Take your marketing from good to great with insights from award-winning case studies
What better way to celebrate our 15th anniversary than with our 10th AMA Marketer of the Year (MOY) trophy. While we have won many creative awards, these results-based awards have a special place in our hearts because they represent real growth for our clients, real careers for their staff, and real value for their brands. Over the years we have learned a great deal about best practices, and we would like to share some of those experiences with you. Here are a few helpful tips you can use today to improve your marketing campaigns.
1. Define Victory
Start writing your successful case study from the first strategy session. Can your scope of work lead to impressive results, or is this more of an infrastructure investment? Is the budget adequate to accomplish the objectives? Are all of the stakeholders aligned and the objectives clear? Do you have the content resources you will need? We knew our most recent winning campaign had the potential to be successful from day one because of the quality of the client’s thought-leadership IP that would drive our content.
2. Question Assumptions
“Think outside the box” is the most tired cliche in business for a reason. Great results come to those who aren’t afraid to challenge assumptions. For example, another of our MOY-winning campaigns was a trade show program in which we did not display at the show. Instead, we booked an upscale restaurant within walking distance of the venue and made it the client’s hospitality center each day–complete with branded graphics, branded videos rolling on large screens, custom iPad bar with a custom app, and more.
The results: Deepest engagement ever with the client’s most important customers at a quarter of the price of our client’s previous trade show appearances.
3.Set Your Baseline
A results-based case study begins with “x” and gets to “y.” Make sure you have your analytics tools in place so that you know what x is. Also make sure you have analytics tools and a clear process for conversion optimization (CRO)–maximizing the number of website visitors that take a desired action such as purchasing, requesting a quote, or sharing their contact information. CRO can be a time-consuming activity, so make sure you’ve budgeted accordingly.
4. Build Your Content Marketing Machine
The best content informs, enlightens, educates, or entertains. Make sure you understand the audience you are targeting, their information needs at various stages of the buyer’s journey, and what alternative sources are already vying for your prospect’s attention. Producing content is hard work, and marketers and their subject-matter experts usually overestimate how much they can produce and how quickly they can produce it. Remember that quality content aligned with a strong brand differentiation strategy will always make your budget work harder for you.
Our most recent winning case study was also a case study in collaboration, as the client’s staff wrote weekly blog posts and quarterly content offers that we were able to edit, design, post, optimize, social share, amplify, email, etc. The consistent flow of content is essential for all of the other campaign elements.
5. Get Started
Recognize the difference between strategies that take time to build, such as ABM and Inbound, and tactics that can generate faster results, such as PPC and Facebook Ads. The former will generate quality leads for years to come, so they are well worth the time investment. The latter generates faster activity, but with a higher acquisition cost. For many organizations, the right answer is to do both. While you’re developing your long term strategies, building your content machine, and waiting for Google to index your new content, invest in a few quick wins.
6. Use (More) Video
By now, you’ve seen the statistics. Modern marketing is content marketing, and an essential part of content marketing is video. Here’s a stat to consider: Not all of our clients engage with us for video production, but 100% of our MOY winners have. Our clients have leveraged sales presentation videos, social media contest videos, educational videos, value prop videos, thought leadership videos, rich media ads and even TV commercials to drive results.
7. Use Your Marketing Tech Stack
Digital Marketing should be a process, not a project. The creation of content from the editorial calendar to publication should be seamless. Define your process for content creation and how your team will consistently leverage technology to reduce friction. For example, will you collaborate and approve a blog post using Google Docs, then post to WordPress, or will you create the post directly on the blog? Also, how will you provide the content to your audience with the least friction? For one of our MOY winners, after every blog is posted, it is promoted to multiple social media platforms via HubSpot’s social tool.
8. Use Good Data
Whether you’re using databases for B2B cold outreach, Account Based Marketing, for digital audience targeting, or for custom audiences on social media, you need to make sure your database is complete, current and accurate. Unfortunately, most databases are flawed or quickly become outdated, so include some waste factor in your calculations.
9. Align Marketing and Sales
Understand the difference between Marketing Qualified Leads and Sales Qualified Leads. Develop and implement a clear handoff from marketing to sales when a lead is qualified. Be sure that process considers those SQLs that don’t close right away and moves them back into an MQL for further lead nurturing where appropriate. Utilizing an all-in-one marketing/sales/CRM platform, such as HubSpot, can streamline this process.
In 2013, one of our MOY entries had the highest score of all the winners and won the coveted Grand Marketer of the Year award–no small feat considering the broad-shouldered competition at the AMA. This client doubled sales in one year with a clear value proposition delivered consistently in marketing messages and in person by the sales team.
Make sure senior management understands that digital marketing programs take a while to gain momentum. Be patient and always let your data reach critical mass before tweaking the program. That said, don’t be afraid to make course corrections as you go. One of the best features of digital marketing is the ability to fine-tune or optimize.
Bonus Tip: Celebrate!
Achieving a successful campaign can be a reward in itself, but it’s always a good idea to make sure each team member of the agency/client team is recognized and appreciated for their role in the success.
If we can bring value to your team’s digital marketing program, contact us for a free consultation.