A “Giving” Approach Makes Email Campaigns More Effective

It is amazing to realize that, for the most part, those under 40 years old have never known a world without email. Today, it is hard for most of us to imagine life without it. It helps keep us connected with friends and family, we can easily share files and images, and now we can even legally sign documents digitally through email. Of course, it didn’t take marketers long to discover how cost-effective email can be in reaching potential customers. This, of course, led to an abundance of spam, negatively impacting the strategy. Consumers quickly learned to identify spam and instantly delete it or have it sent to a spam file unread. This caused some marketers to abandon the process. Others have reacted by adjusting to the marketplace and making adjustments to their strategies.

Why should marketers reexamine their email marketing tactics? First, consumers have made adjustments in how they treat marketing emails, so adjustments need to be made by marketers. Secondly, there are tremendous returns on investment when email campaigns are properly conducted. Recently, a survey by Direct Marketing Association and Demand Metric indicates that email marketing can have an ROI as much as four times higher than other marketing strategies, including social media. That is impressive and worth pursuing.

The key? Remembering that email is not a customer acquisition tool as much as it is a communication tool that can help build relationships. It is those relationships, then, that deliver consumers through the consideration, conversion and recommendation phases.

A Better Way to Engage Consumers

An article written by our CEO takes a deep dive into how to build stronger relationships and better engage consumers through email campaigns. Christine uses the old adage, “it is better to give than to receive,” in creating effective, high ROI email campaigns. She points out that while many marketers “talk” to consumers, it is far more effective to initiate a two-way conversation. This gives them more and better ways to come to you. These “better ways” may include offering valuable information, product-related tips and tricks, shareable discounts, or by inviting them to provide their thoughts, opinions and experiences on social media.

Some marketers have a reluctance to any approach that does not provide an instant ROI. Alemany’s approach, however, is based on the fact that it is far better to build loyal customers through email than to make a single, quick sale and having future emails sent to spam filters or instantly deleted. These are customers worth investing in. It also brings to mind another adage that can apply to email marketing; “patience is a virtue,” and “it is better to pass by a nickel to pick up a dollar.”

A “Giving” Mentality

Building a “giving” email marketing strategy starts with segmenting lists to refine your target to your audience. This not only leads to better customization, but recipients have a much better sense the email was destined for them and their needs. This helps build those powerful and eventually profitable relationships.

Once a list is segmented, build a content map to deliver the most valuable and relevant information to users. This could be in the form of infographics, a white paper or newsletter. An email marketing schedule should follow, usually based around special or significant occasions that may impact your subscribers or your products. These could include holidays, conventions and seminars, new product introductions and more.

Of course, ultimately, you will want to measure and monitor results. These “results” should include much more than just sales. It could include shares, subscribers, social media likes, responses to surveys and polls, and other forms of connection. Adjustments to campaigns should be made according to results.

Consumers want to do business with those they feel are knowledgeable and trustworthy. Building relationships through a giving approach is a powerful way to build those strong connections. It positions you as an approachable expert in your field and a natural, easy-to-make a choice when it comes time to make a buying decision. People still buy based on their own reasons, not reasons provided them by a marketer. Give them more of those reasons to do business with you, and they will respond.

Categories Digital, MarketingTags ,

What Marketers Need to Know to Reach Gen Z

Generation Z, those born from the mid-1990s through the 2000s, is about to become the largest generation, with an estimated $44 billion in purchasing power. According to Google, when you factor in the influence this generation has on parents and within household purchases, this purchasing power could be closer to $200 billion. As with any generation, what it takes to reach the newest shoppers is different from the strategies that worked with the previous generations, millennials in this case.

Gen Z’s defining characteristic: Fracture

While millennials were the bridge generation, possessing faint memories of a time before technology was everywhere, Gen Z is the first wholly digital native generation. As a rule, those in this group move quickly — which means they tend to be one step ahead of the brands that are trying to reach them. Brands that are still relying on blanket marketing campaigns or moving into influencer marketing may find these efforts wasted as Gen Z quickly finds new social spaces, new influencers and new online channels.

Even if blanket marketing methods may work for a while, in 10 to 15 years, brands will no longer be able to rely on those methods. As seen in the millennials first, Gen Z places a big priority on identity. Each member of the generation is a unique brand, something that should be unsurprising in a generation that’s grown up side-by-side with social media.

To reach this generation means setting aside the generic marketing campaigns, like the Super Bowl ads designed with mass appeal, and personalizing the message instead.

While this may seem daunting, consider that artificial intelligence, marketing clouds, and customer data platforms leverage the power of automation to get the personalized marketing messages that will be effective here.

Gen Z is surprisingly analogue

According to a study from Student Affinity Network UNiDAYS and Ad Age Studio 30, which looked at 23,000 college students in the United States, UK, Australia and New Zealand, Gen Z has a more complex relationship with technology than was previously supposed.

About 98% of Gen Zers own a smartphone, yet only 22% of survey respondents used it for online shopping. A Fluent Commerce survey found that roughly 25% of Gen Zers said they enjoyed browsing at brick-and-mortar stores. Direct-to-consumer brand Warby Parker actually backtracked into brick-and-mortar, opening close to 100 stores, when it realized that younger consumers placed a high value on the in-store experience.

Approximately 77% of survey respondents said they’d rather read a print book than an e-book, and 60% of Gen Zers either use streaming services on a television (instead of a laptop) or subscribe to cable television.

These analogue habits mean brands that have invested in digital only may be scrambling to reach young shoppers, who aren’t hanging out where companies thought they would. Consider that social media spending rose by 60% from 2016 to 2017, per Adweek. Web Strategies Inc. found that companies expect to allocate half their ad spend on digital campaigns by 2020. With such a significant investment in online advertising, and early findings indicating that Gen Z is markedly different from millennials, marketers must thoroughly evaluate fund allocation.

How to connect with (and convert) young consumers

Think of Gen Z not as one generation but as several small subgroups, each with its own characteristics.

  1. Vary messaging by target and channel.
    As you break your audience into subgroups, adjust your messaging accordingly. It should vary to engender the appropriate coversation in each channel that you leverage. For example, you should have different goals across social, email, in-app, podcasts, and TV – from engagement to transactional.
  2. Budget accordingly.
    Rather than evenly spreading your ad spend across every channel, focus on where your target audience hangs out. Visual social media is dominant among this generation, with Gen Zers enjoying YouTube and Snapchat over platforms such as Facebook, yet Gen Zers are also flocking to new platforms such as Houseparty, a group live chat app. Snapchat and Houseparty both have privacy in common, a value that’s important to Gen Zers.
  3. Stand for something.
    Young consumers want to know, like and trust a brand before they buy. Brands need to connect with them about more than the product. They need to develop a relationship and show that they are a good match, values-wise. Refine your message (if you haven’t already) for authenticity.
  4. Focus on them, not your company.
    Don’t forget about personalization. Remember, Gen Z has grown up with targeted advertisements through email and smartphone. People in this group expect all marketing to be personal in nature. In fact, 26% of Gen Zers told Google they expected retailers to take their preferences and shopping habits into account, for a more personalized shopping experience — a desire for just 22% of millennials and 11% of baby boomers. Consider why YouTube is so popular with Gen Zers: The video platform offers to give everyone a voice.
  5. Respect their privacy.
    Addressing privacy concerns is paramont with Generation Z given the widespread data breaches of current times. Less than 33% of Gen Zers feel comfortable sharing personal information with brands outside of purchase history and contact information. If they could feel confident their personal data was securely stored and protected – and not shared – this generation would feel comfortable sharing more.

Since these digital natives have grown up with online marketing, they’re perceptive to how it works. They know when they’re being advertised to, and they’re quick to skip ads and use ad blockers. The most adaptive brands keep pace with Gen Z with short, use messaging that put the customer first, and dovetail with the individuality and personalization craved by the youngest shoppers.

Categories Branding, MarketingTags , , ,

To Hire or to Outsource: Finding the Right Fit

A rapidly growing organization requires its employees to stretch beyond their job descriptions, addressing countless urgent needs as quickly as possible. Often, during these early stages, you do not have the time nor budget to build the robust team that you need. In this fast-paced environment, it makes sense to hire individuals who can be trusted to wear multiple hats and put out fires as they arise.

No matter how much drive and energy you have, there are only 24 hours in a day. It can be tempting to become accustomed to controlling every move within the business. While there is reassurance in knowing you have the final say, micromanaging every process in your organization is not a sustainable solution. There comes a point when trying to do everything yourself becomes detrimental and requires you to work twice as hard to hit your target growth rate.

Plus, adding marketing specialists to your team can boost ROI. Tasks ranging from copywriting and design to SEO and PPC require experience in both strategy and execution. While you could develop an in-house team to perform many of these marketing duties, some capabilities are stronger when they are outsourced to a group of specialists who can bring more to the table than a single individual.

Marketing results take time

Once your startup achieves a certain level of growth, you can round out the team with specialists who can expertly tackle specific needs. However, seeing tangible results from marketing programs is not always instantaneous. It can take weeks or months until you see the full benefit of new marketing programs. In the meantime, you may lose valuable time if you do not have experienced specialists on your team.

And by the time you realize your strategy is not working, your business will have lost valuable momentum. Unfortunately, developing in-house talent takes time as well. In situations where an internal resource is not in place, it is a good idea to reach out to third-party to bridge gaps.

If you have several positions to fill, the time and energy required to make the right hire can be time-consuming. In these circumstances, hiring an outside agency can create momentum, accelerate learning curves, and improve the efficacy of your resources. Working with a third-party gives you a reliable and experienced team, so you are not putting all of your faith in a single in-house hire to deliver the results you need.

Find the best option for your organization

Turn to an advisor who does not prefer one specialization or channel more than others. This outlook will provide objectivity that takes into account your target segment and your goals.

Imagine if you are considering hiring a social media manager. An impartial consultant will advise against hiring an in-house social media manager or paying top dollar to outsource to a social media agency if your customers do not spend a lot of time on social media. However, if most of your traffic is through organic search, then you stand to benefit by outsourcing your SEO needs. If you ask a social media agency for advice on whether you should outsource, they have a powerful incentive to ensure that you solicit their services.

Generally, unbiased advice will hinge on a few key factors:

A competitive analysis brings insights into your true level of differentiation from your competition as well how they successfully connect with your potential customers. The learnings gleaned from this analysis will help zero in on what your target is looking for in terms of messaging and how they want to interact with your offerings.
If there is a certain specialization that holds the key to differentiation and corporate identity, you should create a permanent position responsible for overseeing this area. Having internal capabilities allows you to maintain complete control over functions, and finding the right person to carry out a task means you can invest heavily in them.
The skill sets within your current team will play an important role when you are deciding what roles to outsource. If you have enough work to fill 40 hours each week, it might make sense to hire a full-time employee. Otherwise, you can have your employee manage one or more agencies who can fill in gaps until there is enough workload to justify a full-time hire.

Deciding whether or not to hire can be daunting, especially when you have a limited budget. Fortunately, TBGA can help answer your most crucial hiring questions. We have helped organizations large and small grapple with the same questions, and we can put you on a curated path toward successful growth. Take the first step and reach out today for a free consultation.

Categories Leadership, MarketingTags , , ,

Are you maximizing the ROI of Your Marketing Spend?

Your organization quickly expanded as a result of the people you have hired, most notably the handful of employees who have worked alongside you since the beginning. Naturally, you feel a great deal of loyalty toward these employees. After all, you want to keep the people around that helped you bring the company to where it is today.

In the early stages of any business, you often have to find people who can do a little bit of everything. This is especially true for marketing. If you did not hire a person (or two, for that matter) with at least a base knowledge of how to engage consumers and build brand awareness, you could easily count yourself as one of the nine out of 10 startups that fail.

As your business grows, your marketing needs will inevitably become more and more specialized with each passing year. Every campaign must deliver greater insights, results, and returns. Otherwise, your products or services could easily fall off even the most loyal of your customers’ radars.

This is not to say that you should replace all of your generalists with specialists. When industries shift, as they often do, it will be your generalists – and their innate ability to pinpoint issues and adapt – who will enable your business to come out on top. Their broad knowledge and problem-solving can piece together the big picture for the rest of your organization, helping predict the best next move.

As a marketing leader, you must build an organization that can support a rapidly evolving landscape. You must balance developing in-house talent against partnering with external providers. With each hiring decision point, you should evaluate whether you are striking the delicate balance with your in-house team or if an external agency can fill any gaps in executing your marketing strategy.

Effectively Assess Your Needs

You do not need to have all of the answers — and even if you do, team shakeups can still feel uncomfortable. Often, it can be hard as an entrepreneur to know when to bring in a new perspective. Fortunately, you can turn to a consultant to assess your marketing team, map them against your goals, and provide an unbiased recommendation for what to do and how to get everyone on board. However, you must select an advisor that brings first-hand knowledge in aligning a marketing organization with corporate strategy to get a real return on investment.

While advice will vary from business to business, here are four steps to set yourself up for growth:

  1. Gain a brutal understanding of the competition.
    You may be surprised by how much is learned through a competitive analysis. In addition to positioning, you can uncover where the competition devotes most of its time and budget. This can signal which channels and outlets allow consumers to interact with brands similar to yours.
  2. Look at your customer.
    For example, say your target segment spends limited time on Facebook, Twitter, and other social channels. It would not be a good use of your resources to hire a social media specialist, then — or even an outside agency to work on your social messaging. If the reverse were true, we would encourage you to find a resource to handle these social media tasks.
  3. Address structural gaps.
    Map your staff’s collective skill set against to your future marketing needs. Dive into performance metrics and speak with your team to assess how to best allocate your bench strength. If necessary, you can bring in specialists and leverage your current generalists as strategic coordinators and project managers — the glue that holds everything together.
  4. Start planning.
    After assessing your needs, determine whether the projected workload warrants having a full-time hire or part-time support. Also, make a call on whether you want to develop the expertise on your team or lean on niche partners. It can take months to hire the right people or tap the right partner who can both fill in the gaps and fit within your culture so start moving.

Here is an example: With mobile phone penetration expected to hit nearly 83 percent by 2020, this channel will serve as the primary path to purchase for many customer segments. As you map the opportunity, you have to understand how consumer behavior differs across devices. This presents a golden opportunity to strengthen your team with expertise in mobile marketing. If you lack this expertise, your business likely will not see the same results for this marketing effort as competitors who are prepared. After you find skill gaps on your team, you must answer the following difficult questions: If you were to bring someone in to handle mobile marketing capabilities, would that person have enough work to fill up a 40-hour week? Or, would a better option be to hire a freelancer or agency to execute this task?

If a time comes when you need an unbiased opinion, you can rely on TBGA’s proven track record of improving marketing ROI and implementing time-tested solutions to get the most value out of your marketing spend. Get started, and reach out today for a free consultation.

Categories Leadership, Marketing, Operations, StrategyTags , , ,

Learn to Trust and Use the Data You Collect

Marketers are finally seeing the light when it comes to spending on analytics. A 2017 survey of nearly 400 CMOs found that the amount spent on marketing analytics will increase 376 percent over the next three years.

This has us incredibly excited because, as a team of marketing professionals, we are extremely analytical. We know that companies have long been collecting data, and we are so happy to see them ramp up their efforts and continue embracing the valuable science of marketing.

But There May Be a Catch…

While the survey of CMOs found a large increase in spending on analytics, it also revealed that the use rate of data is stagnant. Essentially, companies keep collecting more and more data, but few are effectively leveraging these insights to their fullest. Marketing leaders tend to have creative backgrounds, and many of them are not entirely comfortable diving into statistical analysis and uncovering the metrics that drive results. They tend to focus more on the art of marketing while neglecting the scientific side.

Any modern-day company that wants to remain competitive, increase revenue, improve customer loyalty, and acquire new customers must let data lead the way. Analyzing this data helps marketers understand what is working, what is not working, and how they can improve the customer experience. In fact, according to a recent Econsultancy survey, many data-driven methods boost customer conversions — including customer journeys and A/B testing.

Follow The Data

Quantitative results must be a major part of a marketing department’s dashboard. Teams should constantly use data to review the performance of their campaigns, better understand their customers, and predict their needs, as well as guide changes to their marketing mix, campaigns, customer journeys, and distribution channels.

Most importantly, you must be able to trust that you are measuring the right behaviors and results. Marketing departments need to learn how to rely on the data that they are collecting and analyzing. Bad data makes this work more difficult and increases costs — up to 20 percent of revenue, to be specific.

Set Your Foundation

In order to tease out valuable insights from your data, you must first have clear objectives. Is your goal to increase revenue, grow customer loyalty, or acquire new customers? Once you identify your overarching goals, let data uncover key customer behaviors and use analytical tools to develop personalized strategies to directly achieve them.

The ability to have a fact-based, behavior-based, 360-degree view of the customer is the key to developing marketing strategies that deliver the results you need. TBGA focuses on data-driven decision making. Our team has a proven track record of helping companies embrace, trust, and leverage their data into tangible results that boost their bottom line. We can help you integrate detailed data about your customers, your offerings, and the circumstances in which purchases are made. We can also uncover hidden insights that help you create or improve your products, services, and processes.

We have helped companies learn how to trust their data. We know the strategic objectives that move the needle, and we have established metrics and benchmarks to use as guideposts along the way.

We are eager to do the same for your brand. Contact us today for a one-hour consultation!

Categories Marketing, OperationsTags , , ,

Are There Benefits to Using a Fractional CMO?

Growing a business is exhilarating — but it is no easy task. Sheer enthusiasm and effort will only take you so far. It might help you get the ball rolling and raise a few rounds of funding, but there will inevitably come a time when your growth will stagnate. When that day comes, it will be in your best interest to surround yourself with proven experts who can help carry your brand to the next level.

This is especially true when it comes to marketing. To hit your next growth goals, you will need to bring in a seasoned marketing professional who knows how to develop an integrated strategy that effectively promotes your brand and converts people into customers. This requires experience in generating leads across multiple channels, managing people — and managing a P&L.

In other words, you need a brilliant chief marketing officer who understands what success looks like and knows how to deliver it. Unfortunately, finding this capable person is often easier said than done, especially for small to mid-size businesses.

The Path to Find the Right CMO

We have seen companies waste tons of time and money trying to recruit and hire full-time CMOs. It usually looks something like this:

    Turn to your personal network to see whether a friend (or a friend of a friend) is looking for a job. Most of the time, this approach will not yield top-tier talent — and it could easily present an awkward situation in which you jeopardize a friendship by telling someone, “Sorry, you are not the right fit for my company.”
    Post a job description, which leads to a deluge of résumés and cover letters. Sifting through them in search of someone with the right experience and attitude for your company is no short order — and that is assuming you or your hiring manager understand what the right CMO candidate even looks like.
    Hire a headhunter to do the dirty work for you. A headhunter will most likely speed the hiring process, but it is also a huge investment not in headhunting fees.

All of the above options could easily cost your company more time and money than it has to spare. From there, you still face several rounds of interviews and salary negotiations before you can potentially fill the position with a great candidate. Then you have time required to on-ramp the hire. It could take you up to a year to find the right fit, negotiate mutually beneficial terms, and incorporate the new hire into the fabric of your company.

Imagine if the hire does not work out. If your growing business is looking to improve its marketing results today, we strongly recommend you take a different route.

When to Consider a Fractional CMO

Fractional CMOs are basically on-demand executive-level marketers. Just like traditional CMOs, their ultimate goal is to supercharge your current marketing efforts, identify new opportunities for experimentation and growth, and provide mentorship to your in-house team.

However, there are two big differences between fractional CMOs and traditional CMOs: Fractional CMOs will cost you much less money, and they are equipped to have an immediate impact on your marketing ROI from day one.

Sure, you will be working with an “outsider” — but this outsider will lend an impartial eye to your company’s inner workings. We will make honest suggestions regarding your current tactics and strategies, provide input on future initiatives, and put a plan in place for follow-through. Just as importantly, a fractional CMO will put all the necessary metrics in place that illustrate your marketing ROI.

Last but not least, a fractional CMO can serve as a stopgap while you search for your future full-time CMO. He or she will ensure your company does not lose momentum as it takes the time it needs to find the perfect permanent hire. They can even help you weed out candidates who will not meet your needs during your search.

If your company is stuck in a rut and is struggling to accelerate its growth regardless of how much time, money, and effort you invest toward the cause, it is time to consider partnering with TBGA and hiring a fractional CMO. Our fractional CMOs are industry veterans who have embedded themselves in a wide variety of businesses across multiple industries. We know exactly what it takes to help companies like yours achieve their next growth goals.

Contact us today for a one-hour consultation to learn more about how our marketing veterans can accelerate your brand’s business growth.

Categories Marketing, OperationsTags , , ,

Why Your Marketing Partner’s Pedigree Matters

Hiring a marketing consultant or agency based on the power of a sales pitch is akin to hiring an airplane pilot based on how sharp his uniform looks. This limited amount of information provides you with little to no idea of whether this person can actually help your business soar. Unfortunately, too many small to mid-size companies hire marketing partners without first taking a close look at their credentials and pedigree.

In fact, quite a few of our current clients hired us to help them rebound from consultants who did not live up to their slick sales pitches. For example, before working with TBGA, one of our clients hired a senior marketing consultant who used his fun, personable attitude to win them over. Their entrepreneurial environment required a consultant who could establish metrics, set priorities based on ROI, push his priorities throughout the organization, and most importantly execute on the plan. He always seemed to be working hard, but in the end, it turned out that he was just spinning everyone’s wheels. There were no quantifiable results to speak of.

The consultant was in over his head. He was frustrated, the client was disappointed, and neither party walked away happy. Although we were grateful to have an opportunity to fix the resulting mess, we want you to get it right on the first try.

Pedigree Matters

Pedigree is not about any experience; it is about the right experience. You need to make sure a candidate’s experience will dovetail with your unique needs. Ivy League MBAs, previous jobs at blue chip companies, firm handshakes should never be the sole reason you hire a consultant.

If you do not know exactly what you need, you should hire a consultant who can help you identify them. When looking at a partners track record, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Has this partner ever spearheaded the launch of a new business or product line?
  • Does this partner typically have access to a large budget, or is he or she an expert at maximizing minimal resources?
  • Has this partner ever built and led a marketing team, or do they typically work in isolation?
  • How do they measure success?

At the very least, your consultant should have experience working at companies that resemble your own, carrying out tasks similar to the ones you have in store, and delivering the real-life results you want to see.

Culture Is Also Important

When considering a marketing partner, look for a hands-on team of collaborators that do not simply give advice from the sidelines. This should begin at the inception of your relationship by setting clear objectives and diving in to build solutions that meet those objectives.

Your partners should constantly strive to be on the cutting edge — proactively seeking new research, new technology angles, and new information. They should utilize modern-day tools and tactics that will help us deliver the results you desire.

Our roster of marketing experts is deep and diverse. We provide more than a savvy sales pitch; we provide proven marketing expertise that will help accelerate your growth. If we do not meet your objectives, it is probably because we have exceeded them. If you are searching for a partner who is a passionate, determined problem solver with a proven track record of success, contact us today for a one-hour consultation.

Categories Marketing, OperationsTags , , ,

What Is a Fractional CMO?

When we say that we offer fractional CMO services, we are frequently met with some variation of the following question: “What does that mean?”

Then, after we define the term, we almost always hear this: “What a great idea! We did not know this was even an option.”

So what exactly is a fractional CMO?

Essentially, it is a senior-level marketer who embeds him- or herself into a company and drives its marketing results to the next level — either temporarily or on a part-time basis. This person comes equipped with a wealth of experience and knowledge, but unlike a traditional CMO, he or she does not come along with a high price tag or arduous hiring process.

Our fractional CMOs have proven track records. We have led marketing teams and sculpted marketing programs at Fortune 500 companies and startups alike. We do not work from hypotheticals; we know what works and what does not, and we apply these lessons and best practices to our clients beginning on day one.

Here are four misconceptions that surround fractional CMOs:

  1. “It is essential to have a full-time CMO.”  

    The CMO’s role is certainly essential, but it is not essential for this person to be a full-time member of your team. A part-time CMO can provide the strategy based on hands-on experience in order to steer junior marketers toward high-value programs and away from low-ROI ones. In the end, you increase your return on marketing spend and do not waste time on tactics that do not work.

    Even if your ultimate goal is to someday hire a full-time CMO, a fractional CMO can support your organization while you search for the best candidate. Given the amount of time and money it takes to find top-tier marketing executives, partnering with a TBGA fractional CMO is a great way to quickly leverage experienced leadership without sifting through hundreds of résumés or hiring a headhunter. In fact, he or she can help you vet candidates — all while managing your strategic marketing initiatives and mentoring your less experienced marketing professionals.

  2. “I am better off promoting an internal candidate.”

    Fractional CMOs can even train and mentor your up-and-coming internal candidates until they are ready to take on the CMO position — and they come in ready to contribute. Think about the amount of time, training, and resources it will take to transform junior team member into an experienced CMO. It could take months, even years.

    Beyond that, they possess a fresh, unbiased outsider’s perspective. They will not be bogged down by company politics and bureaucracy. Instead, they will feel free to point out flaws, voice concerns, and give honest feedback and suggestions that revolutionize your marketing function.

  3. “I would rather save money by hiring a junior person.”

    You get what you pay for. Most businesses have little to no margin for mistakes, and if you hire an inexperienced CMO to lead your team, you open the door to this very issue.

    Fractional CMOs bring a breadth of experience across different marketing systems, tactics, and corporate environments, they possess a big advantage over junior employees. As senior leaders, they already know how to manage teams and P&Ls — and quantify their impact.

  4. “We hired a great marketing agency, so we have it covered.”

    Agencies should be an extension of your marketing strategy — not drive it. Your team will need to provide the competitive landscape, target segmentation, buyer personas, and differentiation. Your CMO is also responsible for ensuring your marketing operations are running efficiently. Agencies are not equipped to dive deeply into a company’s internal operations and infrastructure, discover inefficiencies, and provide relevant solutions that move the needle.

    On the other hand, when you hire a fractional CMO, your company becomes his or her one and only priority. This person is ready and able to roll up his or her sleeves, investigate the inner workings of your marketing department and company as a whole, and offer tailor-made solutions that result in measurable benefits.

We hope that we have cleared up any uncertainty surrounding fractional CMOs and how they can help propel your marketing results. If you have any further hesitations or questions — or if you are interested in scheduling a one-hour consultation — please Contact us today!

Categories MarketingTags , ,

The CMO as Your Growth Partner

Ultimately, the people at the helm of your company make or break your organization’s strategic abilities.  If what makes a CEO shine is growth, then your CMO is your partner in crime. Their input will be essential to the broad challenges that you will face: competition, innovation, and core customers. Also, few have a better feel for the end-user/consumer pulse than the marketing executive – their relevant and refined perspective on customer preferences will play a vital role in your company’s growth.

In today’s economy, the CMO is at the crossroads of growth and customer experience. CMOs are increasingly seen as a director of growth and customers, rather than the director of spending and advertising, worldwide. The CMO role has changed from working exclusively on brand communication and messaging to driving impactful growth and cultural change. Marketers not only need to funnel customer intelligence into all parts of the business; they also need to keep up their technological proficiency, utilize big data to create meaningful customer interactions, and deliver value within a consistent brand experience.

While CMOs need to be part of the key decision making, they also need to partner closely with your CFO part of the key leadership.  It’s important that your CMO partners with chief financial officers to help them contribute to top-line growth and position themselves for a seat at the board table.  Together, they can steer the ship responsibly.

A strategic focus on return on investment, coupled with the rise of customer centricity and acquisition allows for CMOs to achieve measurable value within the organization. In fact, the CFO and CMO should be working hand in hand to increase accountability and reduce inefficiency — the CFO’s role is greatly enhanced by today’s savvy marketer as they are often the most resourceful person on your team.

Change the way you work with your CMO. Both CEOs and CFOs stand to gain tremendous insight at the ground level and meet the growing customer expectations. The role of the CFO is also becoming more multifaceted so work closely with your marketing person to help your organization survive and thrive in this increasingly competitive landscape.

How to tell a good CMO from a successful one? The latter has the ability to think long-term, adapt quickly, and pitch in with the team. They are able to shift from focusing on growth to a ‘big picture’ mentality. Thus, your CMO should not only influence decision-making but be able to make the tough calls, embrace uncertainty, and put relevant issues in front of the board to consider. This focus on vision makes a difference. Consider opening a conversation about bringing your CMO to the boardroom and see how they can deliver even more value as your strategic partner in crime.

Want to chat about this topic? I’m speaking at the NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center in San Francisco on Thursday, June 30th on Marketing through the Funding Lifecycle.

Categories Marketing, Operations, StrategyTags , , , , , ,

Best Marketing KPIs to Track Your Business Success

As marketing has become more advanced and targeted, it has also become increasingly important to understand the specific metrics with which effective marketing is measured. These metrics, more commonly known as KPIs (key performance indicators), are a powerful way to determine which marketing tactics and strategies are most effective. Used properly, they can dramatically improve your marketing tactics.

Digital marketing has quickly become the driving sector in the overall marketing industry. This is largely thanks to the fact that close to half of the world population, or about 3 billion people, now use the Internet on a regular basis. As a result, it should come as no surprise that many of the most important KPIs involve the Internet and digital marketing in one way or another.

While each business will have different KPIs, these are some of the most important marketing ones to pay attention to:

  1. Cost per lead
    Understanding how much it costs to acquire a lead is as important for a startup company as it is for a well-established corporation. If nothing else, understanding what makes the cost per lead increase (or preferably, decrease) can be a powerful marketing tool that improves profit margins. Beyond that, however, understanding what it costs to acquire a lead can be used as the basis for understanding whether or not a marketing campaign is a worthwhile investment or not.
  2. Ratio of leads to qualified leads
    One of the greatest advantages of digital marketing is the ability to highly target leads. In fact, if you are not targeting leads on a particularly granular scale, you are all but certainly wasting marketing resources in an inefficient marketing campaign. One of the best ways to determine whether your marketing campaign is appropriately targeted is by comparing the ratio of total leads to qualified leads, and ultimately the ratio of each of those metrics to an overall conversion rate. A small number of high-quality and highly-targeted leads are significantly better than a massive number of unqualified leads.
  3. Return on investment
    Return on investment, or ROI, is as important in marketing as it is in many other aspects of business. With marketing, ROI is used to determine which marketing tactics and strategies are most effective (as well as which ones are not), and can have a substantial impact on determining which marketing strategies will be used moving forward.  In the subscription world, you’ll pay closer attention to customer acquisition cost, or CAC.
  4. Customer lifetime value
    The lifetime value of a customer is a bedrock metric for any business, and it can help determine the marketing framework as well. Ultimately, understanding that the lifetime value of a customer is particularly high (for example) can help to justify the upfront costs of qualifying leads and then acquiring them. On the flip side, a low lifetime value might mean the marketing campaign needs to be as streamlined and bare-bones as possible. In the subscription world, you should be tracking the churn rate (or retention rate if you want to keep a positive mindset) and the average monthly revenue per customer to calculate LTV.
  5. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
    The Net Promoter Score is based on the theory that customers who are strong proponents of your company are highly valuable. These “loyal enthusiasts” are a powerful source of referral business, and can be a major factor in the long-term viability and health of a company.

    The NPS theory can basically be boiled down to this: customers who rate their overall experience with your company a “9” or “10” out of 10, are likely to be “promoters”, or customers who will dramatically improve a number of KPIs, including cost per lead (thanks to free referrals), lifetime value of a customer (thanks to loyal repeat customers), return on investment (again, thanks to the long-term value of customers), and numerous others.  While it might seem difficult to attain a 9 or 10, the reality is that anything lower (7-8 is considered “passive” and 0 to 6 is considered a “detractor” rating) will not be beneficial to one’s business.

The Net Promoter Score, along with the rest of the KPIs listed above, can and should be used to measure the strength or weakness of your marketing campaign. You can rest assured that your competitors are doing the same.

Categories Marketing, StrategyTags , , , , , , , , ,

Four Reasons Why Content Marketing Drives Traffic (and Revenue)

Many experts predict that 2015 will be a big year for content marketing. According to recent studies, more than half of content marketing budgets will be increased in 2015, and content marketing alone will be a $100 billion industry sometime in the near future.

There is no question that content marketing is increasingly being adopted and expanded across a wide range of industries and economic sectors. The real question is: why?

The bottom line is that content marketing has proven to be an effective way to drive both traffic and revenue to companies, often at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing efforts. The following are a few of the specific ways that content marketing can help drive both traffic and revenue to your company.

High-quality content is essential to getting ranked on Google

Over the years, Google has made constant updates to its search engine in an effort to serve better results to their users. One of the ways Google has accomplished this is by directly combating marketing firms that tried to “game” the search engine by simply “keyword stuffing” low-quality content. In the past, these low-quality articles could often find themselves at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs), even though they were clearly not the best result for users. In response, Google has changed their algorithm to highly value quality of content over simply the right quantity of words.

These ongoing changes mean that it is increasingly important for marketers to produce high-quality content that provides useful and unique information. Doing so can mean the difference between being highly ranked on Google and not showing up at all.

Content marketing is a one-time cost that results in long-term benefits that aggregate

Content marketing is one of the most cost-effective methods for building web traffic and sales, when looking at the long-term. While it can take some time for the benefits of content marketing to really show themselves, it is important to remember two characteristics of content marketing:

  • Content written is paid for once, but the benefits essentially exist in perpetuity, as the content will remain on the Internet for a long as a company chooses to keep it there.
  • As the number of content pieces builds, a company can provide an increasingly comprehensive store of related information, which is valued both by a company’s target audience and by Google’s search algorithms.

Content is an effective way to convert traffic into revenue

Studies also increasingly show that Internet users (and particularly Millennials) do not like, and will not respond positively to the “hard sell”. Content marketing allows a company to position the benefits and rationale for a product or service in a non-threatening and non-aggressive way. At the same time, content can provide a powerful and convincing argument for an idea, product, or service without coming across as simply a sales tactic.

Content marketing is a great way to engage with your audience and build brand awareness

Content marketing is one of the best returns on investment in any marketing budget because the brand awareness it can help generate is long-lasting and comes at far less cost than more traditional paid advertising. At the same time, content marketing encourages an audience to engage with the company, and with each other, through a commenting system or on social media platforms.

At the end of the day, content marketing is popular because it is an effective way to reach your target audience in a friendly and engaging, yet also informative and persuasive way.

Sources

  • http://www.marketo.com/infographics/content-marketing-vs-traditional-advertising/
  • http://www.allocadia.com/cmo/marketing-spending-rise-focus-digital-social-content/
  • http://heidicohen.com/why-content-marketing-is-more-effective-than-digital-advertising-research/
Categories MarketingTags , , ,