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July 2023 marked my ninth anniversary as an independent B2B Marketing consultant.
Like everyone working for themselves or in a small team, I have good and bad days, highs and lows.
I’ve learned much from working with many enterprises and mid-size clients of different industries. Thank you so much for allowing me to serve you. You know what you are.
Sitting down with a cup of tea in my hand and reflecting on what I’ve learned.
Here are my five digital “AHA!” moments:
- Marketing is about placing calculated bets
- Data and processes matter more than creative and content
- Everything takes longer than projected
- Testing and analytics never end
- No budget = no marketing
Marketing is about placing calculated bets
Let’s all be brutally honest – no marketer knows how a campaign will perform. It could go very well, or it could go completely bust.
You know, generally, channels perform better based on your past experience and campaign results. You also understand what you need to cover across all marketing fronts to minimize missteps and chaos. Say everything goes flawlessly; it doesn’t mean you’ll achieve your projected goals.
Like everything in life, you place calculated bets based on your knowledge and experience. You don’t know what will happen but do your best to make educated decisions.
With your best guesses, you know that email marketing and events have a higher success rate than Google paid ads based on your past campaigns. So, you double down and place your bets on email marketing and events.
You do what you can to increase your probability of success.
We all place our marketing bets. Understand that’s what we do and help others understand this as well.
Technologies and processes matter more than creative and content
I love creative and content, so it pains me to state that technologies are more critical.
In the past, I focused on creative, copy, content, and various marketing channels when I created my campaigns. Now, I focus more on data and processes.
It doesn’t mean creative, copy, content, and marketing channels are no longer important. They still are, but you won’t be able to showcase any of that unless you source the right platforms and establish the processes.
The more I dive into digital, the more I feel how essential technologies and processes are. Without them, you won’t be able to scale or implement your marketing outreach. Period!
Everything takes longer than projected
Senior executives or management teams seem to think marketing is like a switch that can be turned on immediately. One executive told me, “Open a Twitter account and start tweeting. How hard is that?” If only it were that easy…
Marketing can’t be done randomly. If we want to tweet, let’s tweet something that is meaningful and makes sense to our followers. It takes time to write something that resonates.
Also, digital campaigns take a longer time to set up. You need to have and test the right platforms to ensure everything works.
Another hidden barrier of digital marketing is that you also need to make sure that the data flows from one platform to another. All of these take time to build.
For digital, I learned to be patient. Very patient. Sourcing tools and integrating data or enriching data just takes time. More often than not, it wouldn’t even work the first time.
Educate your management and sales teams that digital takes time to do the right way.
Testing and analytics optimize your digital outreach
The beauty of digital marketing is easy and quick AB testing and endless dashboards and analytics.
Here is the thing about testing – you may wind up with conflicting results, leading to analysis paralysis.
Different platforms have different dashboards. You need to pull analytics manually from different dashboards or use BI tools to pull all the information into one consolidated place.
Again, it takes time to set that up based on what dashboards you want to see and when. It also takes time to analyze the data to optimize your next round of campaigns.
Here is the dilemma – After you analyze the data, the results or recommendations may seem iffy based on your expertise and knowledge.
You’ll need to make a judgment call.
It all comes full circle; you’ll need to determine which bet you are going to place by going either with your gut or the data.
No budget = no marketing
There is no such thing as a free lunch in marketing. Let’s not confuse organic with free. You can do organic or grassroots marketing, but your salary is not free.
You may use many social media platforms to push out your content, but it doesn’t mean these posts will be seen.
I advise all marketers that there’s no marketing if there’s no budget. That’s what you need to communicate to your executive or management teams. It’s that simple.
The best way to demonstrate this “no free lunch” idea is via cost per lead.
Not every company can accurately calculate cost per lead. That’s OK!
You can estimate based on the total campaign spends in the context of the MQLs you generated. Do a rough estimation to start.
Worst-case scenario, you include marketing salary and headcount in the formula. Every lead costs money to get. It’s that simple.
I’ve been coaching marketers and encouraging them to communicate with their executive teams about these five “AHA!” moments.
The fact is marketing is getting more complicated. It’s our job to educate our colleagues, sales, and management team so that they appreciate what you do.
If you’d like to delve deeper into any of these topics, don’t hesitate to drop me a line; I’m just an email away.