marketing strategy

Five Digital Marketing Outsourcing Lessons I’ve Learned

Five Digital Marketing Outsourcing Lessons I’ve Learned

Today’s marketing landscape is complex: you need a solid marketing strategy, a competent team of individuals that work within proven processes, an understanding of marketing technology and the hundreds of tools that are available, a comprehensive content calendar, a winning website, and the adroit ability to execute your digital marketing programs and measure their success. It’s a complex process that requires a LOT of expertise, something that your company likely cannot afford without hiring a myriad of internal marketing resources.

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How to Create an Agile Marketing Organization

According to the Gartner Group, US companies now spend an average of 2.5% of their revenue on digital marketing, which is growing by about 10% a year. And some marketing programs, such as social media and mobile marketing are growing at 20-30% annually. For many companies, leveraging digital marketing and achieving marketing success has been difficult due to the complexity and rapid evolution of these marketing programs.

A new marketing framework called “Agile Marketing” can help you deal with this complexity, adapt to change, accelerate your programs and accelerate your results.

Here are 5 steps to creating an Agile Digital Marketing Organization.

Step Number 1 – Create a New Customer Relationship

Today, it’s not good enough to have a single, simple view of the customer that does not change.  You need to create a more detailed, fluid and nuanced view of the customer and then organize this view into user stories to make sure everything you do, and every project is based on a customer need.  Once you have this, it’s important to keep it current by listening to real feedback in online conversations from social media so that you can stay on track.

Step Number 2 – Create a New Planning Process and Iterative Release Process

Agile Marketing has a bias toward action.  You cannot get by with a fixed annual plan or a long term ad budget.   You can, of course, plan to use all the best digital marketing tools, such as your Website, SEO, SEM, and Social Media, but hold some of your budget in reserve and reallocate monthly to back what works best. A 70/20/10 allocation is a good benchmark, with 70% on existing marketing, 20% on programmatic marketing and 10% responsive. It is also helpful to plan to release marketing programs every 2-4 weeks and measure the results.

Step Number 3 – Create a New Decision-Making Framework

In many organizations, the loudest person in the room with the most conventional wisdom drives the agenda. In an Agile Marketing organization, the metrics and the data drives the actions, not the other way around.  My philosophy is that everyone has an opinion once, and then we test.  It’s critical to create a test plan on campaigns and content so that you can improve and document results.

Step Number 4 – Create New Integrated Marketing Goals

Agile Marketing organizations create marketing plans that are integrated with sales plan and aligned with team goals, not functions or technology.  One way to do this is to organize around marketing program goals such as driving traffic, converting traffic and nurturing leads.  Driving traffic can include advertising, SEO, SEM, or banner ads.  Converting traffic to leads can include your website, landing pages, offers, and content.  Nurturing leads to become customers can include email marketing automation, social media, and re-marketing.  Integrated cross-functional teams will help you stay aligned with your goals.

Step Number 5 – Create a New Cross-Functional Team Structure to Get Things Done.

Small teams emphasize person to person interaction to cut down on lengthy documentation and emails.  Agile Software Development has given us two key ideas to help in this area.  The first idea is “Sprints”,  where you break down big projects in to monthly or weekly sprints, so you can deliver projects frequently.  The second idea is the “Scrum” which is a daily 15 minute stand-up meeting to report on what you did yesterday, what you will do today and any obstacles. By simplifying your process and giving the team more control, you empower your people to deliver great results.

I hope this has helped you think about Agile Marketing in a different way.  Let me know if you have questions or if we can help you with any of your digital marketing programs.


What marketing programs will work best for me?

Our clients are constantly asking us to recommend the marketing programs that are most effective so that they can achieve their goals.  They want us to put together programs that use their limited dollars most efficiently and get their highest ROI.

While we know what works best for our existing clients, we wanted to validate this experience across a wider audience, so we polled our entire database of contacts and got insightful answers as to what techniques marketing professionals are using and what works best for them across a range of internet marketing tactics.

So, what do people use?  The four most used marketing methods were:

·In-house Email (92%),

·SEO (79%),

·Website Optimization (72%),

·and Social Media Marketing (63%).

What’s interesting about these methods is that none of them require media costs.  What’s more, all of them can be executed relatively inexpensively with smart people (in-house or through an agency) creating content and deploying it effectively on the web through email, websites or social media sites in a way that creates a marketing outcome.

The lesson from this clear… take advantage of what’s cheap and easy on the web until you need to spend money on advertising.  In other words, if you can get all of the leads or sales you need from your SEO optimized website, social media sites and in-house list – STOP.  There is no need to spend money with Google, Yahoo or the thousands of other online advertising opportunities.

Are marketers following this mantra?  Unfortunately no.  When we asked how well they’ve optimized their websites for lead generation the answer was “Average”.  When we asked how well they’ve optimized their web sites for organic search, the answer was slightly less than “Average”.   These are pretty anemic results for the most used marketing channels.

Why?  I believe that even though companies are spending time on these channels and they believe in their potential, in most cases they don’t have the expertise, resources, or optimized programs to really maximize the potential of each one.  They are trying to make to make them work and investing in them, but there are structural or organizational obstacles in place that keep them from being excellent in these areas.

Have you done all you can to maximize these channels?   Would you rate your results as “Poor”, “Average” or Excellent?  Let me know.

– David Reske

For more demand generation strategies, check out our white paper, “7 Key Ingredients that Separate the Mediocre from the Magnificent in B2B Lead Generation”