Foundational Marketing

Curiosity In Marketing: Be Intentional

By Trusted CMO

Being conventional is walking a well-worn path. When we make decisions based on avoiding risk, we fall into traps we can’t see. We buy things or do things because it’s what others do, or our competitor does. We don’t ask why. Whether you work at a startup or a large company, you risk being conventional. The marketing department can be the greatest offender.

I spent two years working for a company that had very little exposure to marketing and sales technology and practices (such as content marketing and webinars). Explaining why we would use such tactics, what they cost, and what benefits we’d expect inspired me to think about such things as “givens.” When you get stuck or frustrated (and we all do), here are some ways to stop the gratuitous and start with the intentional.

1. Postulate.

Let’s say that you are having trouble engaging a segment of your target buyers. They rarely open your emails and almost never click. First, isolate that segment—maybe 1,000 people with similar behavior. Study how these buyers respond and look at their past actions. When was the last time they did anything? Eliminate obvious possibilities. Maybe they don’t read anyone’s emails (e.g., never click). Are they actively engaged with sales? If so, don’t email them as much. Has their company blocked your domain? Are you emailing the wrong person?

2. Experiment.

Whatever you discover, devise a maximum of three experiments to influence this segment. Maybe it’s a different flavor of email, or sending fewer emails. Could you have your sales development reps call instead? Create your hypotheses, define your experiments, allow for 30 days of trying and then measure the results.

3. Empathize.

Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. They might not be ready to buy, but beyond that, you may have taken the conventional route. Study when your audience responds to your marketing. Are they more likely to register for events than webinars? Do they open your newsletter and respond to evergreen content more than product marketing? Or the reverse? Optimize for time, format and content.

4. Be Real.

Go back to your experiments and be real about the results. Accept that all of your guesses and trials might fail. Don’t lie to yourself about what didn’t work. Don’t get too excited and be pleasantly surprised when your experiment played out the way you expected. Try it again.

5. Ask ‘but why?’ and qualify.

The most valuable shortcut to making deliberate decisions in marketing is getting advice from others who have walked off the path and discovered something new. Speak to your peers. Here’s an example. Many marketers are willing to spend $20,000 or more on ads per month and swear that this type of campaign generates many leads. If you are a smaller company with $1,000 or less to spend, this advice is going to blow through your budget with terrible results. Why? Because it takes a lot of impressions to get clicks, and even more from people you want. Instead, look at spending your $1,000 on retargeting or boosting some of your great content. See how these experiments perform before you bankroll any further.

Being intentional

It’s time to start thinking and asking more questions. Make this practice part of your weekly marketing review. Is your content marketing really fueling demand? Is your  content well-tailored to the buying stage? Is your paid advertising paying off? Ask yourself these questions and then explain your logic to others. Encourage your team to do the same. Force intention, not generic activity.

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