This article is a guest contribution from Paul Albright, CEO and co-founder of Captora. Paul brings unique experiences from leading product, marketing, and sales in some of Silicon Valley’s most innovative companies. Most recently, Paul served as chief revenue officer at Marketo, where he facilitated global revenue growth over 100 percent year-over-year. Paul has also led strategies at SuccessFactors, NetApp, Informatica, and Greylock. He is a frequent speaker and blogger, focused on demystifying modern marketing to accelerate growth.
The pressure is on. Marketing is leading your company’s growth strategy, but it also needs to improve the efficiency of that growth to lower your customer Acquisition cost (CAC). New marketing technologies and platforms are critical to scaling growth, but not at the expense of old fashioned planning and execution.
Tomorrow’s winning companies will be both digital and data-driven, but your core strategy is equally (if not more) important as growth accelerates. If you attempt to scale without a clear vision and realistic goals, you will only hit a wall faster.
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You hear it all the time in sports. Winning is about more than being the best athlete – you have to out-prepare, out-train, and out-hustle your competitors as a team. In the context of B2B marketing, your company and team needs the best plan, technologies, and processes to win.
CMOs should focus on the following priorities to accelerate digital marketing:
- People (skill sets and workflows of your team)
- Opportunities (prioritize the right market Initiatives)
- Content (digital marketers’ “product”)
- Systems (your martech stack)
- Processes (creating, approving, optimizing, reporting)
I was recently visiting the CMO of one of Captora’s customers, and we discussed these points. Her marketers are very talented, and they understand how to capitalize on opportunities and achieve results. We talked through a simple planning template that helps both the marketing team and the C-suite align their programs with the company’s growth initiatives.
Let’s take a closer look:
Make sure your team understands your business initiatives and how their individual success is measured against these goals. Align your team with your company’s “go-to-market” strategy. If you have resource gaps, use third-party experts to stay on track with goals (for example: a lead generation provider; a content marketing agency).
Your go-to-market initiatives will fall into three buckets:
- Pipeline growth
- Brand expansion
- Competitor attack
Each type of campaign will have a slightly different focus. For example, an initiative focused on pipeline growth will be measured based on visitors/leads/opps/deals. A brand expansion initiative will be measured based on keyword ranking and digital discussions that associate keywords with your company (versus other companies).
In my experience, most companies start with 5-8 market initiatives. Pick too many, and you risk becoming an inch deep and a mile wide. Your ability to simplify and focus will be key to your success.
Content is a loaded term in today’s world of digital marketing, so I’ll simplify. Content is to marketing what product is to engineers – it represents your product to potential buyers and engages them by explaining how you solve their problems better than other companies.
Once they find your company, if interested, they’ll visit a landing page to either fill out a “Contact Me” form or sign up for a trial/freemium product. At this point, the most important content is no longer your call to action; it’s the landing page content: template, URL, header, sub-header, page copy, footer, etc. Most search, advertising, and social landing pages are dynamic, so you need to test these different components to see what copy and placement delivers the highest conversion rate.
To execute a campaign at scale, you need to give your team the necessary technologies/platforms. As you know, the martech landscape is crowded. It grew from 1,876 to 3,874 technologies, all competing for your attention, in just the past year.
How do you navigate this quagmire?
We like thinking of these different tools based on how they relate to the purchase funnel. At the bottom of the funnel, CRMs serve a critical role in tracking sales stages, accounts, and customers.At the middle of the funnel, you’re using marketing automation tools like Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot, Act-on, or Hubspot to nurture leads and track digital campaigns. At the top of the funnel, you probably rely on a content management system (CMS) and web analytics to manage your website and blog.
Many marketers struggle with developing a top-of-the-funnel marketing strategy that isn’t based on conjecture. The next wave of marketing innovation will be led by those who master multichannel marketing (driving conversions through new channels, tracking behavior and engaging prospects across every touchpoint, etc.).
Last, but certainly not least, let’s discuss how to build scalable processes so your teams are working on the right programs to hit goals and improving CAC. Here are a few digital marketing processes I think will make a big impact for you:
- Fundamental/Repeatable Campaign Marketing: For most companies, accelerating growth is marketing’s number one goal. The most efficient way to achieve growth is to make sure you have a repeatable process for planning and launching campaigns across every channel.
- Alignment & Goal-Setting: Align your digital marketing programs with your go-to-market initiatives. Set monthly goals (by channel and initiative) for expanding your reach and increasing conversion rates.
- Spend Optimization: Improve the mix of your spend across search, Advertising, and social channels. In your paid channels, the focus is on optimization of your content to improve conversion rates. Organic search is different: the landing pages are static, so you might launch campaigns (keywords phrases with dedicated landing pages) and figure out which keywords are driving high-quality buyers.
- Optimize Paid Campaigns: Focus on the three parts of the paid channel workflow to maximize conversion rates:
- Your account structure (e.g., Google AdWords)
- Your template(s) and CTAs
- Personalization and optimization of your landing pages
- Reporting: Report monthly results by initiative, channel, campaign, and CTA. Daily and weekly reports from your paid programs will give you insights to watch during your monthly reviews and help you plan adjustments. Get used to a monthly cadence so you can out-execute your competition.
Here’s an example of a digital marketing plan that brings all of these elements together. I added example workflows for a paid media process in Google AdWords.
Here’s a simple mantra I subscribe to:
Preparation + Perspiration – Interference = Potential (Maximum Results)
By following the above processes and workflows, you can better align your digital marketing teams (and investments) with your company’s growth strategy. This ensures that marketing learns fast, adjusts often, and knows your market better than anyone.