This article shares the process involved in designing successful marketing campaigns. The goal is to outline practical strategies and tactics that are vital in launching high ROI marketing campaigns. Its primary focus is SaaS (or enterprise) companies at any growth stage. Even experienced marketing teams should be able to find one or two ideas that are worth testing.
Why should you care? Don’t we know all about running marketing campaigns by now? While there are tons of resources written on marketing and marketing campaigns, many/most are not comprehensive and others are missing essential strategic steps in the process. And more importantly — there are still plenty of poorly designed marketing campaigns.
Tech companies often fail at marketing because they take a fundamentally flawed approach to designing marketing strategy and campaigns. Subpar marketing leads to “me-too” uninspiring content on corporate blogs with insignificant social shares and superficiality from the target audience’s viewpoint. Tech companies struggle to create strategic messaging to describe their products and use undifferentiated messages, jargon and superlatives. The end result is that marketing drains significant resources on paid acquisition campaigns that have no market segmentation or designated landing pages.
These are just a few examples; but what’s behind such failure? Part of the problem is not understanding what marketing is and what its goals are. Also, many techies (especially engineers) believe that a good product sells itself (wrong!). And many founders and executives have a negative bias against marketing and marketers (sad!).
How do you define marketing and what is its goal? I have argued in previous articles that the goal of marketing is to manage perception and change the behavior of your target audience. Period. All marketing activities and every aspect of marketing falls under the goals of managing perception, changing behavior, or both.
What is a marketing campaign? A marketing campaign is a process that includes a series of activities or steps designed to alter the perception and behavior of customers or prospects.
Part 1: What is the biggest mistake made when designing marketing campaigns?
In the last few years, I’ve spoken with over a hundred founders and marketing executives. When asked about marketing strategy, most of the time companies present some sort of excel file (or other doc) with a list of activities such as SEO, SEM, social media, content marketing, paid acquisition campaigns, PR, email marketing or the likes. Each channel might include a few generic marketing campaigns or just a laundry list of activities.
There are tons of resources and content materials that share tactics on how to optimize your landing page, your conversion rate, how to pick and test the right title, what wording to use on your call-to-action, as well as how to use color and images to improve click-through-rates and so on. Yet, many fail to mention the most important part of this process. Before building any marketing campaign, companies need to have a solid marketing foundation. This foundation should include strategic messaging, ideal customer profiles, and competitive positioning. It is only on this solid foundation that effective marketing campaigns can be built.
Lack of marketing playbook or outline
Many organizations have no marketing strategy, methodology or playbook outlining how to structure marketing activities. Unquestionably, if you are a young startup there are more pressing survival issues than thinking about marketing strategy. But even mature organizations with detailed sales playbooks often lack any outlined strategy when it comes to marketing. (If you have marketing playbook in your organization I want to hear from you — seriously!).
I’m not advocating writing a 20-page marketing strategy playbook when you have just a dozen customers. Nevertheless, an outline of just a few pages that includes your target customer profile, strategic messaging with outlined value proposition, market segments, content topics, and marketing channels can increase the clarity and effectiveness of your marketing significantly.
A simple marketing playbook will enable a company to stay focused. It will help recruit and train the right marketing hires. In the same way that a sales playbook is the first document that new sales hires should digest during the on-boarding process, a marketing playbook will help new marketing hires getting up to speed by learning from how the organization has approached marketing so far.
Focusing on channels rather than customers
The absence of a marketing playbook leads to the biggest mistakes that companies make in designing marketing campaigns — they focus on marketing channels rather than the target customer.
In some companies, even teams are structured around channels — paid acquisition, SEO, social media. Having specialized teams definitely has its advantages. However, organizing teams around channels creates a culture where no one looks at customer experiences and customer lifecycle as a whole, instead focusing on their own initiatives, which leads to fighting over budgets, messaging and inconsistent marketing strategy.
Most companies start their marketing campaigns backwards — where should we spend our money?:
Their narrative starts with “where should we spend our money, what messages should we use and only then, who should we target”.
This is how successful marketing campaigns are structured:
This better way starts with the target customer, market segmentation, and only then moves to messaging and channels.
Before designing your next marketing campaign, make sure you answer the following questions:
- Who is your target customer?
- What is the goal of your current marketing campaign?
- Can you split your market into meaningful segments?
- What messages do you want to use or test to influence your target customer?
- What are the best channels for your marketing campaign to reach your target audience?
- How do you align marketing and sales?
- How do you track and test the success of your marketing campaigns?
Going wide instead of deep
Companies rarely look into segmentation to achieve greater ROI on their marketing spend. Even when a company understands its target customer they still get it wrong. Take a VP of Sales in an organization with over 20 sales reps; it overlooks the fact that the needs and challenges their target customers are facing might be very different depending on the vertical. For example, a sales manager in the pharmaceutical industry might have very different needs, organizational structure, or even goals, compared to a sales manager in the hardware or media industry. We will come back to the idea of market segmentation later.
Certainly, there are other reasons why marketing campaigns fail. For example, weak or nonexistent calls-to-action, lack of valuable content or failing to manage customer acquisition cost and campaign budget can all impact on the success of your marketing campaigns. However, if you aren’t clear on your target customer and you aren’t segmenting your addressable market, nothing else will bring real performance improvements.
NOTE: Before you continue reading, I highly recommend you read the guide on strategic messaging first. It will help you follow this article better and see how the concept of target customer profiling and strategic messaging intertwine with designing effective marketing campaigns.
Part 2: How to Design Marketing Campaigns.
2.1. Start with your target customer
Many teams are aware of the importance of going through the exercise of creating target customer profiles (aka Ideal Customer Profile — ICP). However, it is worth repeating that ICP is the cornerstone of every effective marketing strategy.
A target customer profile allows your company to set the right goals, design effective strategic messaging, segment your marketplace, develop value-based content marketing strategy, and pick the right channels for your marketing campaigns. In my previous article, we went over the detailed process for designing target customer profiles. Let’s now outline a few things that weren’t given enough attention earlier.
An ideal customer profile should be developed for every persona in the buying process.
Let’s not forget that not only decision makers and senior executives have a stake in a buying decision. Stakeholders with other goals and concerns can stir decisions during important buying processes. The larger the organization and the more impactful product you are selling, the more likely the buying process will include multiple stakeholders with multiple objectives and concerns.
Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that your organization understands the needs and values of everyone involved in buying your product.
Look inside and outside your organization.
The process of designing ideal customer profiles should involve interviewing your customers, prospects, and even your internal team. These interviews should be structured in such a way to help you understand the pains and needs that your target market is trying to solve.
Another good way to learn about your ideal customer profile is to dig into your CRM data and analyze what type of customers have the highest Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)and shortest sales cycle.
LEARN MORE: This article by Dave Kellogg talks about the benefits of segmenting your current customers based on renewal rate and retention rate dimensions —The Evolution of Marketing Thanks to SaaS.
For example, Metadata.io (full disclosure: I’m an advisor), collects all the data about your existing customers and patterns of engagement from the CRM, marketing automation, marketing analytics and even from social media accounts. Analyzing this data allows them to create a view of your current customers with the highest Customer Lifetime Value and shortest sales cycle. This data is then used to run marketing campaigns that target look-alike personas.
For early-stage startups with no, or a limited number of customers, the primary focus is finding a dream customer for your product. What company and what persona has the highest pain that your product is solving? What company has the budget and size to become your customer for 1/3/5 years? Early stage startups should narrow their focus when it comes to ICP and then slowly expand as they grow. If you try to market too broadly too early, you end up with watered down everything because you aren’t big enough to do it right.
Getting your ideal customer profile right requires looking inside and outside your organization. When a company focuses only on the profile of current customers they miss out on larger opportunities to attract customers that might be a better fit. Sometimes teams fall into a mindset of thinking that just because they have a certain segment of profitable customers that this segment is the best one to focus on. Nonetheless, it is often because companies used non-effective messaging or run specific campaigns that they ended up attracting these customers in the first place.
Basically the question is this — are you sure that your most profitable customer segment currently isn’t purely the result of wrongly positioning your product or misusing messaging in the past? This is why looking outside of your organization is as important as diving into your customer data.
2.2. Segment your market
Market segmentation is a very underestimated strategy when it comes to improvement of your marketing ROI. Essentially, market segmentation is the process of dividing an entire addressable market into clearly defined segments with similar pains and values.
NOTE: I agree with Tom Wentworth who pointed out that market segmentation is an important topic beyond marketing. Segmentation impacts go-to-market strategy, messaging, product roadmaps, and the way you structure your sales team. This process needs C-level buy-in and commitment to think of segmentation in the very function of the company. Unfortunately, many companies go through segmentation exercises as a purely marketing thing.
Let’s take a deep dive into segmentation, a secret resource of great marketing teams, with a case study.
Let me explain how market segmentation can improve ROI for marketing campaigns and how I learned about market segmentation. In 2009, I was hired to join a newly created corporate marketing team at Sophos, a global security software company with over 1200 employees worldwide. Amongst other responsibilities, my task was to create and manage paid acquisition campaigns (primarily Adwords). The Adwords campaigns that had been running previously weren’t performing well due to a number of issues.
High cost per click was a challenge. First, the cost per lead was extremely high. Words and phrases such as “antivirus”, “data protection” and “encryption” are among of the most competitive keywords in Adwords, after insurance and mortgage. Another problem we were facing was a big consumer market that could drive high cost per lead with absolutely zero value to our organization. Unlike our competitors such as Symantec, AVG or McAfee, Sophos only sells to large organizations (finance, retail, government, healthcare, non-profit). Therefore, we had to take into account high cost-per-click and consumers while designing our paid acquisition strategy. How important was this cost to our marketing budget?
Let’s look at some approximations. For keywords like “antivirus”, “data protection”, “encryption software” you can pay anywhere between $5-$10 per click:
Cost-Per-Click (CPC) of ~$5 with conversion rate 5% -> leads to $100 Cost-Per-Lead (CPL)
(100 Clicks $5 CPC) = $500 Total cost
$500 (total cost) / 5 leads = $100 Cost-Per-Lead (!)
A $100 CPL is quite high, particularly if you add a huge consumer market that’s very difficult to exclude. What this means is that you can end up paying as much at $100 for the email address of a college student. With these figures, your cost and campaign ROI can get out of hand quickly — even with a significant marketing budget.
Take for instance, a situation where 3 out of 10 leads are bogus data or coming from consumers, the effective cost per lead for the 7 “good” leads is ~$143. Our average deal size was large enough (some >$100K annually) to make it worthwhile for Sophos to pay up to $150 /per lead for a high quality (VP-level or C-level from a Fortune 1000) lead. But proving marketing ROI was never easy because our sales cycle was between 6–12 months. So while we could spend $40K per month on Adwords, paying $100 per lead, we might have to wait for up to 12 months to really see revenue.
Today a case could be made that with such high CPL, the money would be better spent on outbound sales campaigns or an account-based marketing approach.
We searched for a marketing agency to help us manage our Adwords campaigns as well as design landing pages. I talked with almost every marketing agency in the Boston area and we settled on the one that proposed deep market segmentation for our paid campaigns. Along with the agency, our marketing team segmented the market based on vertical industries and product offerings.
We started small and created targeted landing pages for companies that were looking for a specific product in a specific industry. For example, we first created landing pages for antivirus solutions in top industries, and had landing pages that focused on:
- Antivirus for Finance companies
- Antivirus for Government Organizations
- Antivirus for Non-profit
- Antivirus for Retail
- Antivirus for Education
For each page we created a separate ad campaign with unique calls to action and ad messages, as well as focusing on narrow keywords related only to this product and industry. Also, each page had unique content targeted to the ideal customer profile for a specific vertical. This allowed us to decrease the cost-per-click because Google saw the ads as very relevant. Our conversion rate increased and our cost per lead decreased. When we saw that one industry performed well, we would segment that industry further and create another ad campaign and landing page; data protection solutions for banks for example.
In a couple of months, we had over 50 landing pages running across multiple industries and product lines. Beforehand we were directing visitors to generic landing pages and in some cases just product pages. Post campaign, we had a mini-website with ~50 pages covering very specific products and industries. It’s true that it can be very costly to develop 50 landing pages. However, remember we were often paying over $100 per lead, so if a new landing page costs $400 and you can decrease cost per lead by $10 you can break even after only 40 leads generated from such a page.
Unfortunately, I can’t share the exact numbers in terms of improvements in conversion rate, Cost-Per-Click, or Cost-Per-Lead. But I can tell you that we improved our Adwords campaigns somewhere in the range of 50–150% on a Cost-Per-Lead basis. This is a unique case study where the importance of market segmentation could be calculated and translated into dollar amount.
We learned a lot (at least I did) and based on our learning developed separate pages on the website dedicated to every top industry. It also helped us drive some organic traffic from search engines and let customers landing on our website segment themselves based on the industry they were coming from.
LEARN MORE: Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot discusses segmentation and targeting for scaling company in this article —HubSpot’s Playbook for Going From Startup to Scale-up.
There are multiple ways to segment your market besides simple vertical or industry segmentation that we saw in the Sophos example.
Narrow your market and go deep. Segmentation allows companies to narrow their market and go deep. What do we mean by going deep?
Hypothetically speaking, if you company is willing to pay for 1,000 touches that your prospects have with your product, ad, content or whatever, you’ll get a better ROI if you have 10 touches in 100 different companies than 1 touch in 1,000 different companies. Going narrow and deep is what constitutes the main idea of what we call account-based marketing which we will discuss later. From a segmentation perspective, going narrow and deep means looking at your ICP and your market from the prism of a smaller, well defined group of customers.
Segmentation doesn’t have to be complicated, and there are cases where it can be overkill. In general, best advice is to make sure segments strike a balance between being big enough to be economically viable and sufficiently different to justify modifying your message or changing the focus of the values presented to attract them.
For example, at Sophos creating a segment that targets data protection for non-profits, larger than 100 employees in south east Asia might be overkill. Unless, A) there are plenty such companies in this segment or 2) the order in which they perceive the value of your product is significantly different from other non-profits. So, you need to ask yourself:
- Do you have enough companies in the segment (with the required budget) to make this segment attractive economically?
- Are the companies in this segment differentiated enough in terms of pain and values to justify changes to your message?
Below are a few examples of how you can segment your marketing campaign.
The Sophos case study is a perfect example of vertical or industry segmentation. If your product solves pains across multiple industries it is worth taking a look and testing industry segmentation.
Companies like Veeva and Vlocity built very successful companies just by focusing on specific verticals in otherwise very crowded industries. This is a great example of market segmentation as a core strategy.
Pain-based or value-based segmentation
Segmentation based on values and pains that target customers care about can improve your marketing campaign performance too. In the article on strategic messaging we saw that the target customer profile of the economic buyer (CMO, Chief Digital Officer (CDO) etc.) had three value categories: 1) revenue / retention / engagement; 2) customer satisfaction and 3) product roadmap decisions. It’s a good idea to design and test campaigns for each value category.
In this particular example even the first value category can be broken down into three segments (revenue, retention and engagement). Your target customers may have up to 3 values that impact their buying decisions and the order of importance of these values may change depending on the segment.
If your product is well positioned against competitors, you can segment your marketing campaigns based on competition. The key here is to understand your strengths and weaknesses and to play to them. You don’t necessarily have to position competitors as inferior, your goal should be to position them differently and to show for what customer pains and why your product is a better solution. Both Volvo and BMW are great cars but the former focuses on safety and the latter is more focused on performance. If done well, positioning competitors as inferior can be effective and some companies in consumer markets use this strategy often and successfully.
At Sophos we created competitor-based marketing campaigns betting on the brand keywords of the competition. We would create custom landing pages highlighting our advantages by comparing Sophos vs. McAfee or Sophos vs. AVG.
If your brand isn’t as well-known as your competitor, it’s a great idea to get your company into the consideration list for those who maybe haven’t heard of, or considered your product before. That said, it is better to avoid marketing campaigns against smaller and less well-known companies. You will only validate them and diminish your perceived brand value. So, just ignore smaller players. Instead go after industry leaders or established companies that many people dislike.
LEARN MORE: Recently, I came across a solid article on product positioning by April Dunford— Obviously Awesome: a product positioning exercise. Also, check out the article on the law of duality by Al Ries —The law of duality is creating havoc with many marketing programs.
Let’s say your product is built on top of the Salesforce platform or your product integrates with multiple CRMs or marketing automation systems. This is a perfect opportunity to segment your market based on the technology that your target customers use.
For example, PandaDoc, a document automation solution, integrates with over a dozen CRMs. They build a dedicated page for every single integration. This is a great example of how you can create marketing campaigns focusing on technology that is supported or used by your product. Marketing campaigns targeting document automation for Salesforce, Hubspot or Pipedrive reaches companies that use these technologies and allows your message to be tailored specifically to the targeted technology.
NOTE: We highlighted above just a few examples of market segmentation but in no way is this a complete list. Some companies and some markets will have unique profitable market segments to explore.
2.3. Strategic messaging
Once you have segmented your target market, you need to adjust your strategic messaging to fit customers in each segment.
If vertical segmentation includes companies in the financial sector, it’s important to make sure that your value proposition reflects the challenges that these companies face.
In technology-based segments, it’s important to describe how your product is integrated with the targeted technology. Outline how your product enhances experiences or saves time.
Strategic messaging at this stage impacts the content on your landing pages, in ads and so on.
2.4. Marketing channels
There are multiple marketing channels and ways to run your marketing campaign, and we can’t cover all of them here. The main point to note is that only once you understand your customers, have segmented them, and adjusted your messaging can you move into the specifics of launching marketing campaigns whether through Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook or any other channels. As mentioned, one of the biggest mistakes marketers make is creating Facebook/Linkedin/Twitter campaigns without a clear understanding of their customer and without segmenting and adjusting their messaging to new markets.
Obviously each channel has different targeting capabilities, limits on content, and politics around calls-to-action, so some adjustment will be needed.
2.5. Call-to-Action (CTA) / marketing assets / landing pages
Your customer acquisition model will dictate the call-to-action, marketing assets, and landing pages that you use. With broader and simpler products that use freemium or free trial models, you can drive prospects from marketing campaigns to free trials or signups. Marketing assets using this strategy become optional. Many companies with this approach move away from gated content, signup forms and marketing qualified leads (MQLs).
Drift, for example, only asks prospects to provide an email to access their free 14 day trial, and the rest of their content, such as marketing assets, ebooks, etc. are given without any lead forms.
When it comes to more expensive products for which you can’t easily build a free trial or where a freemium model isn’t a viable option, gated content can still be effective. However, I personally believe that gating content has very little benefit and it may harm, more than help a company grow. Opening up your content can increase interest and social media shares. So, instead of gating content, open it up and showcase a “request a demo” CTA. By design, a “request a demo” call to action is more appealing to prospects with higher buying intent. Students and small business outside your target customer profile might give you their email to access an educational white paper but they are unlikely to sign up for demo.
The bottom line is that you have to understand your customer acquisition process and create appropriate call-to-action and landing pages. Marketing assets can help you spark interest and generate leads if your marketing team still relies on MQLs.
2.6. Align marketing, sales and product
We will discuss marketing and sales alignment more closely when we talk about account-based marketing below. However, it’s important to remember that when marketing uses segmentation and adjusts messages accordingly, sales reps need to be signed up to this unified message. The last thing you want to do is to pitch your prospect a generic value proposition if the company came from the financial sector.
Engaging your product team in the market segmentation process can provide necessary input for changing and adjusting your roadmap. It is much more effective to have product managers in the room when you develop your ICP, messaging, segmentation, and marketing campaigns than discover crucial information afterwards.
To avoid confusion, marketing and sales should develop battle cards for each market segment to use in their marketing campaigns. Battle cards include message and qualification questions specifically for each vertical. Segment-specific case studies, references, and customer reviews can also be tremendously helpful. In the early stages you can just mark in your CRM or marketing automation that a prospect came from a specific industry so your sales team can adjust their initial qualification call accordingly.
For example, Sophos took the importance of understanding vertical segmentation to the extreme. Our sales team was set up in a way to allow reps to focus on just one or two vertical markets. This setup allowed sales reps to be deeply immersed in the problems that industry faces and highly aware of competition and other market forces that impact the industry (eg. the financial sector was heavily impacted during 2008–2010 financial crisis).
2.7. Tracking and Analytics
Obviously you need to have some tracking and analytics in place. We won’t spend much time on this topic here but let’s highlight a few things that you have to be aware of. Marketing campaigns need to be tracked on following levels:
- Channel level (CPC, CPM, CTR, CPL)
- Landing page level (conversion rate)
- Marketing automation / CRM level (leads, demos, opportunities, CAC, CLV)
LEARN MORE: To learn more about tracking marketing campaigns and customer acquisitions, read this in-depth article on how to track customer acquisitions.
NOTE: don’t forget to track your customers over time and understand how churn and CLV are impacted by segmentation. You might find interesting insights that will help you adjust and improve your marketing going forward.
First-touch / last-touch vs. pattern analysis
If you are emphasizing first-touch / last-touch in your marketing I believe you are missing the point. Analyzing customer interaction patterns rather than focusing on first-touch / last-touch will give you a better understanding of your customer.
Let’s look at attribution using a sports analogy. What has more impact on an athlete becoming an Olympic champion; the first practice or the last? You may argue that how people get into sports is most inspiring or that you can’t win the Olympics by skipping your last warm up before the race. While these are both true, the practice patterns over a long period of time is what correlates most with successful performance.
In your marketing, do you focus on understanding the pattern of how your prospects interact with your content, your product or your marketing campaign before they become a customer? If not, you’re missing a big trick. Look for overall patterns and a correlation between free trial signups and how many times a customer visited your website, consumed your contented, or was exposed to your marketing campaign. It is not the first-touch or the last-touch that matters, it is about the number of times (the pattern) that prospects are exposed to before they sign up or buy from you that matters.
2.8. Budget / ROI
Calculating marketing ROI is often tricky. What if you don’t have a free trial or signup and only collect demo requests by providing assets in exchange for contact information? This probably means that you have a longer sales cycle. As discussed in the case study, at Sophos, free trial or product sign up wasn’t an option and the sales cycle was long. This meant that estimating customer acquisition cost vs customer lifetime value was difficult.
That’s why we had an intermediate step that required the sales team to assign a potential revenue number to every opportunity. It was this opportunity revenue number that we used to calculate ROI.
For example, let’s say we generated 1,000 leads (at a $50 cost per lead) in January and by March 1st all leads had gone through the sales process. If 25 opportunities were created with a combined potential revenue of $200K (remember Sophos is selling security solutions to large organizations, so some deals could easily be over $100K), the:
Total Cost = $50 per lead 1,000 = $50,000 (landing page design cost are not included for simplicity)
Revenue per opportunity = $200K (total revenue opportunity) / 25 opps = $8,000
Opportunity per lead = $200K (total revenue opportunity) / 1,000 leads = $200 / revenue opp per lead
2.9. Optimization and testing
Optimizing and testing your marketing campaign is important. There are plenty of resources that discuss this topic in detail.
LEARN MORE: Lars Lofgren has a good article on testing and optimization when it comes to marketing —My 7 Rules for A/B Testing That Triples Conversion Rates.
2.10. Account-based Marketing (ABM)
While account-based marketing and account-based selling might come across as relatively new ideas, the basic concept has been around for a while. The main idea is to focus your selling and marketing efforts on a list of targeted customers with the highest potential Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). But the true benefit of this approach comes when account-based strategies in sales and marketing are aligned.
So how does account-based marketing play into the process of creating the marketing campaigns that we have discussed thus far? It is all about creating more targeted and segmented marketing campaigns instead of running a generic marketing campaign. Account-based marketing allows companies to take a narrow and deep approach even further by focusing on a specific list of companies in their selected segment. So instead of just targeting the financial sector, your marketing team will select a specific list of companies in that sector and go after them.
So for example, if you are selling to VPs of sales in organizations with over 20 sales reps, you might segment and test the pharmaceutical market and software resellers. Then you pick a list of 100–200 companies in each category. Teams have to be careful when picking target companies since sales reps will be inclined to select organizations they know, or have done business with. While this is not necessarily bad, nevertheless, you want to focus on targets that have higher CLVs and shorter sales cycles which indicate a great fit. That is why you want to use a data-driven approach to analyze your current customers (see Metadata example) and select specific targets you want to reach that match your ICP.
Needless to say, when you prepare your marketing campaign for each vertical you need to design unique messages. And don’t just focus on decision makers, because other stakeholders can have a huge impact on the final buying decision too. Ensure that you are talking to them as well.
Ultimately, companies need to align marketing, sales and product so that their target customer is exposed to messages a few times per day. In the morning your sales team might send him/her an outbound email, during work hours your customer can be exposed to your ads on Linkedin and Twitter, leading to a marketing asset that provides valuable insight. At the end of the day he/she might see your ad on Facebook or while reading the news through your retargeting campaign. This unified 360 attack from your sales and marketing team will allow you to spend your money efficiently and embed your company and message into the minds of your potential buyers.
Best results come from sales and marketing agreeing on a list of companies in a particular segment and designing marketing campaigns targeted to specific individuals and companies across multiple marketing channels for the duration of their outbound sales campaigns.
2.11. Putting it all together
Create a marketing campaign checklist:
- Ideal Customer Profile
- Segment your market
- Strategic messaging
- Pick marketing channels
- Call-to-Action (CTA) / marketing assets / landing pages
- Align marketing and sales
- Tracking and Analytics
- Budget / ROI
- Optimization and testing
- A Marketing playbook or outline will help you stay organized and keep track of marketing fundamentals by keeping a record of what has been working and what hasn’t.
- Start with your target customer in mind and not with the channel.
- Segmentation is key to running effective and efficient marketing campaigns. It’s worth exploring how your market can be segmented into an economically viable set of customers.
- Understand your buyer journey. Journeys and the pattern of customer/prospect engagement is more insightful than first-touch /last-touch attribution analysis.
- Account-based marketing strategy can help narrow your market even further and focus on reaching your target on many levels in organizations with different value-based messages for each stakeholder.
- How Silicon Valley’s bias against marketing obliterates value, time, and technical brilliance everywhere it goes by Dan Kaplan
- The Evolution of Marketing Thanks to SaaS by Dave Kellogg
- HubSpot’s Playbook for Going From Startup to Scale-up by Brian Halligan
- Obviously Awesome: a product positioning exercise by April Dunford
- The law of duality is creating havoc with many marketing programs by Al Ries
- My 7 Rules for A/B Testing That Triple Conversion Rates by Lars Lofgren
- The Importance Of Segmentation For Your SaaS Startup — by Tom Tunguz
Tom Wentworth, CMO at RapidMiner, for providing early critical feedback and for sharing his marketing expertise with me.
Gil Allouche, Founder and CEO of Metadata.io, for discussing with me the topic of designing marketing campaigns during the time I was creating an outline for this article.
Suzie Larcombe, who helps SMEs, startups and scale ups communicate more effectively, for making this article easier to read by cutting chunks of it and fixing all the issues around misspellings, typos, and grammar.
UPDATE #1 (2/26/17): in the earlier version of this article, I made a mistake in calculating cost per click in the case study section. In the earlier version, conversion rate was 3% and Cost-Per-Lead was $33 (incorrect, it should have been $166). In current version, conversion rate is 5%. I couldn’t find any reports from 7 years ago but I’m certain that acceptable CPL was ~$150 so I adjusted numbers to fit this target. Thanks to dierken for spotting this mistake!
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