While I self identify as a technologist having developed one of the first content management systems (view the patent here) and a robust SaaS Springboard my background is equally seeped in marketing. This is fortunate as there is high demand for the Marketing Technologist hybrid.
The following is a resume of sorts and my aspirational curriculum.
I learned the concept of “measure twice cut once” early on which has served me well.
Without clearly defined Goals there is no way to know what success looks like. Likewise without a clearly defined Strategy there is no roadmap to achieve success. Clear Objectives with measurable Key Performance Indicators illuminate which Tactics are driving success.
My approach at crafting a results oriented strategy is to first break apart the discipline to understand its anatomy. This approach has empowered me to successfully engineer and execute highly effective Search and Social Strategies.
For over 10 years I have consulted with over 1,000 clients ranging in all size and in all industries including the Abu Dhabi Government leading up to the United Nations UNEP at RIO+20, the City and County of Honolulu for APEC, Fortune 500 companies and helped mom & pop shops get off the ground.
For each discipline I believe in breaking the supporting tactics into executable protocols.
When I was 26 I founded what grew to be the largest web design company in the state. The sales processes as well as operational fulfillment that supported the growth was due to clearly defined protocols. I created station based processes similar to an assembly line in a factory. By breaking tasks up into bite sized assignments each taking no longer than 5 hours to execute I could guarantee a steady rhythm of results. This bred a sense of urgency within my organization and allowed for each day to be a job well done.
This same approach works for marketing. I have mapped out most aspects of acquisition and retention marketing into executable and measurable protocols.
By clearly stating the business impact, associated key performance indicators, estimated time to complete, data input needed and thought progression the measurement and training process becomes far easier.
This is another very passionate topic for me. For the past 5 years I have enjoyed teaching Digital Marketing courses at the University of Hawaii’s Pacific New Media Program. Previously I was an instructor for New Horizons and a Wing Software Training instructor with the United States Air Force.
I believe in setting up employees for success by empowering them with the tools and knowledge they need for their role. Cross training employees to understand how they fit into the overall ecosystem is another approach for building a strong team.
More than how to turn the digital wrench to get the job done is building critical thinking in the team. The why is as important as the how.
By hardwiring profit orientation into the mindset of the team. They should understand how each assignment leads to a return on investment for their time. I want my team to challenge assignments given them if they do not understand the business impact of the task. This mentality helps avoid a team of seat warming paper pushers.
I believe in providing a clear career path for how team members can be eligible for promotion. This can be made more tangible by creating a Disciplines Matrix with clearly defined roles and levels. This breeds internal motivation and helps set professional development goals.
During one-on-one coaching sessions the first and most important thing for me to learn is the individuals Passion. I have found if I am able to align a team members passion with protocols needing execution they perform at a higher level of excellence.
The golden rule of treat others how you want to be treated is flawed. We have different value centers and we cannot all be incentivized the same way. I am an advocate of the Personality Profile tests to understand how I can interact with those around me. By making the team members aware of their co-workers and their own profile type they can empathize more and it can cut down on conflicts. If you haven’t guessed already my personality type is an ENTJ.
Data Driven Decisions
We have found ourselves in a new paradigm where data is plentiful and attribution models have matured. Because of this there is no longer an excuse for not basing all decisions on data. When possible trust results from multivariate testing over gut feelings.
We now have accessibility to our customers to easily survey them and learn in near real-time how to optimize efforts. We have never before seen the level of access to our customers thought patterns and preferences that can be leveraged to create the ultimate visitor experience.
We should create baselines and be in the constant habit of annotating trends to evaluate better in the future. Leverage the data for improving the visitor experience through conversion optimization. Study the sales funnel to spot areas of opportunity.
But with these new shiny toys we need to challenge ourselves not to jump to conclusions from high level aggregate reports. We absolutely must dive deeper segmentation by channel and customer profiles. I prefer to work in a proactive than reactive setting; if we are regularly fed self decipherable reporting we can avoid flying into panic mode from a light breeze.
However, if we are not operating from clean data we cannot make educated decisions from the data. Filter out the noise from outside our focus areas and take the time to properly attribute the channels.
It becomes too easy to jump ahead and post pictures of cats and rainbows on social media then mark it down as a win for engagement. But if you are not establishing authority though delivering value to your visitor you cannot expect this activity to carry over into sales.
An effective content marketing strategy starts with both understanding and articulating your brand’s positioning. In addition a clear USP, what value are you bringing to the customer with your product and also with the content generated.
Bottom line the goal is to become a Thought Leader in your space. But this is not easy, it takes a dedicated content ideation, creation and marketing effort. If there is any budget that should be increased year over year it is here.
I have lead successful sales teams but my current passion is with Growth Hacking customer sign ups for Software as a Service (SaaS) business models. I have employed a number of tactics successfully including Paid & Organic Search, Social Marketing, Email Marketing and Traditional PR. Having one strategy that weaves them all together in a Holistic Approach has proved the greatest results.
No matter the revenue model the need for visibility on the search engines is a key ingredient to customer acquisition marketing efforts.
I have a great deal of experience as an SEO, for the last 5 years I have ranked #1 in Google for “Search Engine Optimization Expert” (really, Google it!). More impressive are the top spots I have delivered for my clients.
But as we all know SEO has evolved and now factors in content performance and social media validation into its algorithms (which again validates the need for quality content).
As an early adopter of Social Media (I am @Rob on Twitter and sent the first “Tweet” from Hawaii) I have been able to leverage different platforms over the years to increase reach, build community and drive traffic back to the website to convert.
Social Media, when correctly harnessed, also provides powerful opportunities for listening and outreach. There are a number of useful Social CRM tools I have worked with in the past to help identify and maintain a relationship with potential customers, influencers and advocates.
Social advocacy is another area I am very passionate about which has proven to be successful. Be it internally insourcing social assignments or crowdsourcing with partners, vendors and customers it is a powerful way to leverage your audience for social validation and to increase your reach.
One often underestimated tool in the digital marketers tool belt is email marketing. If we can capture the email address of site visitors we can maintain top of mind awareness and drive conversion. Setting goals for email signups helps give an insight into how to grow the list further. Email analytic reporting provides a wealth of knowledge on how the campaign is doing and how to further optimize.
Depending on the objectives results can be found through PPC, Remarketing, YouTube Ads, Facebook Ads, Sponsorships, etc. There are limitless ways to spend money, the trick is to set attribution tracking to determine if there is a return on the investment.
While I am no stranger to PR/trade shows/direct mailers and the like, traditional marketing is by far my weakest area. I have relied on agencies to manage placement of the offline advertising spend but realize the importance of traditional for specific demographics and offerings.
Depending on the business model, in some instances Customer Retention Marketing is equally as critical as the acquisition. Creating a positive experience throughout the customer journey continues past the purchase.
To keep customers engaged I have leveraged support forums, held webinars & hangouts, managed email drip campaigns
What excites me about the SaaS model is diving into churn data and cohort analysis to learn what best engages and what patterns can be identified as precursor to churn. Using in-application prompts and conditional emails we are able to keep the customer engaged. By building in social interactions and gamification (in the form of leaderboards or badges, etc.) has been an effective way to keep the customer engaged.
While it is important to have a solid marketing playbook to execute from, marketing requires flexibility and agility. There is no one-size fits all strategy as it must be custom fit to the company’s needs and personality.