Making Your Marketing Map, Part 1: Understanding the Universe of Opportunity.

ali rahman Marketing Map

Preamble

Remember this old thing?

old-funnel

It’s called the Purchase Funnel. And for a long time it was the best way to conceptualize your marketing activities. But like all good inventions, it’s time came and went. Digital communications have rendered it archaic. Search and Social Media allow prospective customers to jump into the purchase funnel at any stage, effectively turning the purchase funnel on its side, and breaking it apart. This is kind of what the purchasing process looks like today:

Courtesy: Google

Courtesy: Google

This is a good thing for smaller businesses. In the old days, you needed a big advertising budget and retail presence to generate awareness in your brand; awareness that would eventually filter down to sales.

 

Nowadays, you need an appropriate mix of tactics and content to catch prospective customers wherever they are in your sales cycle. Building that mix can get complex. You have to bring some self-awareness to the table, an understanding of your competitive landscape and key differentiators, general knowledge of customer behaviour and most importantly, a solid grasp of the tactical opportunities available to you and how they work.

 

At Fractal, we often talk about The Universe of Opportunity available to businesses. This post is the first in our series about building your Marketing Map; a concept we’re developing to help you better conceptualize your marketing needs.
This post is foundational. We’re going to go through some of the most important tactics and channels available to you and how they work. The list of tactics mentioned here is not intended to be exhaustive or particularly nuanced. This is a conversation starter. We’re hoping to lay the groundwork here for more detailed explorations of each of these opportunities as we go forward.

Your Opportunities at a Glance

The second post in this series is called Making Your Marketing Map Part 2: A Plan Without A Map Is Just A List. In it, we detail what differentiates a Marketing Map from a traditional marketing plan. Check it out after reading this one.

Briefly, what we’ve done is plot a number of typical marketing tactics on a grid. The grid is structured as follows:

  • The X-Axis represents the resources (either time or money) required to fulfill any given tactic
  • The Y-Axis represents the typical amount of consideration a prospective customer has to make to convert.
    • Higher up on the Y-Axis you find more traditionally B2B customers, who are worth lots of money per conversion but they tend to be less impulsive, and make more considered decisions weighing several variables and factors.
    • Lower down on the Y-Axis you find more traditionally retail and B2C customers, who have a relatively low value-per-conversion and as such don’t require too much convincing to move from consideration to sale. In most cases, for these types of customers, volume is what you’re after.

Ultimately, we think it’s just a good way to look at your opportunities at a glance:

 

As you can see, we’ve identified just a few, key tactical opportunities here. They include:

 

  • Direct Sales – good old fashioned knocking on doors, making calls and networking
  • Your Web & Mobile Presence – the hub for all your digital marketing activities; the home of your value proposition and all of its proof points. For our mapping purposes, your web and mobile presence are one and the same. Yes, you might have particular tools or long-form content that’s more geared towards desktop browsing, but for marketing purposes, both web and mobile need to work the same way and support the same activities.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – a way to structure your web presence so it is easily found by people who are searching for your services or products. Good SEO means you understand your customers enough to anticipate their search engine queries.
  • Google Pay-Per-Click Advertising – Google offers a plethora of paid-advertising services where it either places your ads on contextually relevant content pages found on its network or it serves them up to people searching for something relevant to your offering.
  • Content Marketing – the practice of using exceptional content to justify your value proposition to potential customers. This content can be text, video, audio, interactive, serialized or any combination of the above.
  • Organic Social Media – a way to interact directly with (and learn from) your customers and prospects, to build relationships with them, to build influencers and foster word-of-mouth sales for your brand.
  • Facebook Advertising – Facebook boasts about a billion users. And each of them offer up significant demographic, sociographic and interest based data that you can use to create highly targeted advertising, where your offer tightly matches up with those customers’ needs.
  • LinkedIn Advertising – similar to Facebook but with a focus on B2B. LinkedIn allows you to target by profession, job title, skills and interests, among many other factors
  • Twitter Advertising – You can use Twitter to promote tweets or promote accounts, and Twitter’s targeting options are a flexible blend of keywords and demographics.
  • Native Apps – by 2016, there will be 2 Billion smartphones in circulation. Native Apps allow you to establish a permanent brand presence on a device that your customers carry around in their pockets all day, every day.
  • Retargeting – the practice of serving up ads to people who’ve already interacted with your brand in some way. Think of it as a way to ‘seal the deal’ when someone browses your brand but might need more information before converting.
  • Subscription/Email/Newsletter – Closely related to Content Marketing, this is the practice of regularly offering useful content to your customers. It’s a great lead acquisition and customer retention practice.
  • Directories – These are online destinations customers already visit to find services they know they need that are geographically near to them. Yelp is a good example of a directory for retail and restaurants; but there are plenty more, industry-specific directories.
  • E-Commerce – Taking your customer to conversion (purchase) directly online; either through your own e-commerce interface or a 3rd party marketplace like E-Bay, Amazon, Shopify, Etsy or iTunes to name a few.
  • Custom Tools – Related to content marketing, the development of custom, interactive web tools that offer some value for your customers. If you’re in real-estate, maybe it’s a mortgage calculator, or a home valuation tool. If your market is new parents, maybe it’s a vaccination scheduler or a developmental milestones log.

Your Opportunities… In Higher Resolution!

We’ve added more detail to each of these tactics in the accordion menus below. Expand any one of them to find out more.

What is it?

  • Calling
  • Cold-Calling
  • Knocking on Doors
  • Personal outreach of any kind
  • At some point, any conversion requires a direct sales touch. It’s a question of where your customers are in their purchase decision. If you’re in retail, more often than not, the direct sales touch happens in-store. If, on the other hand, you’re selling enterprise software B2B, that direct touch will be necessary much earlier in the process. Direct sales is the oldest marketing tactic in the book. You reach out, you adapt your value proposition to meet your prospect’s needs, you negotiate and convert.

Who responds to it? (customers)

  • Anyone in a B2B position
  • Any high-value conversion customers (real-estate, auto)

Any specific sectors/industries?

  • We’re not talking about specific industries so much as anyone who’s spending more than $1000. Consulting, retail, infrastructure, IT and professional services especially benefit from direct sales.

When to use it. Why?

  • Highly specific B2B purchasing decisions that involve an ongoing relationship between vendor and customer.
  • Any product or service that requires extensive customization
  • When each conversion is worth the major investment in time.

What does it mix well with?

  • Content Marketing on your website to reinforce value proposition articulated in a sales call/meeting.

Resource investment

  • Time and budget for dedicated sales associates

What do you need to get the most out of it?

  • Good salespeople
  • A clearly articulated value proposition
  • The ability and infrastructure to follow up with customer relationships

What is it?

  • It’s your mobile-optimized website.

Who uses it (customers)

  • Anyone who is referred to you, either by word of mouth, search, social media or paid advertising. Depending on time of day or day of the week, you’ll see more or less traffic from mobile. Mobile use generally peaks when users are away from work

Who uses it (industry)

  • Businesses in all industries need a website. Likewise, businesses in all industries need mobile-optimized websites, but this is especially true for retailers, restaurants and other industries similarly dependent on walk-in traffic.

When to use it. Why?

  • Your website is the container for your content, which articulates your value proposition. It functions as a business card, an advertisement, and if you operate an e-commerce site, it’s your direct source of revenue.

What does it mix well with?

  • Everything we will talk about here. With mobile, there is perhaps a lesser emphasis on content marketing and a bigger emphasis on directory services like Yelp! and Urbanspoon, depending on your industry.

What do you need to get the most out of it?

  • Good Content that articulates expertise, confidence in your field, your value proposition and key differentiators.
  • Good graphic design that articultes your brand value
  • Good user experience that pushes people towards conversions
  • Mobile users are often looking for something with more urgency. Your mobile site needs to be more conversion focused
  • Your content needs to be totally legible and accessible on a small screen
  • Multimedia is less effective on a smaller screen, which means mobile sites fall back on text to get their message across. Make sure your copy satisfies users’ requirements.

What is it?

  • SEO is the process of optimising of website copy, design and usability to appear at top of search results. It’s about matching customer expectations with your value proposition

Who uses it (customers)

  • Every potential customer is searching, including those who know you, and those who don’t. Remember, your domain name isn’t memorable, your search terms are, and that’s how people will find you

Who uses it (industry)

  • Everyone

What does it mix well with?

  • Good SEO practice is highly reflective of your website’s usability and overall usefulness. As such, it mixes well with a properly executed content marketing strategy that adds value to your website and social media campaigns

What do you need to get the most out of it?

  • Good UX
  • Good (useful content) that anticipates user queries and questions
  • SEO best practices

What is it?

  • Keyword based pay-per-click advertising.

Who uses it (customers)

  • People searching for products, either searching generically or for specific brands
  • People in mobile situations searching for something around them

Who uses it (industry)

  • PPC is used to market everything from bicycles to to highly specialized manufacturing equipment; that is to say, everything. If a large enough volume of people are searching for it, using to sell it PPC might make sense. But it can also work for pushing out content to people searching for information around your products or services.

When to use it. Why?

  • Great for generating sales, both consumer and B2B
  • Useful for getting content in front of people searching around your industry, product or service
  • If you have a strong key differentiator you should make sure you have optimized content to articulate your specific value proposition

What does it mix well with?

  • It’s often the first part of a digital marketing campaign that users will see, and a good point of entry for a campaign that that relies on multiple touches

What do you need to get the most out of it?

  • Good PPC landing page design is critical for keeping costs down, and it’s rules are very close to traditional SEO practice, so it’s best to have a firm grasp on SEO
  • Don’t do it if your market is broad and too general and competitive
  • Have a really clear understanding of the lifetime value of each converted user

What is it?

  • Blog posts, web copy, videos, tools, resources and downloadables that articulate your expertise in an industry. Your content defines what makes you better or different

Who uses it (customers)

  • Customers who are looking into a niche pretty carefully or shopping around. As well as people who already know that they want a service but don’t yet know who’s going to provide it.

Who uses it (industry)

  • Every industry can benefit from expressing what makes them unique. However, content marketing tactics have the most impact for industries with long sales cycles, high value conversions and in highly competitive landscapes.

When to use it. Why?

  • If you don’t have a solid reputation, networking or contacts, then an investment in content marketing can go a long way to building your credibility and brand identity.

What does it mix well with?

  • Especially useful for retargeting in industries with long sales cycles.

What do you need to get the most out of it?

  • An honest approach, the dropping of all pretense and the confidence to explain your process with people.
  • Tactically speaking, you need good writing and communications skills, as well as crystal clear goals for your brand and your communications strategy.

What is it?

  • It’s PR and word of mouth. It’s influencers, social media users who can act as brand ambassadors
  • It’s a way to continuously articulate the nuances of your value proposition and discuss them directly with your customers

Who uses it (customers)

  • Everyone is on Facebook, many organizations use twitter and professionals lean to LinkedIn. There are a whole bunch of niched social media platforms that may be appropriate

Who uses it (industry)

  • Aside from single purpose suppliers with no growth objectives, all businesses can use social media to either 1) grow brand equity 2) establish soft leads 3) improve their reputation 4) garner word of mouth

When to use it. Why?

  • Be selective. Have something good to share. Start with content, conversation, conversion. Before you can talk about something you need to have something good to talk about. Use it when you have a good idea, a strong differentiator or something that personalizes your brand on social media

What does it mix well with?

  • It’s vital to have a solid content marketing strategy in place for social media to work. Organic social media is also great for building out a following to which you can then market to using PPC and CPM advertising on those social platforms, as well as using your followers as social proof for your advertising

What do you need to get the most out of it?

  • A sense of authenticity
  • A willingness to try things
  • A good understanding of your industry’s landscape so you can share best practices to initiate discussion (curation, or the practice of picking outside content to post on social media is a good example of this)

What is it?

  • If you’re an online retailer, its the software you use to sell your products or services on your website

What does it mix well with?

  • You need to get customers to your e-commerce site if you want to make sales, so e-commerce mixes well with just about every channel and tactic we’re talking about here. You need good design and good UX, as small changes in design can have a huge impact on sales. You need email and social media marketing, PPC advertising, and retargeting, at the very least to mitigate shopping cart abandonment

What do you need to get the most out of it?

  • Clear sales and business goals
  • Great design
  • A marketing campaign that is integrated, with every tactic pulling together to reach prospects with the right messaging wherever they are in the purchase funnel

What is it?

  • Custom built web tools that provide added value to your customers. A great example is Warby Parker’s virtual try-on tool, which lets users shopping for glasses see what the glasses would look like on an upload picture of their face

Who uses it (customers)

  • It really depends on the tool, and what it does, but anything that helps your users get a better sense of what they need from your products, and which offering makes the most sense for them is a good thing

Who uses it (industry)

  • Online retailers, service sector businesses, real-estate (mortgage calculators are a favourite), essentially anyone.

When to use it. Why?

  • Make sure that the tool you want to develop is actually useful, and not just a gimmick. Custom Tools can be very expensive to develop, so it should make sense, from both a sales perspective and one of general usefulness

What does it mix well with?

  • The aforementioned Warby Parker virtual try-on is a great illustration of the value of a custom tool for e-commerce. But it’s worth looking at what your content marketing is saying to your prospects, in terms of your domain-specific expertise and thinking about how a web tool could help provide custom feedback and advice based on dynamic inputs

What do you need to get the most out of it?

  • Clearly defined functionality
  • A clear understanding of your customers’ pain points-what can you build that will make their lives easier?
  • Good developers, good UX, good design