature of your product that is better
than the competition this analysis will be critical later when you begin
segmenting customers in many ways great marketers understand their customers
better than they understand themselves a solid customer analysis prepares you to
develop solid marketing strategy customers follow a distinct set of steps
when buying anything that process may take a matter of seconds such as an
impulse purchase in a store or it may take a matter of months such as the
purchase of a new home or a car typically though these steps are as
follows first is the need recognition phase this is where customers realize
that they want something that can be triggered internally for example if a
customer is thirsty that will trigger a need for some type of beverage but it
can also be triggered externally through advertising or other stimuli if a
customer sees a TV commercial for a cold soft drink or perhaps sees a group of
people drinking it those could stimulate the customer to
want that same drink the need recognition step is very important
because without it there won’t be a sale the next step is information search once
customers feel a need to have something they start gathering information about
solutions for that need they get information from a wide variety of
sources including commercial advertising internet search while shopping in a
store and most importantly from other customers this is a critical step
because this is where a customer is most receptive to your marketing message once
a customer gathers information they go to the next step which is to evaluate
the alternatives customers make choices based on two things what features are
most important and which brand does the best job in delivering those benefits
customers will make head-to-head comparisons between your product and the
competition so it’s critical that you give them a complete picture of how your
product will best satisfy their needs eventually the customer will narrow
their choices down to one brand and they’ll go to the next step the purchase
phase buying a product may take a matter of seconds such as buying a soft drink
in a vending machine or it could take months that might involve negotiations
financing training maybe installation complex
expensive products usually take a lot longer to buy then your everyday
consumer good that you’d find in a grocery store now you might think that
the buying process ends here with the final purchase but there’s one last step
it’s called the post purchase behavior phase once customers start using the
product or service they compare the results with their expectations that the
product work is expected how did the product make them feel when they used it
this phase is also critical because customers will share their experiences
good or bad with other customers and with the way information spreads through
social media that can be really helpful or hurtful to your marketing campaign
something else happens at this phase that a marketer needs to be aware of
it’s called buyer’s remorse customers might start having second thoughts on
whether it was a good idea to buy the product they start to wonder gee did I
pay too much did I really need this product was there a better alternative
out there that it should have but instead marketers need to weigh in at
this phase and remind the customer that they made a great choice you can do that
with advertising either way you don’t want to just assume your customer is
satisfied reach out and find out great marketers know they have a role to play
in each step of the customer buying process they know where these steps take
place when they take place and who’s involved with these insights you’re
ready to develop an outstanding marketing strategy analyzing a market means estimating how
many potential customers you might be able to sell your products and services
to when analyzing any market you want to group customers into four types first
are the customers that already buy from you in fact not only do they buy from
you they buy exclusively from you and never from a competitor the second group
is similar to the first group and that they currently buy your products and
services the difference is these customers also buy products from your
competitors why that’s because for some categories of products customers want
choices the clothing market is a good example you almost certainly buy your
clothes from many different manufacturers of clothes the market for
food is another example the third group of customers are those that buy solely
from your competitors and never from you at least not yet and finally the fourth
group of customers are those that don’t buy your type of product from anyone we
call them non category users these potential customers are important
because acquiring them gives you a new source of revenue instead of taking
market share from a competitor getting these customers helps you increase the
overall size of the market now when we estimate the potential number of
customers that we might be able to capture for each of these four types we
do this so we can decide where we want to concentrate our marketing strategy in
marketing it’s the old adage fish where the fish are it’s a two-step process
first we estimate the total number of customers then we make assumptions of
what percentage we might convert to our brand once you’re done with the market
analysis you’ve completed the analysis phase of the marketing planning process
it’s time now to start crafting strategy if you’ve been following along with the
earlier videos in this course at this point of the marketing planning process
we’ve completed the analysis phase we know a lot about our customers we’ve
estimated our market and we’re the most potential is we understand our
competition and we know how our products and services perform versus theirs it’s
time to start the strategic phase of our planning to create a marketing strategy
you have to perform three steps first is segmentation where you break your
customers into homogeneous groups next is targeting where you decide which of
these segments to go after and finally is positioning where you determine how
you want your customers to think about your products versus the competition so
they’re more likely to buy yours let’s focus first on segmentation breaking
customers into groups helps you be efficient with your marketing resources
it helps you focus only on the most relevant customers and avoid wasting
time and money on the less relevant there are four ways to segment a market
the first is demographic this is where you group your customers by their
characteristics such as income level age gender or their height and weight it’s
useful for certain products or services that deliver a benefit specifically tied
to that characteristic for example if you’re marketing a shampoo for redheads
then you would want to group customers by hair color geographic segmentation
groups customers by where they are physically knowing where your customers
are helps you know where to place stores for example and where to communicate or
sell to them behavioral segmentation is grouping customers by the things they do
it can be customer related behaviors such as how much they purchase how
frequently they purchase or their price sensitivity
it can also be behaviors such as hobbies or habits finally there is psychic
traffic segmentation this is grouping people by how they think their attitudes
and aspirations especially about the benefits and ultimately the values that
we explored in feature benefit laddering an example of psychographic benefit
would be need for prestige or need for our convenience segmenting this way
tends to be very powerful segmentation tells us how we are going
to appeal to customers in targeting we make decisions on whom to go after it’s
a process of narrowing down your audience to a selected group now that
may seem like a bad idea after all the whole idea of marketing is to get as
many customers as you can right that’s true but keep in mind that your
marketing message will not appeal to everyone
you’re better off narrowing down the audience to the most receptive ones then
blasting your marketing message to everyone hoping that a few stick you’ll
waste a lot of money that way so think of targeting as looking for the largest
group of customers that are most willing to consider buying your product or
service based on your marketing appeal when I do targeting I start with the
aDNA to Donal benefit that we selected during segmentation then I test to see
if there are any demographic characteristics of people that might be
more inclined than others to want that benefit if there are then I want to
identify them and market to them I do the same thing with geographic data are
certain cities or countries more likely to want that benefit next I consider the
behavioral data remember the four customer types we described in the
analysis phase I look for two things which of the four groups is large in
size and might be most receptive to my marketing message think about how we
define our core business how we defined our scope in customer definition and
then how we narrow down our audience using various segmentation approaches
turning these dowels to tweak our model gives a strategy that defines how we are
going to compete and who we are going to compete for we have one final step we
have to define what we are going to say to the market to convince them that step
is called positioning perhaps the most sense
idea in all of marketing is that of positioning a company’s value
proposition is the single-minded claim that it makes to change the customers
mind and cause them to do something that something could be to buy a product to
try a product or to pay a certain price maybe to visit a website or to think
about your brand in its benefits in a certain way how you position your
product in the market will ultimately determine its success it may seem a
little abstract but positioning happens up here in the mind of the consumer
think of the consumers mind as a three-dimensional space and in that
space they form opinions about products and services in a particular category
they have perceptions about which products perform better or worse on
certain aspects they consider certain features more or less important than
others when deciding what to buy and the good news is as a marketer you can
change these beliefs you can move them in a new direction
that increases the likelihood of buying your product you do that by making a
claim and by supporting that claim with credible reasons to believe or RT B’s as
we call them let’s look at how first we define the current do that is what are
the targeted customers doing today with respect to your product and the category
you’re in given that current do what must their current belief about the
products be out there today next given our strategy what is it that
you desire customers to do what desired beliefs do you want them to have that
will cause them to do the desire do when I say beliefs I mean the beliefs in
opinions they have about your primary benefit that you selected at the
segmentation step do they think it’s important how do they perceive your
product versus the competition in delivering that
benefit now the hard part given the current belief and where you need to
take them to believe the desire belief what claim must you make what’s
supporting evidence do you have can you bridge that gap or have you overreached
a bit Marketing is about changing customers
beliefs so they prefer your products and services versus the competition
ultimately though we’re working towards a financial or other result to support
your business the final step of the strategy phase then is to set goals
setting goals helps you in two important ways first goals help you decide how
much marketing resource you’ll need to devote to your tactical programs the
more aggressive goal you set the more resources you’ll need and second goals
help you measure your progress during the marketing campaign to see if you
need to make adjustments later in the course I’ll show you how to set up key
performance indicators or KPIs and how they connect to the goals you set here a
marketing goal can be anything that’s relevant to the success of the business
most companies set a sales revenue goal but it doesn’t have to be dollars of
revenue you could set goals for number of units sold or perhaps market share or
even number of new clients acquired if you’re cross-functional team includes a
colleague from your finance department consult with him or her on this for a
marketing goal to be the most useful it should meet the following criteria first
it should be specific if you simply say your goal is to increase market share
that would not be specific enough increasing market share from 15% to 17%
is much better because it’s specific second the goal should be measurable
setting a goal that can’t be measured will become frustrating for you in the
team especially when you try to gauge your progress in reaching it next the
goal must be attainable setting an unrealistically high goal won’t do you
any good in fact it could hurt your campaign by causing you to spend more
marketing dollars than is warranted the fourth criteria is relevant that means
the goal is directly related to your marketing strategy and finally the goal
must be time bound meaning that the goal will be achieved during a specific
period of time that could be any timeframe you want but most likely
you’ll set the same timeframe for the same periods of time that your company
measures financial results a year or perhaps a quarter or even monthly taken
together these criteria spell the word smart and that’s an easy and smart way
to remember these important goal setting criteria completing the STP process segmentation
targeting and positioning gives you a clearer idea of how you’re going to
compete who you’re going to target and what you’re going to say to the market
to position your offering now you have to bring that positioning to life and
you do that by creating and executing tactical marketing programs in marketing
we use four types of tactical programs product and service pricing promotional
communications and distribution the last one distribution is sometimes referred
to as place because that’s where we’re deciding the places we need to put our
product to get it to customers now taken all together gives us product price
promotion and place and you may recognize these as the famous four PS of
marketing let’s review each one by product and service programs these refer
to all of the aspects of how products and services perform their job in
delivering benefits it includes things like the design of the product how it
feels to use it the packaging of the product and the people and processes
involved in dealing with customers it’s not just how the product functions but
it includes the entire experience of buying and using it that experience
should be consistent with your positioning and the brand promise
pricing involves two things setting the actual price that customers will pay and
communicating those prices in an effective way the price of your product
or service implies their value that the consumer should expect from buying and
using it promotion includes all the things you
say outside of the company to the market this is where you broadcast the value
proposition and other information about the product it includes advertising
in-store promotions email campaigns social media and sales promotions
and finally distribution these are the programs that create an effective
pathway to get your product from the factory into the customers hands
somebody has to take the product ship it store it place it on the shelves sell it
and possibly service it once the sale is made all four p’s have to work together
to convey the value proposition no one of the four-piece can carry all the load
a good marketer uses all the tactical tools available to make the biggest
impact possible Marketing is all about delivering value
to customers and you do that by offering them the right products and services
think of products and services as benefit delivery vehicles there are a
collection of various features that create value when customers use them so
how do you build the right product or service for that you need to go back to
the analysis phase of the marketing planning process from there you’ll need
the results of your product analysis that’s where you did a detailed
comparison of how your product compares to the competition’s feature by feature
you also created the feature benefit ladder that unpacked the product to see
how features connect to the benefits that customers seek you’ll also need the
customer analysis especially the market research on what factors are most
important to customers when they buy a product as well as the data on how they
perceive your brand versus the competition and finally you’ll need your
marketing strategy as expressed in your value proposition that we covered
earlier as a marketer you have to give your development team guidance on four
aspects so they build the right product first is what features the product must
have to compete against the competition and also satisfy the customer you have
two especially guide them on what features or feature to emphasize the
most look at your value proposition what benefit are you promising then look at
your feature benefit ladder find that benefit on the ladder then move down the
ladder to find the set of features that deliver it you want to make sure those
features are most evident when the customer uses the product next your
development team needs guidance on performance of each feature once again
your value proposition should guide you on whether the product needs to work
better than the same as or slightly less effectively than the competition also
look at your market research if consumers perceive your product as less
effective on a particular feature you may need to have the development team
increase its performance your development team also needs guidance on
design meaning the look and feel of the product or service what does your brand
stand for given that what must your product or service look like to express
that brand essence finally your team must think of the product or service as
an entire customer experience remember the customer buying process from earlier
think of each step as a touch point where you as the marketer have an
opportunity to figuratively touch the customer with something about your
product or service touch points include things like the service customers get in
the store and how your products are displayed it also includes things like
the packaging and perhaps the instructions on how to use the product
everything the customer comes in contact with including things online our touch
points based on their experience at each touch point the customer will form
beliefs about what your brand stands for whether it’s consistent believable and
authentic the more authentic the more loyal your customers will become and
that’s a very good way to build your business setting prices is the quickest of the
four-piece but that doesn’t mean it’s the easiest in fact making a mistake
here can be very costly in terms of lost revenue as well as sending the wrong
signal to the market about your products and services let’s start with some
definitions to be successful at pricing you need to understand the difference
between a products cost its price and its value the cost of the
product is all the direct and indirect expenses that you experience as the
manufacturer to make the product things like raw materials and labor for example
price is what a consumer has to pay to acquire the product a price is a signal
a piece of information about what you might ask about the value value is what
the consumer gets out of the product the collective set of benefits delivered by
the product the most common mistake in pricing is setting it based on your
costs it may seem counterintuitive but price is unrelated to costs your
customer doesn’t care what it costs you to produce the product they don’t
compare your costs to what they pay instead they compare what they pay
versus the total value they get from the product if value exceeds price then
they’ll buy the product and if not they’ll ignore the product value-based
pricing then is the process of calculating the total delivered value
from using the product then setting the price at or just below that amount think
of price as a shortcut the price quickly tells a customer a lot
about the quality and value but what about the competition and their prices
go back to the 5 box positioning tool and look at your value proposition if
you’re positioning your product is superior to the competition then you
should set the price higher than theirs if your product is equivalent to the
competition make the price the same and if your product is inferior to the
competition set the price lower that’s how price becomes a signal of
value in comparison to competitors prices price is a signal of value in a
powerful part of the 4ps so make sure you put it to effective use in your
marketing campaign after you set the price of your product
or service you have to communicate it in an effective way that supports your
overall strategy a simple framework for this is answering the questions who what
why when and where your target audience of course is who you want to communicate
to but it’s more than just potential customers you also want to make sure
your partners such as distributors understand your pricing structure
generally speaking you want to make your prices available to the public including
competitors they may be setting their prices based on yours what you
communicate about pricing is much more than just the dollar amount when a
customer first sees the price that’s a critical time to remind them of the
value they’re getting for their money be sure to tell them about any discounts
that might apply or any other terms and conditions such as shipping and handling
charges you want customers to have a complete and clear picture of your
pricing if they’re confused about something
they may look elsewhere and this is the main reason why you communicate price
customers ask themselves a simple question am I getting my money’s worth
you need to help them answer this question or they’ll do it by themselves
and they may come up to the wrong conclusion customers try to calculate
what they’re getting by comparing the total value to the total price paid the
easier you make it for them the more they’ll understand your offering when
you communicate the price that depends on several factors remember the customer
analysis and the steps of the buying process we talked about earlier that
analysis helps you understand what factors are most important when buying
your product if price is the most important factor then you must
communicate price very early in the buying process if it’s not the most
important factor then you want to communicate it later
during the phase where customers are evaluating their alternatives the key is
to make sure they understand the value they get in all the features of the
product or service before they get the price
where you communicate price depends on the point of sale and where people go
for information about your products if customers do their research online
you’ll need to have prices on a website either yours or our distributors if your
prices change very often or you offer regular discounts it may be best to
disclose price at the same location where the customer buys the product
think about the touch points of the customer experience and where those
occur physically then select a location for disclosing the price that helps the
customer make the connection between price and value oh and one final tip
pricing is a business activity that is governed by certain laws it’s usually a
good idea to have your legal advisors review the overall pricing approach to
make sure you’re in compliance in the 4ps model promotion is where you
communicate to the customer to get them to understand something and ultimately
to get them to do something to create effective promotional programs
follow these steps first determine the objectives of the program second select
the message you want to communicate next select the target audience to receive
the message then you select the media that will carry the message and finally
create the material that you send to the market in this video I’ll describe step
1 how to determine the objectives of your promotional effort there are 5
communication objectives that you can try to achieve think of them as levels
of awareness first is called basic awareness customers need to know that
your product or service exists before they can even consider buying it basic
awareness is achieved when the customers simply recognizes your product or
service when they see it or hear it mentioned basic awareness is essential
for new products or for new features on existing products next is top of mind
awareness now the customer not only knows your product but also would recall
it first if they were asked to list the names of products in a particular
category to achieve this you have to constantly remind customers about your
product and that gets expensive but it can be worth it having top of mind
awareness can increase your sales significantly once the customer has
basic awareness of your product now you want them to have information awareness
this is where the customer can actually explain something about your product to
others perhaps about its features its performance or how to use the product
the fourth objective that you might want to achieve is called image awareness
that’s achieved when the customer can explain your product and also associate
your product with some mental image that image should be closely tied to the
brand image you’re trying to convey ideally the
customer associates some image about themselves when they use or experience
your product finally your marketing communication objective might be to
cause some type of behavioral awareness where you’re suggesting that they
actually do something that behavior may be as simple as going to your website or
it might be more aggressive such as asking the customer to buy the product
notice how these objectives are more complicated and difficult to achieve as
we go from basic awareness all the way to behavioral awareness it’s typically
more expensive as you set more difficult objectives so how do you determine your
objective well it depends on two things what does your customer believe and
understand about your product now and what is your strategy look back at your
customer analysis based on your marketing research you should have some
idea about what benefits in a product are most important to customers and you
should know how they perceive your products performance in delivering those
benefits are there any beliefs about your product that you need to change now
look at your five box positioning tool here you’ll find the information you
need to set objectives especially in the desired belief and desire do and of
course in the value proposition itself what are you hoping to communicate and
how does that translate into one of our five promotional objectives once you’ve set the objective for your
marketing communications now you need to implement it first select the message
you want to communicate then select the target audience to receive the message
next select the media that will carry the message and finally create the
material that you send to the market the message you send to the market will
include the value proposition as well as the evidence of why that claim is true
we call these the reasons to believe or are tbs here’s what I do to craft the
message I imagine I’m standing in front of a group of customers and I’m going to
explain my value proposition I know what they already know about my product so I
roleplay and actually speak the words that I would use with these customers
once I’m satisfied with my message I write it down and edit it sometimes with
the help of a professional copywriter next you need to select the target
audience this should be easy because we’ve already done this when performing
the targeting step in STP are you communicating to your current loyal
customers customers that are new to the category and so on it’s important to
clarify this when you send the message you need to do it in a way that the
target audience knows it’s for them the media channel you select depends on the
target audience how many of them you want to reach the complexity of the
message you’re sending in how frequently they need to hear the message marketers
have a wide choice of traditional media including television radio print
advertising outdoor billboards and digital media which includes social
media websites and mobile channels each type of media has advantages and
disadvantages TV commercials for example can reach millions of people but it’s
expensive billboards on the other hand are not that expensive but they’re
limited in what objectives you can achieve it would be hard to explain how
do you a complicated product in a billboard you
have to weigh the cost versus the reach meaning how many customers get the
message and you have to consider how much information you can send my advice
is to match the medium to the message then decide on how many people you have
to reach based on your available budget now you’re ready to actually create the
marketing material to put into the market that might be a new website a
print ad or a commercial most companies use the services of a creative
advertising agency for this but you’ll need to give them guidance on what you
want and you do that with a creative brief which I’ll cover later in this
course social media is an essential part of any
marketing plan no matter what business you’re in consumers expect a way to
learn about your products and share their experiences with others online
social media is a powerful way to communicate your value proposition and
enhance your brand so what I want to do here is give you guidelines on how to
make sure you tie your social media programs to your marketing strategy
otherwise you might find yourself in a situation where social conversations are
happening that are inconsistent with your value proposition or worse that are
sending wrong information about your products and services effective
marketers use social media in three ways the first is to listen to the
conversations that are taking place the second is to join the conversation and
the third is to shape the conversation I call it the listen join and shape model
let me explain each of these giant social media sites like Facebook Twitter
and LinkedIn as well as the smaller lesser-known sites are great sources of
market information but you have to set up systematic ways to monitor these
sites to find out what customers are saying to each other you have to put
your ear to the ground so to speak let’s look at Twitter using the Twitter search
function type in the name of your product see what tweets are coming
across then mention your product do this for your brand and company name you can
also set up automatic monitoring of Twitter for these keywords using tools
like HootSuite you can do the same for Facebook and you should set up Google
alerts using keywords about your company and perhaps your competitors set up RSS
feeds so that any mention of your product or brand on a website is fed to
you automatically in an RSS reader once you have the pulse of the social web by
listening in look for ways to join the conversation that means get out there
and participate in the but you have to do it in an authentic
way don’t disguise your identity people will respect your comments and your
company if you represent yourself and your company honestly you should join
the conversation when you have something relevant to say in response to a
customer or a potential customer on a social media site you may need to
resolve a consumer complaint or perhaps correct some misinformation do this in a
friendly helpful way and you’ll build a positive reputation for your company
here’s a tip when dealing with the customer issue online always keep in
mind what other customers are going to think about the way you are handling it
if you’re dealing with a sensitive issue it may be best to ask the customer to
contact you offline through traditional customer service support finally you
also have an opportunity to shape the conversation share information that
supports your value proposition go back to your promotional objectives and
create comments on sites that support that objective be careful not to over
promote or you’ll just annoy people and that defeats the purpose in all cases be
sure to follow your company’s social media policy on what you can and cannot
do on the social web listen join in shape 3 effective ways to
use social media and increase the likelihood of success of your marketing
strategy building distribution channels may be
the most difficult of the four PS depending on your business it’s
typically the most people intensive aspect of your marketing effort because
you have to enlist lots of partners to move your products physically into the
marketplace a channel is a pathway that carries things and it may involve many
steps along the way three things move through it first as
your product typically your product flows from you
the manufacturer or reseller through to the hands of the customer occasionally
that product might move back the other way in case the customer wants to return
it and you have to be set up for that the other thing that moves through the
channel is money and it’s not just money and credit cards but also all the money
related parts of the transaction which may include financing negotiations and
perhaps contracting you or your channel partners need to be skilled and
available to do these things again depending on your business there’s one
more thing that flows through the pathway and in some respects it may be
the most important thing that is information and it flows in both
directions from you to the customer and vice versa
the information you send through the channel could be information about your
product your prices availability or promotional messages about a new product
the channel and all the partners in it play a vital role in communicating your
value proposition in the other direction flows information about your customer it
might include demographic information about who they are geographic
information about where they live perhaps feedback about your product
positive or negative earlier in the course I spoke about segmentation you
could learn a lot of information about what’s important to customers and how
they perceive your product versus the competition through this channel you
could learn vital information that would help you in a
is your market to create your marketing strategy that’s assuming that your
partners along the way in the channel let you sometimes they like to keep that
information for themselves they might see that customer as belonging to them
not you if you want access to that wealth of data about your customers
you’ll have to select your partners carefully and strike the deal with them
around collecting and sharing that information and that’s where managing
channels gets difficult conflict often arises in the channel because the
various partners have competing goals your distributors for example may not
like your pricing approach so they might set the prices where they want them and
that price level might not be consistent with your value proposition they may
also be selling competitors products and you have to do a lot of convincing and
nurturing to make sure your products get the right amount of attention it takes a
lot of work and energy to train and motivate your channel partners to do
what’s needed to put your strategy into motion but if you do it right you’ll
have a well-oiled machine to put more great products into the marketplace and
earn new customers a distribution channel has three
objectives it needs to deliver a product customers want at a convenient location
and at convenient times so that your marketing effort is successful the right
product means that you have the necessary inventory of product on hand
when the customer is shopping that means you have to have all the models and all
the styles and sizes and available options that a customer might want at
that moment missing just one of these will cause the customer to look
elsewhere and you lose the sale the people selling your product need to be
skilled at merchandising it and explaining it to customers they might
have to demonstrate the product and explain why it’s superior to others the
right location means that your product is conveniently located and it’s easy to
find the salespeople have to be skilled at transacting the purchase if you have
an online store it too has to be easy to find easy to locate a product and easy
to buy from otherwise customers may look for a place that’s more convenient your
channel must offer quick delivery or fast service it means you have
convenient hours of operation and customers don’t have to wait to get
access to your product if you keep people standing in line too long it
erodes the experience they have with your brand and they may abandon you to
design a channel you have to decide three things the length the breadth and
the depth length of channel means the number of intermediaries between you and
the customer you may want to sell direct meaning the channel length is very short
it’s just you and the customer and it gives you total control of the channel
or you may need to go indirect and hire partners to ship warehouse and sell your
product breadth of channel means the number of outlets of each type a partner
exclusive distribution means you have just a few outlets selling your product
a high-end jewelry company like Tiffany’s has just a few outlets
whereas a company like Starbucks has thousands depth of channel means how
much of the channel you own in control versus having a third party do it for
you channels are expensive and you might not
have the resources or skills to do all of it so you’ll usually have to hire
others to help imagine you work for a company that makes fine men’s wallets
let’s design your channel you sell wallets in many countries around the
world you’re a small company so you’ll have to use an indirect channel and hire
various partners to get products into the marketplace
how about breath well given your value proposition you probably want to
handpick some exclusive retail distributors in various countries that
can explain the benefits of your slim wallets and sell them alongside other
clever high quality products the key is to integrate all four p’s to create a
great tactical marketing program and we’ll explore that next the 4p
Marketing is an old and classic idea but still very relevant the mistake you can
make is to not have all of them work together you need to create marketing
programs that are in sync with each other and support the overall
positioning described in your strategy it may seem obvious but it can be more
challenging than you think look at your product a common mistake is to over
feature the product or service by adding many bells and whistles you may be
succumbing to a problem called feature creep you keep adding features to add
more value but that value is inconsistent with the value proposition
this can be a challenge for Rd or engineering teams who are motivated to
make the product amazing you as the marketer have to guide their development
to keep it in line with strategy now there may be times when your product
development team comes up with an amazing breakthrough a feature that
changes the competitive balance they find a way to make your product clearly
superior to the competition well in that case it may make sense to accept the
change and go back and revise your value proposition to fit the product’s profile
pricing is another area that gives marketers problems you want to resist
this common mistake your product is better than the competition and everyone
knows it it’s tempting to say hey my product is better than theirs if I price
it lower than theirs I’m gonna win big wrong pricing a superior product lower
than the competition sends the wrong signal and it confuses customers they’ll
pay more for more value so make sure it aligned the price up so it communicates
more value finally is your promotional part of the
4ps you should promote your product or
service only where customers expect to see it it’s tempting to put the word out
about this great new product or service through mass media to get the widest
exposure possible but once again if you promote your product where the
customer doesn’t expect to see it they may get confused and walk away your
value proposition doesn’t sink in think of the four PS this way each is an or of
a rowboat make sure all are rowing at the same time and speed and you’ll get
to your final destination a lot faster an effective marketing plan is one that
lays out a coordinated set of strategies and tactics to win in the marketplace at
some point in the process you’ll need to gain support for that plan and perhaps
the most important audience is your senior management they’re the ones
typically who allocate financial and human resources to various projects in
your company without their full support you may end up not getting what you need
here are some tips on how to make a big impact with senior leaders when
presenting your marketing strategy first try to lead with a story perhaps focus
on a customer who had a great result using the product this is a great way to
remind people how your products bring value to customers next share what’s
changed in the marketplace what new threats new products or trends are out
there that are creating a challenge we call this creating the burning platform
you want people to understand the difficult situation you’re up against
then share the process you went through to create the marketing plan give credit
to your team members it builds your credibility when you’ve collaborated
with a cross-functional team be as brief as possible because you probably won’t
have a lot of time you should be prepared with different length
presentations for example you should have a 10 minute version a 30 minute
version and a 1 hour version savvy marketers also know how to present their
strategy in 30 seconds or less the so called elevator speech afterall it’s all
about getting people on board you don’t have to share every detail about your
plan just the highlights present the market conditions the competitive
situation your strategy in terms of who you’re targeting and how your
positioning approach will convert customers be completely upfront about
the weaknesses or risks with your plan you gain trust when you’re upfront and
honest about potential issues then share your forecasted revenue and budget needs
make sure they completely understand your assumptions take your time here if
you see that someone has a different view around the assumptions clarify it
on the spot not aligning around the assumptions now can create real problems
for you later remind them that funding your marketing plan is an investment not
a cost assure them that you’re committed to getting them a good ROI given their
experience be sure to ask them for feedback on ways to improve your plan
finish the presentation by asking them for their support it’s the old sales
adage always asked for the order you’re there to get approval so look them
straight in the eye and ask for it great marketers show passion and enthusiasm
for the products and services they manage if your senior managers see that
you’re excited and confident you’re going to win them over if your company has its own Salesforce
or a network of distributors they’ll need to understand your marketing
strategy after all they play a key role implementing it this is a great
opportunity for you to help make sure your plan is successful there are two
things that you need to do with salespeople motivate and educate you
need to win the hearts and minds of the Salesforce and get them engaged in
telling your story correctly if they feel good about your product and
confident they can sell it they’ll do a great job for you
your written marketing plan should have all the information you need to educate
your sales team but don’t just make copies of the plan and pass it out it’s
much more effective to create a concise and motivating training session the
first thing they need to know is your strategy especially your value
proposition they should know who that target market is and they should know
where and how to find them share your customer analysis with them what buying
factors are most important to the target audience once they understand your
strategy give them the tactical tools they need to sell the product first they
need to understand how the product works and how it compares feature by feature
to the competitor’s product if possible have samples of the products so they can
work with them hands on side by side next share your pricing strategy and how
prices are communicated explain how the price was determined in relation to the
value delivered you might get some resistance here because sales people
generally like the prices to be low that’s why it’s essential they
understand how pricing supports the overall positioning finally share any
selling tools you’ve created to make their job easier
these could include product brochures or tools to demonstrate the product you
might even have a suggested selling script for them to use when you conduct
training for salespeople here are some suggested tips
first you may want to break the team into different experience or skill
levels that helps you deliver appropriate information to each group
consider using hands-on training and role-playing exercises perhaps let them
practice how to demonstrate the product and engage prospective customers
speaking of customers see if you can invite some customers to the training if
not consider sharing testimonials of customers talking about how much they
like the product another good technique is to use one of your most successful
salespeople to help with the training let them share a case study of a
salesperson who has already sold the product successfully salespeople will
see your message is more credible if it comes from one of their own colleagues
repetition is the key for training a sales force consider regular webinars as
a way to continue to engage the sales force and fine-tune their training
finally make sure the sales team has a point of contact if they have questions
or concerns if the sales team feels they have your full support they’ll work hard
to make the product a big success your strategy may include the creation
of marketing materials like advertising promotions websites and sales literature
if so you’ll probably use some type of external agency or an internal team to
help you to do a great job for you they need your guidance and you do that
with what’s called a creative brief a creative brief is a short overview of a
creative assignment a good creative brief sets expectations for the project
it answers key questions like what needs to be created how will it be used what
are the deliverables for the project and when are the deadlines it’s like a
contract you can find many templates online for creative briefs and in the
exercise files I’ve included a sample that you can follow whatever format you
use it should include the following first give an overview of your marketing
situation what’s the big picture what’s going on in the market what’s the
competition doing are there any opportunities or problems in the market
next describe the objective of the creative piece is it a commercial a
sales brochure a website and so on give a concise statement of the effect that
it should have on consumers then describe the target audience who are we
talking to the more precise and detailed you can be the better explain how the
audience currently thinks feels and behaves in relation to the product
category your brand and your specific product or service next outline the most
important thing to say that of course is in your value proposition it’s the
single most persuasive statement we can make to achieve the objective you should
also include the reasons to believe what are the supporting rationale and
emotional reasons to believe and by the agency may use these points in the
creative piece then describe how you measure success what specific metrics we
look at to see if the creative piece is working is it website visits is it units
of product sold or it could be something you measure later with marketing
research like top of mine awareness complete your creative brief with the
schedule and a budget for the project notice that every bit of the information
that goes into the creative brief can be found in your marketing plan
segmentation targeting positioning consumer analysis communications
objectives and so on it’s all there but keep in mind that the creative brief
should be well briefed don’t just hand the agency your marketing plan and
expect them to sort through it a creative brief is much more detailed
than your plan but very focused on just one specific marketing program in that
plan with the proper guidance from a well-written creative brief your support
teams will create amazing and effective marketing materials Marketing takes time and money so it’s
important that you develop a budget a good budget helps you allocate the right
amount of resources to the right marketing programs now there are two
ways to develop a budget you can decide on how much you have to spend in total
and then allocate it some companies do this by taking a percentage of sales
revenue as the total budget for marketing that amount is assigned to
different teams and programs I call this the top-down approach the other
approaches from the bottom-up each marketing team develops a budget to
spend on marketing programs that they think are needed to achieve a revenue
forecast those budgets are combined into a company level budget if you recruited
a finance member to your marketing planning team they’ll be able to tell
you what approach your company uses whichever approach you take you still
need to decide where to spend the money and how much to spend one thing’s for
sure you always have a limited amount of money to spend so you probably can’t do
all the things you’d like to but be careful of a common mistake
don’t take your limited dollars and spend a little amount on many different
programs if you spread your budget too thin you won’t give any tactical program
a chance to succeed it’s better to limit rather than dilute spend on those
programs that are likely to be most effective at positioning your product in
the market place how much you spend depends on a number of factors earlier
we looked at how many customers are in your target audience the more you have
to reach the more you’ll have to spend we also addressed how to position the
product in the market meaning how to change the customer sense of importance
and perception about your brand if your positioning is very aggressive and
requires the consumer to change behaviors in a significant way you’re
going to need to spend more money finally look at each of your tactical
programs the four piece product price promotion and place estimate the
required spending in each one for example do you need to spend money to
upgrade your product or its packaging how much do you need to spend on
marketing communications to reach a sufficient number of people and still
achieve the communications objective what are your distributors and
salespeople need to do their job effectively
once you’ve estimated what each program will cost you’ll probably need to make
some tough choices and this is a great time to use the talents of your
marketing planning team let them help you decide in my experience a team
decision ends up being better than any single individual decision after all
you’re in this together so put them to work in helping you develop the most
effective budget possible before you launch your marketing
campaign you want to set up key performance indicators or KPIs for short
key performance indicators help you keep track of your overall strategy and your
individual marketing programs they alert you when it’s time to intervene and take
action to get things back on track without KPIs you’re flying blind so to
speak and you run the risk of falling short of your overall goal to be most
effective each KPI should be quantifiable and
measurable you can have as many as you want but don’t measure a KPI just
because you have the data if you’re not going to use it don’t bother it’s a
waste of time measure something only if you plan to take action from it that’s
why we set thresholds around each one each KPI should have a target of what
you expect to happen plus a high and low number around that target for those
thresholds you and your planning team should agree in advance what action
you’ll take if those thresholds are exceeded
now each KPI should be linked to the key parts of your marketing plan including
your goal segmentation targeting positioning and marketing tactics for
the goal you might have KPIs around the timing of revenues the type of customers
you’re converting and whether you’re taking customers from the right
competitor for segmentation targeting and positioning you want to measure
changes in customer beliefs such as importance and perception you may also
want to measure their behaviors such as purchase habits customer attrition and
retention profile you need to carefully monitor whether you’re achieving the
market positioning that you had hoped for for marketing tactics you could
create a KPI for each of the four PS if needed for example you might have
measures around communications objectives sales force effectiveness
distributor activity store promotions search engine ratios
social media activity pricing and discounting rates product performance
waiting times and service complaints good marketers not only reach their
financial goals but they also know whether those goals were achieved the
way they expected them to be achieved they also take immediate action when
they detect something is going in the wrong direction KPIs help you and your
marketing team stay aligned and do what’s needed to succeed you

understanding email marketing, social media marketing, content marketing key points


I’d wager a bet that you have been doing
email marketing in your business without even knowing it email marketing is a
form of direct marketing that uses email as its main medium of communication this
means that you right now most likely have emails or newsletters in your inbox
that a company created and sent out to you for their own email marketing
campaign basically any email that you send to a potential or current customer
can be considered email marketing the goal of email marketing is to cultivate
a relationship with your customers start thinking about the types of emails you
can begin to send out to your customers or people subscribe to your email list
to get started with email marketing here are some first steps first find
businesses in your industry that are doing really neat things in the
marketing space I always recommend taking a look at what these players are
doing in your industry often they work with expensive marketing firms that use
cutting-edge technology and data for the smaller guy this means that you can look
at what they’re creating and use that information to grow your own marketing
strategy once you have determined some marketing savvy industry players go
ahead and get on their mailing list I recommend setting up a filter that
directs these emails to a specific folder in your inbox that way they’re
all stored somewhere easy where you can review them second dedicate some time to
observe their approach to email marketing you can do this by paying
attention to the subject line the content in the email itself the
frequency in which they send these emails out and the time of day they do
send them out take notes on what you like and what you dislike what I like to
do next is keep my email marketing a research folder up-to-date with emails
and offerings that serve as a constant source of inspiration and education
there really are some amazing email marketers out there you’re not going to
copy but this is a great way to start modeling what others are doing until you
find your own voice whether it’s hotmail Gmail Yahoo or
outlook everyone has an email address simply put this is a dream for marketers
since email delivers the highest ROI out of any marketing method let’s dive into
the key advantages of using email marketing in your business as you watch
I want you to consider which advantages most relate to you first email marketing
is a must have today it’s expected email is a professional marketing medium and
people expect to receive information about products and services through that
channel studies show that 72% of people prefer
to receive promotional content through email as compared to 17% who prefer
social media the second key advantage is that it’s
accessible to any business big or small email marketing at its heart is
inexpensive unlike Facebook advertising you don’t have to pay to get in front of
your customer granted you will need to use an email marketing provider someone
like MailChimp in order to send out emails and maintain your lists often
there are free accounts so you don’t need to invest a lot of money up front
this means email marketing is totally scaleable and easy to get started third
it’s measurable it’s really easy to see how your email campaigns are performing
and these measurements take all the guesswork out of your email marketing
most service providers offer dashboards with real-time metrics like opens clicks
bounces forwards social shares and more lastly email marketing complements all
other marketing strategies email is a great direct marketing tool meaning that
you can influence your customers or prospects with one to one content but it
also works great as an amplification tool so suppose you’re having an
in-store sale of course you’re gonna have all your other marketing tactics in
play like in-store signage coupon codes and the like with email you would then
craft a strategy to amplify these efforts you would send a newsletter out
to your list letting them know of your sale when it starts and
and the benefits for them now that you’ve considered why you need to get
started with email marketing let’s set a goal how can email marketing benefit
your business where do you see email marketing complementing your existing
efforts uncover your why and you’re ready to get started you
adding email into your existing marketing efforts can be seamless while
increasing your brand’s awareness driving traffic to your website and
boosting your bottom line your first step to integrating email marketing is
to define your marketing objective basically that’s determining what the
nature of your email campaigns will be for example you could decide to focus on
newsletters that drive brand awareness and keep customers and prospects
up-to-date on your business services or products in those newsletters you could
include recent company blog posts upcoming events or unique content cater
to your audience as always start simple it can be totally overwhelming beginning
your email marketing on top of everything else you have to focus on in
your business but as you learn the tools test your campaigns and become more
familiar with email marketing then you can add more complexity as you begin to
add your email marketing into the mix an important piece will be allocating the
proper resources if you are in an organization with multiple teams you may
need to get buy-in from management if you’re a solopreneur start adding email
marketing tasks to your calendar to ensure you allocate enough time per day
week or month it handles a new workload once you are clear on your email
marketing objectives and you have the resources in place you will need to find
a service provider you can’t send out emails to customers
or prospects without the use of one and there are two things to consider when
choosing a provider that’s compliance and features due to strict spam and
privacy laws be sure to find a provider that is in compliance and most large
providers like MailChimp are but sending from your personal email account is not
in compliance as for features you will want to take a look at the various
options for each service provider looking at the features on MailChimp you
can see that they have the ability to integrate with your online store they
have the ability as well to automate your email marketing this means it makes
it really easy for you to scale your email efforts MailChimp can help you as
well with your Google remarketing advertisements if you do play
on a lot of volume so that means you’ll be sending out a lot of emails you might
wish to choose a provider with adequate pricing so that you aren’t getting
dinged every time you send out an email if you are a beginner I recommend
starting with MailChimp or drip you can always switch providers as your needs
grow but it’s even better to choose a provider who will grow along with your
business’s needs and email list adding email into your marketing will be one of
the best decisions that you make by allocating resources and finding the
perfect provider you will be well on your way when beginning email marketing
understanding the individual elements of what makes up an email strategy is
really important let’s go over these key elements the first element to know and
to understand is your target this is the person that you wish to directly market
to with your email campaign in order for this person to begin receiving your
emails they will need to become a subscriber and a subscriber is just that
it is someone who is opted in to receive your email communications this can be
through a web form on your website manually from a tradeshow sign up list
or perhaps they’ve bought a product for you in the past
all of these subscribers form what’s known as your list your list will be
stored and kept in your email marketing service another key element with email
marketing is segmentation this simply means that you’re able to categorize
different subscribers into different lists groups or subgroups for example
you might segment your list by creating a group of just customers you might also
segment by location products they purchased or even have a
group of prospects that have not yet bought anything an email service
provider who does a great job of segmentation is clay vo if you integrate
with Shopify they’ll automatically segment your list into customers who
have purchased in the last 30 days as well as those who have bought over $100
another critical element is your open rate you will find that on your
analytics dashboard this will be one of the main metrics you look at when
determining the success of your email campaigns simply put your open rate is
how many people opened your email you will also be able to look at the
click-through rate that’s how many people click on the link that you
included in your email one thing to note when talking about email campaigns is
that they can be only one email or can have multiple emails that make up one
campaign when we talk about email campaigns with multiple emails they’re
often labeled as a flow or an automation email series a good example of this is a
welcome flow many businesses have these in place so that after a person
subscribes to the list there automatically entered into a welcome
email series or flow they have preset up it would be something like this email
number one would say something like thanks for joining
email number two would be more of a general follow up with a subject like
commonly asked questions and email number three this could be the final
email before you enter them into your general newsletter mailings and it might
ask if they have any questions as you begin to set up your own email campaigns
you’ll see that getting started can be easy go through each element discussed
as you setup your own email campaign and begin testing the various elements to
see which works best with your intended audience did you know that the more you
personalize your emails the more opens they’ll get this is called segmentation
strategy and the goal is to find a way to speak directly to your customers
based on their interests demographics and buying profile here’s how you can
get the most out of your segmentation strategy determine your goal is it to
sell a specific product or service is it a gain product reviews to fundraise or
maybe drive traffic to your blog understand you can have multiple goals
and the large scheme of things but when you are segmenting your subscribers you
will want a very specific goal some may fit into more than one goal but for now
let’s focus on one and work backwards to develop a strategy segmenting your list
can seem overwhelming but in the beginning start small and segment only
one key variable if you have not yet started segmenting your list start by
picking the most relevant attribute for your business and using it to divide
your emails into two for example it could be customers and non customers
you’re going to speak very differently to customers than your prospects next is
personalization the goal of segmentation is to foster a one-to-one relationship
with your subscriber you want to make it feel like you’re talking right to them
now thousands of other people at the same time online retailers do an amazing
job of this I encourage you to sign up for a popular online retailer and watch
the personalized emails roll in with specific deals and products just for you
this level of segmentation takes a lot of time and creativity but there are
certain ways that you can adapt these strategies into your own email marketing
as you begin to grow your email list you can explore the different ways to
segment your customers remember the goal is to personalize your email content so
that your customers feel like you’re speaking directly to them with that in
mind what is one key attribute you can use to segment your own customer base as with any type of marketing the key to
achieving success is all in your strategic planning let’s go over how you
can create a powerful email marketing strategy for your business first and
foremost focus on list growth without people on your list
there is no email strategy some ways you can actively build your list is having
an easy and accessible way for people to become a part of it your website will be
a key component make sure you have a sign-up form some are obvious on your
homepage make it really easy for people to stay in touch next make sure you have
all the permission levels in place you only want people who have expressly
given you permission on your list you can do this by having a double opt-in
set up or even just by making it really easy for people to unsubscribe from your
emails with an obvious option at the bottom once people have happily
subscribed to your list get white listed white listing is when you have people
add you to their trusted contact list with their email provider getting white
listed helps you avoid spam filters and if people have the promotion tab setup
in Gmail this helps you show up in their main inbox now that your list is growing
make sure that your segmenting your list as you grow it’ll be a lot easier
segmenting in the beginning than having to go back and do it this means that
you’re grouping people according to specific variables that you’ve decided
on part of your strategy will be deciding how you segment your
subscribers one segmentation is in play this will allow you to get personal
personalization is the goal in any email marketing campaign how can you
personalize the content and emails that you send out to your list using your
knowledge of purchases location and interests you can individualize your
emails to create a greater impact similar to segmentation automation is
best set up early in your email marketing strategy automation allows you
to scale your email marketing efforts and will help you focus more time on the
important things and takes out of the manual work that eats up all your time
if you head to campaigns in your MailChimp dashboard and select create
campaign it’s here under Creighton email that you
have an option to set up an automated email so MailChimp will walk you through
they have a couple different options including subscriber activities so
you’re able to set up an automated flow to respond when a subscriber updates if
you have a store integrated it’s here that you can have some really robust
automation as well as anything date based so say you have a specific date
and need to send out an appointment and then you have some additional advanced
functionality working with the API an example of automation is a post purchase
email sequence thank Amazon after you purchase a product you receive a
confirmation order that your order has been received then you receive an email
letting you know when it has been shipped and then another email notifying
you that your product has been delivered Amazon has the entire product life cycle
automated once the order is made the email automation sequence is kicked off
lastly without actual emails being sent out all of the strategies lost build a
Content calendar to help you determine what you must to create what to include
in them when to send and whom to send to now that you understand the components
of a strong email strategy begin developing yours by taking steps to grow
your email list you
social media marketing has the ability to bring a new kind of exposure to your
business by leveraging social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter
you’ll find opportunities to capture new customers as well as re-engage existing
ones there’s also more value in social media than just brand recognition and
website traffic let’s explore some of the other value ads within social media
first of all social media marketing creates opportunity to hear directly
from your customers oftentimes they’ll share things with your social channels
or ask questions that might help you identify how to serve them better but
beyond their direct interaction you’ll get a sense of what’s important to your
audience by looking at what they share and how frequently with an active
audience you can ask for feedback or test ideas before creating larger
marketing initiatives secondly you’ll establish credibility today’s savvy
consumers are spending more time researching brands and products before
spending money with an active social media presence you’ll allow your
customers to indirectly advocate for you if they’re leaving a positive comment
sharing a review or interacting with your content it’ll boost your overall
credibility thirdly you’ll develop a community a community is an important
tool for driving awareness of your brand as customers become advocates they’ll
run to social media to shower you with praise it’s this community that will
ignite your word-of-mouth marketing and help you reach untapped territory
friends look to friends for recommendations and social media allows
you to activate those opportunities and expose your brand to a new audience now
these are just a few examples on the value of social media take the time to
look at your own objectives what would be the biggest value for you each value
can have a different motivation you might want to build a community simply
to retain your existing customer base whereas another business might build a
community for the sole purpose of getting content to go viral decide your
main goal for leveraging social media marketing while Facebook and Twitter share certain
similarities in that they’re both social networks where you can post and consume
information they’re actually two very different platforms in a nutshell
Twitter tends to be a public real-time feed of short thoughts whereas Facebook
is a more private network used to catalog information and ideas with
friends and family Twitter is perfect for short rapid communication and it
tends to be a top choice for consumers looking to get support or provide a
shout out to brands twitter also has impressive mobile saturation with around
80% of twitter users checking their feeds multiple times throughout the day
from a mobile device Facebook boasts a high percentage of
users who have graduated from college so you’ll find a strong middle class
represented and if your brand appeals to those ages between 24 and 50 there’s an
opportunity on Facebook for you younger users are shifting away from Facebook
and joining the reins of Instagram or snapchat as for the gender ratio it’s
fairly well split between male and female users you can be on both networks
simultaneously but understanding these fundamental differences will help you
determine the right strategy em only think about strategy consider that
Twitter content has a short life span almost 90% of all engagement on a tweet
happens within the first hour that number might shift if you get a retweet
by a large brand or person but remember that it does have a really short life
span with Facebook updates they can live on for several days
Facebook delivers content when it thinks it’s most relevant to a particular user
think of Facebook as an ongoing conversation and Twitter as a real-time
instantaneous one as you explore when and how frequently to post content
you’ll find that both networks have different optimal posting times these
times are going to be dependent on your audience your geographic location and
the category of business you operate within if you are just starting out
I recommend exploring both networks twitter is a great place for handling
customer service and providing short updates as they relate to your business
Facebook is an excellent place to share in-depth content and to create
conversations around particular topics looking at the differences between both
Facebook and Twitter is there one that really sticks out for your business
remember starting out it doesn’t hurt to try both but there might be one that
fits a little bit better into your social media marketing strategy you
anytime you begin using any social network it’s critical to define your
core marketing objective let’s go over how you may wish to leverage Facebook to
meet your marketing goals Facebook has a very different audience and the way that
people interact with content is slightly different than with Twitter with
Facebook you have the opportunity to present long-form content that is
anything that exceeds 280 characters because if you recall a tweet cannot
exceed that many characters but Facebook posts they’ll let you have longer
content also you’ll find that Facebook doesn’t demand the quantity of updates
at Twitter does so you can get away with a couple of posts per day the lifespan
of Facebook content as well is a lot longer than that of Twitter so you can
consider that as you define your objectives and decide how much time and
energy you’ll put into various content pieces at a high level
your main goal on Facebook is likely going to be generating a fan base and
that is done by getting people to like your Facebook page
whereas on Twitter you’ll be gaining followers on Facebook they’re called
fans you can leverage this audience to accomplish your business objective and
as much as we saw again with Twitter this might be to generate brand
awareness increase sales drive traffic to your website and so on your objective
will dictate the type of content you promote and with what frequency as with
most social media a main objective is to publish content that not only meets your
business goals but is also unique enough to be shared and liked these actions
help to promote your content to a broad audience so your first step is to define
your objective how will you use Facebook to support your marketing goals the first step in creating high quality
content for Facebook is deciding on your goal put another way what action do you
want your reader to take after they consume your content
what will compel them to take action and what supporting information can you
provide to help combat any doubts that they have take a minute to answer these
questions because doing so will help you put together a framework for building
that high quality content high quality content really requires connecting with
your audience with the right message at the right time and as you go about
developing that content consider that more than a third of Facebook users are
viewing your content on their mobile device this means that the amount of
content displayed on the screen before truncates
is going to be less there’s just less screen real estate so that means you’re
going to want to find that sweet spot in the amount of characters you use with
that said aiming for 250 characters or less is a great principle to test test
it out and see how it works for your business but it’s a great starting point
it is by no means a rule and your audience might enjoy long-form content
or even extremely short status updates but it is a great place to start also
consider using eye catching images with any Content that you post you can even
experiment with using links or videos as both are something that Facebook
supports when you’re just getting started it’s really a good idea to try
all kinds of different posts to see which ones get the most attention from
your audience visual posts tend to look better and also get a lot more likes
shares and comments than other kinds of posts and that is the case for most
brands you can also try posts such as offers or even creating an event for a
special occasion use a level of responsiveness on each particular piece
of content to gauge how well it does this way you can compare how well a
photo does for your audience versus say a strictly text post and then experiment
try throwing in an info graph fake a quote maybe a behind-the-scenes
photo change it up from time to time and see how your audience responds you over 336 million people worldwide turned
to Twitter every day and there they talk about things that interest them they
might be interacting with a trending topic such as the launch of the new
iPhone they may be learning about world events talking about their day to day
life or even interacting with brands like yours being a business on Twitter
is about creating and capturing these conversations you might leverage Twitter
to share details on a new product a behind-the-scenes look on your process
or helpful tips that in turn can boost your retention you might even convey
your brand’s personality by sharing other news from your industry or adding
an opinion to an existing topic as a business the goal is to obtain followers
by adding value to the Twitter network by building followers you can expand on
existing customer relationships and develop new leads all while building a
visible presence almost every major brand has a presence on Twitter each
with a unique goal but at the core the biggest benefit to being on Twitter is
having another channel to educate and engage with current and potential
customers before you start diving in it’s important to note that Twitter is a
very timely network that means it requires a willingness to commit to
frequent posts otherwise your brand runs the risk of looking stale and unengaged
customers really enjoy interacting with brands on Twitter they love to give a
shout out for a job well done just as much as they’d like to know that you’re
responsive to questions should issues arise so your first step is to determine
if you’re willing to commit the necessary resources to maintain your
presence on Twitter as a starting point decide to interact once or twice a day
until you see what works best for your business with the right level of
commitment businesses can see great results people want to hear from brands
like you on Twitter it’s a quick way for them to evaluate your brand to check for
a special offer and to see what others have to say about your brand itself once
you decide to use Twitter for your business the right time investment mixed
with high quality strategy will help your brand grow to be successful on Twitter you’ll need
to identify your core marketing objective at a high level you’ll want to
understand what it is that you’re wishing to accomplish by understanding
your objective you’ll be able to quickly identify whether or not your efforts are
successful for some brands Twitter might simply be a customer support hub this is
a place to respond to customers and engage with the community your goals
might be measured on the qualitative scale this means you’ll have to
determine if the quality of your engagements with your customers using
this example are worth your brand’s effort on Twitter for other brands the
focus might be to establish brand recognition
so they’ll spend their time and energy building authority in their niche the
success metrics will be a blend of qualitative and quantitative so the look
at the amount of reach their tweets are getting and the volume of followers in
order to see if the objective is being met the types of responses and mentions
the brand receives will also help determine how valuable the overall
effort is and the last major focus for a brand might be the actual sales or
traffic component so that means that you’ll include links to the website
promotional opportunities for your products and product announcements and
this objective is easy to track so it’s highly quantitative and will be measured
directly through the revenue that you generate you certainly can have multiple
objectives but the key is to identify your primary one and then build your
strategy around that one focus if sales is the goal you’ll need to attract
followers build high quality tweets that gain traction and include relevant calls
to action to encourage the sale you’ll also need to provide customer
service with all that being said and at the same time generate brand recognition
in the process so you can see how they all work together take a few minutes now
to write out your marketing objective for Twitter and decide if you’ll be
measuring the results by quality quantity or a true mix you the most important aspect of content
fundamentals is really defining and understanding the importance of content
marketing so there’s a lot of noise about content marketing today everyone’s
talking about it there’s a ton of content out there about
it but really a lot of marketers are not totally sure how to define content
marketing and how to really fit it as part of their marketing strategy so
content marketing is the process of creating valuable relevant content to
attract acquire and engage your audience and now this is just one of the many
possible definitions on content marketing but it’s one that I think
really defines and exemplifies some of the great aspects of what content
marketing can do for your business businesses today need content marketing
it’s a critical aspect of being visible in today’s digital busy world so why
there’s an abundance of information out there on the internet for your customers
your customers are sifting through thousands and hundreds of messages each
day whether it’s doing their own research online you know push messaging
that’s coming across from marketers emails that are coming in to their
mailbox there’s a ton of information out there and it’s extremely difficult for
you as a marketer to get heard through all of that noise we also live in a
multi-device world your customers move seamlessly through their laptops to
their phones to their tablet they can carry information around with them in
their pocket and access it any minute at anytime in a 24/7 world so because
there’s such an access to information and tons of these multi devices it’s
difficult for you as a marketer to get heard from your customers and we live in
a multi-channel world as well so not only are your customers accessing
information on multiple devices but they are also accessing information across
channels so what do I mean by that your customers are on social media there are
unsearched they’re on your website they’re on review sites like Yelp and
Google there’s really a ton of different channels today that your customers
live and as a marketer it’s important to be present and be relevant on all those
channels so what does all of this mean all of this information these multi
devices multi channels it’s a very complex world out there and all of that
equals attention scarcity what that means is that your customers attention
is really divided amongst all of these you know different areas and therefore
the attention that they actually have for you and your messaging is scarce but
content marketing helps you actually break through that noise because you’re
providing Salt leadership and you’re differentiating your brand from all the
other brands out there by creating valuable relevant and educational
content you can be seen in front of your customers on those different channels on
those different devices and really become that trusted resource through all
of that information content marketing has these seven qualifications so as
you’re thinking about planning out your content marketing strategy and as you’re
thinking about content marketing in general for your business make sure that
these seven elements are present so number one content marketing engages
individuals on their own terms so this means being available and being relevant
where your audience lives so that’s that concept of multi-channel multi-device
your content marketing is based on interactions with your buyers so you
should be creating content that is relevant to what your buyers want to
hear and what they’re searching for your content marketing should tell a
continuous story your content should tell not only your business story but
also the story of your customers and it really does have to be a story it has to
be a narrative that’s interesting and engaging make sure that content
marketing is the right fit for your channels so you need to create different
types of content for different channels one type of content that’s great for
your social media channel might not be right for email marketing or a paid
program that you’re doing so make sure that the content that you’re creating is
you know you think about being channel specific number five your content has a
clear purpose so this means that all you create should have a goal should
have a purpose in mind you’re creating content for thought leadership brand
awareness lead generation all of these things make sure it has a purpose and
that leads me to number six your content marketing has predefined metrics you
should be creating content with end goals in mind whether that’s X amount of
new customers maybe its new followers on your social networks whatever your
predefined metrics should be make sure you determine those before you go in and
actually create that content and number seven content marketing is almost always
evergreen so this means keep in mind your entire lifecycle when you think
about your different content content should last month’s content should last
years it’s not totally always like this like for instance sometimes you’ll
create a piece of content on a trend related item for social media that might
not be evergreen but your large pieces your ebooks you want to think about
content themes and arcs that span multiple quarters so that you can get
the most bang for your buck so just some additional stats to keep in mind as
you’re thinking about your content strategy and as we define content
marketing further 71 percent of consumers trust solutions that provide
useful information without trying to sell something so your content should be
educational it should be thought leadership for the purpose of building
that trust in building those relationships over time 62 percent of
consumers trust solutions that provide information and best practices for tools
they’ve bought you want to teach your customers how to use your products and
services better you want to teach them best practices and you want to educate
them this over time will really enable that lifelong value and that lifelong
relationship building from your customers given our definition of
content marketing and these seven qualifications take some time to sit
down and determine how you can fit your content marketing strategy into each of
these seven items by really mapping out your reasons for content marketing and
defining what content marketing means for your business
you can truly create a content marketing strategy from A to Z understanding the benefits of content
marketing is critical to creating a content marketing strategy that works
for your business a lot of the marketing activities that you partake in with your
company such as attending a tradeshow doing a banner ad paying for a
pay-per-click ad this is all essentially renting attention you’re paying a fixed
fee to rent the audience of another vendor for instance if you’re at a
tradeshow you’re paying a certain amount of money to have a booth and to get the
benefits of that audience for that tradeshow in contrast content marketing
is like owning your own attention you’re creating that thought leadership
in-house you’re creating that content in-house even though initially there
might be a spend to begin with you are great gaining your own attention over
time you’re promoting your own content out you’re creating your own audience so
it’s essentially like owning your own attention you’re not continuously
spending money on renting other people’s thought leadership in the audience that
they have built brands today need to become their own publishers and content
marketing is how to do that and create your own Salt leadership because your
audience is out there doing their own research they’re downloading information
off online and why not be the place where your customers are finding that
information why not be the creators of that research and that’s how brands
today become their own publishers so what are some additional benefits for
content marketing benefit number one brand awareness up to 93% of the buying
journey starts with a search online content builds organic awareness through
search and social you want to be available when your buyers are searching
for you they are doing that research so you want to make sure that your content
is front and center and by creating content you build that brand awareness
so that when your buyers do search your content in your educational materials
come up benefit number two create brand preference thought leadership builds
trust in brand preference people are more likely to purchase from companies
who they trust by creating that content in becoming that educational resource
for your customers you start to build that
relationship and build that trust therefore if a customer is constantly
searching out content on a certain subject and your content is the content
that’s continuously coming up when that customer is going to make that purchase
they will most likely find your content and think about you first and that’s how
you’re building that trust when it comes to purchasing decisions benefit number
three reach more buyers at a lower cost unlike renting attention where you’re
paying to rent other people’s audience the return on content happens over a
longer time even though you have that initial spend because your content is
evergreen and built to last and because you’re building your own audience and
owning your own audience you can reach more buyers at a lower cost over time so
given the benefits that we’ve discussed I hope that you can now apply this to
your own content marketing and really start thinking about how content
marketing can help your business over time take these benefits and approach
your internal stakeholders so that you can really start creating that plan for
content marketing in order for your content marketing to
be relevant and effective you must create your buyer personas and buyer
journeys most companies have many different types of buyers these are your
personas these are the people that you connect with each day with all of your
marketing activities most companies have multiple different people that buy your
product or service so you want to make sure that you create content that is
relevant and effective for each individual person and each of these
personas will have their own buying journey this is essentially the journey
that they take from when they initially start researching a topic to when they
make a purchase each buying journey has multiple different steps and it’s
critical that your content marketing really address each of the different
questions and concerns that a buyer has in each step of this process in order
for your content to be relevant and effective it must speak to both your
buyer personas and their journeys so creating buyer personas help you
essentially choose what type of content you want to create not every type of
content is going to work for every single buyer it also allows you to
target the right topics that your buyers actually care about so by doing the
research to determine what are your different personas care about and what
do they want to read you can certainly target what type of content you’re
creating your personas also help set the tone in the voice for all of your
content assets you might have one buyer persona that likes to hear their content
in a more conversational way another type of persona might want more of an
authoritative more research driven type of content and by doing buyer persona
research you can really determine what type and tone and voice of your content
needs to be buyer journeys help you know what content create for each buying
stage like I said each journey has multiple different stages in a proper
content plan will have content that speaks to the questions and concerns
your buyers have at each stage buyer journeys also help you know where your
buyers consume your content at each buying stage so somebody who’s initially
researching your product might be finding out about your content on social
media whereas somebody that’s close to making a purchase decision my
looking at a content syndication site or potentially your website so it’s
important to know where exactly your buyers look at each stage of the journey
so how do you find out this information how do you create your personas and your
journeys you are gonna have to conduct interviews and research so how do you do
this so first you’re gonna want to speak with your sales teams your sales teams
are really on the front lines of speaking with your prospects every CH
and every day they know exactly what types of questions and concerns your
potential customers have so sit down and speak with your sales team to determine
what exactly they know about your current customers your customer service
teams are also on the front lines with your customers each and every day in
fact they know very very closely what type of concerns your current customers
might have so speak with your customer service teams to determine what type of
issues problems and questions your current customers ask you also want to
speak with current customers it’s important to get both sides of the story
so speak to both happy and unhappy customers this will give you a
well-rounded perspective when determining what you should write
content about and then also if possible speak with prospects the people that
have yet to become customers but who hopefully will in the future during your
interviews you want to find out some of the following information and this could
be limited to what’s here or you could well expand it into what makes sense for
your own business the type of information you’ll want to
find out to actually create your persona as information about background
potentially job details the goals and challenges of your personas where do
they source their information watch their preferred content medium some
people like to read content in an e-book form other people might want to watch a
video get some actual quotes from customers what about their objections
what type of objections do they commonly say if they’re speaking to a salesperson
and then watch their role in the purchase process you might have multiple
personas that are the decision-maker and then some personas might also be
assistants to the decision-maker so lots of especially long sale cycle these days
have large buying teams so you might want to create personas for each member
of the buying team and create a sample marketing message for
each one of your personas so that you know exactly how you’re speaking to them
in addition to your sample buyer persona you also want to create a sample buyer
journey the information from all of your interviews will lend itself very well to
creating this type of journey remember that a buyer journey has each different
stage and they might be different stages depending on your own sales cycle in
your own buyers but here’s just an example it could be calm status quo
shattered search around problem frame problem in solution consult peers and
experts engage potential providers so those are just an example of some of
your buyer journey stages and then in addition to each stage you want to
provide an explanation and potentially any questions or concerns that buyers
bring up at each stage now that you’ve created your personas and your journeys
it’s time to align your content it’s extremely important to create content
that speaks to each persona and each stage in the buying journey and that
will make up your content mix so now that I’ve gone over persona and journey
sit down with your stakeholders in your organization determine what questions
you should ask and now create your own in order for your content marketing to
be successful you must set your content goals you should always have goals for
your content marketing and they should be the first thing that you set up goals
help you choose the right assets for your organization design content to be
measurable upfront and help you define success a content marketing plan without
goals will simply not go anywhere so goals are critical to ensure that the
content you’re creating is the right content and now you’re able to
appropriately define success so what are the steps you need to take in order to
set your content marketing goals step 1 meet with stakeholders to get their
point of view on goals you need to determine who is involved in creating
content there’s most likely a variety of team and a variety of team leaders who
are involved in creating content and promoting it so get together your
marketing team leaders sales team leaders and customer service team
leaders step number two ask yourself some foundational questions why are you
creating content what programs are you planning on using your content in what
are your short-term goals and what are your long-term goals asking yourself and
your stakeholders these questions will help you set a solid foundation for
creating your content marketing strategy step number three define your
qualitative goals these are goals like brand recognition thought leadership
social engagement relationship building trust these are all extremely important
goals to content marketing so although these particular goals might not have a
number assigned to them they are critical step number four define your
quantitative goals so these are goals that actually do have a number
associated with them so these might be number of new leads number of downloads
for each content asset specific number of social shares percentage of leads
that turn to opportunities that turn to closed deals how much pipeline your
content has generated how much revenue all of these quantitative goals are
measurable and should be measured and they should be measured in addition to
the qualitative goals so that you have a holistic view of all of your content
marketing goal how do you track your goals you can
track your goals in your marketing automation platform this is great for
tracking those quantitative goals like number of leads downloads and revenue
Google Analytics is great for traffic and conversions you want to track your
social channels for increase in social shares your CRM tool you could track for
customer engagement and your content management tool you can also track stuff
like downloads and engagement and then add your goals to a plan put it down on
paper you’ll want to socialize your goals with your team present it to the
stakeholders you can schedule weekly or monthly metrics check-ins meetings and
hold yourself accountable to your goals you can’t create a Content plan within a
vacuum so by showing your organization that you are able to tie your content
efforts to goals you ultimately get more budget and more team and bandwidth to
create more content over time now that we’ve sat down to discuss how
to create your goals for your content marketing sit down talk to your
stakeholders ask yourself questions put everything down on paper and ultimately
create your plan mapping your content to your sales
funnel helps to ensure that you’re moving new buyers to actually become
customers once you understand your buyer journey and have created your content
themes and brainstormed ideas you need a map your content to your sales funnel
why well you need to create content that speaks to your buyer at every stage of
your sales funnel first you need a know your sales funnel
this could be different based on your business whether you’re a b2b business
or b2c business that’ll make a difference your sales funnel typically
starts at a top of funnel stage where most of your new buyers and your new
leads are coming in it gets a little narrower in the middle of your funnel
where you’re actually starting to nurture your leads and you know who they
are and then at the bottom of your funnel you have leaves that are very
close to becoming customers and then they are customers so again this will
vary based on your business but it’s important to understand your funnel and
to start to map your content to these different stages so let’s walk through
let’s start with your top of funnel tofu content this person is at the beginning
of your sales and marketing funnel she is aware of your service but she is not
ready to buy this person might have found used their social media she may
have gotten on your website offered types for your top of funnel content our
educational and thought leadership do not mix this with content that has too
much product information let’s take a look at some tofu content in action all
of these examples are ebooks that are best practice in thought leadership that
each of these vendor publishers have created to help educate their audience
so now let’s go to the middle of your funnel your mo foo content this person
has displayed buying behavior is engaged with your content and is potentially a
sales lead so this person knows who you are and you might be nurturing them over
time offer types here are third-party reports return on investment calculators
for your products or buying guides to help these people make a decision to
purchase your product so now let’s take a look at mo foo content in action in
contrast with the tofu content assets all of these three examples actually
speak a bit about the product in the core business Kate says each of these
companies are trying to sell so the one on the
left developing a business case from marketing automation the one in the
middle is a third-party asset that talks about the total and economic impact of
the company and then the one on the right is a buyer’s guide so all of these
pieces are working to push the buyer through that funnel now let’s talk about
your bo foo content that bottom of the funnel content this person is very close
to becoming a customer your offers here are very specific to your product or
your service so your offer types are promotional and return on investment
proving some examples here are to prove competitive and value so some ideas
could be pricing sheets these could be customer case studies you really want to
show a customer in the bo foo stage that your product is the correct choice now
that you understand your own sales funnel you can take your content and you
can map it to each of the stages in your funnel then you can make sure that
you’re pushing leads to eventually become customers you want to make sure you have a solid
content mix so you need to choose your content types when it comes to content
there are a lot of types to choose from you can choose your content types based
on your brand look and feel the different content topic you choose your
content goals and your proposed promotional channels first let’s talk
about blog posts blog posts are short pieces of content that are regularly
updated on your company blog your blog post can range anywhere from about 300
to 700 words and they can be about a variety of topics blogs are fantastic
for tren related content and when you need to put out a point of view at a
very fast pace now let’s talk about cheat sheets cheat sheets are short
pieces of downloadable content that are created for the purpose of giving the
reader quick access to a series of tips or best practices your cheat sheets are
typically one-page they can be front and back and they don’t have too much design
these are simple easy to digest content assets you may or may not want to create
a content piece similar to a definitive guide a definitive guide is a very large
content piece often over 60 pages that you can then break apart into smaller
supplemental content items these take a lot of effort and are often in
conjunction with a large promotional plan these can really anchor your
content themes for a quarter ebooks are the bread and butter of your content
strategy particularly if you are in a b2b company an e-book is an electronic
version of a shortened book it is designed to contain salt leadership and
best practices on a particular topic ebooks can be short four to five pages
or they can be much longer at around 50 pages your ebooks should be designed to
fit your brand and give you the opportunity to present your information
in a creative way infographics take information like statistics or best
practices and present it in a visual way infographics are generally vertical
graphics that are short and easy to consume your graphics should be highly
visual with an interesting hook typically infographics are created to be
presented on your blog and then you can promote them out for inbound links in
media attention reports can be created by collecting survey and industry data
and presenting it prehensile document reports often
contain lots of statistics a strong point of view and are generally
formatted like an e-book reports can be a critical cornerstone of your content
and gain a lot of recognition in your industry don’t just stop at downloadable
content think about what else you can create that is interesting fun shareable
and engaging for your audience think outside of the box because content can
take many forms videos are an engaging and visual form of live-action content
that can be filmed and promoted on YouTube social channels and your website
your videos can range from product related topics to stories music videos
and more they can also range in length from 30 seconds to 10 minutes however
note that best practices here are for most of your videos to clock in at
around 1 to 2 minutes people have short attention spans visuals slide decks
present information statistics and best practices in a highly visual format
using slides often your slide decks can almost be like an infographic chopped-up
you can publish them on SlideShare and promote out on your website in social
channels a caution here is to make sure each of your slides are professionally
designed and does not include too much text a webinar is either a live or
recorded presentation that a speaker presents along with a slide deck these
are generally events for your audience signs up at ends and asks questions
webinars are generally topical and can be easily recorded for later viewing a
downloadable workbook provides your readers with an actionable template to
fill in his or her own answers to questions these are great if you’re
trying to teach your audience something in particular using a checklist table or
fill in the blanks now that we’ve broken down all the different content types you
can then start to really formulate what your content marketing mix is going to
look like once you have a good idea what types of
content you will be creating next you have to plan your editorial calendar
before you create your calendar you need to think about your content mix what are
the different types of content you’re creating and how are you going to fit
them in your plan to make a diverse content plan think about your content in
food groups this is actually a great analogy developed by Ann Handley to help
you determine what should be in your content mix first you have your roasts
these are your large content initiatives this would be if you’re planning to
create a definitive guide a large ebook or anything that has a promotional plan
that’s extensive behind it these would be your big rock pieces next you need to
make sure you have your Raisin Bran these are everyday pieces of content
they are quick and consumable like cheat sheets checklists and best practices
these should also be a big part of your content mix in addition to those roasts
next we have our spinach these are content items packed with nutrients this
is your high-level thought leadership this could be a report that presents
findings that you have in a survey it could be a really high-level ebook an
executive piece of thought leadership either way you need to make sure that
these items are included in your overall content plan next we have chocolate cake
these are your fun light-hearted and indulgent pieces of content this could
be infographics any type of special projects you’re creating fun videos
ideally these are pieces of content that you’re sharing on a regular basis on
social channels and then you have your Tabasco sauce this is content with some
spice content that challenges asks hard questions or provokes responses your
Tabasco content is often best on a blog post so definitely take that into
consideration but make sure you’re not saying anything that’s off-brand a
Content plan and an editorial calendar can help you stay organized so you need
to make sure that you are adhering to this mix you don’t want your content to
be homogenized and you don’t want to be putting out things that are the same day
in and day out editorial calendar also helps you
increase visibility across your organization so that people in your
company know exactly what content you’re creating and when it also helps to align
your team’s you might have different content that you’re creating on demand
gen versus customer versus brand so how do you organize your calendar first the
content mix that we spoke about earlier then you should organize based on
different teams depending on who you’re creating content for any ongoing
campaigns that you have to keep in mind and strategic initiatives these should
all be on your editorial calendar what calendar platform should you use there
are many options here basically you just need to make sure that you’re putting
them down into a calendar form you can use a calendar in your content
management tool consider a google calendar that you can share with folks
across the organization or a Google spreadsheet even if you don’t
necessarily want to put it in a calendar form or your marketing automation
calendar many marketing automation platforms today have calendar
functionality that you can add your content mix to who should see my
calendar your editorial calendar should be available to marketing sales customer
service executives or anybody else who wants to know what specific content that
you’re creating here’s a few examples of different types of calendars calendar
example number one is a detailed spreadsheet a spreadsheet could be
useful if you have multiple different content types you want to include the
status production start and completion date maybe you want to say what business
unit this is for your persona right resource section type if you have lots
of different items that you need to put in a calendar form sometimes a
spreadsheet type format works great calendar example number two is within a
content management platform this one is from Divi HQ this one has an actual
calendar format where you can toggle based on specific due dates
what calendar so what business unit is for the team member it’s assigned two
content type or your content strategy no matter how you decide to organize your
editorial in what you include in your calendar
make sure it has that content mix that we spoke about and that everything is
organized so go ahead write down your plan and put it in a calendar you

understanding content marketing, content management key points


the most important aspect of content
fundamentals is really defining and understanding the importance of content
marketing so there’s a lot of noise about content marketing today everyone’s
talking about it there’s a ton of content out there about
it but really a lot of marketers are not totally sure how to define content
marketing and how to really fit it as part of their marketing strategy so
content marketing is the process of creating valuable relevant content to
attract acquire and engage your audience and now this is just one of the many
possible definitions on content marketing but it’s one that I think
really defines and exemplifies some of the great aspects of what content
marketing can do for your business businesses today need content marketing
it’s a critical aspect of being visible in today’s digital busy world so why
there’s an abundance of information out there on the internet for your customers
your customers are sifting through thousands and hundreds of messages each
day whether it’s doing their own research online you know push messaging
that’s coming across from marketers emails that are coming in to their
mailbox there’s a ton of information out there and it’s extremely difficult for
you as a marketer to get heard through all of that noise we also live in a
multi-device world your customers move seamlessly through their laptops to
their phones to their tablet they can carry information around with them in
their pocket and access it any minute at any time in a 24/7 world so because
there is such an access to information and tons of these multi devices it’s
difficult for you as a marketer to get heard from your customers and we live in
a multi-channel world as well so not only are your customers accessing
information on multiple devices but they’re also accessing information
across channels so what do I mean by that your customers are on social media
they’re on search they’re on your website they’re on review sites like
Yelp and Google there’s really a ton of different channels today that your
customers live and as a marketer it’s important to be
present and be relevant on all those channels so what does all of this mean
all this information these multi devices multi channels it’s a very complex world
out there and all of that equals attention scarcity what that means is
that your customers attention is really divided amongst all of these you know
different areas and therefore the attention that they actually have for
you and your messaging is scarce but content marketing helps you actually
break through that noise because you’re providing Salt leadership
and you’re differentiating your brand from all the other brands out there by
creating valuable relevant and educational content you can be seen in
front of your customers on those different channels on those different
devices and really become that trusted resource through all of that information
content marketing has these seven qualifications so as you’re thinking
about planning out your content marketing strategy and as you’re
thinking about content marketing in general for your business make sure that
these seven elements are present so number one content marketing engages
individuals on their own terms so this means being available and being relevant
where your audience lives so that’s that concept of multi-channel multi-device
your content marketing is based on interactions with your buyers so you
should be creating content that is relevant to what your buyers want to
hear and what they’re searching for your content marketing should tell a
continuous story your content should tell not only your business story but
also the story of your customers and it really does have to be a story it has to
be a narrative that’s interesting and engaging make sure that content
marketing is the right fit for your channels so you need to create different
types of content for different channels one type of content that’s great for
your social media channel might not be right for email marketing or a paid
program that you’re doing so make sure that the content that you’re creating is
you know you think about being channel specific number five your content has a
clear purpose so this means that all content that you create
have a goal should have a purpose in mind you’re creating content for thought
leadership brand awareness lead generation all of these things make sure
it has a purpose and that leads me to number six your content marketing has
predefined metrics you should be creating content with end goals in mind
whether that’s X amount of new customers maybe its new followers on your social
networks whatever your predefined metrics should be make sure you
determine those before you go in and actually create that content and number
seven content marketing is almost always evergreen so this means keep in mind
your entire life cycle when you think about your different content content
should last month’s content should last years it’s not totally always like this
like for instance sometimes you’ll create a piece of content on a trend
related item for social media that might not be evergreen but your large pieces
your ebooks you want to think about content themes and arcs that span
multiple quarters so that you can get the most bang for your buck so just some
additional stats to keep in mind as you’re thinking about your content
strategy and as we define content marketing further 71 percent of
consumers trust solutions that provide useful information without trying to
sell something so your content should be educational it should be thought
leadership for the purpose of building that trust in building those
relationships over time 62 percent of consumers trust solutions that provide
information and best practices for tools they’ve bought you want to teach your
customers how to use your products and services better you want to teach them
best practices and you want to educate them this over time will really enable
that lifelong value and that lifelong relationship building from your
customers given our definition of content marketing and these seven
qualifications take some time to sit down and determine how you can fit your
content marketing strategy into each of these seven items by really mapping out
your reasons for content marketing and defining what content marketing means
for your business you can truly create a content marketing
strategy from A to Z understanding the benefits of content
marketing is critical to creating a content marketing strategy that works
for your business a lot of the marketing activities that you partake in with your
company such as attending a tradeshow doing a banner ad paying for a
pay-per-click ad this is all essentially renting attention you’re paying a fixed
fee to rent the audience of another vendor for instance if you’re at a
tradeshow you’re paying a certain amount of money to have a booth and to get the
benefits of that audience for that tradeshow in contrast content marketing
is like owning your own attention you’re creating that thought leadership
in-house you’re creating that content in-house even though initially there
might be a spend to begin with you are great gaining your own attention over
time you’re promoting your own content out you’re creating your own audience so
it’s essentially like owning your own attention you’re not continuously
spending money on renting other people’s thought leadership in the audience that
they have built brands today need to become their own publishers and content
marketing is how to do that and create your own Salt leadership because your
audience is out there doing their own research they’re downloading information
off online and why not be the place where your customers are finding that
information why not be the creators of that research and that’s how brands
today become their own publishers so what are some additional benefits for
content marketing benefit number one brand awareness up to 93% of the buying
journey starts with a search online content builds organic awareness through
search and social you want to be available when your buyers are searching
for you they are doing that research so you want to make sure that your content
is front and center and by creating content you build that brand awareness
so that when your buyers do search your content in your educational materials
come up benefit number two create brand preference thought leadership builds
trust in brand preference people are more likely to purchase from companies
who they trust by creating that content in becoming that educational resource
for customers you start to build that
relationship and build that trust therefore if a customer is constantly
searching out content on a certain subject and your content is the content
that’s continuously coming up when that customer is going to make that purchase
they will most likely find your content and think about you first and that’s how
you’re building that trust when it comes to purchasing decisions benefit number
three reach more buyers at a lower cost unlike renting attention where you’re
paying to rent other people’s audience the return on content happens over a
longer time even though you have that initial spend because your content is
evergreen and built to last and because you’re building your own audience and
owning your own audience you can reach more buyers at a lower cost over time so
given the benefits that we’ve discussed I hope that you can now apply this to
your own content marketing and really start thinking about how content
marketing can help your business over time take these benefits and approach
your internal stakeholders so that you can really start creating that plan for
content marketing now that you have a solid plan in place
you have to start writing and editing to actually get that content done writing
content can be extremely hard work and building a repeatable process helps so
let’s take a look at some steps to take in order to build that repeatable
process so that you’re ensuring all your written content is consistent on brand
and that is engaging so step one find a subject-matter expert so you need to
determine who in your organization knows about your topic and then you can
schedule a brain dump and record a brain dump can be a thirty to one hour session
whether in person or over the phone where you’re asking that subject matter
expert various questions about the topic essentially having them do a brain dump
if there is no subject matter expert be prepared to do the research yourself
step number two create an outline creating an outline is extremely
important to keep you organized and on track with your content creation make
sure you include your thesis in this outline your thesis is the point that
you’re trying to get across with your particular content asset make sure you
set up your different sections particularly if it’s an e-book and then
socialize your outline to people outside of your content team to make sure that
what you’re writing about makes sense and it’s the right thing note that it
has the title it has the different parts an explanation of what the different
parts might be and some links so that you have places to reference when you
need to go write the full piece step 3 write your first draft this is arguably
one of the most difficult parts to content creation make sure your thesis
is clear make sure this thesis is clear upfront and that it’s clear throughout
your document and also make sure you’re constantly referring back to your main
point break your content up with h1s h2s and other headers you can find these in
your word processing program that you’re using like word it’s important to break
your document up in this way so you know where each section lives use lots of
bullets lists and numbers this is important for scan ability note that
your reader won’t necessarily read every single
word of your document so by using bullets and lists it could be easy to
scan make sure you have an intro in a conclusion you want your document to
flow step number four always review this is an extremely critical part of content
creation the more people you have review the better off you are
so typically have one to two people review each draft more if you have the
ability each person will generally catch different mistakes refer to a style
guide make sure that you have a style guide created that goes over tone and
brand and that you’re always referring back to that always copy edit for
grammar and structure you want to make sure your content is grammatically
correct and you want to make sure it’s structurally sound and then always edit
for content and concepts make sure you going through the document to determine
what makes sense and what doesn’t and then use track changes in word and
commenting for optimal editing this is definitely recommended particularly if
you have more than one to two people writing the document and reviewing it
this is important for collaboration step number five write a second draft once
you have your first draft created and you have all of your edits incorporate
all of them read over it an additional one to two times to ensure that it’s a
final copy and then make sure all your stakeholders have seen the copy make
sure everybody knows that the content is correct and everybody that needs to has
signed off on that content and once you have your final draft then you’re ready
to send a design if you are a Content marketer with a
small budget or a small team consider working with lean content creation most
content marketers are on a budget that’s simply a fact and you have to do more
with less especially with the increasing demands on marketing teams and content
marketers today we’re being asked to do more with less resources so how can you
really get it all done I like to think about the turkey dinner analogy that was
put in place by Rebecca liebe from Altima tour group this basically says
that you can create one bit of large piece slice and dice it to create
additional smaller supplemental pieces so that you can get more content with
less so let’s take a look at how this works in action step 1 create a big rock
content asset so a big rock content asset is a Content piece that you put a
lot of effort into this could range anywhere from 50 to 160 pages in length
if you have the time it’s really worth the time and effort because from this
one piece you can generate a ton of additional content and if you can
generate a ton of additional content that’s just more for all of your
programs step 2 create ebooks from the chapters so what we did is we took that
one piece and we broke out each of the individual chapters to create additional
ebooks each of them have different covers and different titles so they
differentiate themselves you can see the common theme going throughout all the
ebooks however they are shorter and they are on the different topic so it is more
content that you can source out and promote step number three create cheat
sheets cheat sheets are smaller more digestible pieces of content that range
in length from about one to two pages go throughout your big rock piece of
content and pull out items that you think could make a good cheat sheet this
is a simple easy exercise that was about one to two pages and then mapping lead
generation to your sales funnel another quick cheat sheet some of these can even
be print out by your readers and posted on their desks the idea is to give them
something easy to digest and scannable step number four create visuals you want
to really extend the life and value of your big rock content campaigns
so you want to make sure that you’re creating visuals from each of these
pieces a visual could be an infographic a visual slide deck or a workbook
remember you’re just taking the same content in the same statistics that
you’ve used in your big rock piece and you’re just repurposing it in a
different and more engaging and visual way and these are great assets for you
to share on social media as well as email campaigns step number five create
a video take the content from your big rock piece and create a fun video this
doesn’t have to be something that’s highly produced it could even be a video
created on your iPhone or something that you’re create in-house the idea is just
to have an interesting engaging and fun supplemental piece of content to promote
your content asset step number six create blog posts from your big rock
content asset you can create dozens of blog posts from the content within just
slice and dice it out based on what would make sense for your blog as an
example for the big rock content piece of definitive guide to lead generation
we generated about twelve to fifteen blogs that we spaced out over the course
of two to three months really your blog content can go on forever so certainly
keep this in mind as you’re writing now that you know all of the steps that it
takes to create a big rock content piece and to slice and dice the content out to
generate more with less sit down with your team determine what your topics
should be and get to writing once you have your content created
written then it’s time to send it to design good content equals good design
all of your content should be highly visual it’s an important part of
creating content in today’s market but how do you make all of your content
visual so let’s go over a few design guidelines to keep in mind when creating
your content first make sure that your logo and icon usage is on brand and
correct you need to take into consideration typography you might have
a certain font that is appropriate for your brand that you need to use make
sure you’re consistently using brand colors even though you can be creative
with your content design you want to make sure it looks like your company is
a non brand and then you also want to use photography and image styles that
also make sense for your brand and that are engaging and visual so let’s walk
through some major types of content design starting with ebook your ebook
cover should be visual and engaging this is how you’re going to get people to
download your ebook and this is what’s going to attract them to your content
the cover the title should be clear make sure that you don’t have lots of
different design around your title so that it obstructs it make sure your
title is clear at all times watch for proper templating keep your
design clean again make sure that your ebook cover and your ebook interior is
extremely clean and easy to read and then use images that relate to the
content something that you need to be aware of is having images throughout an
e-book that have nothing to do with the content make sure your images are
relatable and they make sense and then let’s take a look at an example interior
page from that same piece of content the interior page is clean the way it’s
template it makes sense it has a call-out that pops out and the title is
obvious for the different headings and sections you want to make sure that it’s
easy to read now let’s go over infographic design your infographic
design should be engaging and shareable this is definitely your opportunity to
be creative into pop consider a theme for your infographic
make sure that your statistics are presented in an interesting but legible
way so make sure it’s clear what those stats are so that your readers don’t
have any questions and then don’t make your infographic too long don’t make it
too long and that people have to scroll down quite a bit and don’t make it way
to copy heavy now you have your content design it’s important to make sure you
edit that design when editing InDesign here are some items to watch for paint
layout you want to make sure that all of your pages are laid out appropriately
and that they’re easy to follow and clean you also want to watch for orphan
words these are words or short lines at the beginning or the end of a paragraph
which are left dangling at the bottom of the column separated from the rest of
the paragraph if you’re see any orphan words make sure they’re included in the
above paragraph you also want to look for photography and image usage making
sure the images go along with the text as well as the placement in the document
look at typography make sure everything is the same size and that if you do have
a brand font it’s being used and then add edits using commenting in Adobe this
is the best and easiest way for designers to look at your edits so sit
down and make sure that you’re reviewing all of your items once they’re InDesign
if you don’t you really run the risk of having unfinished content so make sure
that you’re looking over all your design content and edit it to completion you want to make sure you have a solid
content mix so you need to choose your content types when it comes to content
there are a lot of types to choose from you can choose your content types based
on your brand look and feel the different content topic you choose your
content goals and your proposed promotional channels first let’s talk
about blog posts blog posts are a short piece of content that are regularly
updated on your company blog your blog posts can range anywhere from about 300
to 700 words and they can be about a variety of topics blogs are fantastic
for trend related content and when you need to put out a point of view at a
very fast pace now let’s talk about cheat sheets cheat sheets are short
pieces of downloadable content that are created for the purpose of giving the
reader quick access to a series of tips or best practices your cheat sheets are
typically one-page they can be front and back and they don’t have too much design
these are simple easy to digest content assets you may or may not want to create
a content piece similar to a definitive guide a definitive guide is a very large
content piece often over 60 pages that you can then break apart into smaller
supplemental content items these take a lot of effort and are often in
conjunction with a large promotional plan these can really anchor your
content themes for a quarter ebooks are the bread and butter of your content
strategy particularly if you are in a b2b company an e-book is an electronic
version of a shortened book it is designed to contain salt leadership and
best practices on a particular topic ebooks can be short four to five pages
or they can be much longer at around 50 pages your ebooks should be designed to
fit your brand and give you the opportunity to present your information
in a creative way infographics take information like statistics or best
practices and present it in a visual way infographics are generally vertical
graphics that are short and easy to consume your graphics should be highly
visual with an interesting hook typically infographics are created to be
presented on your blog and then you can promote them out for inbound links in
media attention reports can be created by collecting survey and industry data
and presenting it in a comprehensive document
reports often contain lots of statistics a strong point of view and are generally
formatted like an e-book reports can be a critical cornerstone of your content
and gain a lot of recognition in your industry don’t just stop at downloadable
content think about what else you can create that is interesting fun shareable
and engaging for your audience think outside of the box because content can
take many forms videos are an engaging and visual form of live-action content
that can be filmed and promoted on YouTube social channels and your website
your videos can range from product related topics to stories music videos
and more they can also range in length from 30 seconds to 10 minutes however
note that best practices here are for most of your videos to clock in at
around 1 to 2 minutes people have short attention spans visuals slide decks
present information statistics and best practices in a highly visual format
using slides often your slide decks can almost be like an infographic chopped-up
you can publish them on SlideShare and promote out on your website in social
channels a caution here is to make sure each of your slides are professionally
designed and does not include too much text a webinar is either a live or
recorded presentation that a speaker presents along with a slide deck these
are generally events for your audience signs up at ends and asks questions
webinars are generally topical and can be easily recorded for later viewing a
downloadable workbook provides your readers with an actionable template to
fill in his or her own answers to questions these are great if you’re
trying to teach your audience something in particular using a checklist table or
fill in the blanks now that we’ve broken down all the different content types you
can then start to really formulate what your content marketing mix is going to
look like once you have a good idea what types of
content you will be creating next you have to plan your editorial calendar
before you create your calendar you need to think about your content mix what are
the different types of content you’re creating and how are you going to fit
them in your plan to make a diverse content plan think about your content in
food groups this is actually a great analogy developed by Ann Handley
to help you determine what should be in your content mix first you have your
roasts these are your large content initiatives this would be if you’re
planning to create a definitive guide a large ebook or anything that has a
promotional plan that’s extensive behind it these would be your big rock pieces
next you need to make sure you have your Raisin Bran these are everyday pieces of
content they are quick and consumable like cheat sheets checklists and best
practices these should also be a big part of your content mix in addition to
those roasts next we have our spinach these are content items packed with
nutrients this is your high-level thought leadership this could be a
report that presents findings that you have in a survey it could be a really
high-level ebook an executive piece of thought leadership either way you need
to make sure that these items are included in your overall content plan
next we have chocolate cake these are your fun light-hearted and indulgent
pieces of content this could be infographics any type of special
projects you’re creating fun videos ideally these are pieces of content that
you’re sharing on a regular basis on social channels and then you have your
Tabasco sauce this is content with some spice content that challenges asks hard
questions or provokes responses your Tabasco content is often best on a blog
post so definitely take that into consideration but make sure you’re not
saying anything that’s off-brand a Content plan and an editorial calendar
can help you stay organized so you need to make sure that you are adhering to
this mix you don’t want your content to be homogenized and you don’t want to be
putting out things that are the same day in and day out
editorial calendar also helps you increase visibility across your
organization so that people in your company know exactly what content you’re
creating and when it also helps to align your team’s you might have different
content that you’re creating on demand gen versus customer versus brand so how
do you organize your calendar first the content mix that we spoke about earlier
then you should organize based on different teams depending on who you’re
creating content for any ongoing campaigns that you have to keep in mind
and strategic initiatives these should all be on your editorial calendar what
calendar platform should you use there are many options here basically you just
need to make sure that you’re putting them down into a calendar form you can
use a calendar in your content management tool consider a google
calendar that you can share with folks across the organization or a Google
spreadsheet even if you don’t necessarily want to put it in a calendar
form or your marketing automation calendar many marketing automation
platforms today have calendar functionality that you can add your
content mix to who should see my calendar your editorial calendar should
be available to marketing sales customer service executives or anybody else who
wants to know what specific content that you’re creating here’s a few examples of
different types of calendars calendar example number one is a detailed
spreadsheet a spreadsheet could be useful if you have multiple different
content types you want to include the status production start and completion
date maybe you want to say what business unit this is for your persona right
resource section type if you have lots of different items that you need to put
in a calendar form sometimes a spreadsheet type format works great
calendar example number two is within a content management platform this one is
from Divi HQ this one has an actual calendar format where you can toggle
based on specific due dates what calendar so what business unit is
for the team member it’s assigned two content type or your content strategy no
matter how you decide to reorganize your editorial
in what you include in your calendar make sure it has that content mix that
we spoke about and that everything is organized so go ahead write down your
plan and put it in a calendar you
before you start promoting your content you need to determine your gating
strategy what is gating gating means putting a forum in front of your content
for the purposes of gathering lead contact information it’s often in front
of a Content asset in order to download it
it typically asks for first last name sometimes job title email phone number
company or role when it comes to gating there are a ton of different choices on
how you can approach it so let’s go ahead and take a look at some of your
options option number one gating all of your content so by gating all of your
content you can gather all of the lead information each time somebody downloads
a content asset this can be a good option for small companies in startups
to build their database and it’s a consistent user experience through all
of your content as your readers are seeing the same thing each time option
number two is gating none of your content gating none of your content
enables you to remove the barrier of entry for your content
so that means that somebody who is downloading your content doesn’t have to
put in their information it helps you to grow your thought leadership and
branding over time and it’s good if you have a lot of early-stage content your
early stage content because it’s so educational people might not want to put
their information in in order to get it option number three is gating based on
buying stage and this is the option that I prefer personally gating based on
buying stage enables you to gate only the assets that show buying intent when
downloaded so this means that you will only gate the items that are really
close to your product and so that you know if somebody’s downloading that item
that they’re closer to being a customer it also helps you to score your leads
and determine where they are in their buying cycle scoring is something you
can do in your marketing automation system and it enables you to determine
where a person is in their buying journey if you’re only getting some of
your content you can give them a higher score if they’re downloading the pieces
that your gating here’s a sample strategy for gating based on buying
stage for early stage those real thought leadership
educational and best practice pieces don’t gate this is because those assets
are great on social they’re good and promotion plans and they let people
introduce themselves to your company mid-stage assets are great to gate
because those are the assets that really show buying intent if somebody downloads
an ROI calculator or a buying guide you want to know who that person is and you
want to score them appropriately and then late-stage items you don’t have to
gate late-stage items would be those customer case studies pricing sheets you
want to make sure all of that is easily accessible to somebody who’s close to
being a customer gating based on asset type also enables you to have more
premium content take those items that you spend a lot of time on and put a
form in front of them you don’t want those to be as easily accessible and you
can create variable content value based on effort and output put a gate in front
of the content items that take you and your team a ton of time to create and
then don’t gave those items that aren’t as time intensive now that you know your
gating options sit down with your team and stakeholders to determine what makes
sense for your unique business case before you actually go out and promote
your content you need to outline your promotion strategy once you publish your
content online you then have to promote it through various channels let’s go
through step by step what you need to think about when outlining your
promotion strategy step 1 create a strategy document once you have
published a piece of content you must send out a strategy document to your
team that outlines and includes the following items what topic the content
is created about the audience the content piece addresses the different
goals at the content piece addresses the thesis that’s included in the content
throughout the table of contents if available the buying stage that the
content was created for and any promotions suggestions that you as the
content team might have by creating the strategy document you can help guide and
outline your promotion team step number 2 always score your content you can use
your marketing automation tool to score your content base your score on the
different content types you’re buying stage and persona you can often toggle
the score up and down based on the importance of your content piece but by
scoring your content you can help determine how close a person who
downloads it is to being a customer step number 3 meet with your stakeholders you
want to set up some time with your various promotional teams to go over
goals and to describe to them what the asset is about and what it should be
used for teams you set up some time with are your demand generation teams social
media your online marketing teams product marketing and public relations
step number four create a promotion plan so work with each team stakeholder to
create an overall promotional plan for each assets four large assets consider
meeting weekly or bi-weekly until launch assign a project manager
this might be yourself or it might be a member of the promotional team and then
ensure that team member stays on task over time step number five is to make
sure your plan is multi-channel you want to be where your buyers are your
buyers might be on social media they could be on your website but wherever
they are be sure that your promotion plan touches all these areas by
promoting your content on multiple channels you can ultimately maximize
your exposure and also remember to promote content on appropriate channels
for the content type not all channels make sense to promote every single piece
of content on and then always test your promotion strategies you might think
that you want to promote a content asset on a certain channel but then discover
that’s not the best channel for that particular asset so now that you’ve sat
down with your stakeholders and outlined your promotional plan it’s time to
actually get promoting one of the most important aspects of
promoting your content is merchandising your content on your website so your
website is the key place that you want Leeds to download your content you must
merchandise correctly in order to optimize for conversions so where can
content live on your website content can live in a specific resources section
dedicated to content on your home page or uh nads throughout your site so let’s
take a minute to walk through each option your resources section this is
where your content can call home it is a section of your website dedicated to
thought leadership I definitely recommend that all companies that are
engaging in content marketing create a resources section your resources section
should be easy to navigate it should be very obvious to the reader where to find
each content asset it should also be SEO optimized you want to make sure that
you’re calling out the different keywords for search engine optimization
throughout your resources section it should also be categorized by key topics
that are important to your business should include visual images throughout
and include forms for lead generation so now let’s talk about content on your
homepage this type of content should be designed for conversion add your best
content to your home page rotator or include a call to action in a prominent
place so now let’s talk about ads throughout your site you can promote
content throughout your website using banner ads and other images consider
promoting content on your product pages where applicable now that you have your
content published on your website it’s important to think about how to optimize
it for conversion promoting content on your blog is a
great way to get any new content asset in front of your audience your blog
attracts early-stage buyers is great for lead generation ensures more eyes get on
your content and is a great place for social ready content to live do not
discount the importance of your blog when it comes to promoting any new
content you may have created promoting content on your blog and nabel’s you to
drive even more traffic to your blog and your content over time so let’s go over
a few tips for promoting content on your blog don’t just promote your eBook give
your audience actionable takeaways this means when you write a blog post that
promotes a new ebook don’t just say hey here’s our new ebook and then include a
downloadable link make sure that you’re taking valuable content from within that
ebook and making it a standalone blog post that way it’ll be a piece of
thought leadership in and of itself use bullets and headers for easy skimming
this is really for your blog as a whole but most people won’t sit there and read
a blog post word-for-word so make sure that you include multiple
bullets and different headers so that your reader can easily skim through the
post include a hero image of your asset so just take a screenshot of the cover
of your ebook and use it as the primary image for your blog post and then always
include a strong call-to-action to download the ebook at the beginning of
the blog post as well as at the end of the post and perhaps in the middle you
want to make it clear to the reader that you want them to download the ebook for
additional information so once you have your content published on your website
on social media and have sent out an email make sure to create a blog post
that effectively promote your content one of the most important channels that
you can promote your content on is social media social media is a great
place to promote all of your new content so let’s go over some key tips for
social media promotion success when it comes to content marketing number one
don’t take yourself too seriously remember that social media is a place
where people congregate to share their thoughts and ideas and it could be a
personal network that you’re sharing your content on number two organic isn’t
enough on its own and don’t be afraid to boost your presence it’s one thing to
post your content organically through your social channels but you want to put
a little bit of paid boost behind your content in order to optimize it for a
conversion and get it seen by a lot more eyes number 3 focus on valuable content
and solid offers number four create strong calls to action when you post a
content asset make sure the audience knows exactly what to do whether it’s
download an e-book or share an infographic number five always provide
value make sure that the content that you’re posting on social media is
educational and helps your audience do their job better and number six
never forget that social is a two-way street make sure that you’re constantly
listening to your audience in taking their feedback into consideration so
let’s go over all the different social networks in different ways that you can
promote your content on those networks let’s start with Facebook Facebook is a
great place to promote your content Facebook is a highly visual medium and
so it lends itself very well to content promotion you can promote your content
through organic posts on your company page you can also promote those posts by
putting some paid ads behind each of those organic posts for additional boost
and lift you can create Facebook ads that appear on the right side of your
newsfeed you can promote your content by creating custom cover photos that appear
in back of your profile image you can also create apps and tabs and that would
also appear on your business profile page and somebody could click on a tab
and download a content asset by filling out a form so now let’s talk a little
bit about Twitter Twitter is a very fast-moving social
network and also a great place to promote your content you can promote
your content via organic tweets from your business Twitter profile you can
promote those tweets using paid ads you can also promote your content hashtags
by using promoted trends where you put some paid spend behind those hashtags so
that they’re more easily searchable by your network you can also use Twitter
lead generation cards where you can actually have somebody fill out a form
through Twitter using their information and they can download an e-book now
let’s talk about LinkedIn LinkedIn is particularly useful for the b2b market
as people are generally on LinkedIn for business purposes here are the different
ways you can promote your content through LinkedIn you can use LinkedIn
updates from your company page and then you can sponsor those updates to get
additional reach and visibility you can create LinkedIn ads which appear on the
right-hand side of your LinkedIn profile and you can also join LinkedIn groups
that are relevant to your particular topic and promote your content through
those groups next up we have SlideShare SlideShare is the perfect place to
promote your visual content such as slide decks and infographics you can
also optimize your SlideShare postings for search engines by using keywords in
the descriptions SlideShare also offers the opportunity to include lead
generation forms that sync automatically with your marketing automation tool so
that somebody has to fill out their information in order to download one of
your content assets and you can also appear in the featured presentations on
the homepage as well now let’s talk about Pinterest Pinterest is also a
highly visual medium that’s great for promoting types of content like
infographics and slide decks on Pinterest you can share your content and
engage your audience by creating boards and pins Pinterest is particularly great
for the b2c audience but also works well for b2b especially if you’re creating a
variety of visual content so now that you have your content published on your
website and selected it’s time to determine what social channels work best
for each content asset note that all social channels won’t necessarily work
for every single content piece so very particular where your post your
content but take your content post it on social media and engage your audience one of the best ways to get your content
out in front of your audience is promoting it via email increase the
reach of your content by promoting it on email promoting your content via email
gets it in front of your customers so let’s go over a few tips on how to make
sure your content emails are engaging and relevant to increase opens tip
number one always segment your email sends so send your content only to
people who will find that content relevant align your content emails to
buying stage and role which should be easy since your content should already
be aligned to each stage and roll and don’t forget about sending content to
current customers tip number two design your emails to be engaging so you want
to make sure that the people that are reading your emails find your emails
engaging and want to download the content asset inside create a custom
header by using the design of your content asset make sure you include
brief copy with bullets you want to make sure that your email is easy to scan
include a strong and a clear call-to-action which will often be
download this ebook download this infographic or something along those
lines and then create a hero shot of the content asset you want to make sure the
cover of your ebook or the cover of your cheat sheet is included in the email tip
number three send an email to your entire database so hopefully you have a
large marketing database once you publish a new piece of content send an
email out to your entire database using the segmenting rules discussed above tip
number four consider a sponsored email a sponsored email is when you pay a
trusted vendor to send out an email including content on your behalf be
careful here and make sure that you’re only using vendors that are not only
reputable but have a target audience that matches your target audience tip
number five always add your new content to your lead nurturing programs if
you’re using marketing automation you should be nurturing your leads once they
hit your database make sure to add any new content into
any relevant lead nurturing tracks to ensure that even people that are have
already been in your database for a while receive your content email is a
fantastic way to get your content in of your audience if you remember to
segment make sure your email is engaging in relevant you can increase the chances
of content downloads using pay-per-click ads to promote your
content increases reach pay-per-click ads are highly targeted paid ads that
drive traffic to a custom landing page where you can generate leads let’s go
over a few types of ads that you might want to take into consideration first we
have search engine ads these ads appear on a search engine and our targeted
based on keywords and audience banner ads appear on various websites in our
targeted based on demographics and then retargeting ads appear on a network of
websites in our behavior-based s– these look very similar to banner ads however
they are behavior based let’s go over some logistics for your pay-per-click
ads you pay only if a visitor clicks on your ad and you can target your ads
using demographic behavioral and search criteria there are various tips for
using PPC ads for content promotion first of all consider using high-value
mid-stage content for your ads because you’re spending a lot of money on your
ad program you want to make sure that you’re only using the most relevant
content your ads should have a fun visual or engaging copy this will make a
difference whether it’s a banner ad or a search engine on a search engine ad
since generally you can only include copy you need to make sure it’s engaging
and a banner ad can have a fun visual all ads should go to a landing page so
your ad should not just go to a web site if your ads do just go to a website you
run the risk of your leads leaving your website or just going all over the place
a landing page that’s custom shows your lead exactly what they should be doing
particularly if it’s downloading a piece of content plus you want to make sure
that you’re collecting all of their information in a form so all landing
pages for your ads should have a form so now take your high-value content and
determine what types of ads might be appropriate for promotion because ads
can get very expensive my advice here is to ensure that you are only choosing
your best content that shows buying intent then create your copy
develop your custom landing pages and purchase some ads now that you’ve created your content and
promoted your content it’s now time to start measuring your content but first
we have to start by defining your measurement goals many content marketers
think that content ROI is essentially a mythical beast
why is content ROI a struggle marketers don’t often think about ROI during
content creation you must think about how to measure your content before your
content is even created marketers aren’t aligned on metrics amongst the teams
this happens if you’re creating content in a silo one team might be tracking one
metric and the other team might be tracking another metric and then
marketers don’t know how to measure content effectively because content
marketing is a relatively newer discipline with businesses there aren’t
established measurements in place that content marketers can take but measuring
content can be done so let’s go over a few steps that you can take to ensure
that your content is created with measurement in mind first establish
goals and measurement estimates up front every time you create a content piece
you need to determine what you’re hoping to get out of that content piece in
terms of measurement define what you want to measure for each content piece
are you looking for social sharing are you looking for increased traffic are
you looking to measure revenue and pipeline define exactly what you’re
looking for for each piece aligned with all key stakeholders and get their input
it’s important to sit down with all the executives in your business to determine
what the proper content measurement should ultimately be and then budget it
out you need to make sure in order to measure content that you have an actual
content budget and you know exactly how much you’re spending on content because
this will make a difference for the return on investment in the end by
putting together a sample budget you can better determine exactly what the ROI is
on your content over time and then you should determine what exactly our other
marketers measuring in your content so now that you’ve thought about goal
creation for your content marketing analytics make sure every single piece
of content that you make is created with measurement in mind you can track your
metrics in your marketing automation tool or create a spreadsheet that tracks
monthly metrics overtime so you can see exactly how your content is performing you
structuring your content organization is critical to having a content marketing
strategy that works many organizations have trouble structuring content teams
this is because content marketing is a relatively new thing within the
marketing team and many organizations simply don’t know where it should be
within the organization and how it should be set up a question that I get
asked frequently is what team within marketing should own content should the
content marketing team live with demand generation how about product marketing
should it be in corporate marketing inbound marketing brand marketing these
are all areas of the marketing organization that create content so
content marketing could potentially live in any one of these marketing orgs
everyone wants content to align with them simply because all of these
different teams create content on a daily basis and if content gets aligned
with only one team content then gets created in a silo what do I mean by that
well if content is aligned only with demand generation then contents goals
would be only for say lead generation if content is aligned to only product
marketing then content would only be gold with the same goals that product
marketing has so if content gets aligned with only one team often content gets
created in a silo without the other teams being aware and without the other
teams input no one talks to one another and content messaging is inconsistent
and doesn’t reflect the brand this is really critical content marketing must
be looked at in a holistic way that reflects the brand messaging the brand
look and feel and the way the brand wants to speak about itself across the
organization but what if we didn’t align content to any one team within marketing
what if content marketing was actually a neutral team within the marketing
organization so that every team can benefit from centralized content that
way your organization can have a much more holistic view of content and
content gets to be much more strategic instead of siloed think about content as
a strategic service bureau so what do I mean by this the content service bureau
model determines a Content roadmap so your content team should help determine
what the content strategy is a content service
Bureau can help support requests from various teams all those teams mentioned
earlier to mange and product marketing your brand teams they all have content
needs so your content service bureau should help support those needs content
service bureau oversees the content creation process so ensures that there’s
that consistency of message and voice amongst the content that you’re creating
they help streamline content creation for that type of scalability that you’re
looking for it reduces duplicate efforts because all of the teams are aligned so
what sort of content should your content service bureau help create your content
service bureau should span all of those different departments within marketing
and support all of them with different types of content your content service
bureau should create demand generation content this is content that helps to
drive demand for your business such as ebooks infographics slide decks this is
the content that’s being promoted out through social channels as well as
through your programs on a daily basis your content service bureau should also
help create customer content this is those customer case studies and
testimonials that really show the external community how your product or
service has helped customers your content service bureau should also help
create brand content this is that really high level thought leadership content
such as contributed articles executive content the content that you want to put
out there to really show who your brand is as a business your content service
bureau should help create all of these different types of content for the
different teams within marketing so how should this content service bureau be
structured on top of your content service viewers should sit a Content
committee which is made up by executives within your organization the content
committee our various stakeholders from those different marketing teams and they
help drive the strategy and ensure that everything that the content service
Bureau is coming up with is on brand and right so next you have your content
service bureau and this is often made up of that managing editor as well as your
associate editor and your managing editors the person that is in charge of
content strategy the associate editor sits underneath the managing editor and
then various writers might make up your
content service bureau as well these could be internal writers or external
writers and then you have content requests by various teams coming into
the content service bureau ultimately to determine the overall content strategy
so as you’re really sitting down to think about what does your content
strategy look like and then once you’ve hired the right team sit down and think
about how your team is structured content service bureau is a great way to
structure your team so that they’re neutral scalable part of your marketing
organization in order for your content marketing to
be relevant and effective you must create your buyer personas and buyer
journeys most companies have many different types of buyers these are your
personas these are the people that you connect with each day with all of your
marketing activities most companies have multiple different people that buy your
product or service so you want to make sure that you create content that is
relevant and effective for each individual person and each of these
personas will have their own buying journey this is essentially the journey
that they take from when they initially start researching a topic to when they
make a purchase each buying journey has multiple different steps and it’s
critical that your content marketing really address each of the different
questions and concerns that a buyer has in each step of this process in order
for your content to be relevant and effective it must speak to both your
buyer personas and their journeys so creating buyer personas help you
essentially choose what type of content you want to create not every type of
content is going to work for every single buyer it also allows you to
target the right topics that your buyers actually care about so by doing the
research to determine what are your different personas care about and what
do they want to read you can certainly target what type of content you’re
creating your personas also help set the tone in the voice for all of your
content assets you might have one buyer persona that likes to hear their content
in a more conversational way another type of persona might want more of an
authoritative more research driven type of content and by doing buyer persona
research you can really determine what type and tone and voice of your content
needs to be buyer journeys help you know what content create for each buying
stage like I said each journey has multiple different stages in a proper
content plan will have content that speaks to the questions and concerns
your buyers have at each stage buyer journeys also help you know where your
buyers consume your content at each buying stage so somebody who’s initially
researching your product might be finding out about your content on social
media whereas somebody that’s close to making a purchase decision my
looking at a content syndication site or potentially your website so it’s
important to know where exactly your buyers look at each stage of the journey
so how do you find out this information how do you create your personas and your
journeys you’re gonna have to conduct interviews and research so how do you do
this so first you’re gonna want to speak with your sales teams your sales teams
are really on the front lines of speaking with your prospects every each
and every day they know exactly what types of questions and concerns your
potential customers have so sit down and speak with your sales team to determine
what exactly they know about your current customers your customer service
teams are also on the front lines with your customers each and every day in
fact they know very very closely what type of concerns your current customers
might have so speak with your customer service teams to determine what type of
issues problems and questions your current customers ask you also want to
speak with current customers it’s important to get both sides of the story
so speak to both happy and unhappy customers this will give you a
well-rounded perspective when determining what you should write
content about and then also if possible speak with prospects the people that
have yet to become customers but who hopefully will in the future during your
interviews you want to find out some of the following information and this could
be limited to what’s here or you could well expand it into what makes sense for
your own business the type of information you’ll want to
find out to actually create your persona as information about background
potentially job details the goals and challenges of your personas where do
they source their information watch their preferred content medium some
people like to read content in an e-book form other people might want to watch a
video get some actual quotes from customers what about their objections
what type of objections do they commonly say if they’re speaking to a salesperson
and then watch their role in the purchase process you might have multiple
personas that are the decision-maker and then some personas might also be
assistants to the decision-maker so lots of especially long sales cycle these
days have large buying teams so you might want to create personas for each
member of the buying team and and create a sample marketing message
for each one of your personas so that you know exactly how you’re
speaking to them in addition to your sample buyer persona you also want to
create a sample buyer journey the information from all of your interviews
will lend itself very well to creating this type of journey remember that a
buyer journey has each different stage and they might be different stages
depending on your own sales cycle in your own buyers but here’s just an
example it could be calm status-quo shattered search around problem frame
problem in solution consult peers and experts engage potential providers so
those are just an example of some of your buyer journey stages and then in
addition to each stage you want to provide an explanation and potentially
any questions or concerns that buyers bring up at each stage now that you’ve
created your personas and your journeys it’s time to align your content it’s
extremely important to create content that speaks to each persona and each
stage in the buying journey and that’ll make up your content mix so now that
I’ve gone over persona and journey sit down with your stakeholders in your
organization determine what questions you should ask and now create your own to make sure that your content is
consistent you want to work on developing your brand voice your brand
voice presents a consistent experience across channels giving your brand a
recognisable persona this is extremely important because your brand voice will
ultimately help you stand out there’s a ton of information out there and a ton
of noise out there online so you want to make sure that your content is specific
and unique and by developing a brand voice that really speaks to your
organization your content will stand out from the noise first you’ll want to
create your brand voice persona your brand voice persona is essentially the
feeling that you’ll want your content to convey your persona might be
conversational accessible humanistic educational authoritative professional
there’s a wide variety of attributes that you can use to apply to your brand
voice persona next you’ll have the brand voice tone your brand voice tone is
essentially the way that your content will sound it could be friendly direct
honest formal perhaps its scientific humanistic there’s a wide variety of
attributes in ways that your content can sound next you’ll want to determine your
brand voice language this is essentially the language in which your content is
written this could be simple wordy complex jargony it depends on your
business and who you’re selling to next step is to create a style guide once you
have your persona and your language your tone all dialed in you’ll want to put
that down on paper so that you your content team and any external writers
that work with your company can determine the exact style in which you
write for your style guide you might want to answer questions such as who is
your company who do you sell to who makes up the content team your style and
writing tone specific grammar guidelines as well as content types and structure
this could be sure or as lengthy as you want the more information you put in
there the easier it’ll be to Train incoming content marketers on your
company and your style one thing to know is that your tone might differ slightly
for each persona as you build out your different personas in
learn what each persona likes for their content you might learn that one persona
might have a different tone than another so it’s important to make sure that
you’re writing content that’s relevant for each persona but overall your voice
should stay consistent throughout your content
now that we’ve walked through how to create brand voice and tone now it’s
time to sit down and write your own style guide get together map out what
you want your content and your brand to look like put it down on paper and put
it into action in order for your content marketing to
be successful you must set your content goals you should always have goals for
your content marketing and they should be the first thing that you set up goals
help you choose the right assets for your organization design content to be
measurable upfront and help you define success a content marketing plan without
goals will simply not go anywhere so goals are critical to ensure that the
content you’re creating is the right content and now you’re able to
appropriately define success so what are the steps you need to take in order to
set your content marketing goals step 1 meet with stakeholders to get their
point of view on goals you need to determine who is involved in creating
content there’s most likely a variety of team and a variety of team leaders who
are involved in creating content and promoting it so get together your
marketing team leaders sales team leaders and customer service team
leaders step number two ask yourself some foundational questions why are you
creating content what programs are you planning on using your content in what
are your short-term goals and what are your long-term goals asking yourself and
your stakeholders these questions will help you set a solid foundation for
creating your content marketing strategy step number three define your
qualitative goals these are goals like brand recognition thought leadership
social engagement relationship building trust these are all extremely important
goals to content marketing so although these particular goals might not have a
number assigned to them they are critical step number four define your
quantitative goals so these are goals that actually do have a number
associated with them so these might be number of new leads number of downloads
for each content asset specific number of social shares percentage of leads
that turn to opportunities that turn to closed deals how much pipeline your
content has generated how much revenue all of these quantitative goals are
measurable and should be measured and they should be measured in addition to
the qualitative goals so that you have a holistic view of all of your content
marketing how do you track your goals you can
track your goals in your marketing automation platform this is great for
tracking those quantitative goals like number of leads downloads and revenue
Google Analytics is great for traffic and conversions you want to track your
social channels for increase in social shares your CRM tool you could track for
customer engagement and your content management tool you can also track stuff
like downloads and engagement and then add your goals to a plan put it down on
paper you’ll want to socialize your goals with your team present it to the
stakeholders you can schedule weekly or monthly metrics check-ins meetings and
hold yourself accountable to your goals you can’t create a Content plan within a
vacuum so by showing your organization that you are able to tie your content
efforts to goals you ultimately get more budget and more team and bandwidth to
create more content over time now that we’ve sat down to discuss how to create
your goals for your content marketing sit down talk to your stakeholders ask
yourself questions put everything down on paper and ultimately create your plan before you can start actually creating
your content you need to brainstorm your ideas and create your content arts
coming up with content ideas can be daunting it is easy to have writer’s
block when it comes to content but before you start actually writing your
content you need to determine what topics should you consider for your
content and this will vary based on your business often it’s great to first start
by taking into consideration your business priorities this could be new
markets that you might be trying to launch in additional product launches or
service launches branding initiatives within the business are different
thought leadership topics that you want to become leaders in the industry about
these are all great topics to write content form you also want to take into
consideration your personas and who you want to sell to you might be writing
different content for different personas you might find that different topics
will resonate with each one of your persona so you want to also take that
into consideration industry trends that’s a great place to start you want
to make sure that you’re on the cutting edge of what’s going on in your industry
many businesses want to be on the forefront and you want to be able to
write thought leadership about what’s going on with your peers so creating
content and industry trends is certainly a great place to start
search engine optimization priorities are also an important thing to keep in
mind many companies will want to make sure that their content is SEO optimized
meaning their content will show up in search results and you might have
specific keywords that our company priorities for example if your company
sells mobile applications mobile might be one of your keywords and you want to
make sure that you write plenty of content around mobile competitor content
is also an important thing to keep in mind take stock on what exactly your
competitors are writing about you can find this out through following them on
social media using a competitor content tracking platform or just keeping up to
date and researching and then do some of your own digging within your
organization to determine what other teams want you to write about meet with
key stakeholders in your company to figure out what are their key
is make sure you get your product or service roadmap so you know what exactly
is coming down the pipeline ask your sales and customer teams what type of
content would help them not only sell deals but also keep customers listen on
social media to determine what your markets talking about you also want to
ask your audience on social media what they might want to hear send out a tweet
put a Facebook post out there and simply ask your followers what type of content
they’d like to see from you once you have a solid brainstorm of topics that
you want to write about then you can create your content arts content arcs
are monthly quarterly by yearly or yearly content themes that you can write
about by organizing your content and content arcs that makes it easier for
you to determine and select what to prioritize when writing your content but
then you also have ongoing initiatives throughout each of these quarters these
might be product launches or items based on the type of business units you sell
into so in addition to your arcs you also need to keep into consideration any
ongoing initiatives that you might have so now that you’ve sat down and done
some serious brainstorming about what type of content to include sit down
write your plan map out your arcs and let’s get started mapping your content to your sales
funnel helps to ensure that you’re moving new buyers to actually become
customers once you understand your buyer journey and have created your content
themes and brainstormed ideas you need a map your content to your sales funnel
why well you need to create content that speaks to your buyer at every stage of
your sales funnel first you need a know your sales funnel
this could be different based on your business whether you’re a b2b business
or b2c business that’ll make a difference your sales funnel typically
starts at a top of funnel stage where most of your new buyers and your new
leads are coming in it gets a little narrower in the middle of your funnel
where you’re actually starting to nurture your leads and you know who they
are and then at the bottom of your funnel you have leads that are very
close to becoming customers and then they are customers so again this will
vary based on your business but it’s important to understand your funnel and
to start to map your content to these different stages so let’s walk through
let’s start with your top of funnel tofu content this person is at the beginning
of your sales and marketing funnel she is aware of your service but she is not
ready to buy this person might have found you through social media she may
have gotten on your website offered types for your top of funnel content our
educational and thought leadership do not mix this with content that has too
much product information let’s take a look at some tofu content in action all
of these examples are ebooks that are best practice and thought leadership
that each of these vendor publishers have created to help educate their
audience so now let’s go to the middle of your funnel your mo foo content this
person has displayed buying behavior is engaged with your content and is
potentially a sales lead so this person knows who you are and you might be
nurturing them over time offer types here are third-party reports return on
investment calculators for your products or buying guides to help these people
make a decision to purchase your product so now let’s take a look at mo foo
content in action in contrast with the tofu content assets all of these three
examples actually speak a bit about the product in the core business Kate says
each of these companies are trying to sell so the one on the
left developing a business case for marketing automation the one in the
middle is a third-party asset that talks about the total and economic impact of
the company and then the one on the right is a buyer’s guide so all of these
pieces are working to push the buyer through that funnel now let’s talk about
your bo foo content that bottom of the funnel content this person is very close
to becoming a customer your offers here are very specific to your product or
your service so your offer types are promotional and return on investment
proving some examples here are to prove competitive and value so some ideas
could be pricing sheets these could be customer case studies you really want to
show a customer in the bosu stage that your product is the correct choice now
that you understand your own sales funnel you can take your content and you
can map it to each of the stages in your funnel then you can make sure that
you’re pushing leads to eventually become customers you

understanding marketing management, marketing planning, branding key points


completing the STP process segmentation
targeting and positioning gives you a clearer idea of how you’re going to
compete who you’re going to target and what you’re going to say to the market
to position your offering now you have to bring that positioning to life and
you do that by creating and executing tactical marketing programs in marketing
we use four types of tactical programs product and service pricing promotional
communications and distribution the last one distribution is sometimes referred
to as place because that’s where we’re deciding the places we need to put our
product to get it to customers now taken all together gives us product price
promotion and place and you may recognize these as the famous four PS of
marketing let’s review each one by product and service programs these refer
to all of the aspects of how products and services perform their job in
delivering benefits it includes things like the design of the product how it
feels to use it the packaging of the product and the people and processes
involved in dealing with customers it’s not just how the product functions but
it includes the entire experience of buying and using it that experience
should be consistent with your positioning and the brand promise
pricing involves two things setting the actual price that customers will pay and
communicating those prices in an effective way the price of your product
or service implies their value that the consumer should expect from buying and
using it promotion includes all the things you
say outside of the company to the market this
where you broadcast the value proposition and other information about
the product it includes advertising in-store promotions email campaigns
social media and sales promotions and finally distribution these are the
programs that create an effective pathway to get your product from the
factory into the customers hands somebody has to take the product ship it
store it place it on the shelves sell it and possibly service it once the sale is
made all four p’s have to work together to convey the value proposition no one
of the four-piece can carry all the load a good marketer uses all the tactical
tools available to make the biggest impact possible Marketing is all about delivering value
to customers and you do that by offering them the right products and services
think of products and services as benefit delivery vehicles there are a
collection of various features that create value when customers use them so
how do you build the right product or service for that you need to go back to
the analysis phase of the marketing planning process from there you’ll need
the results of your product analysis that’s where you did a detailed
comparison of how your product compares to the competition’s feature by feature
you also created the feature benefit ladder that unpacked the product to see
how features connect to the benefits that customers seek you’ll also need the
customer analysis especially the market research on what factors are most
important to customers when they buy a product as well as the data on how they
perceive your brand versus the competition and finally you’ll need your
marketing strategy as expressed in your value proposition that we covered
earlier as a marketer you have to give your development team guidance on four
aspects so they build the right product first is what features the product must
have to compete against the competition and also satisfy the customer you have
two especially guide them on what features or feature to emphasize the
most look at your value proposition what benefit are you promising then look at
your feature benefit ladder find that benefit on the ladder then move down the
ladder to find the set of features that deliver it you want to make sure those
features are most evident when the customer uses the product next your
development team needs guidance on performance of each feature once again
your value proposition should guide you on whether the product needs to work
better than the same as or slightly less effectively than the competition also
look at your market research if consumers perceive your product as less
effective on a particular feature you may need to have the development team
increase its performance your development team also needs guidance on
design meaning the look and feel of the product or service what does your brand
stand for given that what must your product or service look like to express
that brand essence finally your team must think of the product or service as
an entire customer experience remember the customer buying process from earlier
think of each step as a touch point where you as the marketer have an
opportunity to figuratively touch the customer with something about your
product or service touch points include things like the service customers get in
a store and how your products are displayed it also includes things like
the packaging and perhaps the instructions on how to use the product
everything the customer comes in contact with including things online our touch
points based on their experience in each touch point the customer will form
beliefs about what your brand stands for whether it’s consistent believable and
authentic the more authentic the more loyal your customers will become and
that’s a very good way to build your business setting prices is the quickest of the
four-piece but that doesn’t mean it’s the easiest in fact making a mistake
here can be very costly in terms of lost revenue as well as sending the wrong
signal to the market about your products and services let’s start with some
definitions to be successful at pricing you need to understand the difference
between a product’s cost its price and its value the cost of the product is all
the direct and indirect expenses that you experience as the manufacturer to
make the product things like raw materials and labor for example price is
what a consumer has to pay to acquire the product a price is a signal a piece
of information about what you might ask about the value value is what the
consumer gets out of the product the collective set of benefits delivered by
the product the most common mistake in pricing is setting it based on your
costs it may seem counterintuitive but price is unrelated to costs your
customer doesn’t care what it costs you to produce the product they don’t
compare your costs to what they pay instead they compare what they pay
versus the total value they get from the product if value exceeds price then
they’ll buy the product and if not they’ll ignore the product value-based
pricing then is the process of calculating the total delivered value
from using the product then setting the price at or just below that amount think
of price as a shortcut the price quickly tells a customer a lot
about the quality and value but what about the competition and their prices
go back to the 5 box positioning tool and look at your value proposition if
you’re positioning your product is superior to the competition then you
should set the price higher than theirs if your product is equivalent to the
competition make the price the same and if your product is inferior to the
competition set the price lower that’s how price becomes a signal of
value in comparison to competitors prices price is a signal of value in a
powerful part of the 4ps so make sure you put it to effective use in your
marketing campaign in the 4ps model promotion is where you
communicate to the customer to get them to understand something and ultimately
to get them to do something to create effective promotional programs
follow these steps first determine the objectives of the program second select
the message you want to communicate next select the target audience to receive
the message then you select the media that will carry the message and finally
create the material that you send to the market in this video I’ll describe step
1 how to determine the objectives of your promotional effort there are 5
communication objectives that you can try to achieve think of them as levels
of awareness first is called basic awareness customers need to know that
your product or service exists before they can even consider buying it basic
awareness is achieved when the customers simply recognizes your product or
service when they see it or hear it mentioned basic awareness is essential
for new products or for new features on existing products next is top of mind
awareness now the customer not only knows your product but also would recall
it first if they were asked to list the names of products in a particular
category to achieve this you have to constantly remind customers about your
product and that gets expensive but it can be worth it having top of mind
awareness can increase your sales significantly once the customer has
basic awareness of your product now you want them to have information awareness
this is where the customer can actually explain something about your product to
others perhaps about its features its performance or how to use the product
the fourth objective that you might want to achieve is called image awareness
that’s achieved when the customer can explain your product and also associate
your product with some mental image that image should be closely tied to the
brand image you’re trying to convey ideally the
customer associates some image about themselves when they use or experience
your product finally your marketing communication objective might be to
cause some type of behavioral awareness where you’re suggesting that they
actually do something that behavior may be as simple as going to your website or
it might be more aggressive such as asking the customer to buy the product
notice how these objectives are more complicated and difficult to achieve as
we go from basic awareness all the way to behavioral awareness it’s typically
more expensive as you set more difficult objectives so how do you determine your
objective well it depends on two things what does your customer believe and
understand about your product now and what is your strategy look back at your
customer analysis based on your marketing research you should have some
idea about what benefits and a product are most important to customers and you
should know how they perceive your products performance in delivering those
benefits are there any beliefs about your product that you need to change now
look at your five box positioning tool here you’ll find the information you
need to set objectives especially in the desired belief and desire do and of
course in the value proposition itself what are you hoping to communicate and
how does that translate into one of our five promotional objectives building distribution channels may be
the most difficult of the four PS depending on your business it’s
typically the most people intensive aspect of your marketing effort because
you have to enlist lots of partners to move your products physically into the
marketplace a channel is a pathway that carries things and it may involve many
steps along the way three things move through it first as
your product typically your product flows from you
the manufacturer or reseller through to the hands of the customer occasionally
that product might move back the other way in case the customer wants to return
it and you have to be set up for that the other thing that moves through the
channel is money and it’s not just money and credit cards
but also all the money related parts of the transaction which may include
financing negotiations and perhaps contracting you or your channel partners
need to be skilled and available to do these things again depending on your
business there’s one more thing that flows through the pathway and in some
respects it may be the most important thing that is information and it flows
in both directions from you to the customer and vice versa
the information you send through the channel could be information about your
product your prices availability or promotional messages about a new product
the channel and all the partners in it play a vital role in communicating your
value proposition in the other direction flows information about your customer it
might include demographic information about who they are geographic
information about where they live perhaps feedback about your product
positive or negative earlier in the course I spoke about segmentation you
could learn a lot of information about what’s important to customers and how
they perceive your product versus the competition through this channel you
could learn vital information that would help you analyze
your market to create your marketing strategy that’s assuming that your
partners along the way in the channel let you sometimes they like to keep that
information for themselves they might see that customer as belonging to them
not you if you want access to that wealth of data about your customers
you’ll have to select your partners carefully and strike the deal with them
around collecting and sharing that information and that’s where managing
channels gets difficult conflict often arises in the channel because the
various partners have competing goals your distributors for example may not
like your pricing approach so they might set the prices where they want them and
that price level might not be consistent with your value proposition they may
also be selling competitors products and you have to do a lot of convincing and
nurturing to make sure your products get the right amount of attention it takes a
lot of work in energy to train and motivate your channel partners to do
what’s needed to put your strategy into motion but if you do it right you’ll
have a well-oiled machine to put more great products into the marketplace and
earn new customers you there are five steps to writing a
marketing plan step one is to analyze the market this is where you explore
important issues about market conditions your potential customers and the
competition this part of your plan is called the situation analysis once
you’ve analyzed the market you need to describe your strategy for achieving
success here you lay out your approach to segmenting the market targeting
specific customers and how you will position your products and services in
the marketplace next is the tactical section which includes your product or
service programs your pricing approach your promotion and marketing
communications programs and your channel design these are often called the four
PS of your marketing plan a good marketing plan explains how you will
implement the various tactics described in the last step it’s here where you
describe what steps you need to take when those steps will happen and who’s
responsible for getting the job done and finally is the financial section of your
plan you need to describe a budget that outlines the financial and other
resources needed to implement your marketing plan here you also lay out
your forecasts of what you expect in terms of future revenues or other
business goals this section of the plan may also describe how you will measure
success you can start the marketing planning process any time but an
important consideration is how and when your company does its annual business
planning process that’s where the company develops financial forecasts
investments budgets and so on generally speaking there are two ways to connect
the marketing planning with business planning some companies start the
marketing planning process first right around the middle of the fiscal year
each marketing team develops their own sales revenue forecasts for their
assigned products they also develop a budget to spend on marketing programs
that they think are needed to achieve those revenue forecasts
those forecasts and budgets are combined into a company level revenue forecast
and budget and that’s fed directly into the annual business planning process but
some companies do just the opposite they start with the business planning process
where they develop an overall revenue goal and spending target those are
divided and given to the individual marketing teams those teams now have to
take those targets and develop the best marketing plan they can to achieve those
goals so talk to your finance partner to find out which approach your company
uses another good idea is to create a calendar of when you’ll write each
section of the plan a good marketer is disciplined and doesn’t cut corners in
writing a marketing plan it takes time and lots of work but in the end it’s
worth it before you venture out into the
marketplace with your products and services you’ve got to have a realistic
understanding of where you are today after all you don’t want to pick a fight
with your competition until you know what you’ve got to fight with this part
of the plan is called the situation analysis there are four parts to it
first is the market analysis analyzing a market means estimating how many
potential customers you might be able to sell your products and services to when
analyzing any market you want to group customers into three types first are the
customers that already buy from you today
second are customers that buy the same products and services you offer but from
a competitor and third are potential customers that might be interested in
your type of products and services but not buying from anybody now estimate the
potential number of customers that you might be able to capture for each of the
three groups you do this so you can decide where you want to concentrate
your marketing strategy in marketing it’s the old adage fish where the fish
are next you want to analyze how your company compares to your competition a
good tool for this is called the competitive matrix to create a matrix
list your company and your competitors across the top then down the side list
the things that you want to compare things like size market share strengths
and weaknesses and especially the key strategy elements like the value
propositions what does each company have in terms of key resources and how do
they use those resources to acquire and retain customers now let’s look at your
customers customers buy things for a variety of reasons but some are more
important than others if you know what’s most important to them you can appeal to
that need when trying to get them to buy or you can try to raise the sense of
importance they place on another factor you also need to measure how they rate
your product versus others and how it delivers you
benefit they may have misperceptions that you need to change you may be able
to emphasize a key feature of your product that is better than your
competition this analysis will be critical later when you begin segmenting
customers to complete the situation analysis you need to test the features
of your product and services compared to the same features on your competitors
you need to determine which features perform better than the competition
which perform the same and which perform not as well when you complete the
analysis take a close look are there features that need to be improved
are there certain competitors you want to avoid or possibly go after based on
product performance now keep in mind that the data and information that you
put into the situation analysis doesn’t have to be perfectly accurate it just
needs to be realistic that allows you to step back and see what customers to go
after what to emphasize when marketing to them and what competitors to go after
or avoid the situation analysis is an important step so you want to take your
time here a good technique is to leverage the team you’ve created to
write the plan I suggest you break the situation analysis into the various
sections and assign the writing of each section to the team member most
qualified to do it having a good understanding of your situation can go a
long way to setting you up for success as you write your marketing plan the heart of any marketing plan is your
strategy this is where you describe how you plan to win in the marketplace the
strategy section has three parts first is segmentation where you break your
customers into homogeneous groups this helps you be efficient with your
marketing resources by focusing only on the most relevant customers there are
four ways to segment customers demographic is where you group customers
by their characteristics such as income level age gender or their height and
weight it’s useful for certain products or services that deliver a benefit
specifically tied to that characteristic if you’re marketing a shampoo for
redheads for example then you’d want to group customers by hair color geographic
segmentation groups customers by where they are physically knowing where your
customers are helps you know where to place stores for example and where to
communicate or sell to them behavioral segmentation is grouping customers by
the things they do it can be things such as who they purchased from now how
frequently they purchase or their price sensitivity finally is psychographic
segmentation which is how customers think their attitudes about the benefits
they seek in a product an example of psychographic benefit would be the need
for prestige or need for convenience segmenting this way tends to be very
powerful in targeting you make decisions on which specific segments to go after
it’s a process of narrowing down your audience to a selected group let’s go
back to our shampoo example using all four types of segmentation you might
have a target audience like this women over 40 with red hair who live in
certain metropolitan areas who buy shampoo once a month and who seek the
benefit of natural looking hair color now you have a specific identifiable
group of customers for the next step called positioning positioning is
determining how you want your customers to think about
your products versus the competition so they’re more likely to buy yours it may
seem a little abstract but positioning happens up here in the mind of the
consumer think of the consumers mind is a three-dimensional space and in that
space they form beliefs about products and services in a particular category
and you can change those beliefs so they have a favorable opinion of your product
you do that by making a claim and by supporting that claim with credible
reasons to believe or RT B’s as we call them the claim becomes your positioning
statement what you’ll say to customers when you communicate to them about
buying your product let’s use our shampoo example a
positioning statement might look like this for women over 40 with red hair
that want to look their best our shampoo gives you a more natural looking color
to your hair than our competitors shampoo now to support this positioning
claim you might include photographs of customers who have used the product and
perhaps some testimonials of how much they liked it notice how I included my
target audience in the positioning statement as well as the primary benefit
that they want and that our shampoo can deliver so what benefit should you
emphasize go back to your situation analysis this is where you compared your
product to the competition to find out what benefit you deliver better than
they do when you position your offering around your strengths you’ll get an
important edge over the competition and that’s what great marketing is all about a great marketing strategy only comes to
life when you take action now it’s time to dive in and write the tactical
section of your marketing plan this is where you describe in detail your
product or service programs your pricing approach your promotion and marketing
communications programs and your channel design in marketing we call these the
four PS by product and service programs these refer to all of the aspects of how
products and services perform their job in delivering benefits it includes
things like the design of the product how it feels to use it the packaging of
the product and the people and processes involved in dealing with customers now
be sure to describe the entire customer buying experience which typically
includes the following steps first is the need recognition phase this is where
customers realize they want something the next step is information search
where they gather information from a wide variety of sources now this is a
critical step because this is when a customer is most receptive to your
message once a customer gathers information they evaluate the
alternatives based on what features are most important and which product does
the best job in delivering those features eventually they go to the
purchase phase where they actually buy the product now you might think that the
buying process ends here with the final purchase but there’s one last step
called the post purchase behavior phase once customers start using the product
they compare the results with their expectations pricing involves two things
setting the actual price that customers will pay and communicating those prices
in an effective way the price of your product or service implies their value
that the consumer should expect from buying it and using it your written plan
should list the prices you intend to charge and why they’re set at that level
describe where and when prices will be communicated to the customer this might
be a simple price sticker on your packaging or you might have prices on
your website promotion includes all the things you say outside of the company to
the market this is where you broadcast the value proposition and other
information about the product it includes advertising in-store promotions
email campaigns perhaps social media and sales promotion your written plan should
outline the specific programs in terms of where and when you’ll promote your
products and finally distribution these are the programs that create an
effective pathway to get the product from the factory into the customers
hands somebody has to take the product ship it store it place it on the shelves
sell it and possibly service it once the sale is made
including your written plan the specific details of where customers can buy your
products which might include store locations online distributors and so on
to be an effective marketing plan all four P’s have to work together to convey
the value proposition no one of the four PS can carry the load a good marketer
uses all the tactical tools available to make the biggest impact possible once you’re confident you have a
thorough comprehensive marketing plan for your business you need to take steps
to implement the actions outlined in the plan here are the specific factors you
should address first is how and when you’ll communicate details about the
plan make a list of specific audiences or individuals that need to hear about
it then write in the schedule with the exact dates and locations for these
presentations next are the marketing programs that you created in your
tactical section for each program I like to use a simple framework that describes
who what when where and how this section should describe who is responsible for
the program it should show the timeline they have to complete the program
including when implementation starts and when it finishes you should also explain
where the implementation actions occur and maybe some details on how your team
will implement that program finally you want to set up key performance
indicators or KPIs for short key performance indicators help you keep
track of your overall strategy and your individual marketing programs they alert
you when it’s time to intervene and take action to get things back on track
without KPIs you’re flying blind so to speak and you run the risk of falling
short of your overall goal now to be most effective
each KPI should be quantifiable and measurable you can have as many as you
want but don’t measure a KPI just because you have the data if you’re not
going to use it don’t bother it’s a waste of time measure something only if
you plan to take action from it that’s why I like to set thresholds around each
one each KPI should have a target of what you expect to happen plus a high
and low number around that target for those thresholds you and your planning
team should agree in advance what action you’ll take if those thresholds are
exceeded here’s an example assume you create a KPI about the number of new
customers acquired each month you set your target at 500 and you also
specify a high and low threshold of 600 and 400 respectively if your actual
customers per month is more than 600 you might consider taking an action such as
reducing advertising spending or in the low end if you’re below 400 you could
consider increasing sales incentives good marketers not only reach their
marketing goals but they also know whether those goals were achieved the
way they expected them to be achieved they also take immediate action when
they detect something is going in the wrong direction
a well-written marketing plan will help your team do just that Marketing takes time and money so it’s
important that you develop a budget in a forecast of what you expect in terms of
business results let’s look at each of these a good budget helps you allocate
the right amount of resources to the right marketing programs to make the
most impact now there are two ways to develop a budget you can decide on how
much you have to spend in total and then allocate it some companies do this by
taking a percentage of sales revenue as the total budget for marketing that
amount then is assigned to different teams and programs I call this the
top-down approach the other approach is from the bottom up
each marketing team develops a budget to spend on marketing programs that they
think are needed to achieve a revenue forecast and then those budgets are
combined into a company level budget if you recruited a finance member to your
marketing planning team they’ll be able to tell you what approach your company
uses whichever approach you take you still need to decide where to spend the
money and how much to spend how much you spend depends on a number of factors
look at each of your tactical programs the four P’s product price promotion and
place estimate the required spending in each one for example do you need to
spend money to upgrade your product or its packaging how much do you need to
spend on marketing communications to reach a sufficient number of people and
still achieve the communications objective what are your sales people and
distributors need to do their jobs effectively next is your forecast or
what you expect to achieve as a result of implementing your marketing plan now
you can set any type of goal whether it be a revenue forecast
perhaps units sold or maybe new customers acquired and so on for a
marketing goal to be the most effective it should meet the following criteria
first it should be specific just saying that your goal is to increase market
share that wouldn’t be specific enough
increasing market share from 15% to 17% is much better as a goal because it’s
specific second the goal should be measurable setting a goal that can’t be
measured will become frustrating for you and the team especially when you try to
gauge your progress in reaching it next the goal must be attainable setting an
unrealistically high goal won’t do you any good in fact it could hurt your
campaign by causing you to spend more marketing dollars than is warranted the
fourth criteria is relevant that means the goal is directly related to your
marketing strategy and finally the goal must be time bound meaning that the goal
will be achieved during a specific period of time a year or perhaps a
quarter or even monthly once you’ve estimated what each program will cost
you’ll probably need to make some tough choices and this is a great time to use
the talents of your marketing planning team let them help you decide in my
experience a team decisions ends up being better than any single individual
decision after all you’re in this together so put them to work in helping
you develop the most effective budgets and forecasts possible you the branding process has five steps
first we have to define the brand and everything that goes into it a brand is
a promise so we have to clearly define what that promise is and the core values
behind it think of the values as the DNA of the
brand at this step we also define how the brand links to your overall business
and other brands that you may have brands don’t exist in isolation so we
have to give them a home so to speak somewhere in your portfolio we also have
to define what are called brand drivers brand drivers define how the core values
will be manifested into the marketing mix or key business processes that
support the brand it’s all the things associated with a brand that help you
translate its value into actions the next step of the branding process is to
position the brand essentially we are shaping how customers think about the
brand we identify who those customers are what benefits they seek from your
products and services and what they currently believe about those products
and services versus the competition at this step we’re making the direct link
between the products value proposition and the brand promise
once you define the brand promise and how its position in the market place you
need to express the brand imagine the brand as a person a person needs a name
a personality in an identity in terms of what they look like you do the same for
brands at this step we create brand names and logos to help customers easily
recognize the brand and remember the promise that it delivers at this stage
it’s time to build awareness of the brand and put it to work for you
we do that by communicating it and we do that both internally to our own
organization as well as externally to the market why internally your employees
and distributors play a critical role in delivering the promise they create and
deliver products and services that deliver
benefits that customers expect given the promise the brand is made keeping a
brand strong means we have to communicate continuously and most
importantly consistently to reinforce the promise in people’s minds if you
don’t brands lose their value and that leads us to the final step of the brand
building process measure you want to measure the value of the brand or what
we call brand equity it’s what you accrue when you develop promote and
deliver an authentic brand promise as brand equity increases company value
increases you also measure the brand’s performance is it living up to the
promise and isn’t doing what you expected it to for your business the
brand building process takes time and money but if you do it right you’ll
create strong healthy brands that make your business more successful let’s start building a brand first we
have to identify the values of the brand remember that a brand is a promise and
underneath that promise must be a supporting set of values they’re like a
foundation underneath a home for example if I make a promise to you it’s because
I believe certain things are important otherwise I wouldn’t make the promise
the same is true of brands that we created marketing think of brand values
as the key behaviors or virtues of the brand that need to be expressed
consistently day in and day out taken together these values form the essence
or the theme of the brand they’re like a belief system of the brand determining
the brand values starts by understanding the overall marketing strategy of your
business what kind of products and services do
you offer what are the key trends and new opportunities in your markets who
are your customers and who are your competitors given that what is your
overall value proposition in the marketplace you’ve got to have a solid
marketing strategy before you can build a solid branding strategy the two are
closely linked for this course I’m going to use a hypothetical company that wants
to create a brand for one of its new products let’s assume we’re in the watch
business we’re coming out with the new line of smart watches that integrate
with other tech products like smart phones let’s say that our strategy is to
create a watch ideally suited for families but not just families in
general we are targeting the parents specifically we want to position our
watch as the ideal watch for moms and dads for now let’s call it the parent
watch remember that’s the name of the brand not necessarily the name of the
product itself now given our marketing strategy we want to create a brand that
delivers this promise of being the ideal watch for parents we start by
identifying the key values that this new brand must have for this promise to have
any meaning to it so I start by listening beliefs that people
might have about parents for example parents are special being a parent is an
important role in the life of many moms and dads being a parent is hard work
parents do everything they can to help their families by creating this list I’m
looking for one or a collection of some of these to shape and form the main
theme of my new brand I want to create a sentence that conveys what the brand is
all about let’s try this the parent watch celebrates Parenthood by helping
parents be the very best they can be I like this it’s aspirational it’s linked
directly to my strategy and it has a strong emotional appeal we can always
revise and fine-tune this later but for now let’s stick with this as the core
purpose of the parent watch brand both why it exists and what it believes take
a look at the brand’s you have now or the brand you want to create ask
yourself these questions what is the belief system underneath those brands is
it linked to your marketing strategy is it clear what this brand stands for now
and what it wants to be in the future building a strong foundation is the
crucial first step to bring your brand to life a brand’s values form the foundation of
the brand but now on top of that foundation you need to build more about
the definition of the brand think of it as expanding and stretching it out you
do that by creating brand drivers brand drivers are more detailed in descriptive
aspects of the brand they come in different forms they could be attributes
of the brand itself they could be functional or emotional
benefits that the brand delivers they could be self expressive benefits in
other words what the customer is saying about themselves when they consume the
brand to create brand drivers make an exhaustive list of phrases or sentences
about the brand that stretched the brand’s core purpose don’t worry too
much about the wording of these and don’t try to filter them later on you’ll
group them into similar categories and that’s where you’ll edit them to get the
most relevant brand drivers let’s go back to our case study a new brand for a
SmartWatch that’s ideal for moms and dads we call it the parent watch its
core value is the parent watch celebrates Parenthood by helping parents
be the very best they can be given that what else might this new brand be about
let’s start with the list we had already parent watch believes that parents are
special being a parent may be the most important role in a person’s life being
a parent is hard work parents do everything they can to help their
families let’s create more by asking ourselves what else goes into being a
great parent let’s write these from the parents point of view parent watch helps
me do the impossible by balancing tasks and getting it all done in the day it
helps me protect my family it helps me perform my duties at home work and
everywhere else it helps me stay connected to my kids
it helps me teach my kids important life lessons it
makes it fun to be a mom or dead wearing parent watch tells the world that I care
about my family above all else do you see what’s going on here we’re creating
a list of specific things that are important to our target audience then we
take those and turn them into attributes of the brand itself or a benefit that
the brand delivers when you do this for your brand you should have several dozen
of these try to create as long a list as possible then group into categories such
as functional benefits the basic job that the product does emotional benefits
how a product makes a consumer feel economic benefits how a product saves
time and money self expressive benefits how a product makes us appear to others
other types of benefits such as benefits to society or to the environment now
once they’re grouped into categories we look for ways to refine or combine them
into a more coherent list for example these two drivers parent watch helps me
do the impossible by balancing tasks and getting it all done in a day and parent
watch helps me perform my duties at home work and everywhere else it seems
similar perhaps I could tighten these up into one phrase such as parent watch
helps me balance multiple tasks at work home and everywhere else brand drivers
put more meaning into the brand we call them drivers because these are the ideas
that you use to express and communicate what your brand is all about so what is it that you actually brand
well that’s kind of a trick question you don’t brand things rather you create
a brand with its core promise and list of associations as we did in the last
two videos then you attach something to that brand promise like a product or a
company name by attaching that product or a company name to the brand your
customers associated with the brand now I know that may seem like a subtle point
but here’s why I make it don’t think of branding like taking an iron and burning
it onto the side of a product or it’s packaged like Cowboys do and they brand
livestock that’s the single most common mistake people make when doing branding
they think you can just slap a logo and a clever name on the side of a product
and voila here’s my new brand to be a savvy branding professional you want to
avoid this mistake and instead follow a discipline step by step process with a
set of tools to create and manage your brand’s that’s what this course is all
about now once you’ve created the core brand promise and list of associations
the correct question to ask is what kinds of things can I attach to the
brand the answer may surprise you we’ve already mentioned products inside
this bottle is fizzy brown water with the syrupy sweet taste when we associate
it with the coca-cola brand the consumer memorizes this association for future
reference every time a consumer drinks what’s inside here they instantly recall
the brand promise and subconsciously think to themselves promise made promise
kept that’s why we sometimes call a brand a locus of emotions it’s all the
emotions inside that are triggered by a brand that define it a brand is a memory
jogger a shortcut so to speak to make that memory jogging a bit easier we give
the brand a certain look and sometimes a name
when you rap that name and that look around the product consumers have a much
easier time making that connection maybe that’s why it feels like we are branding
a product like using a branding iron on livestock it’s not only products that
can be branded you might want to brand just one feature of that product Hertz
the car rental company brands its Gold Club an exclusive club for loyal
customers you could also brand a single ingredient within the product my
favorite example is when Intel created the now iconic Intel Inside brand most
people have no idea what the Intel thing actually did or how it worked
it didn’t matter as long as the computer they were about to buy had Intel Inside
they were satisfied promise made promise kept
if your product has a unique technology especially if it’s something you own
perhaps with patents you can also associated it with a brand Toyota for
example branded it’s Hybrid Synergy Drive as part of its fleet of
eco-friendly cars can your brand services absolutely a service is the
same as a product in that they are both benefit delivery vehicles Google for
example offers a wide range of services that are branded in fact an entire
company can be branded take Starbucks for example you can also create a string
of brands for example Amazon Kindle delivers ebooks using whisper net
technology a branded company a product and Technology all-in-one you may be
thinking hey wait a minute what if you take this too far that’s a good question
if you’re not careful you may end up with what I call brand chaos where your
brand too many things in a way that might confuse the customer to avoid that
take a look at your current brands or brands you want to create then try to
identify what you’ve actually branded a product a feature
and so on good brand builders then start to think about how these different
brands exist together to deliver value for the customer creating and defining your brand is only
the first step of the brand building process at this point the brand is still
an empty vessel empty because you haven’t made or kept any promises to
customers remember that a brand is a promise kept over and over to a target
audience to the point that they believe and trust it trust builds loyalty and
that is your next step to identify the specific customers that you want your
brand to be relevant to for that we use a marketing technique called
segmentation segmentation means dividing the market of potential customers into
similar groupings there are four ways to do it
demographic segmentation focuses on physical characteristics of customers
like gender age their hided weight even hair color it’s a very useful way to
segment especially if your brand’s promise delivers on something related to
a customer characteristic if you’re marketing shampoo for redheads for
example then you’d want to group your customers by hair color closely related
to demographic segmentation is Geographic use this approach when you
want to group people by where they live or where they work it can also include
things like where they go for certain activities or where they just hang out
if your brand promise is related to that location
this way of grouping customers makes the most sense
next is behavioral segmentation here we focus on things that potential customers
do or how they behave it includes things like purchase behavior lifestyles and
things like how customers use a product once again it’s the right way to segment
customers if your brand delivers something of value related to this
behavior for example people who want to drive fast are going to appreciate
brands that promise speed finally is attitudinal segmentation this is what
goes on in the customers head about the benefits they seek
grouping customers by their needs or benefits they’re looking for is
extremely powerful because it gets right to the core of your brand’s promise for
example if you’re building a new brand for an automobile you’d want to group
customers around benefits such as fuel economy luxury eco-friendly or status
selecting the right segmentation approach is critical because it helps
you with the next two steps of the brand building process Express and communicate branding is about making and keeping a
promise over and over to the point where consumers trust you and they become
loyal what do you promise and when do you promise it you answer these
questions by analyzing your potential customers when people buy products and
services they’re buying a collection of benefits you can categorize these
benefits into three types functional benefits refer to a products physical
performance for example when buying a car functional benefits include size of
the engine passenger seating or how the car handles economic benefits are
related to saving money or saving time with the car economic benefits would
include the miles per gallon annual maintenance cost or the cars reliability
finally our emotional benefits these are related to the psychological feelings
you get when using a product for a car it would include things like status or
self esteem customers buy things for a mix of these benefits but some are more
important than others if you know what’s most important to them you can appeal to
that need when deciding on your brand promise you can also raise this sense of
importance they place on another factor and focus your brand on that instead you
also want to understand the steps customers take when buying something
that will help you shape the overall experience they have with your brand and
decide the best point to make the promise typically those steps are as
follows first is need recognition phase this is where customers realize that
they want something the next step is information search once customers feel a
need to have something they start gathering information about solutions
for that need once a customer gathers the information they go to the next step
which is to evaluate the alternatives customers make choices based on what
features are it’s important in which brand does the
best job in delivering those features it’s critical that you communicate your
brand’s promise at this point eventually the customer will narrow
their choices down to one brand and go to the purchase phase finally is the
post purchase behavior phase once customers start using the product or
service they compare the results with their expectations that the brand
deliver on the promise how did the product make them feel when they used it
this phase is also critical because customers will form opinions about your
brand and share their experiences good or bad with other customers great brand
builders know they have a role to play in each step of the customer buying
process they know where these steps take place when they take place and who’s
involved with these insights you’re ready to develop an effective brand
experience perhaps the most central idea in all of
marketing is that of positioning a company’s value proposition is the
single-minded claim that it makes to change the customers mind and cause them
to do something that something could be to buy a product or to try a product or
to pay a certain price or to visit a website or just to think about your
brand and its benefits in a certain way how you position your product in the
market will ultimately determine the overall promise you make to create your
brand now let’s make a distinction here in a marketing plan you create a value
proposition that is this central piece of your marketing strategy so how does
that relate to brand positioning are they the same well not necessarily but
they’re closely related the brand promise is essentially your overall
value proposition it’s a broad definitive statement of the bundle of
benefits to customers by the brand it’s a clear articulation of precisely what
it is that gives the brand an edge over competitors think of brand positioning
as the long-term strategic positioning your marketing strategy value
proposition is more like a short-term tactical positioning let’s do an example
to see this connection using our case study of the parent watch we know that
our overall brand positioning is the parent watch celebrates Parenthood by
helping moms and dads be the very best they can be now by design we’ve set that
at a pretty high level but what if you’re about to launch a new product or
perhaps just introduce a new feature on an existing product for that you need a
more tactical short-term positioning for example let’s assume our parent watch
has a new feature that allows us to SMS people automatically moms or dads can
use it to create reminders for their kids that come directly from them via
text messaging I’m not sure kids would like it but I bet parents
so how do we position this new feature for ideas on that you go back to your
brand drivers recall that brand drivers are more detailed in descriptive aspects
of the brand so let’s look over our list created in Chapter two now here’s one
that might work parent watch helps me stay connected to my kids
nice our new SMS feature becomes a credible reason to believe this value
proposition and therein lies the connection between brand strategy and
marketing strategy think of these value propositions designed around your brand
drivers as RT B’s or reasons to believe for the overall brand strategy promises
made promises kept so take a look at your brand’s what
features and benefits of your products and services are you emphasizing in your
marketing strategy then look at your brand drivers to find the ones that
connect best to those benefits that helps your target audience believe the
brand is doing its job well and can be trusted to do it in the future you

how to write a marketing plan step by step guide + templates


perhaps the most vital aspect of any
business is the marketing function a business can’t really get off the ground
until it sells something a marketing plan provides a roadmap for running and
coordinating marketing programs it helps align the many people and organizations
involved in commercializing your products and services a formal written
marketing plan is a great way to document the planning process it serves
many purposes but a marketing plan doesn’t have to be a long and formal
document even a simple one that answers these three questions will help where
are we now where are we going and how do we get there first it captures all the
things you and your team have learned about the market the competition and
your customers this information is critical because it becomes the
supporting evidence for the strategies that you and your team decide to pursue
second the plan serves as a tool to help you align the organization marketing
involves many people so you’ll need to get everyone on board and going in the
same direction the written plan becomes a source document to create
presentations to conduct training and to give directions to external partners
believe me you’ll use it a lot finally the written plan lays out a coherent and
coordinated set of marketing programs with schedules in budgets so you can run
a smooth operation to write the plan don’t wait until the very end of the
planning process I like to start writing it right from the very beginning here’s
a tip that makes it easy create a blank PowerPoint presentation with just the
headings of each component on a separate page and keep it with you during team
meetings as you collect information or make key decisions write or type it into
the appropriate slide that helps you keep the document up to date as you move
through the process when you have enough written material go ahead and create a
first draft but be sure to date the draft as you’ll be making regular
updates and revisions a written marketing plan is I dine ammok
document and you should expect to make changes to it as conditions in the
market change if you create a great plan and update it regularly it’ll help you
stay ahead of the competition you there are five steps to writing a
marketing plan step one is to analyze the market this is where you explore
important issues about market conditions your potential customers and the
competition this part of your plan is called the situation analysis once
you’ve analyzed the market you need to describe your strategy for achieving
success here you lay out your approach to segmenting the market targeting
specific customers and how you will position your products and services in
the marketplace next is the tactical section which includes your product or
service programs your pricing approach your promotion in marketing
communications programs and your channel design these are often called the four
PS of your marketing plan a good marketing plan explains how you will
implement the various tactics described in the last step it’s here where you
describe what steps you need to take when those steps will happen and who’s
responsible for getting the job done and finally is the financial section of your
plan you need to describe a budget that outlines the financial and other
resources needed to implement your marketing plan here you also lay out
your forecasts of what you expect in terms of future revenues or other
business goals this section of the plan may also describe how you will measure
success you can start the marketing planning process any time but an
important consideration is how and when your company does its annual business
planning process that’s where the company develops financial forecasts
investments budgets and so on generally speaking there are two ways to connect
the marketing planning with business planning some companies start the
marketing planning process first right around the middle of the fiscal year
each marketing team develops their own sales revenue forecasts for their
assigned products they also develop a budget to spend on marketing programs
that they think are needed to achieve those revenue forecasts
those forecasts and budgets are combined into a company level revenue forecast
and budget and that’s fed directly into the annual business planning process but
some companies do just the opposite they start with the business planning process
where they develop an overall revenue goal and spending target those are
divided and given to the individual marketing teams those teams now have to
take those targets and develop the best marketing plan they can to achieve those
goals so talk to your finance partner to find out which approach your company
uses another good idea is to create a calendar of when you’ll write each
section of the plan a good marketer is disciplined and doesn’t cut corners in
writing a marketing plan it takes time and lots of work but in the end it’s
worth it good marketers know the value of a
diverse and talented team of colleagues to help write their marketing plan
you’ll need to draw on their expertise their market knowledge possibly their
resources and their network your team will include colleagues inside the
company as well as external partners like advertising and promotional firms
let’s review the various roles of your cross-functional team first is finance
your finance department plays a very important role in making sure you have
sufficient budget dollars to execute your plan finance partners will also
help you measure the results of your marketing efforts and help you find ways
to improve it in the next business cycle finance partners have a good eye for
whether a recommendation in your marketing plan makes sense financially
marketing research is another key role you’ll need on your team your company
might have a separate marketing research department or it may outsource it but
either way you’ll need their help understanding customer needs testing new
product concepts or perhaps testing a new advertising message your marketing
plan needs to explain what you know about the market so make sure you
involve your colleagues in marketing research next is your technical team
these are the people who develop your products and services they might be
engineers or scientists in an R&D department or perhaps software
developers it depends on the nature of your business
you’ll need their input to your marketing plan so you can explain what
new products might be coming down the pipeline now most companies have a sales
function and you should enlist their help in developing a marketing plan
after all they’re on the frontline day-to-day and they have a lot of
insights about your customers and your competition they’ll also have ideas
about the selling tools they need to succeed be sure to get their input
depending on your business you may also want to involve colleagues from
manufacturing or operations these are the people who make the products or the
Oh service a good customer support team for example might have great insights
about customer complaints or service issues external partners might include
your advertising agency your branding company a public relations firm and
perhaps a marketing consultant they’re there to help you succeed so make them a
part of the team from the very start once you’ve identified the key players
on your team make sure they’re aware of the schedule you’ve created if the team
members know their role and understand your expectations you can count on them
to help you write a great marketing plan you the heart of any marketing plan is your
strategy this is where you describe how you plan to win in the marketplace the
strategy section has three parts first is segmentation where you break your
customers into homogeneous groups this helps you be efficient with your
marketing resources by focusing only on the most relevant customers there are
four ways to segment customers demographic is where you group customers
by their characteristics such as income level age gender or their height and
weight it’s useful for certain products or services that deliver a benefit
specifically tied to that characteristic if you’re marketing a shampoo for
redheads for example then you’d want a group customers buy hair color
geographic segmentation groups customers by where they are physically knowing
where your customers are helps you know where to place stores for example and
where to communicate or sell to them behavioral segmentation is grouping
customers by the things they do it can be things such as who they purchased
from now how frequently they purchase or their price sensitivity finally is
psychographic segmentation which is how customers think their attitudes about
the benefits they seek in a product an example of psychographic benefit would
be the need for prestige or need for convenience segmenting this way tends to
be very powerful in targeting you make decisions on which specific segments to
go after it’s a process of narrowing down your audience to a selected group
let’s go back to our shampoo example using all four types of segmentation you
might have a target audience like this women over 40 with red hair who live in
certain metropolitan areas who buy shampoo once a month and who seek the
benefit of natural looking hair color now you have a specific identifiable
group of customers for the next step called positioning positioning is
determining how you want your customers to think about
your products versus the competition so they’re more likely to buy yours it may
seem a little abstract but positioning happens up here in the mind of the
consumer think of the consumers mind is a three-dimensional space and in that
space they form beliefs about products and services in a particular category
and you can change those beliefs so they have a favorable opinion of your product
you do that by making a claim and by supporting that claim with credible
reasons to believe or RT B’s as we call them the claim becomes your positioning
statement what you’ll say to customers when you communicate to them about
buying your product let’s use our shampoo example a positioning statement
might look like this for women over 40 with red hair that want to look their
best our shampoo gives you a more natural looking color to your hair than
our competitors shampoo now to support this positioning claim you might include
photographs of customers who have used the product and perhaps some
testimonials of how much they liked it notice how I included my target audience
in the positioning statement as well as the primary benefit that they want and
that our shampoo can deliver so what benefit should you emphasize go back to
your situation analysis this is where you compared your product to the
competition to find out what benefit you deliver better than they do when you
position your offering around your strengths you’ll get an important edge
over the competition and that’s what great marketing is all about a great marketing strategy only comes to
life when you take action now it’s time to dive in and write the tactical
section of your marketing plan this is where you describe in detail your
product or service programs your pricing approach your promotion and marketing
communications programs and your channel design in marketing we call these the
four PS by product and service programs these refer to all of the aspects of how
products and services perform their job in delivering benefits it includes
things like the design of the product how it feels to use it the packaging of
the product and the people and processes involved in dealing with customers now
be sure to describe the entire customer buying experience which typically
includes the following steps first is the need recognition phase this is where
customers realize they want something the next step is information search
where they gather information from a wide variety of sources now this is a
critical step because this is when a customer is most receptive to your
message once a customer gathers information they evaluate the
alternatives based on what features are most important and which product does
the best job in delivering those features eventually they go to the
purchase phase where they actually buy the product now you might think that the
buying process ends here with the final purchase but there’s one last step
called the post purchase behavior phase once customers start using the product
they compare the results with their expectations pricing involves two things
setting the actual price that customers will pay and communicating those prices
in an effective way the price of your product or service implies their value
that the consumer should expect from buying it and using it your written plan
should list the prices you intend to charge and why they’re set at that level
describe where and when prices will be communicated to the customer this might
be a simple price sticker on your packaging or you might have prices on
your website promotion includes all the things you say outside of the
company to the market this is where you broadcast the value proposition and
other information about the product it includes advertising in-store promotions
email campaigns perhaps social media and sales promotion your written plan should
outline the specific programs in terms of where and when you’ll promote your
products and finally distribution these are the programs that create an
effective pathway to get the product from the factory into the customers
hands somebody has to take the product ship it store it place it on the shelves
sell it and possibly service it once the sale is made including your written plan
the specific details of where customers can buy your products which might
include store locations online distributors and so on to be an
effective marketing plan all four P’s have to work together to convey the
value proposition no one of the four PS can carry the load a good marketer uses
all the tactical tools available to make the biggest impact possible once you’re confident you have a
thorough comprehensive marketing plan for your business you need to take steps
to implement the actions outlined in the plan here are the specific factors you
should address first is how and when you’ll communicate details about the
plan make a list of specific audiences or individuals that need to hear about
it then write in the schedule with exact dates and locations for these
presentations next are the marketing programs that you created in your
tactical section for each program I like to use a simple framework that describes
who what when where and how this section should describe who is responsible for
the program it should show the timeline they have to complete the program
including when implementation starts and when it finishes you should also explain
where the implementation actions occur and maybe some details on how your team
will implement that program finally you want to set up key performance
indicators or KPIs for short key performance indicators help you keep
track of your overall strategy and your individual marketing programs they alert
you when it’s time to intervene and take action to get things back on track
without KPIs you’re flying blind so to speak and you run the risk of falling
short of your overall goal now to be most effective
each KPI should be quantifiable and measurable you can have as many as you
want but don’t measure a KPI just because you have the data if you’re not
going to use it don’t bother it’s a waste of time measure something only if
you plan to take action from it that’s why I like to set thresholds around each
one each KPI should have a target of what you expect to happen plus a high
and low number around that target for those thresholds you and your planning
team should agree in advance what action you’ll take if those thresholds are
exceeded here’s an example assume you create a KPI about the number of new
customers acquired each month you set your target at 500 and you also
specify a high and low threshold of 600 and 400 respectively if your actual
customers per month is more than 600 you might consider taking an action such as
reducing advertising spending or in the low end if you’re below 400 you could
consider increasing sales incentives good marketers not only reach their
marketing goals but they also know whether those goals were achieved the
way they expected them to be achieved they also take immediate action when
they detect something is going in the wrong direction
a well-written marketing plan will help your team do just that Marketing takes time and money so it’s
important that you develop a budget in a forecast of what you expect in terms of
business results let’s look at each of these a good budget helps you allocate
the right amount of resources to the right marketing programs to make the
most impact now there are two ways to develop a budget you can decide on how
much you have to spend in total and then allocate it some companies do this by
taking a percentage of sales revenue as the total budget for marketing that
amount then is assigned to different teams and programs I call this the
top-down approach the other approach is from the bottom up
each marketing team develops a budget to spend on marketing programs that they
think are needed to achieve a revenue forecast and then those budgets are
combined into a company level budget if you recruited a finance member to your
marketing planning team they’ll be able to tell you what approach your company
uses whichever approach you take you still need to decide where to spend the
money and how much to spend how much you spend depends on a number of factors
look at each of your tactical programs the four P’s product price promotion and
place estimate the required spending in each one for example do you need to
spend money to upgrade your product or its packaging how much do you need to
spend on marketing communications to reach a sufficient number of people and
still achieve the communications objective what are your sales people and
distributors need to do their jobs effectively next is your forecast or
what you expect to achieve as a result of implementing your marketing plan now
you can set any type of goal whether it be a revenue forecast
perhaps units sold or maybe new customers acquired and so on for a
marketing goal to be the most effective it should meet the following criteria
first it should be specific just saying that your goal is to increase market
share that wouldn’t be specific enough
increasing market share from 15% to 17% is much better as a goal because it’s
specific second the goal should be measurable
setting a goal that can’t be measured will become frustrating for you and the
team especially when you try to gauge your progress in reaching it next the
goal must be attainable setting an unrealistically high goal won’t do you
any good in fact it could hurt your campaign by causing you to spend more
marketing dollars than is warranted the fourth criteria is relevant that means
the goal is directly related to your marketing strategy and finally the goal
must be time bound meaning that the goal will be achieved during a specific
period of time a year or perhaps a quarter or even monthly once you’ve
estimated what each program will cost you’ll probably need to make some tough
choices and this is a great time to use the talents of your marketing planning
team let them help you decide in my experience a team decisions ends up
being better than any single individual decision after all you’re in this
together so put them to work in helping you develop the most effective budgets
and forecasts possible you an effective marketing plan is one that
lays out a coordinated set of strategies and tactics to win in the marketplace at
some point in the process you’ll need to gain support for that plan and perhaps
the most important audience is your senior management
they’re the ones who allocate financial and human resources to various projects
in your company without their full support you may end up not getting what
you need here are some tips on how to make a big impact with senior leaders
when presenting your marketing plan first try to lead with the story perhaps
focus on a customer who had a great result using the product this is a
really good way to remind people how your products bring value to customers
next share what’s changed in the marketplace what new threats or new
products or perhaps trends are out there that are creating a challenge for you we
call this creating the burning platform you want people to understand the
difficult situation you’re up against then share the process you went through
to create the marketing plan give credit to your team members it builds your
credibility when you’ve collaborated with a cross-functional team now be as
brief as possible because you probably won’t have a lot of time you should be
prepared with different length presentations for example you should
have a 10 minute version a 30 minute version and a 1-hour version really
savvy marketers also know how to present their strategy in 30 seconds or less the
so-called elevator speech afterall it’s all about getting people on board now
you don’t have to share every detail about your plan just the highlights
present the market conditions the competitive situation and your strategy
in terms of who you’re targeting and how your positioning approach will convert
customers be completely upfront about the weaknesses or risks with your plan
you gain trust when you’re upfront and honest about potential issues then share
your forecasted revenue and budget needs make sure they completely understand
your assumptions take your time here if you see that someone has a different
view around the assumptions clarify it on the spot not aligning around the
assumptions can create real problems for you later remind them that funding your
marketing plan is an investment not a cost assure them that you’re committed
to getting them a good ROI return on investment given their experience be
sure to ask them for feedback on ways to improve your plan finish the
presentation by asking them for their support it’s the old sales adage always
ask for the order you’re there to get approval so look them straight in the
eye and ask for it hey you’ve invested a lot of time to write a great marketing
plan so now it’s time to gain support from senior managers great marketers
show passion and enthusiasm for the products and services they manage to do
just that your retina ting plan is a great tool to
help educate some very important audiences if you created a
cross-functional team to help you write the plan those team members can help
spread the word but there are two other audiences that may need special
attention first is your sales force they’ll need to understand your
marketing plan because they play a key role implementing it the first thing
they need to know is your strategy especially your value proposition they
should know who the target market is and they should know where and how to find
them share your customer analysis with them
what buying factors are most important to the target audience once they
understand your strategy give them the tactical tools they need to sell the
product first they need to understand how the product works and how it
compares feature by feature to the competitors product next you should
share your pricing strategy in how prices are communicated explain how the
price was determined in relation to the value delivered now you might get some
resistance here because salespeople generally like the prices to be low
that’s why it’s essential they understand how pricing supports the
overall positioning finally share any selling tools you’ve created to make
their job easier these could include product brochures or tools to
demonstrate the product you might even have a suggested selling script for them
to use the second key audience is your internal or external marketing
communications agencies now your marketing plan has all the information
to create a creative brief it’s a short overview of a creative assignment it
answers key questions like what needs to be created how it will be used what are
the deliverables for the project and when are the deadlines it’s like a
contract whatever format you use it should include the following first give
an overview of your situation analysis next describe the objective of the
creative piece is it a commercial a sales brochure a website and so on then
describe the target audience who are we talking to
the more precise and detailed you can be the better next outline your value
proposition and the reasons to believe or are TBS what are the supporting
rationale and emotional reasons to believe and by the agency may use these
points in the creative piece complete your creative brief with a schedule and
a budget for the project but keep in mind that the creative brief should be
brief don’t just hand the agency your marketing plan and expect them to sort
through it a creative brief is much more detailed than your plan but very focused
on just one specific marketing program in that plan with the proper guidance
from a well-written marketing plan your support teams will work better together
to achieve your business goals you

what is content marketing? content marketing strategy


in order for your content marketing to
be relevant and effective you must create your buyer personas and buyer
journeys most companies have many different types of buyers these are your
personas these are the people that you connect with each day with all of your
marketing activities most companies have multiple different people that buy your
product or service so you want to make sure that you create content that is
relevant and effective for each individual person and each of these
personas will have their own buying journey this is essentially the journey
that they take from when they initially start researching a topic to when they
make a purchase each buying journey has multiple different steps and it’s
critical that your content marketing really address each of the different
questions and concerns that a buyer has in each step of this process in order
for your content to be relevant and effective it must speak to both your
buyer personas and their journeys so creating buyer personas help you
essentially choose what type of content you want to create not every type of
content is going to work for every single buyer it also allows you to
target the right topics that your buyers actually care about so by doing the
research to determine what are your different personas care about and what
do they want to read you can certainly target what type of content you’re
creating your personas also help set the tone in the voice for all of your
content assets you might have one buyer persona that likes to hear their content
in a more conversational way another type of persona might want more of an
authoritative more research driven type of content and by doing buyer persona
research you can really determine what type and tone and voice of your content
needs to be buyer journeys help you know what content create for each buying
stage like I said each journey has multiple different stages in a proper
content plan will have content that speaks to the questions and concerns
your buyers have at each stage buyer journeys also help you know where your
buyers consume your content at each buying stage so somebody who’s initially
researching your product might be finding out about your content on social
media whereas somebody that’s close to making a purchase decision my
looking at a content syndication site or potentially your website so it’s
important to know where exactly your buyers look at each stage of the journey
so how do you find out this information how do you create your personas and your
journeys you are gonna have to conduct interviews and research so how do you do
this so first you’re gonna want to speak with your sales teams your sales teams
are really on the front lines of speaking with your prospects every CH
and every day they know exactly what types of questions and concerns your
potential customers have so sit down and speak with your sales team to determine
what exactly they know about your current customers your customer service
teams are also on the front lines with your customers each and every day in
fact they know very very closely what type of concerns your current customers
might have so speak with your customer service teams to determine what type of
issues problems and questions your current customers ask you also want to
speak with current customers it’s important to get both sides of the story
so speak to both happy and unhappy customers this will give you a
well-rounded perspective when determining what you should write
content about and then also if possible speak with prospects the people that
have yet to become customers but who hopefully will in the future during your
interviews you want to find out some of the following information and this could
be limited to what’s here or you could well expand it into what makes sense for
your own business the type of information you’ll want to
find out to actually create your persona as information about background
potentially job details the goals and challenges of your personas where do
they source their information watch their preferred content medium some
people like to read content in an e-book form other people might want to watch a
video get some actual quotes from customers what about their objections
what type of objections do they commonly say if they’re speaking to a salesperson
and then watch their role in the purchase process you might have multiple
personas that are the decision-maker and then some personas might also be
assistants to the decision-maker so lots of especially long sale cycle these days
have large buying teams so you might want to create personas for each member
of the buying team and create a sample marketing message for
each one of your personas so that you know exactly how you’re speaking to them
in addition to your sample buyer persona you also want to create a sample buyer
journey the information from all of your interviews will lend itself very well to
creating this type of journey remember that a buyer journey has each different
stage and they might be different stages depending on your own sales cycle in
your own buyers but here’s just an example it could be calm status quo
shattered search around problem frame problem in solution consult peers and
experts engage potential providers so those are just an example of some of
your buyer journey stages and then in addition to each stage you want to
provide an explanation and potentially any questions or concerns that buyers
bring up at each stage now that you’ve created your personas and your journeys
it’s time to align your content it’s extremely important to create content
that speaks to each persona and each stage in the buying journey and that
will make up your content mix so now that I’ve gone over persona and journey
sit down with your stakeholders in your organization determine what questions
you should ask and now create your own to make sure that your content is
consistent you want to work on developing your brand voice your brand
voice presents a consistent experience across channels giving your brand a
recognisable persona this is extremely important because your brand voice will
ultimately help you stand out there’s a ton of information out there and a ton
of noise out there online so you want to make sure that your content is specific
and unique and by developing a brand voice that really speaks to your
organization your content will stand out from the noise first you’ll want to
create your brand voice persona your brand voice persona is essentially the
feeling that you’ll want your content to convey your persona might be
conversational accessible humanistic educational authoritative professional
there’s a wide variety of attributes that you can use to apply to your brand
voice persona next you’ll have the brand voice tone your brand voice tone is
essentially the way that your content will sound it could be friendly direct
honest formal perhaps its scientific humanistic there’s a wide variety of
attributes in ways that your content can sound next you’ll want to determine your
brand voice language this is essentially the language in which your content is
written this could be simple wordy complex jargony it depends on your
business and who you’re selling to next step is to create a style guide once you
have your persona and your language your tone all dialed in you’ll want to put
that down on paper so that you your content team and any external writers
that work with your company to determine the exact style in which you write for
your style guide you might want to answer questions such as who is your
company who do you sell to who makes up the content team your style and writing
tone specific grammar guidelines as well as content types and structure this
could be sure or as lengthy as you want the more information you put in there
the easier it’ll be to train incoming content marketers on your company and
your style one thing to know is that your tone might differ slightly for each
persona as you build out your DIF personas and learn what each persona
likes for their content you might learn that one persona might have a different
tone than another so it’s important to make sure that you’re writing content
that’s relevant for each persona but overall your voice should stay
consistent throughout your content now that we’ve walked through how to
create brand voice and tone now it’s time to sit down and write your own
style guide get together map out what you want your content and your brand to
look like put it down on paper and put it into action in order for your content marketing to
be successful you must set your content goals you should always have goals for
your content marketing and they should be the first thing that you set up goals
help you choose the right assets for your organization design content to be
measurable upfront and help you define success a content marketing plan without
goals will simply not go anywhere so goals are critical to ensure that the
content you’re creating is the right content and now you’re able to
appropriately define success so what are the steps you need to take in order to
set your content marketing goals step 1 meet with stakeholders to get their
point of view on goals you need to determine who is involved in creating
content there’s most likely a variety of team and a variety of team leaders who
are involved in creating content and promoting it so get together your
marketing team leaders sales team leaders and customer service team
leaders step number two ask yourself some foundational questions why are you
creating content what programs are you planning on using your content in what
are your short-term goals and what are your long-term goals asking yourself and
your stakeholders these questions will help you set a solid foundation for
creating your content marketing strategy step number three define your
qualitative goals these are goals like brand recognition thought leadership
social engagement relationship building trust these are all extremely important
goals to content marketing so although these particular goals might not have a
number assigned to them they are critical step number four define your
quantitative goals so these are goals that actually do have a number
associated with them so these might be number of new leads number of downloads
for each content asset specific number of social shares percentage of leads
that turn to opportunities that turn to closed deals how much pipeline your
content has generated how much revenue all of these quantitative goals are
measurable and should be measured and they should be measured in addition to
the qualitative goals so that you have a holistic view of
all of your content marketing goals how do you track your goals you can track
your goals in your marketing automation platform this is great for tracking
those quantitative goals like number of leads downloads and revenue Google
Analytics is great for traffic and conversions you want to track your
social channels for increase in social shares your CRM tool you could track for
customer engagement and your content management tool you can also track stuff
like downloads and engagement and then add your goals to a plan put it down on
paper you’ll want to socialize your goals with your team present it to the
stakeholders you can schedule weekly or monthly metrics check-ins meetings and
hold yourself accountable to your goals you can’t create a Content plan within a
vacuum so by showing your organization that you are able to tie your content
efforts to goals you ultimately get more budget and more team and bandwidth to
create more content over time now that we’ve sat down to discuss how
to create your goals for your content marketing sit down talk to your
stakeholders ask yourself questions put everything down on paper and ultimately
create your plan before you can start actually creating
your content you need to brainstorm your ideas and create your content arts
coming up with content ideas can be daunting it is easy to have writer’s
block when it comes to content but before you start actually writing your
content you need to determine what topics should you consider for your
content and this will vary based on your business often it’s great to first start
by taking into consideration your business priorities this could be new
markets that you might be trying to launch in additional product launches or
service launches branding initiatives within the business are different
thought leadership topics that you want to become leaders in the industry about
these are all great topics to write content form you also want to take into
consideration your personas and who you want to sell to you might be writing
different content for different personas you might find that different topics
will resonate with each one of your personas so you want to also take that
into consideration industry trends that’s a great place to start you want
to make sure that you’re on the cutting edge of what’s going on in your industry
many businesses want to be on the forefront and you want to be able to
write thought leadership about what’s going on with your peers so creating
content and industry trends is certainly a great place to start
search engine optimization priorities are also an important thing to keep in
mind many companies will want to make sure that their content is SEO optimized
meaning their content will show up in search results and you might have
specific keywords that our company priorities for example if your company
sells mobile applications mobile might be one of your keywords and you want to
make sure that you write plenty of content around mobile competitor content
is also an important thing to keep in mind take stock on what exactly your
competitors are writing about you can find this out through following them on
social media using a competitor content tracking platform or just keeping up to
date and researching and then do some of your own digging within your
organization to determine what other teams want you to write about meet with
key stakeholders in your company to figure out what are
our key initiatives make sure you get your product or service roadmap so you
know what exactly is coming down the pipeline ask your sales and customer
teams what type of content would help them not only sell deals but also keep
customers listen on social media to determine what your markets talking
about you also want to ask your audience on social media what they might want to
hear send out a tweet put a Facebook post out there and simply ask your
followers what type of content they’d like to see from you once you have a
solid brainstorm of topics that you want to write about then you can create your
content arts content ARC’s our monthly quarterly by yearly or yearly content
themes that you can write about by organizing your content and content arcs
that makes it easier for you to determine and select what to prioritize
when writing your content but then you also have ongoing initiatives throughout
each of these quarters these might be product launches or items based on the
type of business units you sell into so in addition to your arcs you also need
to keep into consideration any ongoing initiatives that you might have so now
that you’ve sat down and done some serious brainstorming about what type of
content to include sit down write your plan map out your arcs and let’s get
started mapping your content to your sales
funnel helps to ensure that you’re moving new buyers to actually become
customers once you understand your buyer journey and have created your content
themes and brainstormed ideas you need to map your content to your sales funnel
why well you need to create content that speaks to your buyer at every stage of
your sales funnel first you need to know your sales funnel this could be
different based on your business whether you’re a b2b business or b2c business
that’ll make a difference your sales funnel typically starts at a top of
funnel stage where most of your new buyers and your new leads are coming in
it gets a little narrower in the middle of your funnel where you’re actually
starting to nurture your leads and you know who they are and then at the bottom
of your funnel you have leaves that are very close to becoming customers and
then they are customers so again this will vary based on your business but
it’s important to understand your funnel and to start to map your content to
these different stages so let’s walk through let’s start with your top of
funnel tofu content this person is at the beginning of your sales and
marketing funnel she is aware of your service but she is not ready to buy this
person might have found you through social media she may have gotten on your
website offered types for your top of funnel content or educational and
thought leadership do not mix this with content that has too much product
information let’s take a look at some tofu content in action all of these
examples are ebooks that are best practice and thought leadership that
each of these vendor publishers have created to help educate their audience
so now let’s go to the middle of your funnel your mo foo content this person
has displayed buying behavior is engaged with your content and it’s potentially a
sales lead so this person knows who you are and you might be nurturing them over
time offer types here are third-party reports return on investment calculators
for your products or buying guides to help these people make a decision to
purchase your product so now let’s take a look at mo foo content in action in
contrast with the tofu content assets all of these three examples actually
speak a bit about the product in the core business case
each of these companies are trying to sell so the one on the left developing a
business case from marketing automation the one in the middle is a third-party
asset that talks about the total and economic impact of the company and then
the one on the right is a buyer’s guide so all of these pieces are working to
push the buyer through that funnel now let’s talk about your bo foo content
that bottom of the funnel content this person is very close to becoming a
customer your offers here are very specific to your product or your service
so your offer types are promotional and return on investment proving some
examples here are to prove competitive and value so some ideas could be pricing
sheets these could be customer case studies you really want to show a
customer in the bo foo stage that your product is the correct choice now that
you understand your own sales funnel you can take your content and you can map it
to each of the stages in your funnel then you can make sure that you’re
pushing leads to eventually become customers you want to make sure you have a solid
content mix so you need to choose your content types when it comes to content
there are a lot of types to choose from you can choose your content types based
on your brand look and feel the different content topic you choose your
content goals and your proposed promotional channels first let’s talk
about blog posts blog posts are a short piece of content that are regularly
updated on your company blog your blog post can range anywhere from about 300
to 700 words and they can be about a variety of topics blogs are fantastic
for trend related content and when you need to put out a point of view at a
very fast pace now let’s talk about cheat sheets cheat sheets are short
pieces of downloadable content that are created for the purpose of giving the
reader quick access to a series of tips or best practices your cheat sheets are
typically one-page they can be front and back and they don’t have too much design
these are simple easy to digest content assets you may or may not want to create
a content piece similar to a definitive guide a definitive guide is a very large
content piece often over 60 pages that you can then break apart into smaller
supplemental content items these take a lot of effort and are often in
conjunction with a large promotional plan these can really anchor your
content themes for a quarter ebooks are the bread and butter of your content
strategy particularly if you are in a b2b company an e-book is an electronic
version of a shortened book it is designed to contain salt leadership and
best practices on a particular topic ebooks can be short four to five pages
or they can be much longer at around 50 pages your ebooks should be designed to
fit your brand and give you the opportunity to present your information
in a creative way infographics take information like statistics or best
practices and present it in a visual way infographics are generally vertical
graphics that are short and easy to consume your graphics should be highly
visual with an interesting hook typically infographics are created to be
presented on your blog and then you can promote them out for inbound links in
media attention reports can be created by collecting survey and industry data
and presenting it in a comprehensive
document reports often contain lots of statistics a strong point of view and
are generally formatted like an e-book reports can be a critical cornerstone of
your content and gained a lot of recognition in your industry don’t just
stop a downloadable content think about what else you can create that is
interesting fun shareable and engaging for your audience think outside of the
box because content can take many forms videos are an engaging in visual form of
live-action content that can be filmed and promoted on YouTube social channels
and your website your videos can range from product related topics to stories
music videos and more they can also range in length from 30 seconds to 10
minutes however note that best practices here are for most of your videos to
clock in at around 1 to 2 minutes people have short attention spans visual slide
decks present information statistics and best practices in a highly visual format
using slides often your slide decks can almost be like an infographic chopped-up
you can publish them on SlideShare and promote out on your website in social
channels a caution here is to make sure each of your slides are professionally
designed and does not include too much text a webinar is either live or
recorded presentation that a speaker presents along with a slide deck these
are generally events for your audience signs up attends and asks questions
webinars are generally topical and can be easily recorded for later viewing a
downloadable workbook provides your readers with an actionable template to
fill in his or her own answers to questions these are great if you’re
trying to teach your audience something in particular using a checklist table or
fill in the blanks now that we’ve broken down all the different content types you
can then start to really formulate what your content marketing mix is going to
look like once you have a good idea what types of
content you will be creating next you have to plan your editorial calendar
before you create your calendar you need to think about your content mix what are
the different types of content you’re creating and how are you going to fit
them in your plan to make a diverse content plan think about your content in
food groups this is actually a great analogy developed by Ann Handley
to help you determine what should be in your content mix first you have your
roasts these are your large content initiatives this would be if you’re
planning to create a definitive guide a large ebook or anything that has a
promotional plan that’s extensive behind it these would be your big rock pieces
next you need to make sure you have your Raisin Bran these are everyday pieces of
content they are quick and consumable like cheat sheets checklists and best
practices these should also be a big part of your content mix in addition to
those roasts next we have our spinach these are content items packed with
nutrients this is your high-level thought leadership this could be a
report that presents findings that you have in a survey it could be a really
high-level ebook an executive piece of thought leadership either way you need
to make sure that these items are included in your overall content plan
next we have chocolate cake these are your fun light-hearted and indulgent
pieces of content this could be infographics any type of special
projects you’re creating fun videos ideally these are pieces of content that
you’re sharing on a regular basis on social channels and then you have your
Tabasco sauce this is content with some spice content that challenges asks hard
questions or provokes responses your Tabasco content is often best on a blog
post so definitely take that into consideration but make sure you’re not
saying anything that’s off-brand a Content plan and an editorial calendar
can help you stay organized so you need to make sure that you are adhering to
this mix you don’t want your content to be homogenized and you don’t want to be
putting out things that are the same day in and day out
an editorial calendar also helps you increase visibility across your
organization so that people in your company know exactly what content you’re
creating and when it also helps to align your teams you might have different
content that you’re creating on demand gen versus customer versus brand so how
do you organize your calendar first the content mix that we spoke about earlier
then you should organize based on different teams depending on who you’re
creating content for any ongoing campaigns that you have to keep in mind
and strategic initiatives these should all be on your editorial calendar what
calendar platforms should you use there are many options here basically you just
need to make sure that you’re putting them down into a calendar form you can
use a calendar in your content management tool consider a Google
Calendar that you can share with folks across the organization or a Google
spreadsheet even if you don’t necessarily want to put it in a calendar
form or your marketing automation calendar many marketing automation
platforms today have calendar functionality that you can add your
content mix to who should see my calendar your editorial calendar should
be available to marketing sales customer service executives or anybody else who
wants to know what specific content that you’re creating here’s a few examples of
different types of calendars calendar example number one is a detailed
spreadsheet a spreadsheet could be useful if you have multiple different
content types you want to include the status production start and completion
date maybe you want to say what business unit this is for your persona right
resource section type if you have lots of different items that you need to put
in a calendar form sometimes a spreadsheet type format works great
calendar example number two is within a content management platform this one is
from Divi HQ this one has an actual calendar format where you can toggle
based on specific due dates what calendar so what business unit is
for the team member it’s assigned to content type or your content strategy no
matter how you decide to organize your editorial
under in what you include in your calendar make sure it has that content
mix that we spoke about and that everything is organized so go ahead
write down your plan and put it in a calendar you
now that you have a solid plan in place you have to start writing and editing to
actually get that content done writing content can be extremely hard work and
building a repeatable process helps so let’s take a look at some steps to take
in order to build that repeatable process so that you’re ensuring all your
written content is consistent on brand and that is engaging so step one find a
subject-matter expert so you need to determine who in your organization knows
about your topic and then you can schedule a brain dump and record a brain
dump can be a thirty to one hour session whether in person or over the phone
where you’re asking that subject matter expert various questions about the topic
essentially having them do a brain dump if there is no subject matter expert be
prepared to do the research yourself step number two create an outline
creating an outline is extremely important to keep you organized and on
track with your content creation make sure you include your thesis in this
outline your thesis is the point that you’re trying to get across with your
particular content asset make sure you set up your different sections
particularly if it’s an e-book and then socialize your outline to people outside
of your content team to make sure that what you’re writing about makes sense
and it’s the right thing note that it has the title it has the different parts
an explanation of what the different parts might be and some links so that
you have places to reference when you need to go write the full piece step 3
write your first draft this is arguably one of the most difficult parts to
content creation make sure your thesis is clear make sure this thesis is clear
upfront and that it’s clear throughout your document and also make sure you’re
constantly referring back to your main point break your content up with h1s h2s
and other headers you can find these in your word processing program that you’re
using like word it’s important to break your document up in this way so you know
where each section lives use lots of bullets lists and numbers this is
important for scan ability note that your reader won’t necessarily read
everything word of your document so by using
bullets and lists it could be easy to scan make sure you have an intro in a
conclusion you want your document to flow step number four always review this
is an extremely critical part of content creation the more people you have review
the better off you are so typically have one to two people
review each draft more if you have the ability each person will generally catch
different mistakes refer to a style guide make sure that you have a style
guide created that goes over tone and brand and now you’re always referring
back to that always copy edit for grammar and structure you want to make
sure your content is grammatically correct and you want to make sure it’s
structurally sound and then always edit for content and concepts make sure you
going through the document to determine what makes sense and what does it and
then use track changes in word and commenting for optimal editing this is
definitely recommended particularly if you have more than one to two people
writing the document and reviewing it this is important for collaboration step
number five write a second draft once you have your first draft created and
you have all of your edits incorporate all of them read over it an additional
one to two times to ensure that it’s a final copy and then make sure all your
stakeholders have seen the copy make sure everybody knows that the content is
correct and everybody that needs to has signed off on that content and once you
have your final draft then you’re ready to send a design once you have your content created
written then it’s time to send it to design good content equals good design
all of your content should be highly visual it’s important part of creating
content in today’s market but how do you make all of your content visual so let’s
go over a few design guidelines to keep in mind when creating your content first
make sure that your logo and icon usage is on brand and correct you need to take
into consideration typography you might have a certain font that is appropriate
for your brand that you need to use make sure you’re consistently using brand
colors even though you can be creative with your content design you want to
make sure it looks like your company is a non brand and then you also want to
use photography and image styles that also make sense for your brand and that
are engaging and visual so let’s walk through some major types of content
design starting with ebook your ebook cover should be visual and engaging this
is how you’re going to get people to download your ebook and this is what’s
going to attract them to your content the cover the title should be clear make
sure that you don’t have lots of different design around your title so
that it obstructs it make sure your title is clear at all times
watch for proper templating keep your design clean again make sure that your
ebook cover and your ebook interior is extremely clean and easy to read and
then use images that relate to the content something that you need to be
aware of is having images throughout an e-book that have nothing to do with the
content make sure your images are relatable and they make sense and then
let’s take a look at an example interior page from that same piece of content the
interior page is clean the way it’s template it makes sense it has a
call-out that pops out and the title is obvious for the different headings and
sections you want to make sure that it’s easy to read now let’s go over
infographic design your infographic design should be engaging and shareable
this is definitely your opportunity to be creative into pop kin
a theme for your infographic make sure that your statistics are presented in an
interesting but legible way so make sure it’s clear what those stats are so that
your readers don’t have any questions and then don’t make your infographic too
long don’t make it too long and that people have to scroll down quite a bit
and don’t make it way to copy heavy now you have your content design it’s
important to make sure you edit that design when editing and design here are
some items to watch for page layout you want to make sure that all of your pages
are laid out appropriately and that they’re easy to follow and clean you
also want to watch for orphan words these are words or short lines at the
beginning or the end of a paragraph which are left dangling at the bottom of
the column separate it from the rest of the paragraph if your see any orphan
words make sure they’re included in the above paragraph you also want to look
for photography and image usage making sure the images go along with the text
as well as the placement in the document look at typography make sure everything
is the same size and that if you do have a brand font it’s being used in an ad
edits using commenting in Adobe this is the best and easiest way for designers
to look at your edits so sit down and make sure that you’re reviewing all of
your items once they’re InDesign if you don’t you really run the risk of having
unfinished content so make sure that you’re looking over all your design
content and edit it to completion you

principles of marketing strategy | marketing strategies to drive more customers


there are five steps to writing a
marketing plan step one is to analyze the market this is where you explore
important issues about market conditions your potential customers and the
competition this part of your plan is called the situation analysis once
you’ve analyzed the market you need to describe your strategy for achieving
success here you lay out your approach to segmenting the market targeting
specific customers and how you will position your products and services in
the marketplace next is the tactical section which includes your product or
service programs your pricing approach your promotion and marketing
communications programs and your channel design these are often called the four
PS of your marketing plan a good marketing plan explains how you will
implement the various tactics described in the last step it’s here where you
describe what steps you need to take when those steps will happen and who’s
responsible for getting the job done and finally is the financial section of your
plan you need to describe a budget that outlines the financial and other
resources needed to implement your marketing plan here you also lay out
your forecasts of what you expect in terms of future revenues or other
business goals this section of the plan may also describe how you will measure
success you can start the marketing planning process any time but an
important consideration is how and when your company does its annual business
planning process that’s where the company develops financial forecasts
investments budgets and so on generally speaking there are two ways to connect
the marketing planning with business planning some companies start the
marketing planning process first right around the middle of the fiscal year
each marketing team develops their own sales revenue forecasts for their
assigned products they also develop a budget to spend on marketing programs
that they think are needed to achieve those revenue forecasts
those forecasts and budgets are combined into a company level revenue forecast
and budget and that’s fed directly into the annual business planning process but
some companies do just the opposite they start with the business planning process
where they develop an overall revenue goal and spending target those are
divided and given to the individual marketing teams those teams now have to
take those targets and develop the best marketing plan they can to achieve those
goals so talk to your finance partner to find out which approach your company
uses another good idea is to create a calendar of when you’ll write each
section of the plan a good marketer is disciplined and doesn’t cut corners in
writing a marketing plan it takes time and lots of work but in the end it’s
worth it you good marketers know the value of a
diverse and talented team of colleagues to help write their marketing plan
you’ll need to draw on their expertise their market knowledge possibly their
resources and their network your team will include colleagues inside the
company as well as external partners like advertising and promotional firms
let’s review the various roles of your cross-functional team first is finance
your finance department plays a very important role in making sure you have
sufficient budget dollars to execute your plan finance partners will also
help you measure the results of your marketing efforts and help you find ways
to improve it in the next business cycle finance partners have a good eye for
whether a recommendation in your marketing plan makes sense financially
marketing research is another key role you’ll need on your team your company
might have a separate marketing research department or it may outsource it but
either way you’ll need their help understanding customer needs testing new
product concepts or perhaps testing a new advertising message your marketing
plan needs to explain what you know about the market so make sure you
involve your colleagues in marketing research next is your technical team
these are the people who develop your products and services they might be
engineers or scientists in an R&D department or perhaps software
developers it depends on the nature of your business
you’ll need their input to your marketing plan so you can explain what
new products might be coming down the pipeline now most companies have a sales
function and you should enlist their help in developing a marketing plan
after all they’re on the frontline day-to-day and they have a lot of
insights about your customers and your competition they’ll also have ideas
about the selling tools they need to succeed be sure to get their input
depending on your business you may also want to involve colleagues from
manufacturing or operations these are the people who make the products or
deliver a service a good customer support team for example
might have great insights about customer complaints or service issues external
partners might include your advertising agency your branding company a public
relations firm and perhaps a marketing consultant they’re there to help you
succeed so make them a part of the team from the very start once you’ve
identified the key players on your team make sure they’re aware of the schedule
you’ve created if the team members know their role and understand your
expectations you can count on them to help you write a great marketing plan you before you venture out into the
marketplace with your products and services you’ve got to have a realistic
understanding of where you are today after all you don’t want to pick a fight
with your competition until you know what you’ve got to fight with this part
of the plan is called the situation analysis there are four parts to it
first is the market analysis analyzing a market means estimating how many
potential customers you might be able to sell your products and services to when
analyzing any market you want to group customers into three types first are the
customers that already buy from you today
second are customers that buy the same products and services you offer but from
a competitor and third are potential customers that might be interested in
your type of products and services but not buying from anybody now estimate the
potential number of customers that you might be able to capture for each of the
three groups you do this so you can decide where you want to concentrate
your marketing strategy in marketing it’s the old adage fish where the fish
are next you want to analyze how your company compares to your competition a
good tool for this is called the competitive matrix to create a matrix
list your company and your competitors across the top then down the side list
the things that you want to compare things like size market share strengths
and weaknesses and especially the key strategy elements like the value
propositions what does each company have in terms of key resources and how do
they use those resources to acquire and retain customers now let’s look at your
customers customers buy things for a variety of reasons but some are more
important than others if you know what’s most important to them you can appeal to
that need when trying to get them to buy or you can try to raise the sense of
importance they place on another factor you also need to measure how they rate
your product versus others and how it delivers each benefit
they may have misperceptions that you need to change you may be able to
emphasize a key feature of your product that is better than your competition
this analysis will be critical later when you begin segmenting customers to
complete the situation analysis you need to test the features of your product and
services compared to the same features on your competitors you need to
determine which features perform better than the competition which perform the
same and which perform not as well when you complete the analysis take a close
look are there features that need to be improved
are there certain competitors you want to avoid or possibly go after based on
product performance now keep in mind that the data and information that you
put into the situation analysis doesn’t have to be perfectly accurate it just
needs to be realistic that allows you to step back and see what customers to go
after what to emphasize when marketing to them and what competitors to go after
or avoid the situation analysis is an important step so you want to take your
time here a good technique is to leverage the team you created to write
the plan I suggest you break the situation analysis into the various
sections and assign the writing of each section to the team member most
qualified to do it having a good understanding of your situation can go a
long way to setting you up for success as you write your marketing plan you the heart of any marketing plan is your
strategy this is where you describe how you plan to win in the marketplace the
strategy section has three parts first is segmentation where you break your
customers into homogeneous groups this helps you be efficient with your
marketing resources by focusing only on the most relevant customers there are
four ways to segment customers demographic is where you group customers
by their characteristics such as income level age gender or their height and
weight it’s useful for certain products or services that deliver a benefit
specifically tied to that characteristic if you’re marketing a shampoo for
redheads for example then you’d want a group customers buy hair color
geographic segmentation groups customers by where they are physically knowing
where your customers are helps you know where to place stores for example and
where to communicate or sell to them behavioral segmentation is grouping
customers by the things they do it can be things such as who they purchase from
now how frequently they purchase or their price sensitivity finally is
psychographic segmentation which is how customers think their attitudes about
the benefits they seek in a product an example of psychographic benefit would
be the need for prestige or need for convenience segmenting this way tends to
be very powerful in targeting you make decisions on which specific segments to
go after it’s a process of narrowing down your audience to a selected group
let’s go back to our shampoo example using all four types of segmentation you
might have a target audience like this women over 40 with red hair who live in
certain metropolitan areas who buy shampoo once a month and who seek the
benefit of natural looking hair color now you have a specific identifiable
group of customers for the next step called positioning positioning
determining how you want your customers to think about your products versus the
competition so they’re more likely to buy yours it may seem a little abstract
but positioning happens up here in the mind of the consumer think of the
consumers mind is a three-dimensional space and in that space they form
beliefs about products and services in a particular category and you can change
those beliefs so they have a favorable opinion of your product you do that by
making a claim and by supporting that claim with credible reasons to believe
or RT B’s as we call them the claim becomes your positioning statement what
you’ll say to customers when you communicate to them about buying your
product let’s use our shampoo example a positioning statement might look like
this for women over 40 with red hair that want to look their best our shampoo
gives you a more natural looking color to your hair than our competitors
shampoo now to support this positioning claim you might include photographs of
customers who have used the product and perhaps some testimonials of how much
they liked it notice how I included my target audience
in the positioning statement as well as the primary benefit that they want and
that our shampoo can deliver so what benefit should you emphasize go back to
your situation analysis this is where you compared your product to the
competition to find out what benefit you deliver better than they do when you
position your offering around your strengths you’ll get an important edge
over the competition and that’s what great marketing is all about you a great marketing strategy only comes to
life when you take action now it’s time to dive in and write the tactical
section of your marketing plan this is where you describe in detail your
product or service programs your pricing approach your promotion and marketing
communications programs and your channel design in marketing we call these the
four PS by product and service programs these refer to all of the aspects of how
products and services perform their job in delivering benefits it includes
things like the design of the product how it feels to use it the packaging of
the product and the people and processes involved in dealing with customers now
be sure to describe the entire customer buying experience which typically
includes the following steps first is the need recognition phase this is where
customers realize they want something the next step is information search
where they gather information from a wide variety of sources now this is a
critical step because this is when a customer is most receptive to your
message once a customer gathers information they evaluate the
alternatives based on what features are most important and which product does
the best job in delivering those features eventually they go to the
purchase phase where they actually buy the product now you might think that the
buying process ends here with the final purchase but there’s one last step
called the post purchase behavior phase once customers start using the product
they compare the results with their expectations pricing involves two things
setting the actual price that customers will pay and communicating those prices
in an effective way the price of your product or service implies their value
that the consumer should expect from buying it and using it your written plan
should list the prices you intend to charge and why they’re set at that level
describe where and when prices will be communicated to the customer this might
be a simple price sticker on your packaging or you might have prices on
your website promotion includes all the things you
say outside of the company to the market this is where you broadcast the value
proposition and other information about the product it includes advertising
in-store promotions email campaigns perhaps social media and sales promotion
your written plan should outline the specific programs in terms of where and
when you’ll promote your products and finally distribution these are the
programs that create an effective pathway to get the product from the
factory into the customers hands somebody has to take the product ship it
store it place it on the shelves sell it and possibly service it once the sale is
made including your written plan the specific
details of where customers can buy your products which might include store
locations online distributors and so on to be an effective marketing plan all
four p’s have to work together to convey the value proposition no one of the four
PS can carry the load a good marketer uses all the tactical tools available to
make the biggest impact possible you once you’re confident you have a
thorough comprehensive marketing plan for your business you need to take steps
to implement the actions outlined in the plan here are the specific factors you
should address first is how and when you’ll communicate details about the
plan make a list of specific audiences or individuals that need to hear about
it then write in the schedule with exact dates and locations for these
presentations next are the marketing programs that you created in your
tactical section for each program I like to use a simple framework that describes
who what when where and how this section should describe who is responsible for
the program it should show the timeline they have to complete the program
including when implementation starts and when it finishes you should also explain
where the implementation actions occur and maybe some details on how your team
will implement that program finally you want to set up key performance
indicators or KPIs for short key performance indicators help you keep
track of your overall strategy and your individual marketing programs they alert
you when it’s time to intervene and take action to get things back on track
without KPIs you’re flying blind so to speak and you run the risk of falling
short of your overall goal now to be most effective each KPI should be
quantifiable and measurable you can have as many as you want but don’t measure a
KPI just because you have the data if you’re not going to use it don’t bother
it’s a waste of time measure something only if you plan to take action from it
that’s why I like to set thresholds around each one each KPI should have a
target of what you expect to happen plus a high and low number around that target
for those thresholds you and your planning team should agree in advance
what action you’ll take if those thresholds are exceeded here’s an
example assume you create a KPI about the number of new customers acquired
each month you set your target at 500 and you also specify a
high and low threshold of 600 and 400 respectively if your actual customers
per month is more than 600 you might consider taking an action such as
reducing advertising spending or in the low end if you’re below 400 you could
consider increasing sales incentives good marketers not only reach their
marketing goals but they also know whether those goals were achieved the
way they expected them to be achieved they also take immediate action when
they detect something is going in the wrong direction a well-written marketing
plan will help your team do just that you Marketing takes time and money so it’s
important that you develop a budget in a forecast of what you expect in terms of
business results let’s look at each of these a good budget helps you allocate
the right amount of resources to the right marketing programs to make the
most impact now there are two ways to develop a budget you can decide on how
much you have to spend in total and then allocate it some companies do this by
taking a percentage of sales revenue as the total budget for marketing that
amount then is assigned to different teams and programs I call this the
top-down approach the other approach is from the bottom up each marketing team
develops a budget to spend on marketing programs that they think are needed to
achieve a revenue forecast and then those budgets are combined into a
company level budget if you recruited a finance member to your marketing
planning team they’ll be able to tell you what approach your company uses
whichever approach you take you still need to decide where to spend the money
and how much to spend how much you spend depends on a number of factors look at
each of your tactical programs the four P’s product price promotion and place
estimate the required spending in each one for example do you need to spend
money to upgrade your product or its packaging how much do you need to spend
on marketing communications to reach a sufficient number of people and still
achieve the communications objective what are your sales people and
distributors need to do their jobs effectively next is your forecast or
what you expect to achieve as a result of implementing your marketing plan now
you can set any type of goal whether it be a revenue forecast
perhaps units sold or maybe new customers acquired and so on for a
marketing goal to be the most effective it should meet the following criteria
first it should be specific just saying that your goal is to increase market
share that wouldn’t be specific enough increasing market share from 15% to 17%
is much better as a goal because it’s specific second the goal should be
measure durable setting a goal that can’t be
measured will become frustrating for you and the team especially when you try to
gauge your progress in reaching it next the goal must be attainable setting an
unrealistically high goal won’t do you any good in fact it could hurt your
campaign by causing you to spend more marketing dollars than is warranted the
fourth criteria is relevant that means the goal is directly related to your
marketing strategy and finally the goal must be time bound meaning that the goal
will be achieved during a specific period of time a year or perhaps a
quarter or even monthly once you’ve estimated what each program will cost
you’ll probably need to make some tough choices and this is a great time to use
the talents of your marketing planning team let them help you decide in my
experience a team decisions ends up being better than any single individual
decision after all you’re in this together so put them to work in helping
you develop the most effective budgets and forecasts possible you when I talk to marketing leaders the
subject of pricing almost always comes up they lose sleep wondering if their
prices are too high or too low it’s a constant ongoing challenge for every
marketer of the four PS of marketing product price place and promotion
setting prices is the quickest but that doesn’t mean it’s the easiest in fact
making a mistake here can be very costly in terms of lost revenue as well as
sending the wrong signal to the market about your products and services so how
do you overcome this challenge the key is to understand the role of pricing
then you need to understand the most common pitfalls companies make when
setting prices let’s start with some definitions to be successful at pricing
you need to understand the difference between a products cost its price and
its value the cost of the product is all the direct and indirect expenses that
you experience as the manufacturer to make the product things like raw
materials and labor for example price is what a consumer has to pay to acquire
the product a price is a signal a piece of information about what you might ask
about the value value is what the consumer gets out of the product the
collective set of benefits delivered by the product the most common mistake in
pricing is setting it based on your costs it may seem counterintuitive but
price is unrelated to cost your customer doesn’t care what it cost you to produce
the product they don’t compare your cost to what they pay instead they compare
what they pay versus the total value they get out of it if value exceeds the
price then they’ll buy the product but if not they’ll ignore it value-based
pricing then is the process of calculating the total delivered value
from using the product and then setting the price at or just below that amount
think of price as a shortcut the price quickly tells a customer a lot
about the quality and value hey but what about the comp
in their prices well first look at your value proposition if you’re positioning
your product is superior to the competition then you should set the
price higher than theirs if your product is equivalent to the competition make
the price the same and if your product is inferior to the competition set the
price lower that’s how price becomes a signal of
value when compared to a competitor now pricing can be a very touchy subject
because everyone in your company will have an opinion about it sales teams
tend to want lower prices because it makes their job easier finance teams
tend to want higher prices to cover the fixed costs they’re driven to meet
targets around profit margins but you as the marketing leader need to take a
customer centric view and not be unduly influenced by your colleagues and other
departments focus on value and see pricing as a way to help customers
understand what your products and services are truly worth hey people
don’t mind paying higher prices if they get high value in return
in my experience price is without a doubt one of the top 10 marketing
challenges for any business the trick is to balance financial impact with good
common sense about customers expectations you perhaps the most important role of the
marketing leader is creating a competent team and for that reason alone it’s one
of the most challenging it’s a constant fight for talent hey you may have the
best products and services in the market but without a strong and talented
marketing team behind them you’ll start losing ground to the competition so
let’s look at ways to win this battle but before I start let me share an
insight you read a lot in the media about the generational aspects of
business and the many differences between Millennials Gen X and Baby
Boomers but guess what for my experience the same things that excite Millennials
are the same things that excite my generation so don’t get too caught up
with the demographic shifts so how do you attract and retain great marketing
talent it starts with great products and
services back by the reputation of a global brand coca-cola Apple Amazon and
so on but what do you do if you have a wonderful reputation but no one’s ever
heard of you here’s an example the global fortune 500 company with over 50
unique and successful companies within it if it’s going to win the fight for
talent it has to raise its prominence in the job market especially in business
schools so you do that with promotional efforts attending job fairs and having a
great website about careers at your company next look at how you communicate
opportunities at your company what is it that you’re stressing are you telling
them how amazing they need to be or are you telling how amazing it would be to
work at your company now here’s why that matters if you stress why they need to
be super talented those who are super talented already know it if you just
reinforce that you’re looking for superstars they’re likely to react by
saying well duh I know that so instead focus on why it’s amazing to be at your
company promote all the perks the cool spaces in your headquarters the types of
challenging work you do the value you bring to society overall that’s what
really matters to the superstars of all ages sure you need competitive pay and
benefits but it’s the intangibles that matter so much in recruiting talent now
one area that I think is often overlooked in recruiting is telling the
candidate about how much autonomy they’ll have in their job if the message
comes across as will tell you what to do when to do it and how to do it hey
forget it marketers especially want some degree of
autonomy in their job and finally you need to assure potential candidates that
they’re joining an elite team thoroughbreds like to run with
thoroughbreds give candidates a strong sense that they’re joining a team of
people just as talented as they are that really gets their juices flowing but
that means you have to back it up a players want to be with other a players
if you’ve got a lot of B players good but not great you may be over promising
and if you have any C players who you haven’t cut yet these new recruits will
spot it right away that’s not good going out and getting the best talent you can
afford maybe your biggest marketing challenge of all if you do it
successfully you’re on a path to win in the marketplace there’s a constant tension between the
marketing organization and the sales organization hey believe me I’ve seen
shouting matches in the boardroom between marketing and sales leaders this
tension is a challenge and will never go away so it has to be understood and
managed or the organization will suffer hey and it takes a lot more than just
having a cup of coffee every so often with your counterpart now it’s not hard
to see why this tension exists the two organizations are vastly different in
terms of their role in the organization their structure and their ambitions they
have different perspectives of the market they have different processes and
they may have a different sense of urgency about what’s important but the
organizations have a tremendous amount of overlap and that’s where the friction
can occur for example the two groups can argue about things like the pricing of
your products which products to focus on which customers to go after and what
messages to put in the marketplace the codependence between the organization’s
creates a natural rivalry now some tension between sales and
marketing is healthy and productive the vers viewpoints lead to creativity and
better problem solving you need to harness those differences and turn them
into a benefit and sometimes you have to agree to disagree you can’t let the
relationship deteriorate where things will get worse after all you probably
disagree because you each have different assumptions you’re working with or
you’re using different criteria to evaluate a situation so here are some
ways you can keep that tension in check first you need to have role clarity
between the two organizations which things does sales do on its own what
tasks does marketing do and which tasks are done jointly for example I think
it’s critical that the two organizations jointly set goals and objectives that
they conduct joint planning sessions and that they create common definitions
about what is a customer and who is our competition this creates a good
foundation another great way to keep the relationship
positive and productive is to hold joint recognition events these events help
build empathy and respect for both sides and finally you want to create
frameworks and processes that require the two organizations to communicate and
collaborate for example look at your pricing processes product development
and the ways you get customer feedback put steps into these activities that
require input from both organizations this tension will never go away so
expect it and manage it minimize the downsides and distractions but take
advantage of the positive sides be a strong supportive leader who creates a
culture of teamwork and cooperation hey your customers will appreciate it you creating a powerful brand is a great way
to build loyalty with their customers for many companies brands are the single
most valuable asset but once you’ve created a brand that’s
where the challenge is kick in and it can be a real headache if you don’t
manage brands correctly these challenges come from both inside your organization
as well as outside for example one of the most common problems marketing
leaders have with brands is what I call brand chaos it happens when new brands
start popping up almost out of nowhere and sadly they have no consistent look
or feel to your other brands and then one day you’re flipping through your
product catalog and you see a mishmash of products and brands that have nothing
to do with each other your brand architecture is in a state of anarchy
how does this happen well marketers love to create brands hey
it’s fun and exciting and they like creating ones that are distinctive and
unique let’s face it they want to put their mark on something so they get
together with their design team and branding agencies they throw a lot of
money creating the next big thing if left unchecked you’ll experience brand
chaos it’s expensive to fix and it can really confuse customers on what your
brand’s mean another common brand problem is when employees take one of
your brand marks and create their own adapted version of it in other words
they make it look different than the official version a sales rep might put
an altered brand mark in a presentation for example or a marketer might change
it slightly to fit on a package those sources of this problem are many Brant
chaos can also stem from things outside the company if your competitors start
attacking your brands by D positioning them you have to fight back
for example a competitor might begin an advertising campaign telling consumers
that the benefits of your brand just aren’t that important this type of deep
positioning strategy can lower your brand equity another common problem is
when some company copies your bread and creates counterfeit products and
services hey consumers don’t know the difference
so you leave as a sale each time they buy a fake product with your brand on it
so how do you deal with these challenges well first you need to create a brand
book just as the name implies the brand book is the complete story of the brand
and all the elements that go into it it establishes strict guidelines on every
aspect of how a company’s brand will be managed this affects everything from how
the logo can be used the look of a website how social media is used
advertising product design and so on second you need to appoint a strong
brand champion someone who is senior enough in your organization to regulate
and monitor brand compliance and stop anyone who violates standards in the
brand book and finally you need a strong legal team either internal or external
that will go after counterfeiters or anyone that hijacks your brand’s for
their own use great branding is about making and keeping promises in a
consistent way that’s why great marketers do whatever they can to
prevent brand chaos you Marketing operates in a world of change
and ambiguity so you have to constantly monitor trends to spot opportunities and
avoid problems now depending on your market this could be one of your biggest
challenges you don’t want to be guilty of missing a key trend that puts your
company out of business trends and your business happen in many areas for
example consumer tastes can change Campbell’s soup for example is looking
at ways to change its legendary long-standing chicken soup recipe
because of perceived changes in consumer taste trends and technology are another
big source of risk and reward you can also be affected by trends in economic
conditions politics regulatory and legislative policies as well as trends
in foreign countries there’s a lot going on out there when I analyze trends I
like to sort them out this way first I decide whether the trend will have a big
impact or a small impact on my company then I assess whether the trend is fast
moving or slow moving when I say fast moving I mean it happens quickly over a
matter of days or months whereas slow moving trends might last 20 years or
more now I wouldn’t say that you should completely ignore low impact trends but
clearly you want to focus on the big ones those are the ones that will get
you in trouble if you ignore them trends that have a big impact and are
fast-moving need immediate attention so assign someone from your team to
study it and make recommendations try to avoid a quick knee-jerk reaction you
might make matters worse get alignment from your peers and your boss before
taking action you don’t want to be guilty of what we call in marketing over
driving your headlights now from my experience the ones that give me the
most concern are the big impact slow moving trends I call these the silent
killers they’re slow moving so there’s no sense of urgency until BAM one day
you’re staring at something that you’ve known about for a long time but you’re
way behind your competitors in dealing with
it not good so how do you keep up with trends you need to set up a way to
monitor what’s going on out there or what I call listening-posts for example
you might want to hire a marketing research firm to watch trends in taste
and attitudes also monitor social media channels to hear the conversations that
consumers are having about you and your competitors one of my favorite
techniques for dealing with trends is to form an advisory panel of experts both
from inside and outside the company their advice can guide you when you need
it most how do you deal with trends once you
spot them well you have to ask yourself a critical question well I let this
trend change what we’re doing or well I go out and change what this trend is
doing in other words you have to decide if you’re a market taker or a market
shaper in reality you’ll have to be a little both you can change some but not
all trends of course you need the resources and skills to do that you need
to decide where to focus to get the most with the resources you have and avoid
trying to change things you can’t for those you’ll just need to adapt and
survive great marketing leaders thrive in a world of ambiguity and change
trend-spotting is what helps them stay on top you a lot of my senior marketing colleagues
would come to me and complain about some of their new staff members they were
frustrated because these new marketers just couldn’t seem to get the right
perspective of the market and translate that back to their day to day actions
it’s a very common problem especially for less experienced marketers but it
can affect just about anyone like everything else we’ve discussed in this
course it’s a big challenge because you’ll miss critical insights if you
don’t have this skill I’ve put a name to this skill I call it zooming out and
zooming in zooming out is when you change your perspective to see the big
picture the whole market from a very wide angle zooming in is just the
opposite you zoom in to a new perspective right on the ground so to
speak very close to the customer and the buying journey think of it like the lens
on a camera the photographer sees a completely
different view of the subject when the lens is changed by zooming closer in or
by zooming far away changing the view triggers new insights on how best to
take that shot you can do the exact same thing when trying to understand a market
here’s an example imagine you work for a pharmaceutical company and you want to
introduce a drug that treats diabetes into the Chinese market now China is a
very big country with around 1.4 billion people it’s almost 20% of the world’s
population should be a great market right so where do you start how do you
get your drug from the plant in the US to the people with diabetes in China
from this perspective it seems overwhelming so let’s change our
perspective and see if it helps let’s zoom down to let’s say one city in China
like Shanghai now it’s a big modern city with about 14 million people but for me
that’s still too big let’s hoon down again to a very small
town in the middle of China with no more than say 50,000 people in fact let’s
zoom into just one neighborhood in that neighborhood
let’s find one home with one person with diabetes let’s say a man in his 50s got
it now let’s ask ourselves the same
question how do we get one dose of our diabetes drug from the plan in the u.s.
into this man’s body now here’s why this helps if you can’t figure out all the
things that have to happen to get the product to just this one customer it’s
hopeless to consider how you would do it for all
of China but if you do figure it out you created a model that can be scaled
up to other customers with this in mind we’re going to zoom out and imagine
other homes in this neighborhood then zoom out to other neighborhoods then to
other towns around the region and so on before long you’re back at the level of
the entire country to see the big picture with each change in perspective
I get the insights I need to create a successful marketing campaign so look at
your markets and train your eye to see new perspectives zoom in and zoom out to
find new ways to grow you a company that retains a high percentage
of its customers must be doing a lot of things right
that’s why retention rate is the best indicator of a company’s long term
viability but keeping customers can be very challenging to succeed you need to
understand how and why your customers buy your products and marketing we do
that by defining four types of purchasing styles the first one is what
we call brand laziness that’s when customers want to exert the
minimal buying effort they don’t want to be bogged down with a lot of information
they just want to buy something now consumers use this style with old
familiar products and services that have worked well in the past so they buy them
out of habit without even thinking about it
they have no commitment to the brand think about for example how you buy
flour this approach is highly efficient for low-risk
simple products because it saves time and effort now the key here is to be
careful not to disrupt anything about your customer’s purchase flow if you
change the Shelf location the packaging or anything that makes them have to
think about too much about the purchase you may lose them to another brand next
is brand loyalty truly brand loyal customers are highly involved with the
bread they’ve had a good experience with it and they know a lot about it instead
of buying it out of habit they buy it because they’re emotionally attached to
it the key here is to continue to deliver high levels of quality and
service consistency is the name of the game if you let them down they start
drifting away next are the variety seekers people who shop for new
alternatives over more familiar ones variety seeking is the opposite of brand
loyalty consumers use this style because they have yet to fall in love with a
particular brand try to get your customers out of the style as quickly as
possible otherwise they’ll keep switching back and forth between you and
the competing brands try to lock them in with free trials follow-up service or
discounts or perhaps a loyalty program and finally
our the problem solvers as the name implies consumers use this style when
dealing with complex products involving a lot of risk and uncertainty they need
to be highly involved and they need to gather a lot of information especially
if the product or service is expensive or purchased and frequently think about
buying a car for example or shopping for a plastic surgeon it takes time and
information to make a good decision now as a marketer you have to help customers
when they’re using this style first provide as much information about the
product as you can make sure it’s where people can find it in your stores or
online or perhaps with your salespeople and show comparisons between your
product and the competition loyalty drives high retention rates the best
marketers are those that understand each type of loyalty so they can continue to
give their customers exactly what they want you

business management 101, business management definition, basics, and best practices


at the heart of any successful
organization you’ll find good managers who are making important decisions every
day managers make sure that projects are completed that work is of the highest
possible quality that employees are motivated and engaged and that policies
and procedures are followed in fact managers do so many things that
management is more a series of key skill sets rather than one specific role good
management is a use of key skills and practices correctly applied at the right
time to help the organization reach its highest potential the good news is that
management skills can be learned and improved throughout this course we’ll
explore specific strategies for honing your management skills well there’s a
range of key management skills and practices they fall into mainly three
areas managing performance managing people and managing the business within
each of these areas are specific competencies throughout the course we’ll
delve into each of the competencies and I’ll cover strategies you can use to
improve your effectiveness as a manager it’s important to understand that
management has come a long way since its initial roots management was conceived
during the Industrial Revolution when factories necessitated organizing
the work of large groups of people early management theories focused on
controlling workers there was an assumption that people inherently
resisted work and needed to be prodded or even forced to do a good job
management occurred by using power over workers through structures like
hierarchy bureaucracy and punishments to create productivity but we’ve come a
long way since the 1800s and over time management has evolved the efforts of
the labor movement and key legal decisions certainly have done a lot to
humanize the workplace making it safer for people both physically and
emotionally and our economies have changed the age of information and
technology has radically transformed what work is and how it’s accomplished
and globalization has redefined where we access our customers suppliers and even
employees many organizations also discovered that how they treated their
employees had an impact companies who treated their employees well saw higher
productivity reduce turnover and even less sick time which translated to huge
cost savings in addition they discovered that happy employees treat customers
and are more creative leading to product innovations this has been driven home by
the modern generations of workers especially Generation X and Millennials
who have come to expect more from their jobs than just a paycheck they vote with
their feet making the costs of recruitment and retention of good
workers a high priority even during economic slumps now I don’t want to
imply that autocratic management is a thing in the past you can still find it
being used especially by older managers and leaders but you’ll find that
organizations that are thriving are doing so because they’ve embraced the
latest revolution in management which is to focus on motivating and engaging
employees and customers alike there are several key areas of management that
have shifted over the years one area is how decisions get made and implemented
organizations are moving away from hierarchy based on Authority and power
and instead tapping into the wisdom and expertise of people at all levels of the
organization this yields better decisions and creases engagement another
area is how activities coordinated across the organization instead of using
bureaucracy and rigid roles organizations are moving to more agile
and nimble models that allow them to make changes quickly in today’s
fast-paced world managers are giving employees more autonomy and independence
the third area is how employee performance is measured rather than
focusing on narrow markers of achievement organizations are focusing
more on competencies that support a wide range of successful outcomes in addition
managers are stepping away from the reward and Punishment model of
motivation and tapping into how people are intrinsically motivated this yields
increased productivity and engagement what does this all mean for you well it
means that your success can be enhanced by learning and implementing modern
management strategies knowing how to better manage performance people and the
business will pay off for you in numerous ways as you become known as a
great manager you’ll also reap direct benefits in your career as you’re tapped
for future opportunities and leadership throughout your day you’re probably
going back and forth between managing and leading in today’s modern
organizations leadership and management are closely intertwined because almost
all people who manage others and projects or functions also have to
provide leadership to their people in the organization let’s explore the
important distinctions between them the primary goal of leadership is to produce
change and growth the work of a leader is to envision a better tomorrow and
design the change that will get the organization from here to there the
primary goal of management is to produce order and consistency the work of the
manager is to create a stable work environment that’s clear and consistent
so that employees can be as productive as possible needless to say there’s some
natural tensions between management and leadership think about your day to day
work over the past two weeks and identify when you’re managing and when
you’re leading here are some key things to look for 1 the first distinction is
about approach managing is tactical and hands-on while leading a strategic and
visionary this is because the timeframe is different number 2
managing occurs in the here-and-now you’re looking at the short-term and
mid-range goals that ensure success of the organization today contrast that
with leading where the focus is on the future and setting strategy and change
to create the organization of tomorrow 3 another difference is that the focus
shifts for management the focus is narrow and internal whereas the leaders
view is broad and external including other functions industry market and
national and global affairs number for managing relies on current resources and
structures while leading designs new ones for the future number 5 for
managing the task goals are directing the daily work of employees to achieve
currently identified goals whereas leading requires planning for
the future setting a long-term vision and strategy to bring about the change
finally number 6 the people skills differ as well both managing and lead
and rely on emotional intelligence but managing is more tactical like
conducting one-on-one meetings delegating tasks and coaching employees
to improved performance leading is about building the culture to maximize
engagement inspiring various stakeholders with the compelling vision
fostering collaboration and cultivating the next generation of leaders all of
this is in service to achieving the future potential of the organization by
maximizing the most important asset its talented people as a manager you’ll play a few different
roles as I go through the five primary roles think about how you play them over
the course of your work week the first is producer you must produce
the desired results and achieve the organization’s goals through projects
and tasks second is administrator you must
administer systems policies and procedures so that the organization runs
efficiently third is innovator in order to enact
change that serves the organization’s future you’ll need to be creative and
innovative solutions fourth is mediator not only when you
need to help your employees work through conflict
you’ll also mediate any tensions between the employees needs and the
organization’s and fifth is culture builder you must build a work
environment and culture that values its members and supports the organization’s
goals each role requires different skill sets and you may be better at some than
others you want to play to your strengths and develop the areas and what
you still need to grow also think about how you can utilize the strengths of
your people to balance you it also happens that these roles can actually be
in conflict with each other for example administering a policy might actually
limit innovation or an acting change might threaten the current culture part
of being a manager is knowing how to balance these roles and also when to
prioritize one over another this can be confusing because there’s actually two
primary perspectives to consider one is the employees perspective which focuses
on the experience of the people under the manager this is the one we’re almost
familiar with because we’ve all been under manager at some point in our
careers the other is the organization’s perspective which focuses on the
effective completion of work that drives the organization success
every manager must find a way to live at the intersection of these two different
and sometimes competing perspectives let’s take a deeper look I’m going to
start with the organization’s perspective because it really does come
first everyone is employed to help the
organization accomplish its goals it’s also true that the organization’s
perspective is what is driven management style since the 1800s
the organization’s perspective includes several key questions like are the
assigned projects and tasks completed does the work get completed on time and
within the allotted budget is the level of work quality
sufficient to accomplish the goals is the organization protected from lawsuits
by compliance with state and federal laws and regulations does any innovation
occur that enhances the organization’s success does the manager hire and
develop employees who make positive contributions to the organization over
time from this list it becomes obvious that from the organization’s perspective
key management skills include project management time management resource
management communication decision-making people skills and performance management
now let’s switch to the employees perspective the people who report to a
manager have several key questions like are my tasks and responsibilities made
clear am i given the training guidance and resources to complete the tasks are
my skill sets effectively used and am i given opportunities to grow am i treated
fairly and with respect can I see that my contributions make a difference and
are they measured accurately and is my worth accurately assess and valued is
there a clear career path for me to advance and grow and from the employees
perspective key management skills include communication people skills
performance management training and coaching and fairness or ethics there is
overlap the employee interaction is in service of the organization’s goals and
the organization provides meaningful work and fair compensation to the
employee to be a successful manager you’ll need to find a way to artfully
navigate the inherent tensions and opportunities that live between the
needs of your employees and the goals of your organization management styles are the patterns of
behavior people use when they hold management positions these patterns of
behavior include how they communicate make decisions supervise and motivate
there’s a range of management styles and all are a blend of three key behaviors
task Direction decision-making and relationship building task Direction is
when the manager tells the employee what to do as well as when where and how this
may involve teaching and training as well as directives and instructions
decision-making is the extent which the manager involves employees in the
decision making process this exists on a continuum at one end employees have no
involvement at all and at the other end the manager delegates decision-making
completely to the employees relationship building is how the manager forms a
relationship with each employee as well as creates the work environment or
culture for the team as a whole it includes coaching motivating and
engaging employees open communication and respect let me walk through the most
common management styles I’ve coined the first style the director this manager
wants to be in charge so controls all aspects of decision-making they provide
a lot of task direction and are often seen as micro managers directors don’t
engage much in relationship building although they can be cordial
a hallmark phrases do what I say this autocratic style is appropriate when
employees have very low levels of skill or initiative or when the organization
is in a crisis and needs immediate change however the director ultimately
does harm to the organization because employees are not motivated and don’t
get opportunities to develop the second style is the consultant this manager
still maintains control of decision-making but knows that
relationship building is important so it consults with employees to gain their
input employees can feel more engaged with style
if the consulting is genuine Consultants still provide task direction but allow
low levels of autonomy the phrase for this style is I value your input this
style works well with employees who are growing in their skills or confidence
but not yet to the level where they can handle complex tasks on their own third
you have the consensus builder who manages democratically this manager
genuinely seeks input and feedback from all
they focus on what’s best for the group as a whole so often make decisions based
on majority preference or consensus the phrase here is what do you think the
downside of the style is that they may take too much time seeking input or
ignoring the best decision in favor of the choice that has the most support
fourth you have the coach this manager focuses on creating a highly productive
and motivated staff they provide both training as well as encouragement to
grow they often create a fun and positive work environment with lots of
team-building and social activities the hallmark phrases how can I support you
this style is great for mid to high performers but coaches can stumble if
they have poor performers or difficult employees who don’t respond to their
encouragement the fifth style is the visionary this manager has an exciting
vision and they’re good at inspiring or persuading others to get on board often
they’re great at strategic thinking but not so good with tactical skills this
manager is exemplified by the phrase follow me to thrive under this style
employees need to be independent because they have to figure out the day-to-day
work for themselves the delegator is the sixth style this manager uses a very
hands-off or laissez-faire approach to management they turn over almost
complete control to their team stepping in only when necessary
this style only works well with high-performing employees the phrase
here is you’ve got this delegate errs have to remember that while they may be
able to hand over tasks performance and decision-making they must continue to
build relationships the last style is called the narcissist and it’s actually
the most harmful style with very few redeeming qualities the narcissist
maintains control by providing a lot of tasks direction and no decision-making
the engage in relationship building but only to garner favors or support
abruptly dropping people when it no longer suits their needs this person is
very self-centered but they can still be likeable often even charming but they
rule with an iron fist using punishments from firing – petty
retaliations to keep people in line people under them are in fear so they
cannot speak up or seek help often once this person leaves or is let go a whole
series of shocking information comes to the surface
to know if you have this most toxic kind of boss look for high turnover or a boss
that takes all the credit for their team successes and blames their team for any
failures as you review these Styles think about which Styles you’ve
experienced as an employee what impacted the styles have on your productivity
motivation and loyalty to the organization also consider which style
is most like you we all tend to have a favorite or a natural style that we use
the most so which style should you choose well it
all depends on your situation with the exception of the narcissist all of the
Styles can be useful in certain contexts while no one individual style is good or
bad a management style can be a good or poor fit for the situation which
determines its effectiveness let’s start with your natural style of management
which of the Styles is most like you if you’re not sure ask friends and
colleagues for their feedback it’s important to know which style you
default to because that’s what you’re likely to do under stress ultimately
your natural style may be the fit for some of your employees and they will
thrive under you but if you want your entire team to thrive you must be
willing to become versed in all of the styles it’s the managers responsibility
to be the chameleon and change your style to suit the situation by picking
the best style for the situation you’ll maximize the productivity and engagement
of your people to determine which style to use first assess the skills and
attitudes of each of your employees consider their job description and
identify the skills or competencies they need to be successful meet their current
competence in those skills also look at their attitudes are they enthusiastic
and motivated cautious or nervous or even disengaged in bored look at how
they get along as a group are they cohesive and friendly or is there a lot
of tension or conflict now you apply combinations of tasks Direction
relationship building and decision making to bring out their best with
employees who are newer and skilled use high amounts of tasks direction and
relationship building this will help them learn what they need to do the job
as well as start building a positive connection between you you’d want to use
the director and consultant Styles over time as you see evidence that your
employees are becoming more skilled and confident you’ll throttle back on tasks
direction as needed and maintain relationship building also now add some
decision-making to push their growth and development now you don’t just hand over
a big decision to them but first start involving them in discussions about
decision making begin by seeking their input and sharing what you’re doing and
why as they get the hang of it then you can let them make some low-risk
decisions this is when you might want to use the consensus builder and coach
styles continue to build relationships as you push their
skill development with more and more opportunities for decision-making
once your employees are highly skilled you can delegate a lot of things to them
at this point you’re providing very little task direction and even then it’s
rare you’re also giving them a lot of autonomy with decision-making increasing
the complexity of projects to keep them challenged and engaged you can also dial
down the relationship building as you should have a strong foundation of trust
and respect to stand on however be careful that you don’t stop relationship
building altogether even your top performers still need encouragement and
acknowledgement you’ll find that the visionary and delegator Styles work well
for you here especially because as your team grows you can manage them less and
less allowing you to turn your focus toward leadership and strategy if you
want a great book to guide you through the many challenges of management I
highly encourage you to read the book leading at a higher level by Ken
Blanchard it’s one of my all-time favorite books and a must read for
managers let me leave you with one more tip think of yourself as a habit changer
seriously current developments in neuroscience have revealed new and
exciting information about how humans form habits habits shape everything we
do from our professional to our personal lives every day we engage in habit loops
that have been well built over time and in many cases are quite grooved both
behaviorally and neurologically think about your own day habit is behind your
commute to the office how you behave in meetings and even how you answer your
phone when we do behaviors over and over again they become grooved and even
develop thicker neurological pathways in fact research has shown that it takes
about 40 repetitions of a behavior before it becomes grooved as a habit and
66 shows measurable thickening of the pathways what does this have to do with
management well first as a manager you have your own habits your default
management style is one of them it’s well grooved if you want to help
yourself become better at the other styles you have to practice them so they
become habits too in addition managing people is largely about helping them
form new habits or better ones as you give them tasks direction or
opportunities to make decisions you’re actually helping them develop new habits
for working effective managers are patient and
people time to learn and grow knowing that after about 40 repetitions of any
new behavior habits get formed so play with the six styles using them based on
what’s the best fit for the situation you may even use one style with one
employee and a different style with another ultimately your goal is to bring
out the best in your people and the right choice of management style is how
you accomplish this I believe that managing performance is
at the heart of the manager’s role so I’ve put the section first because it
will frame the rest of the material in this course we’re first going to explore
what performance management is and then I’ll share some strategies you can use
with your employees performance management is the entire series of
practices policies and procedures that guide and support an employee successful
completion of their work ultimately you’re managing people and completing
work that’s necessary to your organization’s success all of this is
done within the structure of the performance management process you use
and I’m not just talking about the software or system you use for
completing annual reviews although that’s certainly part of it this means
that effective performance management includes and aligns many different
aspects such as the organization’s goals and objectives the organizational values
and culture job descriptions competencies assessment of employee
performance process for developing and motivating employees compensation like
salary and bonuses and making employment decisions such as promotion and
termination ideally all these elements should align to create a cohesive system
that’s clear to all involved and it should provide you the manager with
clear strategies and practices to use during your interactions with your
employees from one-on-one discussions to project meetings to formal annual
reviews no matter your organization’s size or industry today’s work
environment is dramatically different than it was a few years ago more work
straddles multiple departments or customer bases this in turn requires
more collaboration which then necessitates better communication and
more employees are now working remotely or with colleagues and other states or
countries because of the changing nature of today’s business environment many
organizations are realizing the need to revise their performance management
systems so you’ll likely experience a range of models and systems over the
course of your career as a manager you’ll need to utilize the current
system in place at your organization but I think it’s always a good idea for you
to stay informed about best practices and performance management because it
can guide how you implement your system or even how you advocate for
needed change some of my favorite sources of information are the Human
Resources Leadership Council the Society for Human Resource Management Harvard
Business Review and Burson by Deloitte to be an effective manager I recommend
that you use the following strategies first become informed about your
organization’s process for performance management and do so as early as you can
if they offer training attend it right away many managers wait until they must
complete an annual review but that’s actually 12 months too late
performance management is something you should be doing every week with all of
your employees if they don’t offer a training or if you still have questions
make an appointment with the appropriate person in HR ultimately the performance
process offers legal protection to both employees and the organization the
manager is the person responsible for implementing it appropriately and
accurately no pressure or anything second create your own method for
organizing key information consider how you’ll track and measure each employees
progress throughout the year perhaps design your own forum for one-on-one
meetings or agendas for team meetings that helps you align the day-to-day work
with performance management be sure to explore the features that an online
system might offer you or other online tools that can help you third be
transparent with your employees share with them all you can about the process
discuss how and when their performance will be assessed how you’ll support them
in being successful and how it relates to compensation and career opportunities
no employees should ever be surprised during their annual review I recommend
doing this in a group setting so that everyone hears the same thing at the
same time it not only saves you from repeating yourself it also helps the
team know that they’re all held to the same process and standards in the rest
of this chapter we’re going to look at more parts of the performance management
process and how you can use various tools to maximize your success as a
manager true or false your role is someone’s
manager starts their first day of work actually it’s false it begins the minute
you post a position for hire the part that says reports – identifies you as
their supervisor and the person who’s responsible for the performance
management process the Job Description outlines important aspects of their
duties and responsibilities and usually includes other key elements of the
performance process such as expected quotations and compensation and it’s
likely that you’ll ultimately participate in interviewing the top
candidates assessing their skills and abilities which will lead to a hiring
decision and a formal offer of employment hiring and onboarding your
employees is the beginning of your professional relationship and you want
to start off strong let’s look at how first make sure you use best practices
and hiring ultimately you want to hire the right person for the job
someone who has the skills to be successful and will grow from the
opportunity the hiring process should be designed to help you assess key aspects
of each candidate’s competence as well as how they’ll contribute to the daily
work environment of your team second follow established procedures and
practices if you have an HR department they’ll like the guide and oversee some
aspects of the hiring process so be sure you attend any training available to you
employee laws have gotten very complex over the years and your colleagues in HR
work hard to help you and other managers be successful but you have to listen to
their guidance one inappropriate question during an interview like are
you married not only opens your organization up to a lawsuit but it can
often cost you a good candidate who might question your competency since you
didn’t know better third put in the time and energy to lead a great hiring
process hiring is a two-way street you’re evaluating the candidate but the
candidate is also seeing if they want to work for your organization
and specifically you take this process seriously I know that you might be busy
but don’t make the mistakes that many managers do which is to treat interviews
as an interruption in their day schedule time to review applications create
thoughtful questions and assess the candidates make sure you come to the
meeting with an attitude of respect and openness after all first
impressions matter on both sides of the desk the hiring process takes time and
energy but consider it an investment in building a great team the more care and
thought you put into the hiring process the more it will pay off down the road
in productive employees and collaborative teams now let’s turn our focus to onboarding
this is the new employees formal introduction and orientation to your
organization and your team it’s the process of getting new hires adjusted to
the performance and social aspects of their jobs quickly and smoothly the
benefits of onboarding include increased job satisfaction increased performance
and decrease turnover onboarding can occur through a range of tools including
online and paper documents such as websites and handbooks videos and
in-person meetings onboarding can range from a couple of hours to a couple of
weeks or even months depending on the needs of your organization and the
complexity of various roles again there are best practices in onboarding first
employees should be on-boarded to three connected but distinct things the
organization the department and their job you’ll want to make sure you address
all three another best practice is to focus on boarding on what is known as
the four C’s compliance which are the laws and policies that must be adhered
to clarification about job duties and expectations culture which includes the
stated and assumed values goals and norms of the organization and connection
which are the interpersonal relationships and networks vital to
their success by using these best practices and onboarding you’ll not only
be setting up your employees for success but also begin building a positive work
relationship between you a vital part of any performance
management process is setting goals and tracking progress towards accomplishing
them let’s first talk about choices you have with a performance management
system one best practice and performance management is to have the system
organized around cascading goals at the top they begin with the organization’s
goals or objectives and then waterfall down to the department goals followed by
team and employee goals this allows each person’s individual task performance and
each team’s performance to be measured against how it contributes to the
organization’s success another option is to have two tracks one that focuses on
task performance and one that focuses on career or professional development tasks
performance is about the actions behaviors and competencies needed to
complete the task goal set for the year these are directly tied to the employees
current position and job description and they’re not just to-do lists either they
can include key people skills like communication and collaboration as well
as other competencies needed to do their job effectively these discussions hi
directly to the annual review process career and professional development is
about helping the employee move up to other positions or opportunities in the
future this may include preparing the person for management roles or helping
them develop new skills that position them for parallel careers one of the key
ways to motivate and engage your people is to support their professional
development many organizations build these discussions into the performance
process although they’re separated from the annual review process and
compensation decisions no matter how your performance management process is
organized you’ll use goal-setting as a way to focus and direct actions and
behaviors let’s look at some strategies you can use as a manager to help your
employees with goal-setting first I recommend using the SMART goal
technique where each goal has the following five qualities its specific
meaning that you get clear about the details of who what where and how its
measureable meaning that there’s a clear way to see progress
it’s action-oriented meaning that the employee has the ability to do something
as opposed to it being in someone else’s hands
it’s realistic meaning that it can be accomplished with the time and resources
available and finally it’s timely meaning that it has a clearly stated
deadline possibly with smaller milestones leading up to that deadline
using the smart gold technique will help you and your employee clearly identify
measurable behaviors that will make it so much easier for you to track progress
you can also break the larger goal into smaller steps aplomb the smart technique
to each one this allows you to take a larger goal and see how it should move
along over weeks or even months second Institute quarterly progress
checks one of the mistakes that managers and employees often make is to set goals
at the beginning of the year and only assess them when it’s time to do the
annual review this not only makes the review process difficult as you wade
back through 12 months it also eliminates the opportunity to make
course corrections if you use the SMART goal technique you should be able to map
goals across time shorter milestones should build to the completion of the
goal when you check in every quarter it gives you and the employee the
opportunity to see which goals are on track and which may be falling behind
then you can strategize solutions for getting back on track
before it’s too late to fix it third when progress stalls identify and remove
the obstacles it’s very likely that progress was stall for each of your
employees in some way when that happens it’s important to take a closer look at
what’s happening because if it won’t do much good if you set a new deadline
without addressing the source of the roadblock for example if your employee
has too much on their plate or competing priorities just putting this goal back
on their plate will likely lead to another missed milestone down the road
or perhaps the employee needs something to accomplish the goal such as
information or authority or training you need to provide it if you want to see
progress or it could even be emotional in nature when people procrastinate it’s
often because there’s something about the task that’s not compelling or
motivating you may need to help your employees or what’s underneath their
resistance so you can address it as a manager you’ll often find that
supporting your employees in achieving their goals
awesome choirs some coaching skills on your part I certainly have we’re going
to cover that in the next video in the meantime can
how you can utilize these strategies to help your employee set and achieve both
their performance and professional development goals as a manager I have found that coaching
is one of my primary tools for helping employees be at their best however
there’s a lot of confusion about what employee coaching is and how it works
that’s because there’s actually different styles of coaching and
different types of coaching conversations that you can use in a
professional setting so let’s clear that up coaching has evolved from two
important but very different fields and this essentially creates two primary
styles of coaching the first is skill coaching where the coaches expertise is
in the skill and they teach that skill to another person this mode evolved from
athletic coaching where the coach is someone who has extensive experience
with a skill say baseball or swimming and then coaches another on how to
improve that skill it’s a model based on teaching observation and offering advice
tips and strategies it’s intentionally directive and it’s what we naturally
default to as managers the benefits of skill coaching is that it’s often faster
and easier to direct people and it offers the manager a lot of control
about how work is completed the second style is clarity coaching the coach’s
expertise is in the clarity process and they facilitate the other person and
accessing their own answers this mode evolved from the field of life coaching
where the coach is trained in formal coaching skills the coach facilitates
the other person and becoming clear about an issue and uses powerful
questions to help them tap into their own knowledge and expertise the coach
then supports the person’s progress with action plans and accountability this
style is intentionally non-directive and the coach must be well-versed in the
techniques of clarity coaching there are three primary benefits of clarity
coaching one it’s a process that’s proven to motivate and engage employees
to behavior change is more likely to stick when they arrive at it on their
own because they become more invested and accountable and three over time you
build employee confidence because they’re more likely to initiate solving
their own problems in the future obviously these two styles can be at
odds with each other yet both are very powerful tools for employ coaching it
becomes a question of which to use when generally you want to use skill coaching
with new employees who need a lot of agents or employees who are new to a
complex task but as your employees grow and develop you’ll want to shift more
and more often to clarity coaching now let’s look at the four types of coaching
conversations people can have in a professional setting the first is
problem solving this is when the employees have hit a roadblock with a
project or situation and they need help thinking through the issue and possible
solutions second is performance this is used when employees need to improve or
develop a professional skill to do their current job well
third is development this is used with a high-performing employee and is about
preparing them for the next level of skill or responsibility finally there’s
Career Planning this is used to help an employee identify their long-term career
goals and plan for achieving them as a manager you should be having all four
types of conversations with your employees in all of these conversations
skill coaching might take less time but if you want to build the competence and
motivation of your employees you need to be using clarity coaching more and more
of the time like any skill clarity coaching will get easier if you keep
practicing it I’m a big fan of creating a coaching culture in an organization
many studies have been done on the benefits with the return on investment
paying off in increased productivity employee engagement and the
effectiveness of leaders you’ll find that employees are most happy with and
loyal to managers who use clarity coaching because they feel valued heard
and empowered so develop your skills today and start reaping the many
benefits that coaching your employees will bring giving performance feedback can be an
entire course on its own ideally your organization’s performance management
process clearly outlines how performance issues are handled if so then you would
implement that process as instructed obviously there are legal implications
for performance discussions so I strongly encourage you to consult with
your HR and legal professionals they’re there to help you navigate these
situations successfully so take advantage of their guidance performance
problems very rarely just develop overnight they usually build from small
situations part of your role as a manager is to address issues early so
that they don’t become a problem let’s look at how you do that
first start off with clarity at the moment someone becomes your direct
report you should have a discussion about these key items the main elements
of their performance this would be an overview of their job duties how you’ll
measure that performance talk about what data or markers you’ll use to measure
their success and at what intervals how and when you’ll communicate both praise
and problems this might include formal reviews and
informal meetings and the performance improvement process discuss how and when
an employee will learn that they need to improve and how long they’ll have to do
so if employees are out we’ll talk about what that means – honestly if every
manager had this conversation with their employees you let go a long way to
solving things second honor the plan you have to meet the standard you create as
the manager it’s your responsibility to drive the process for performance
feedback and reviews so provide feedback when you said you would using the
measures of progress that you are already outlined third address concerns
immediately if you’re even wondering a little about an employee’s performance
it’s time to speak up it’s far better to address things early because that’s when
you have the greatest chance to make things change
since you’re addressing things early you’ll use language like lately I’ve
noticed that or I’m wondering if we’ve had a miscommunication because you don’t
want to make any assumptions about your employees behavior but you do want to
bring up your questions and concerns ask them for their perspective – you may
discover something important like the need for some training or even a lack of
clarity on your part your goal here is to help them improve they meaning some
coaching or more direct guidance from you to get going in the right direction
be sure you wrap up with a clear understanding of what needs to change
and by when you really want to ground the conversation with a clear action
plan you cannot be too specific about what actions or behaviors you need to
see occur and when you expect them to be done and of course it’s always a good
idea to keep a file with your notes fourth stay on top of issues until
they’re resolved the employee will either respond to your feedback or they
won’t the vast majority will get things back
on track if they course-correct quickly be sure you acknowledge their efforts
that’s a really important part of the process but for a handful they’ll still
be going astray at this point have another meeting to discuss your new
observations and you’re concerned that they did not make the grade upon changes
the tone of this meeting should be more serious arrive at a new agreement with
clear goals and timelines if they shift praise their efforts sometimes issues
continue to arise when that happens clearly mark that they’re moving into
problem territory the biggest mistake that managers make is assuming that
their employee knows when they’re in trouble it doesn’t matter how many times
you’ve talked with them they won’t know until you say the words something like
this is becoming a problem you need to address this or you’ll experience the
following consequences and then spell those out tell them if it’s going to
affect their performance review rays or ability to stay with the company it’s
better to shock them into action with firmness then wait too long when they
can’t recover if you’re clear and strong you’ll know for sure that you gave them
every opportunity to fix it in the case that they don’t you’ll be more at peace
if you have to let them go also when things move into problem
territory get support work with someone in HR to ensure that you’re taking all
of the appropriate actions there are often very specific stipulations you
need to meet in terms of communication and documentation ultimately the goal of
giving performance feedback is to help people be their best it’s part of
maximizing their potential and guiding their professional development your job
is to give them clear information and the opportunity to do their best the
rest is up to them letting people go is one of the hardest
parts of being manager in all my years of professional work I don’t know anyone
who’s ever enjoyed the process but making tough decisions is part of your
role as a manager so at some point in your career you’ll have to do this let’s
make sure you’re prepared the first thing to know is that ending someone’s
employment can take a few different forms each has its own complexities and
is governed by different rules policies and even laws there are also different
employee statuses that affect the process to an employee’s exempt status
or membership in a represented labour group all play a role as do local state
and federal laws sound confusing it is this is why your first strategy is
always to involve HR and legal professionals early I cannot emphasize
this enough there are often very specific requirements around
documentation and communication with your word choices and actions having a
greater impact than you may realize so always seek guidance and support as
early in the process as possible let’s talk about different types of ending
employment which you’ll also hear referred to as terminations or work
separations the first general type of termination is voluntary the person
leaves of their own will so this really doesn’t involve you letting them go but
as a manager there’s still policies and procedures that govern voluntary
termination such as their resignation or retirement from the position in addition
to ending their employment status there are other ramifications for benefits the
transfer files and records etc there’s also something called termination by
mutual agreement this includes things like the ending of a contract employees
agreement forced resignation and job abandonment the second general type of
termination is involuntary the person is not choosing to leave but the
termination is forced upon them again that can be many different reasons some
common examples include layoffs where positions are eliminated in order to
reduce the size of the workforce this is also known as termination without
prejudice because it was not a function of the employees performance in this
case employees are eligible to be rehired in the future being fired is
where the employee is being let go for a specific reason usually related to
performance or some egregious violation of
or legal policies this is also known as termination with prejudice or
termination for cause and the person is not eligible for rehire and then you
have situations where the employee was wrongfully terminated because the
manager and/or the organization violated laws or policies governing work
separation these can often lead to expensive lawsuits finally the third
type of termination is due to death obviously this doesn’t neatly fit in
either of the previous categories so legally it has its own and is governed
by laws policies and procedures that involve the survivors and beneficiaries
of the deceased employee if you’re feeling overwhelmed at this point it’s
normal I do to labor laws are complex and also ever-changing as a manager
you’re not expected to know and remember all the details but you are expected to
know that terminating employees has important and legal ramifications for
both the interests of the employee and the organization you’re in the middle
and that’s why you don’t want to take any action without the guidance and
support of HR and legal professionals luckily they’re well versed in all the
current information it can not only guide you but may actually lead and
conduct aspects of the process as well ultimately when an employee is
terminated you will be involved in some way often there’s a face-to-face meeting
that occurs that you will at least participate in if not lead while it may
be challenging you can prepare yourself by taking these simple steps first be
prepared review the process and be clear about what you need to do and say take
notes and ask questions it’s your responsibility to make sure that you
know what you’re doing second practice role-playing the conversation can be
really helpful and making you more confident for the meeting oftentimes the
folks in HR can help you do this be sure to roleplay the situations that worry
you to like the other person crying or becoming hostile you want to know that
you can handle anything third connect with your compassion
sometimes all the formality of this process can make us feel like we can’t
be compassionate you probably really care about your employee even if they
have been difficult it’s normal that you may feel sadness or regret that things
didn’t work out better and you may even worry about this
person’s future and wish the best for them it’s true that you may or may not
be able to say certain things but you can still arrive at the meeting with
compassion in your heart and the commitment to treat them with care and
respect remember people thrive in different
environments we all know folks who’ve been fired to come on and find the right
fit somewhere else ultimately letting people go is never
easy but it is your role as a manager to make the process go as smoothly as
possible for the employee and the organization in today’s collaborative work
environments more and more work is being done in teams as a result an important
aspect of performance management includes team performance ultimately you
need to find a way to assess and measure how collaborative work reflects on each
individual employees performance as well as the group as a whole a team is
different from a group of individuals who may form a department or a
cross-functional group specifically to be a team the group must have the
following four qualities number one a common purpose this would be the clear
goal there to achieve number two their efforts must be interdependent otherwise
it’s just coordinated efforts of individual contributors and that’s not a
team number three they must share accountability everyone is held
responsible for the group success or failure and number four the members must
believe that the outcome will be better working together than alone managing a
high-performing team takes effort so plan to spend some time energy on
implementing these strategies this will also help you address the most common
reasons teams fail which are unclear purpose or goals lack of clear plan or
commitment to the plan inability to deal with conflict lack of shared
accountability for results insufficient resources and lack of trust you so you’ve been promoted to manager
congratulations this is a great opportunity and if you’re like most
people you’re simultaneously excited and nervous I know I was we’ve all
experienced bad bosses and I’m sure you want to do a good job and be someone
your employees trust and respect in fact that should be your goal to build a
relationship with them based on trust and respect in this chapter we’ll cover
ways you can do that but first let’s talk about how you transition from being
a peer to a manager if you’re coming in from the outside and haven’t worked
alongside your reports it can be easier because you don’t have a previous
relationship with them you come into a role of authority while they don’t know
you they also don’t have any preconceived notions about you however
you’ll have more work to do to help them get to know you and trust you
if you’ve been promoted to supervise your colleagues they do know you which
means they have some beliefs about who you are and how you’ll manage these may
or may not be accurate so you may need to overcome not only their assumptions
but your own whether you’re promoted from within or hired from the outside
the following strategy should guide your actions the first few weeks and months
first how patience with their nervousness
you probably remember having a new boss yourself because we’ve all lived with
poor managers people are somewhat anxious to see what kind of manager
you’re going to be this means that they’ll simultaneously be putting on
their best behavior for you and also guarded about what they share with you
they’ll also be trying to bend your ear about their priorities and concerns
that’s good you want to learn all you can so listen just don’t promise
anything early on until you’ve really had time to assess everything this is a
great time to focus on getting to know your people your second strategy one of
the best things any new manager can do is to make a point of meeting with each
of your people to learn more about them here are some key questions to ask tell
me about your role I’d like to hear your perspective on what your priorities are
and the challenges that you face how can I support you and being successful how
do you like to be supervised and what motivates and engages you at work and by
thanking them for the information at this point don’t make any promises about
what Miller won’t do it’s too early to commit
to anything I also think it’s a good idea to meet with your colleagues and
other departments and also those above you ask them the first two questions
you’ll learn a lot this is all part of the third strategy which is to take time
and gather information this is certainly important if you’re new to the
organization but it’s even more so if you’re already working there and here’s
why as you move up you gain a whole new perspective about things you’ll be privy
to all kinds of information that you didn’t have before you’ll learn more
about the people above you the organization’s goals and challenges as
well as confidential information about the budget and personnel files trust me
when you move up it’s a whole new world so you want to take time to learn all
that you can before you make any big decisions or implement new ideas while
you may be brimming with them it’s in your best interest to slow down and
thoroughly explore the real lay of the land fourth be transparent with your
values and philosophy while you may be waiting to design and implement changes
you can use this time to share your values and management philosophy this is
how you start building trust and establishing your integrity your
employers are nervous and they want to need to know who you’re going to be
fifth take time to craft your overall strategy once you’ve gathered
information you want to think about how you can address and resolve some of the
challenges while also maximizing strengths and opportunities and this all
needs to work within the structures and resources you have by crafting your
overall plan it will help you map out how you’ll make changes over time in
addition it will be the North Star that will guide your decision-making in all
kinds of situations finally pace yourself I know you may be
chomping at the bit to get started but if you rush too quickly you may
accidentally damage the relationships you’re trying to build your
effectiveness as a manager is completely dependent on your ability to build
positive working relationships with people all over your organization so
focus on that first and the rest will follow establishing trust is an ongoing
practice something you do every day in your words and actions as a manager your
success is dependent on creating an environment where you’re seen as
trustworthy not only by your direct reports but also your supervisors and
your peers so how do you build trust let’s look at the key practices first
have integrity with your words and actions this means that you do what you
said you would you follow through meet deadlines and keep your promises this is
not occasionally but all the time in the rare instances where you cannot deliver
you take responsibility explain why and even apologize when appropriate second
share your values people have to know what you stand for in order to assess if
you have integrity or not study after study shows people assess
trustworthiness based on how well you live in alignment with your values they
can do this faster if they know what your values are interestingly they don’t
have to like or approve your values for you to establish trust third make
ethical choices ethics are another important aspect of integrity how they
differ is that each culture or society has its own laws and norms that
determine what’s considered ethical within that context acting ethically is
about being in alignment with the agreed-upon standards of that community
certainly the workplace has some agreed-upon standards like not
discriminating against people sometimes an industry has a code of ethics like
medicines Hippocratic oath of do no harm and many organizations have their own
code of ethics so they outline and shared values or specific policies and
practices forth sincerely listen to others when you
listen to others without judgment it makes it easier for them to open up in
the future you want to be a place where people can bring their honest concerns
needs priorities and hopes and know that you’ll listen this doesn’t mean that you
have to give them everything they want in fact you often won’t be able to but
if you listen and respond with respect you’ll build trust with every
conversation fifth be accountable for your actions part of managing is taking
risks and making decisions sometimes you’ll be successful and sometimes you
won’t if you blame others or make excuses you’ll damage trust and if
you take credit for other people’s work you harm trust too so be accountable for
your actions both good and bad admit your mistakes and be proud of your wins
6th be honest in your communication your word has to mean something this is not
only following through on promises but also that you can be honest about
anything sometimes honesty is hard it means that you offer realistic
assessments frank critiques and clear opinions that can be challenging if you
know the other person won’t like what you have to say or may be hurt by it but
Trust has also built on people knowing that you’ll be honest find ways to
communicate honestly and clearly but also with kindness and empathy it will
make it easier for them to hear what you have to say vii respond to feedback
you’ll be the recipient of feedback and how you handle it is part of building
trust if you get defensive or shoot the messenger
you’re gonna harm trust as a manager you have power in the relationship so you
need to intentionally seek feedback and then make changes
remember people leave a boss not a company before they leave they’ll try
once or twice to give you feedback if you don’t change they’ll start
disengaging as they get ready to leave so take feedback very seriously in fact
intentionally seek it out don’t just wait for people to bring you feedback or
complaints actively seek out their opinions both good and bad about how
things are going and reward honesty when someone has the courage to tell you
challenging news sincerely thank them they’ve actually shown you a great sign
of respect this is all part of making it safe to take risks the last and most
important practice one of the worst things that can happen in work setting
is if there’s a culture of fear when people are afraid they’re obviously not
in trust and even worse you’ve shut down the pathway to creativity and innovation
something that all organizations need to be successful as a manager you need to
create a culture where it’s safe to take risks be open to hearing feedback or
ideas that are different from yours also don’t allow your employees to treat each
other poorly and don’t tolerate behavior that undermines safety for anyone in the
organization be clear about how Harmons issues are handled people feel
safer if they trust that the process will be fair if you consistently focus
on building trusts you’ll be able to do so but the work doesn’t stop there while
it takes time to build trust it can be destroyed overnight one violation on
your part can undo months of hard work so make establishing trust one of your
top and ongoing priorities it should be built on a set of these practices that
you use every day as a manager you have a responsibility
to build others up obviously there’s a business case for doing so helping
others achieve their potential yields all kinds of measurable outcomes that
affect the bottom line like productivity innovation and customer satisfaction I
think it’s important to remember that building others up also reflects well on
you one sign that top executives look for is whose team is thriving and
excelling they know that this indicates a manager that has high potential for
future opportunities as a manager you want to intentionally motivate and
engage your team recent research has clearly demonstrated key factors that
inspire people let’s first look at motivation studies in psychology and
human potential show us that all humans are motivated by three driving forces in
ranking order first need for physical survival and safety this includes the
most basic necessities from air food and water to our more modern versions of
being able to buy a home afford health care and have job security when this
level is tended to we can focus more energy on the second level which is the
need to belong this includes our social needs of having friends and loved ones
and being able to spend quality time with them in addition this level
includes our sense of achievement and competence in professional settings when
this level is tended to we can then focus on the highest level which is the
need to achieve our full potential humans are drawn to becoming the best
they can be this not only includes personal excellence but also expressing
and appreciating creativity as well as making a difference in the lives of
others in fact compelling research has shown that when the other levels are met
humans are most motivated by having autonomy developing mastery and
contributing to a meaningful purpose now let’s look at engagement engagement is
the level of positive attachment employees feel toward their job and
organization which serves as profound motivator for productivity and growth
studies show that the top causes of employee disengagement are feeling
invisible because efforts are not measured or recognized the job or
workplace is not as expected there’s little to no feedback or coaching and
there’s no access to professional development they’re overworked and
stressed out and there’s lack of trust or confidence in the
senior leaders so engaging employees obviously involves tending to these
issues it’s not just a one-shot deal it’s how they’re treated on a daily
basis this includes hiring people into the right positions making sure job
descriptions match real work expectations providing training and
development and having a performance management process that accurately
measures contributions but the true spirit of engaging employees lives in
the relationships managers build with their people here are some specific
strategies to use for building culture of employee engagement through
individual relationships first get to know your people individually focus on
the whole person and not just their work life learn more about their strengths
skills and their styles for work communication conflict and leadership
learn more about who they are as people through your observations interactions
and discussions consider what you know about their values experiences needs and
priorities second use your one-on-one meetings to not only discuss performance
but aptly support their professional development plans make sure that their
interests and ultimate career goals are a regular part of your check-ins
regularly provide coaching and training to enhance their skills and keep an eye
out for relevant opportunities like being assigned to a project or committee
third use appreciative inquiry to bring out their best appreciative inquiry is
based on the idea that instead of focusing on our flaws or weaknesses you
want to focus on people’s strengths and successes to use appreciative inquiry
you ask a person or a team about their successes times when they’ve really
excelled at something or had a peak performance then you explore what set
that apart the goal is to find ways to translate that success to other
performances finally celebrate successes both large and small do this with
individuals and with the group people are most motivated when they’re moving
towards something and have a sense of their progress rather than having their
failings highlighted when employees feel respected empowered they can face
challenges with a collaborative spirit and positive attitude as a manager
consider how you can use these ideas to motivate and engage your people the
benefits to your organization are numerous to be successful as a manager you must
learn the art of delegating and it really is an art because when done right
to require some thoughtful analysis and intentional choices on your part
delegation is a very important interaction that lies at the
intersection of three things the delegator you the delegate the person
you’re handing a task to and the organization that the interaction is
housed within delegation is the process of asking another person to do a task
while still maintaining responsibility for that task it can range from giving
someone a simple everyday tasks to appointing someone as the leader of a
complex project appointments can be short term from minutes to a couple of
weeks or long term from a few weeks to months but delegation is not just about
handing off tasks it’s actually a great opportunity to further motivate and
engage your employees by creating opportunities for their professional
development as the manager you’re in the role of the delegator and you’re
instrumental in making the process go smoothly most people think that there’s
only one phase you ask the employee to do a task and they do it but actually
successful delegation is more complex than that and requires you to be savvy
with both project management as well as people’s skills when I consult with
organizations I teach my four phase model of delegation the four phases are
the evaluation handover support and debrief the phases are linear meaning
that you need to complete one before you go on to the next the first phase is
called evaluation in this phase you assess aspects of the organization your
workload and your employees this will help you determine what can and should
be delegated and whom various projects should be given the goal here is to
match up your employee strengths and opportunities for growth with a project
that will help them further develop unfortunately evaluation is the phase
that most managers skip because they feel pressed for time this can set up a
pattern where managers try to do too many things themselves and then when the
workload gets to be too much dump tasks on others at the last minute this not
only affects the success of the tasks being done well but can also harm the
relationship between the manager and employees so take the time to do this
phase because it will set you and your team up for success the second phase
called the hand over in this phase the focus is to communicate clear
expectations about the goals of the tasks resources that will be provided
and the timeline you also determine how much autonomy you’re going to give them
a crucial part of this phase is determining and communicating how much
freedom you’re assigning did you know that there’s actually eight levels of
autonomy these levels cover who gathers the information who makes the decision
and who takes the action by far and away the biggest source of problems in
delegation is lack of clarity about which level of autonomy is being given
the third phase is called support in this phase you deliver any resources or
support promised in Phase two this includes granting access to Authority
providing resources and coaching your employee is needed delivering what you
promised builds trust and respect with your employees and again contributes to
the successful completion of the task during the support phase you also
monitor the progress of the employee and the ways you agreed upon during the
handover the final phase in the delegation process is called the debrief
this phase occurs once the task is completed thus ending the delegation you
and the employee meet to discuss the outcome of the task as well as the
process of delegation you discuss things like what issues arose lessons learned
and ideas for improving for the future as you delegate more proficiently your
team will become more effective and efficient in completing tasks you also
gain the benefit of moving some things off your plate which frees you up to
focus time and energy on the projects that require your knowledge and
experience micromanagement is actually what happens
when delegation goes badly and it’s usually due to one of three causes the
first cause is an incomplete evaluation as I mentioned earlier the evaluation
phase is the phase that most people skip because they’re often delegating under
pressure they’re in a hurry to offload something during a stressful time and
that never ends well the second cause is lack of clarity about the level of
autonomy when an employee feels micromanaged it’s because they thought
they were getting a higher level of autonomy than they are it’s the managers
responsibility to make the level clear when you communicate a level you’re
giving to the delegate you eliminate any confusion or mistaken assumptions that
either of you may have had over time as employees are successful you should be
granting higher levels of autonomy this demonstrates you trust your employees
which will contribute to their motivation and engagement the third
cause of micromanagement is the manager violating the agreed one level of
autonomy when it’s unnecessary it will feel like micromanagement to the
delegate in other words the delegate was capable of completing the task
successfully but the manager stepped in this not only frustrates the delegate
but shortchange is there opportunity to learn and grow sometimes it’s not even
conscious the manager truly believes that they’re just helping out and
doesn’t see the bigger ramifications of what’s happening most often when
managers violate the agree upon level of autonomy it’s related to the managers
discomfort with letting go while the manager may have had good
intentions to honor the level of autonomy they’re not able to control
their personal reaction to the letting go process there are a few common
sources that I want to highlight for you see if any of these are concerns that
you struggle with number one thinking that it’s easier or faster to do it
yourself this one is tricky because it usually is easier or faster
to do it yourself you may be tempted to take over the task and just get it done
but remember a large part of being a good manager is about developing your
people you need to give them the opportunity to learn which takes time
the second cause is worrying that your staff are already overburdened and
cannot take on anything more I’ve struggled with this myself but it has
helped to remember that employees are most satisfied and motivated when they
get opportunities to grow with them and brainstorm together about
how to shift things around or even eliminate unnecessary tasks to make room
for new opportunities the third reason people struggle with micromanagement is
fear of losing control or importance delegation involves the loss of direct
control and this may cause some managers great discomfort this is the great thing
about delegation it pushes everyone to grow a little even you remember you can
build in progress checks and coaching discussions to create a safety net that
allows you to keep an eye on things this also allows your employee space to
develop new skills I also find it helpful to remember that there are many
paths to an outcome if you know your employee can produce the work be more
flexible with how they get there so try these strategies to help you overcome
the temptation of micromanagement if you find that you continue to struggle with
letting go don’t hesitate to seek the support of a career coach or personal
counselor part of how you’re assessed as a manager is how your team grows and
develops so with investment in your career as well remember that the growth
of your team depends on your ability to let them try how do you feel about conflict it’s
interesting but a lot of people think that conflict is a bad thing something
to be avoided or de-escalated as quickly as possible but conflict is actually a
natural byproduct of both group development and diversity much of
conflict is healthy and contributes to the growth of the individual and the
organization as a manager you’ll find that dealing with conflict is a normal
part of your responsibilities one model that’s very helpful to know is Tuckman’s
five stages of group development Tuchman did research on groups and his
findings have stood the test of time this model is still taught in today’s
business schools the first stage is called forming this is the time when the
members are introduced to the group and they get acquainted the second stage is
called storming because it’s when conflict arises the group is sorting out
their differences as they try to organize their goals and ideas the third
stage is called norming and this is when group cohesion gets established members
find effective ways to share ideas and the Justins performing is the fourth
stage and the group achieves interdependence members are
self-directed and productive groups can hang out in this fourth stage for quite
a while but eventually they move into the last stage a journey this is when
the project or group is wrapped up members finish up the task organize
reports and documents and they celebrate their successes as the manager you need
to expect conflict and be comfortable handling it the goal is to know the
difference between healthy conflict and toxic conflict that can do harm you can
identify toxic conflict by the following people openly use insulting or demeaning
words and actions like name-calling shaming and smearing or people sabotage
or undermine the efforts of another usually behind their back both of these
methods are destructive they not only kill trust but they also undermine the
efforts and goals of the group and organization you should have a
zero-tolerance policy for these kinds of conflict behaviors however toxic
conflict is actually rare and only shows up when people cannot resolve their
differences through more open and healthy means to this end you want to
create an environment where healthy conflict can be embraced here’s some
great questions to ask can you identify what the source of conflict is for you
what are your needs concerns and goals in this situation are there any hidden
agendas vested interests or emotional attachments at play how would you
summarize the other person’s perspective where are your places of agreement and
can you build on those and identify some possible solutions that would close the
gap between your differences remember the goal is not to prevent conflict but
embrace it as a way to help your group grow and thrive so let’s talk about meetings it’s
important to remember that meetings are still part of the bigger picture of how
you manage people projects and performance so they should align with
your philosophy and style of Management consider meetings as the time and place
where you motivate and engage people with opportunities for autonomy mastery
and purpose let’s get into some specific considerations and strategies for
leading productive meetings I call these the four PS of great meetings first get
clear about the purpose it’s important to know what you hope to achieve by
getting clear on the outcome you’ll avoid scheduling unnecessary meetings
meetings take a lot of forms from one-on-one discussions to team project
meetings to presentations for large groups of people the forum should always
support the purpose consider these questions to help you get clear about
the purpose is this session interactive or involve one-way communication is the
goal to disseminate information to a group of people or have people share
information with each other do you need to work together to identify the source
of a problem and brainstorm solutions will you be engaging in decision-making
and do you need to gain commitment for a course of action next choose the people
obviously invite the people that need to be there to accomplish the purpose not
everyone needs to be in every meeting so be thoughtful about who you invite in
order to prepare you’ll want to think about these issues will the participants
know each other what are their personalities are they likely to be
competitive or collaborative what will distract them and what will they need to
know in order to fully participate third prepare for the meeting as the person
who called the meeting you’re responsible for getting everything ready
this includes several pieces pick the best day time and place that’s most
conducive to accomplishing your goal next create an agenda it allows you to
outline what the meeting will cover and how information will flow it’s best to
use action verbs like a proof and decide if people will be leading or speaking at
various parts of the agenda indicate their names and if you’re worried about
staying on time you can even indicate how many minutes are allotted if your
meeting is part of an ongoing series build in a small portion of time to
discuss past items and future items but leave the majority of
time for the current issues at hand also it’s a good idea to think about the
workload of the meeting open the meeting with something light to get everyone
settled and warmed up then get into the heavy lifting of the meeting where you
accomplish the bigger tasks and end with a wrap-up distribute your agenda to
people in advance allowing ample time if they need to prepare something the
fourth P is designed a process for facilitating the meeting it should align
with the outcome you hope to achieve and the needs of the participants you’ve
invited for some of you your meetings will be governed by Robert’s Rules of
Order a formal system often used in government or board meetings but if not
here are some general guidelines to consider start and end on time this
shows that you respect the participants begin the meeting by reviewing the
agenda and doing introductions if people don’t know each other use some tools to
keep the discussion on track one option is called the bounce-back if people go
off topic acknowledge it and say that’s a great topic for us to address at
another time but let’s refocus on the current discussion some people like to
use the parking lot where you place topics and suggestions that you want to
visit later you may also use the talking clock where you say things like Lisa
will give her report in the next three minutes or we have two minutes left to
discuss this agenda item if you have decisions to make
consider how you’ll vote on them will you use majority wins weighted scoring
and will votes be public or private the most important part of your role is to
foster constructive group participation consider how you can get people engaged
in the process ask open-ended questions like the ones from the clarity coaching
model we discussed in an earlier video throughout the meeting summarize main
points and identify action steps of who will do what and by when conclude the
meeting by having a closing round for comments and follow-up by sending out
notes or minutes directly to members we’re posting online in an appropriate
place meetings are a necessary part of the work world but by using the 4ps
purpose people preparation and process you can create meetings that are both
productive and engaging let’s take a look at some of the key
traits of each generation generational dynamics play out everyday and as a
manager it will serve you to no more a generation is a society-wide peer group
who collectively possessed shared values attitudes world views and even behaviors
generations are shaped by a series of forces like family life education media
and world events generations occur in every country and culture but are unique
to that cultural context let me issue a warning about generational research it’s
broad brush strokes about a group of people but not necessarily true about
each individual in that generation I want you to take this all with a very
large grain of salt ultimately managing the generations is really a continuation
of our earlier conversations you want to find ways to motivate and engage your
people in meaningful ways to do this use the following strategies first
understand and appreciate generational differences and strengths second focus
on engaging each individual while knowing trends can be helpful it can
also lead to inaccurate assumptions get to know your people and what matters to
them third be flexible generation is only one aspect of your people’s
identities their values cultures and life experiences also play key roles
there’s no one way of managing that works in every setting so embrace all
that diversity brings forth tend to natural tensions as you learn about
generational differences you can see where conflict may arise this will help
you know how and when to smooth out potential miscommunications or
misunderstandings finally harness and maximize strengths by providing training
and coaching if you focus on helping each person maximize their potential
you’ll naturally bring out the best in everyone also consider how you can
create mentoring partnerships so that your people use their own strengths to
help each other grow managing Millennials is a hot topic in
today’s organizations Millennials are the largest generation and as they move
through their life they’re changing all of the major institutions a lot of
research has been done on Millennials more than any previous generation this
is both a good thing and a bad thing all of this attention has certainly helped
us learn more about the different generations which is useful as we shift
to models of management based on engaging and motivating people but it
also brings a false sense of attention to natural workplace dynamics for
example is it a millennial thing to want work flexibility or is that more a
function of chronological age and life stage and sure Millennials have been
shaped by technology in the internet but is that really much different than when
the phone replaced letter writing or cars replaced horses today
Millennials make up 25% of the workplace and this will continue to expand the
front edge you’re approaching mid-career while the back end of the cohort is
entering high school however Millennials are known for many positive traits
including their optimism the ability to multitask and their focus on achieving
goals they were raised on technology and can easily learn new devices and social
media outlets because of the power of the Internet they have a global
worldview a commitment to equality they also care deeply about making a
difference in serving their communities we will also see more and more
Millennials step into leadership roles in fact they’re already there
Millennials hold 1/4 to 1/2 of managerial positions in the US and many
have become entrepreneurs there are a few famous Millennials who are CEOs of
today’s most successful companies Millennials differ in their leadership
style from boomers and Gen Xers Millennials set broad and challenging
targets related to a meaningful purpose they prefer flat reporting structures
and allow a lot of individual freedom they build workplaces that are creative
and inclusive and they actively engage and motivate their people to maximize
the contributions that Millennials can make to your organization consider using
the following strategies first focus on how they can make a difference make sure
you communicate the meaningful purpose your organization serves and how their
role contributes to its success second teen Millennials up with other bright
creative people this transcends age Millennials love working collaboratively
and excel in cross functional relationships they also enjoy being
mentored third give Millennials opportunities to visualize the role they
could play they’re motivated by having a sense of their potential career path so
you can engage them through professional development opportunities fourth harness
their focus on goal achievement they thrive in outcome based environments
where they can set clear goals and measure progress finally have
Millennials mentor others on technology social media and diversity they really
shine in these areas and can help everyone on your team if you make the
right management choices Millennials will help you maximize a wide range of
opportunities that will benefit your organization when you hear the phrase managing up
what do you think of it probably depends on your manager if you have a competent
boss who’s a good leader you probably see managing up as a positive way to
align with them so that you both achieve more and if you’re under a boss who has
some professional or personal dysfunction you probably see managing up
is trying to minimize the impact that dysfunction has on you no matter which
situation you’re in here are some strategies you can use to work the most
effectively with your manager the first strategy is to gather information you
already have a lot of information about your manager that will guide your
choices and actions think over the past few months and the different kinds of
interactions you’ve had with your boss like one-on-one meetings and
conversations department or team meetings emails and phone calls and
documents such as reports and presentations next use this information
to determine your managers priorities how do they communicate their priorities
through words and actions where do they focus their time and energy think about
the position they hold and how it relates to the organization’s success
what are their top five goals and how is their success being measured also look
at the org chart who does your boss report to what do you know about their
relationship is it positive and supportive or critical and demanding
make a list of the priorities and pressures your boss is likely dealing
with given the context and culture they work in see if you can identify their
fears and concerns all of this gives you the big picture of your boss’s work life
now let’s see how yours relates to theirs look over your own tasks and
priorities how does your work align with your boss’s priorities where and how can
you contribute to your boss achieving their goals and how might you be able to
support them by alleviating their fears and concerns you may not be able to
solve all these issues but you certainly don’t want to be making them worse
use their priorities to guide how you determine yours that way you won’t be
working at cross-purposes third match their communication style we all process
information differently but it’s imperative that you match your
communication style to your bosses you can learn about their style by reviewing
how they communicate with you and others some questions to consider how often do
they communicate and do they prefer written communication or face-to-face
conversations how does your boss make a decision do they follow a linear
step-by-step process focusing on what’s logical or do they take a more values
based approach that takes into account how people might feel what kind of data
does your boss prefer do they like data that’s verifiable facts and concrete
details or do they prefer data that’s conceptual and theoretical the goal here
is to match your bosses communication style and give them information that
matches their preferences for data and decision making also consider things
like how they communicate in one-on-one settings through email and at meetings
this is not likely to change so consider how you can ask questions or use
additional sources of information to give you what you need to be successful
in your work force consider how your boss Garner’s power garnering power is
how we navigate the often unpredictable landscapes of our work places all of us
garner power in some way some of us do it through building relationships based
on trust and respect others garner power by controlling the flow of information
or holding on to decision-making power your goal here is to make sure that
you’re not inadvertently threatening your bosses power fifth seek help if
you’re seriously concerned if you feel that your boss’s behavior is doing harm
to your organization you need to speak up it’s always a good idea to broach the
subject first with your boss expressing your concerns as clearly as you can if
they don’t respond then you may need to take further action this might include
talking with someone in HR or talking with your boss’s supervisor and many
organizations have a process for reporting concerns through a
whistleblower policy you may even be protected by government regulations
learn more whistleblowers gov your focus should be what is in the best interest
of your organization finally and most importantly be someone your boss can
count on ultimately to manage up effectively you need to establish trust
with your boss have integrity with your words and actions step up with solutions
not just problems and support their success and all that you do as you build
trust your boss will be more likely to seek your input and consider you for
other opportunities it will also create an
where they’re more likely to hear constructive feedback from you and
respect your needs and requests managing up takes time but in the long run it
will benefit not only your current professional role but your career as
well with today’s technology it’s likely that
you have employees working remotely nearly two-thirds of US companies give
employees workplace flexibility this can range from the colleague who works from
home a few days per year to the employee who permanently lives and works in
another geographic location you may even lead virtual teams with members spread
around the globe a lot of wonderful tools make this all possible
file-sharing and cloud-based tools make it easy for people to work on projects
and documents together without actually being together email instant messaging
and video calls have turned our phones and computers into high-powered
communication devices that can cross continents and time zones while all of
this leads to enhanced productivity it can also lead to some challenges for
today’s manager let’s explore some methods you can use for maximizing the
benefits while mitigating the risks set people up for success with the right
technology remote employees can only be successful if the technology works you
need to outfit your people with the right tools including internet access
computers or laptops and software make sure that they have what they need and
develop a schedule for keeping everything up to date measure work by
deliverables rather than activities since it will be harder for you to
observe people actually working you need to shift your focus to the results of
their efforts focus on outcomes or products this shift should be addressed
in your performance management process in terms of how goals are set and how
and when you measure success focus on communication and inclusion one of the
pitfalls of remote employees is they can miss a lot of the spontaneous
communication that occurs when people gather near the copier or coffee machine
encourage both the local and remote employees to use tools like instant
messaging and video calls to include people in the informal exchanges that
occur every day also consider how you can include your remote employees in the
culture of the organization whenever you have something for the local employees
see how you can create a mirror for your remote people you can certainly include
them in on-site trainings and events by making remote viewing possible but what
about the birthday celebration for a colleague consider bringing a laptop so
they can attend via video or what about the family day at the local zoo send
them tickets to the in their town help them create a healthy
work-life balance research has shown that remote employees tend to put in
more hours in their local peers this is both good and bad news it means that you
don’t have to worry about them goofing off but you do need to worry that
they’ll overwork which can lead to burnout discuss how they’ll monitor
their work time so they don’t overdo it and also have them create a dedicated
workspace so they keep work separate from their home life
our our home should be where we go and relax at the end of the workday not a
place that reminds us of work let’s turn our attention to virtual teams where you
have several employees working together from different locations this is also
known as dispersion and there are actually different types of dispersion
each type requires different kinds of guidance or support and some teams are
combinations of several types first you have people that are geographically
dispersed this can be as close as different buildings on a campus two
offices scattered around the world the amount of distance matters as far their
distances make it impossible to just pop by for a face-to-face discussion second
you have temporarily separated teams meaning that people are in different
time zones this often means that work can not occurred synchronously but is
always offset by several hours this can create challenges because all
communication is mediated through written words like email losing valuable
nonverbal cues another level of dispersion is inequality in the
configuration for example if you have four people in one location working with
two people in another this can start to create a clique if you will of the
people who work near each other because they share experiences communication and
even culture and of course you have cultural diversity people from different
regions countries cultures and languages may not produce or perceive work in the
same ways the behaviors that indicate trust and respect in one culture can be
offensive in another add to this the additional barriers of language and then
communication mediated through email and you have a situation that’s right for
misunderstandings and conflict the solution to all of these challenges is
communication and training as a manager you need to provide tools for
communication and even set standards for how and when it should be done dispersed
teams benefit from training on to work in a dispersed environment this
should include an opportunity for members to get to know each other and
build trust this goes a long way to mediating conflict when it does arise
also consider appointing someone as the facilitator of the group process this is
separate from the task they’re accomplishing together this person would
keep an eye on the issues we’ve discussed helping the group successfully
navigate the challenges as a manager be open to learning from your experiences
with remote employees and dispersed teams this will help you make
adjustments over time that will improve the experience for everyone involved you
being a manager means you manage a lot of things we’ve already covered all the
ways you’ll manage people and their performance now we’re going to look at
how you manage the business this includes making decisions overseeing
projects complying with key policies and regulations and also managing the budget
the first place we need to start is how you manage your time being a manager is
really a juggling act you must keep a lot of balls in the air at the same time
your first priority is having a method for managing your time so that you can
attend to each of the important things you oversee without exhausting yourself
or burning out I’d like to add the following tips first really focus on
what is true about you managing your time starts with you and how you and
only you interact with time this includes when you’re at your best for
certain types of tasks for example my mind is sharpest in the morning from 8
to noon that’s the best time for me to do activities that require a lot of
thinking like writing or designing training sessions another thing to
consider is how long you can focus without a break
and how long of a break you need before you’re fresh again there are no right
answers but there are the answers that are true for you second explore the
different components of time management people often think that time management
is just about clocks and calendars but it’s really about managing all the
things that take your time this means that you need to look at managing your
email scheduling your calendar and even files papers and notes third create a
system that supports how you really work once you know more about yourself choose
or design a system that supports you the only criteria is that it helps you be
more focused and effective finally and perhaps the most importantly learn how
to say no or at least not now a big part of managing your time
includes protecting it all the wonderful intentions and systems will go out the
door if you continue to pile things on you’re already full plate so one of your
key strategies is to control the flow of things that you take on this can be
especially challenging if you have a hard time disappointing people I
encourage you to create your own list and practice them out loud until you get
more comfortable saying them that way you’ll be ready when someone is Stan
in front of you with a request together all of these strategies will help you be
at your best so you can manage others with style and grace another part of your role as manager is
keeping track of projects both your own and your teams just like managing your
time you’ll want to establish a system for tracking the progress of your
projects because projects involve a lot of people use the strategies we’ve
covered in previous chapters about managing team performance addressing
conflict and having productive meetings again there are a lot of systems and
strategies you can choose from and you’ll want to find something that
supports how you work and meets the needs of your organization there are
some industry standards that may govern your choices such as the scrum model
used with software development and some organizations have invested in certain
procedures or systems thereby determining what you’ll be doing if
that’s the case you’ll want to get up to speed as quickly as you can and make
sure that your team has the training and support they need to use the system
effectively to ultimately project management relies heavily on your
ability to plan and organize work you’ll be orchestrating multiple activities and
establishing courses of action to ensure that work is completed efficiently
project management is also a group effort so you need to find a system that
will meet your team’s needs and that you can all use correctly and consistently
here are key things for you to consider first how are you tracking your projects
you’ll need to quickly and easily identify where any project stands this
includes timing and whether it’s on track to meet milestones and deadlines
second how will you assess the quality of work a project completed on time is
not really an accomplishment if the work is substandard
how can you assess the quality of work and make necessary adjustments third how
do you stay within budget I’ll cover managing budgets in an
upcoming video but part of project management is making sure that your
project is completed within its budget one of the tensions that many managers
face with project management is known as the quality triangle this essentially
states that the quality of a project is a function of three things one how big
the project is or its scope two how much time you have to complete the project
and three the budget you’ve been given or the costs of the project which
includes staffing also known as the triple constraint this triangle
illustrates that most organizations want their teams to produce stuff that is
good fast and the theory of the quality triangle is
that you can only get two of the three if you want it fast and good it will
cost more if you want it fast and cheap then the quality will not be as good or
if you want it cheap and good then it will take longer there’s an ongoing
discussion about the validity of this model between project managers and the
leaders of organizations you may find yourself in the middle of this
discussion so part of project management will require you to not only understand
these elements but communicate effectively about them and that brings
us to communication skills at the heart of project management is your ability to
communicate up and down the organization you’ll need to be able to accurately and
quickly share information to those above and below you often acting as a
translator and mediator as a result you need to become well-versed in speaking
and writing clearly you’ll also need system for tracking communication
knowing when information has been sent and received as well as identifying when
people are not on the same page take the time to learn and hone your project
management and communication skills this will not only set you up for success but
will set you apart from your peers another key aspect of managing the
business includes understanding your role in the budgetary process whether
you work for a small business or a large corporation learning to manage your
budget is a vital skill that you’ll want to master as early as possible and
here’s why if your team is successful in achieving
its goals but always goes over budget you create financial problems for your
organization but your career will thrive if you’re the manager who stays within
their budget and even looks for ways to reduce costs and drive efficiencies
managing the budget means that you authorize expenses in accordance with
the budget that was submitted and approved and you continually monitor the
amount of spending to ensure that you do not exceed the budget to successfully
manage your budget I recommend using the following strategies first be informed
about financial matters you want to learn about business budgets in general
in your organization in particular there’s some common terms and practices
that are widely used and then there are things that are specific to your
situation for example there are generally two types of budgets for
expenses or money that’s spent capital expenditures are any costs related to
the physical space like rent and electricity and equipment such as
copiers desks and computers these are generally items that are used for more
than a year and the operating budget are the expenses affiliated with the
day-to-day running of the organization such as payroll supplies travel and
professional development organizations also track income or revenue this is the
money that comes in through sales grants and other sources revenue is continually
analyzed comparing predicted income to what actually comes in and adjusting the
budget accordingly this means that in some organizations budgets are very
fluid and can be augmented or cut as the Year unfolds while others are firm and
don’t adjust at all once they’re set most organizations have an annual budget
that is broken down into quarters and then further into months and sometimes
weeks obviously you’ll want to know what is true for the budget you manage and
this is why it’s so important to understand the specifics of your budget
the second strategy you’ll want to ask questions like how much is the budget
what expenses have been predicted and what data was used to predict them is
the budget firm or will it be adjusted if so when and
and when do I submit my budget for next year third have a system for tracking
your budget this may already be set up and you just need to learn how to log in
and use the system but if you work at a smaller organization you may be working
from spreadsheets entering receipts as you go the most important thing is to
have a way to know where your budget stands on a month-to-month basis this
might be something that you maintain yourself or delegate to an employee just
remember that you are ultimately responsible for the budget so you still
need to review their work in case they’ve make a mistake believe me it
happens fourth adhere to the policies and procedures at your organization
generally the larger of the organization the more formal and complex the budget
process is there can be a range of approval processes forms to file and
supporting documents to submit in addition if your organization works with
any public funding there will be very specific stipulations about how money
can be spent for example entertainment and travel expenses often have an
elaborate pre-approval process that can take weeks or you may be required to
seek bids from several suppliers through a formal purchasing process when you
manage a budget it’s expected that you adhere to these policies and procedures
whether or not you’re provided training it’s assumed that you will seek out the
guidance you need to be in compliance which brings us to our fifth and perhaps
most important strategy actively seek out training opportunities your
organization might offer formal training on the budget process and if so you
definitely want to take advantage of that if not you can also support your
own success by asking your supervisor or a colleague in the finance department to
walk you through what you need to know there’s some great books on business
management and many community colleges also have business courses available to
the public managing the budget may seem daunting at
first but these strategies will help you become more comfortable and you’ll reap
a side benefit of being a better manager of your own personal funds at home it is vital that you know and understand
various laws and regulations that apply to employment as the manager you play a
very important role in protecting the rights of your employees and mitigating
risk for the organization over the years employment laws have gotten more and
more complex at both state and federal levels and they cover a wide range of
employment related topics including wages hours worked safety and health
standards health benefits retirement and non-discrimination based on a range of
identities such as race sexual orientation national origin and service
in the military and that’s just a few you’ve probably heard of some of the
laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act or the Family and Medical Leave Act but
what about the employing Retirement Income Security Act it governs employee
benefit plans or did you know that whistleblower laws are actually
administered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA and
protects seventeen different employment statuses if you want to blow your mind
just take a stroll through the Department of Labor’s website additional
laws and regulations fall under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
or EEOC for example laws governing the prevention of sexual harassment mandate
that employers must provide training and have a clear policy for processing
complaints and the Americans with Disabilities Act governs all kinds of
employment issues from recruiting to hiring through training and movement
through the organization if you’re feeling overwhelmed at this point your
normal it can all be very daunting luckily you’re not expected to know all
of this on your own you’ll be helped by your colleagues and Human Resources
depending on the size of your organization this may be one person or
it could be an entire department of professionals well often your HR team
will be internal employees companies also utilize contracted experts to
support HR processes either way you want to pay attention to any information you
receive from HR and also adhere to any request they make as soon as you can and
thank them too they actually work very hard to make sure that your organization
is not exposed to risks and that you’re not exposed to lawsuits yourself
throughout the year you’ll get many different requests from HR this is
because key legal cases continually affect
what compliance means and how and when it should occur there are stipulations
about how and when employees are notified and as the manager you play a
role in that sometimes HR will send you information
via email with an action for you to take that has a deadline sometimes you’ll be
required to attend mandatory training sessions and there’ll be lots of
stipulations around documentation like how you submit payroll or vacation
requests and how you document employee performance issues while these requests
may feel like they detract from your busy work schedule they’re actually some
of the most important work that you do so please take it seriously failure to
respond or act on your part can not only put the organization in jeopardy of
fines and lawsuits it can also affect your career as a manager you’re
responsible for making sure that you and your employees adhere to these various
policies and procedures so take the time to form a positive working relationship
with your colleagues in HR and be the manager they know they can count on every day you’ll be making business
decisions some of which can have major implications for your organization not
every day has make-it-or-break-it moments but collectively all of your
choices either contribute to or detract from the success of your people and the
organization this is actually the exciting part of Management you get to
have more responsibility and along with it comes more influence as well
decision-making is the ability to identify and analyze information draw
conclusions identify appropriate solutions and choose a course of action
it often requires you to take the initiative and also innovate new
possibilities and opportunities managers who make good business decisions often
have a few key things in common first they tend to be emotionally intelligent
emotional intelligence is how effectively we manage ourselves and our
relationships it’s comprised of 20 competencies including self-control
achievement Drive communication and managing conflict all skills that are
needed to make successful decisions second they actively develop their
business acumen all decisions are made within the context of the organization
so being able to accurately read and navigate the nuances of power and
politics are key to successful decisions business acumen is also knowing the
forces that shape your organization and industry including trends policies
technology and people third they actively seek opportunities
to provide leadership as you learned in the first chapter management and
leadership are two different skill sets while you can keep your focus on the
immediate demands of management good business decisions often require looking
forward finally managers who make good business decisions find the right
balance between caution and taking risks sometimes good decisions are all about
timing you want to take enough time to gather
good information and think through potential consequences but not so long
that you miss important opportunities unfortunately there’s no magic formula
for how to do this it’s a judgment call that’s completely in textual to your
organization in the situation at hand however if you develop the skills and
competencies we’ve covered in this video you’ll be armed with what you need to be
successful by taking your time to assess the situation and think through
potential consequences you’ll set yourself up for success and by
collaborating with others in your organ you can harness their wisdom and gain
their support Wow I told you management was a juggling
act between managing people their performance in the business you have a
lot to do but your organization has confidence in you otherwise they would
not have given you this responsibility management is tough something where you
learn on the job so take a deep breath roll up your sleeves and dive in as you
grow and learn as a manager you’ll get better at each of the skills we’ve
covered in this course since being a manager takes a lot of time and energy
let’s talk about my favorite strategies for keeping you at your best first it’s
important to find ways to pace yourself it takes time to develop your competency
as a manager and it won’t happen overnight review the assessment you
filled out and design a professional development plan if you focus on one new
skill per month you can accomplish a lot in a year second
take care of yourself so that you’re in good shape to manage others this means
both physically and emotionally third build a network of other managers
it can be really helpful if you have peers both inside and outside your
organization whom you can turn to for support
managing can be challenging and you need confidence I mean you can trust and you
can also share their experiences I also recommend that you have a mentor this
person should hold position you aspire to have someday and who’s willing to
provide advice and guidance finally remember that your people are the
ultimate reflection of your skills as a manager their successes are yours so
invest in motivating and engaging them and helping them reach their highest
potential this will not only help the organization achieve its goals but will
demonstrate that you’re ready for higher levels of opportunity you’ve already
done a lot of great work by watching this course and using these practices so
keep going you’re on the right track you

business communication definition


once you know your purpose make a list
of all the people who should be involved in the project or should know about your
work we need downward communication that is
messages that flow from the top levels of management to the employees
throughout the company downward communication is most common but can
become distorted if passed through too many people
remember the childhood game called telephone one person would whisper
something to the next person in the circle who would then whisper it to the
next and so on the last person in the circle would say aloud what she heard
which was never what the first player had originally said the game was fun and
made us all laugh but in business it’s not funny
try to communicate directly to as many receivers as possible upward
communication allows management to learn about problems that only frontline
people are privy to when channels are in place for employees
to be heard by their leadership they feel more valued upward communication is
notorious though for being skewed toward the positive no one wants to give the
boss bad news and no one wants to confess when things aren’t going well so
upward messages tend to suffer from a positivity bias you can use opinion
surveys Q&A sessions advisory boards Ombudsman hotlines suggestion boxes skip
level interviews anything you can think of to encourage upward honest
communication in your company horizontal communication is often overlooked yet
that dreaded silo mentality begins to grow when departments or units see
themselves as independent actors rather than part of a collective system if you
notice a lack of lateral communication you can initiate conversations with
people at your level in other departments consider a once a week
coffee or even just a quick drop by two about current projects powerful
collaborations often begin as simple conversations have you started thinking
of who you should have on your list there’s one more group to consider who
might be an unintended audience emails are so easy to forward as communicators
we want our message to be received by the intended audience and we need to be
aware of unintended audiences so think carefully about who could end up here in
your message I want you to give some serious thought
to the best senders of your message your senders should be influential to the
receivers what is it to be influential the ancient Greeks would explain it this
way when asinus speaks the people say how well he speaks but when the most
thinness speaks the people say let’s march the most thinness is our
influencer here someone who can change the actions of others what makes a
person influential and a good candidate for sending messages people generally
influence us if they have some kind of power in our eyes and that power falls
into five categories legitimate power happens when people comply with a
request because the sender has a certain title or position let’s face it
sometimes we do what the boss says because the boss is the boss we respect
the position and demonstrate that respect through compliance reward power
refers to behavior motivated because a sender can reward you in some way you
follow up quickly with a request from a potential client because he has the
power to reward you with new business or just the opposite coercive power happens
when a sender can punish you in some way or take away good things in life you
follow up quickly with an existing client because he has the power to take
his business elsewhere people are influenced by expert power when a sender
really knows her stuff why not follow an expert right and finally referent power
is influenced that happens as a result of credibility or similarity these five
power categories are not absolute rather influence is situational you might be
influenced by your financial adviser on what stocks to purchase but she might
seem less influential to you when you’re deciding what color to paint
kitchen don’t make the mistake of assuming that you are the best sender of
your message if someone else could be more effective pass the torch
focus on your purpose and if enlisting someone else to be a spokesperson of
your idea would help give the idea wings go for it
tap into the influence that will work now that we’ve identified who should
hear our message we must remember that these people will interpret our message
to understand its meaning see the lines drawn through the heads of the senders
and receivers these little lines remind us that no listener is an empty vessel
awaiting our message rather people have mental filters we all have preconceived
notions assumptions biases good and bad our unique way of seeing the world your
receivers have their own perspectives about you and your message these mental
filters can skew how our message is heard and understood our third key
communication question is how my message be interpreted let’s consider a few
examples I send a memo to remind John about an upcoming safety meeting how
might John interpret my message he might think doesn’t trust me to remember
anything or hmm safety is important around here or isn’t that nice being
helpful in trying to ease my burden now this example from the emotional
intelligence activity book cautions us that even a simple reminder email is
subject to interpretation the relationship I have with John his state
of mind when reading my email and my specific word choice can all affect the
meaning for John if I’m mindful of the possible interpretations I can clarify
my intent by adding one extra line to that email something like I know your
plate is really full right now just wanted to be helpful mental filters are
the source of far too many misunderstandings but by being
thoughtful and proactive you can help overcome this common communication
barrier