Tag Archives for " marketing litmus "

June 23, 2017

The Marketing Litmus Test: Part 5

In the final Marketing Litmus Test, we turn an eye to the future…

5. If a marketing strategy experiment works, are you in a position to roll it out at scale?

Most of the marketing work you do ‘in-house’ will fall under the category of ‘experiments’.

There’s an important distinction here between ‘experiments’ and ‘campaigns’.

The language of campaigns permeates many aspects of marketing. We talk about running ‘campaigns’ in Infusionsoft. We talk about setting up a Google AdWords ‘campaign’.

The trouble is, most of the time you’re not running a ‘campaign’ at all. You’re running an experiment. A campaign requires the organisation and deployment of resources. Campaigns involve carefully orchestrated activities. An experiment on the other hand simply tests out an idea.

In running an experiment, you need a contingency plan in case the experiment is a success. If your experiment goes well, can you put yourself in a position to really capitalise on your success?

If you’re managing your marketing in-house, will you have the expertise to build out a full ‘campaign’?

If you work with outsourced marketing providers, will you have people lined up to take over your successful experiments?

A successful marketing experiment is only worthwhile if you can be in a position to subsequently scale out the parts that work. If you’re not going to be in a position to do that; if your business can’t afford to hire the expertise; if you’re never going to have the skills in house… then why run the experiment in the first place?

Oil companies don’t get rich by drilling for oil in random places. An oil company will first prospect for oil. And when they find it, they build a fence around it and scale.

I suggest you operate your marketing in the same way. By all means run your own experiments. But start with a plan in place to scale your efforts, should things work out.

Don’t pursue any marketing strategies you have no intention of rolling out.

We’re at the end of this series on marketing strategy litmus tests. You can catch up with the full series here.

And as always, I’d love to know what you thought.

June 22, 2017

The Marketing Litmus Test: Part 4

In Litmus Test No.4 we finally turn the spotlight on you…

4. Does the marketing strategy you are contemplating fit within your core skills and interests?

You see, there’s a weird thing happening at the moment in marketing.

On one hand it’s easier to do more of your own marketing ‘in-house’ than ever before. You get to keep control of your marketing, and keep control of your message. But at the same time, most of us are personally trying to implement too much.

Because there is so much to do, you have to play to your strengths.

As an example, most of my email signups to this list come from Facebook. I’m not a leading expert on Facebook ads by any stretch, but I know more than your average punter. I understand the targeting options. I’ve created ads that have done reasonably well.

However, there is a problem. Something about it doesn’t sit right.

While I understand the basics of Facebook advertising and essentially know what I’m doing, I don’t spend as much time in the Facebook ads interface as I ought to. I’m not as rigorous at testing ads as I ought to be. And fundamentally, I don’t actually enjoy it very much. The work itself feels a little like drudgery. At some point, I’ll be best offloading it to someone else.

In selecting the most appropriate marketing strategies for your business, you need to also take a long hard look at yourself. (And a long hard look at your team members, if you have any…)

And ask: does this shiny marketing object I’m chasing really play to my strengths?

While managing my Facebook ads feels like drudgery, I love writing these emails each week. For me, writing to a group of people every day who value my perspective is hugely rewarding.

I’m actually writing these words in a park near my house, on a sunny Saturday evening. If you decide to do something on a Saturday evening just because you enjoy it, there’s a good chance that thing is in your sweet zone.

In pursuing a marketing strategy, the first litmus test is the audience test. Are you 100% clear about who you are trying to attract?

The second litmus test is your message. Do you know in advance what message you want to convey? And is the message appropriate to the medium? (A winning message on Google will often fail on Facebook…)

The third litmus test is whether you can measure return on investment.

The fourth then looks at you, and asks: are you playing to your own strengths in the strategies you choose to pursue?

We’ll look at the final marketing strategy litmus test tomorrow.

June 21, 2017

The Marketing Litmus Test: Part 3

Litmus Test No.3 is a short test that is almost never asked with sufficient rigour…

3. In pursuing a particular marketing strategy, is the Return On Investment (ROI) measurable?

As a long-time practitioner of Google AdWords, this test gets under my bonnet more than any other.

Measuring ‘return on investment’ is not the same as tracking conversions. Just because you’ve successfully copied and pasted a script onto your ‘thank you’ page, does not mean you’re now measuring return on investment.

Marketers love to throw ‘ROI’ numbers about, in pretence that they’re actually measuring the results of their efforts. In reality, these ‘ROI’ numbers are based on a giant leap of attribution.

“We created ads in that campaign,” the argument goes, “so therefore ALL the revenue you generated is attributable to US…”

I call this the ‘myth of linear attribution’. Usually, this is an extravagant link of cause and effect by marketers desperate to justify their involvement in a project (and possibly their fees).

In reality, attribution is messy and complicated. If you sell anything other than a basic commodity, a customer will visit your website multiple times before placing an order. They’ll arrive from multiple keywords. They’ll click on multiple email links. They’ll respond to remarketing ads on social media. They’ll do all sort of strange things you would never imagine…

(They might even pick up the phone, or call in to see you!)

How do you attribute credit in that web of activities? In reality, generating a sale is like scoring a goal in football (soccer). Somebody will eventually kick the ball into the net, but usually there is a team effort in the build up.

Yes, marketing attribution is can be complicated. Yes, you’ll never get a complete picture of what activities contribute to revenue. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

In selecting a marketing strategy to pursue, you need to (as a minimum) be tracking traffic from that strategy in Google Analytics. If someone buys from you as a result of a particular strategy, you need to store that information in your CRM system.

Otherwise, how will you know if your efforts have been worthwhile?

ROI isn’t always the be-all and end-all. I don’t accurately track the ROI from these emails. I write them in blind confidence that I’m building a level of trust with my list that will eventually pay high rewards.

If that blind confidence turns out to be incorrect, I’ll eventually stop. Sometimes you have to give things time to play out. But in selecting a marketing strategy, you at least need an idea of how you’ll track the results of your efforts.

For the gold standard in marketing attribution, see the video I made a few weeks ago on Wicked Reports.

June 20, 2017

The Marketing Litmus Test: Part 2

If you missed question 1 in the Marketing Strategy Litmus Test, you can find it here.

Litmus Test No.2 is about the second most neglected of marketing topics: your story.

2. In pursuing a particular marketing strategy, are you 100% clear on your message?

To come up with a ‘yes’ answer to this question, you must address three things:

  • Do you understand what parts of your story you need to tell?
  • Do you understand how to link your story to a compelling sales message?
  • Do you truly understand the problem your customers are trying to solve? Do you feel emotionally comfortable getting under their skin?

Like Litmus Test No.1, this may seem like an obvious question to ask. After all, you’re experienced at what you do. You understand your market, and your customers. So why wouldn’t you understand your message?

The trouble is, there are thousands of ways you could present your message. There are different points you could focus on. And once you start telling stories rather than only talking about features, the possibilities are endless.

Most people do not consider this until it’s too late.

If you’ve ever created a Google AdWords campaign, you may be familiar with this problem. You create your campaign settings. You add your (carefully selected) keywords. And then, as an afterthought, you create your ads.

For most people, the order of proceedings is:

Select marketing strategy > select audience > choose message.

When in fact the correct sequence should be:

Select audience > choose message > select marketing strategy.

All technical considerations should be considered as late as possible, not as the starting consideration. Google, Facebook and LinkedIn are not your buddy. These platforms couldn’t care less whether your business thrives or dies.

They will always take your money. They will always encourage you to start by thinking about technical platform considerations.

They will never suggest that an alternative platform might be a better option. Which is the conclusion you might arrive at, once you’ve thought about your audience and your message in a sophisticated way.

To reiterate, Litmus Test No.2 is:

2. In pursuing a particular marketing strategy, are you 100% clear on your message?

If you need help with this, read the information here.

June 19, 2017

The Marketing Litmus Test: Part 1

In this series of emails, we’ll look at a series of questions that can help determine whether you are pursuing the right marketing strategies.

The right marketing strategies for you, that is…

Question 1 in the Marketing Litmus Test is about the most neglected of marketing topics: audience.

1. In selecting a particular marketing strategy, do you have a clear idea of who you are trying to reach? Do you understand how they use the medium?

Most businesses arrange their marketing activities in a herd mentality. Everyone else is on Google, so we should be on Google. Somebody at BNI said LinkedIn really works, so we need to be on LinkedIn…


The question is, what if the herd is wrong? Or at best, misguided?

If you think you already know everything about your market, you’re wrong. To reliably answer Litmus Test No.1 you have to turn off your computer. Leave the office. Go out and find potential customers you can speak to face to face, or over Skype.

Many people get blinded by the wizardry of marketing tools and skim over the part where you have to speak to real humans.

When I’m speaking to a potential customer, things I usually want to know include:

  • What’s their story up until this point? Have they worked with other providers?
  • How educated are they about the thing you’re selling?
  • What would they say is the main thing holding them back?

(Note: be careful not to correct their terminology at any point. The terminology they use is very important, even if it’s wrong.)

  • What would a typical day from their diary look like? What things hold up or frustrate them?
  • How do they use the marketing medium you’re thinking of using? Are they active in any LinkedIn groups? Are they in any Facebook groups? Do they open their own mail?

You need to remember that each person you speak to is only an individual snapshot, not an accurate representation of your entire audience. Still, if you have enough of these conversations you’ll notice commonalities between the conversations.

Question 1 in the Marketing Litmus Test is hands down the most important question to fret over. Do not pass go, collect £200, or pursue any marketing strategy until you can answer it with a confident ‘yes’.

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