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Marketing Strategies

6 Core Marketing Processes That Will Make Your Team More Agile



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Want to be a more agile marketer? Create more process.

While it may seem counterintuitive, process can increase your marketing agility. Like oil and water, process and agility are challenging to blend. Processes are firm, exacting and inflexible. Agility is fluid, iterative and flexible. But the two can be successfully combined.

Whether fulfilling a customer order, launching a campaign, or onboarding a new employee, process provides a necessary foundation for agility to thrive. The trick is building the right processes in the right way.

Process receives a bad rap, for good reason

A marketer’s eyes will glaze over at the mere utterance of process, governance and compliance. Many marketing professionals find processes punishing, restrictive and limiting to their creative freedom. And the research bears it out.

A 2019 global study of 5,000 employees conducted by OnePoll found that more than a third of a worker’s typical working day is wasted on outdated processes and unnecessary tasks. That’s nearly three hours a day in unproductive activity.

We all want to be productive, not just busy. And processes should standardize and simplify the necessary tasks that keep business running smoothly, not slow down decision making, serve as an internal check and balance, or institutionalize inefficiency. Unfortunately, the often-chosen alternative to a bad process—circumventing the system, winging it, creating your own shortcuts or other clever deviations—can be equally dangerous.

There is the wrong way to build a process, and the right way.

Good process, bad process

Kuba Filipowski, co-founder of Netguru, describes the five key features of a good process:

  • Efficient. A process must be created for a reason. It either needs to prevent mistakes and failures caused by our imperfect human nature or optimize the tasks we carry out. In other words, it needs to make us work faster or better.
  • Useful. A process should concern tasks that we carry out frequently or actions that bear significant risks and could potentially lead to serious consequences.
  • In regular use. A process needs to be followed. Each person that a process is relevant to must know that it exists and should take care to follow it under all circumstances. The people who fail to observe a process need to be given adequate feedback and should immediately receive a link to the relevant process or checklist.
  • Measurable. Metrics should be in place which would allow you to verify whether a process is being followed and to assess the impact the process has on the company’s performance.
  • Constantly improved. Processes should not be set in stone. Every process needs to be updated and improved as soon as its circumstances change.

When processes are outdated, needlessly complex and frustrating, or simply make no sense, employees figure out ways to modify the process. But when processes result in missing a deadline, disappointing a customer, losing a big sale, or missing your quarterly bonus, employees won’t think twice about ditching the process altogether.

The only six marketing processes you’ll ever need

The larger and more geographically dispersed the marketing organization, the greater the need for processes. And that’s not all bad. Processes can help unify your brand, drive cost savings, ensure consistency in message, maintain high quality standards, increase efficiency and more. The trick is to put processes in place that work for you, rather than processes that you work for.

“The trick is to put processes in place that work for you,
rather than processes that you work for.”

There are only six core marketing processes that you need, at least initially. You need a lightweight process to help you coordinate marketing activities, to quickly allocate marketing resources, to efficiently orchestrate your outbound activities, to calculate the effect of your marketing programs, to help you remediate any exceptions or disagreements that might occur, and a process to help you celebrate wins, milestones and accomplishments.

This breaks down to the following six core marketing processes:

  1. Planning: how and when strategic and tactical marketing plans are proposed and finalized. (coordinate)
  2. Budgeting: how and when budgets and other resources are decided and allocated. (allocate)
  3. Customer Engagement: a consolidated view and calendar of planned customer interactions and outreach for the upcoming year. (orchestrate)
  4. Measurement: how and when programs will be tracked, measured and reported on. (calculate)
  5. Exception and Escalations: how disagreements and needed exceptions get resolved. (remediate)
  6. Next Practices: how institutional knowledge, experiences and achievements are shared, leveraged and celebrated. (celebrate)

Admittedly, establishing a process is more than just a handsome flowchart documenting the how-to-steps. It often means putting the right tools and technologies in place to support each process—usually a backend database and a frontend user interface. It also requires a disciplined marketing leader who reinforces the importance of the “rules of the road” on a consistent basis.

I guarantee you that these six core processes will make your marketing smarter, your team more productive, and your department more effective.


Regardless of whether you are building a team, inheriting one, dismantling, transforming or right-sizing, all marketing organizations benefit from having a solid marketing foundation at their core. This includes a set of lightweight, simple and flexible processes that enable a smooth and steady flow of brilliant marketing work.

These guiding elements should be documented, discussed and internalized by every member of the team. Without this foundation, a marketing organization can quickly become bloated, misaligned, unaccountable and unproductive—the opposite of an agile marketing organization.

Creating flexible processes is one of the simple steps you can take, starting today, to boost your organizational and professional agility. I call these actions power moves and I’ve summarized the top nine in an agility guide which is available as a free download.

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Marketing Strategies

How to Craft the Story for Your Holiday Marketing Strategy



On August 25th, nearly a month before the official first day of the new season, Starbucks declared it fall. 

It didn’t matter that it was still reaching record high temperatures; it didn’t matter that leaves wouldn’t start falling for weeks or even months; it didn’t matter that the corn mazes were still only knee high.  

All that mattered was that Starbucks fans wanted it to be fall. They desperately wanted an escape from the hellish summer than most of us have been experiencing.

So Starbucks crafted the perfect autumnal alternate universe, where you could wear a scarf and look at the leaves and drink a PSL without sweating through your facemask. 

And if you think that campaign was met with a raised eyebrow and a glance at the calendar, then you clearly underestimate the power of telling your customers the story they want to hear.

See, good marketing sells the transformation, rather than the product itself. You frame it as the solution to a problem. Before, things were bad. But now that you have this or have done that, your after state is wayyy better. 

But if you want really good marketing—like the marketing that has pumpkin cream cold brew coffees sold out every time I try to buy one—you’ll need to craft that transformation into a story. 

Humans connect to emotion and narrative, so if you set up your marketing to tell a story, especially a story that your customers want to see themselves in, you’ll find yourself raking in the pumpkin spice… er… I mean the sales.

This is particularly important around the holiday season, when anyone and everyone is trying to sneak into the wallets of your customers. Your best chance at being one of the lucky few is to strengthen the bond with your customers. Build a connection through storytelling.

If you are still unsure about how to create a story around your product, we’re here to help. We’ve broken this process down into 3 steps and have some examples you can pull inspiration from throughout. 

(And if the smell of pumpkin spice in the air is starting to give you the holiday promotion stress sweats, just download our FREE 2020 Holiday Marketing Preparedness Plan.

We’ve mapped out when you should start preparing for the major holidays through the end of 2020, exactly what you will need, when you should have everything ready to go, and even when you should start your promotions.)

Figure Out What Your Customers Want

The first step to creating a great story around your product or service is to know what your customers want. What story do they want to see themselves in?

The best way to figure this out is by turning to your trusty Customer Avatar Worksheet, you know, that thing that defines exactly who your ideal customer is?

Customer Avatar Worksheet

If you’ve filled out your CAW, you’ll know exactly what your customers want and are interested in, what they are afraid of and frustrated with, and what kinds of media they consume.

And if you’ve filled out the Before and After grid, shown above alongside the CAW, you know how your customers are feeling before becoming a customer and how they should feel after buying your product or service.

With all of these resources, and a good working knowledge of your ideal customer, you should be able to easily craft a story that shows the transformation.

If we look to Starbucks as an example, they knew just how much their customers wanted it to be Fall. They understood the frustration with the hot weather or the fear of the current social chaos. 

So they created a story about falling into the new season (the pun was just a happy coincidence), and targeted their marketing efforts into creating a relaxing, enjoyable fall experience.

Some copy from the Starbucks announcement

And their biggest marketing push (aside from the drinks themselves) was for the fall hotline they created. 

Customers could call in and hear the sounds of fall, long before the actual season hit them. Not only did this hit on the exact pain point, but it crafted a narrative around the transformation.

Fall hotline from Starbucks

They knew exactly what their customers wanted, and delivered it in their marketing efforts.

Decide How Your Product or Service Fits In

Once you know what your customer wants, your next step is to decide how your product will fit in. 

With some holidays, you might be providing a great gift that will charm and impress their loved ones. 

Or, if you are like David’s Tea (in a similar way to Starbucks), you might be providing a comforting environment and a joyful experience. 

David's Tea Landing Page

However your product fits in, make sure to keep that action as a central point in your marketing story, and keep it as consistent as possible across all platforms and content. 

You can see how David’s Tea used the same language, “this heartwarming blend will give you all the cozy feels” on both their product page and their Facebook ad. 

David's Tea Facebook ad for fall teas

Keeping your story the same on different platforms not only means you are sure to reach all your customers, but it helps solidify the emotional response your customer will have.

For David’s Tea, any potential customers who saw the ad and thought, “ohh I need some coziness in my life,” they don’t get jarred by a different message when they hit the landing page.

Craft a Story Where Your Customer is the Main Character

The central idea of creating a marketing “story” is that your customer is the star. You want the messaging to center around the customer and how they will feel and change rather than your product. 

You can see here with this BarkBox copy, they have gone even further with their story than the other examples, going so far as to cast their customers’ dog (arguably the real customer, though maybe not the one with final buying power), into a story about a lovely fall drive.

Anyone with a dog (and a heart) will immediately be drawn into the story and see themselves and their furry best friend in this car ride.

And then when they read through the rest of the product description, they are still within that relaxed, happy emotional state, and are drawn closer to the products by extension.

Product descriptions from BarkBox dog toys

Plus, who wouldn’t be charmed by a sweater wearing mouse?

No matter what your story is, make sure you are making your customer the main character. Cast them as the star, and they will make a better connection to your brand and the product you are targeting them with. 

By crafting an emotionally driven story that hits on the desires of your audience, you’ll be sure to cut through the noise of the season and solidify your customers’ love for you and your brand.

And if you want to feel better prepared to put your holiday marketing story into action, download our 2020 Holiday Marketing Preparedness Plan

After all, what is a better gift this holiday season than having a handle on your marketing campaign before the season even starts? Well, maybe a PSL… but that could just be me. 

The post How to Craft the Story for Your Holiday Marketing Strategy appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

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Marketing Strategies

Marketing and Selling Procurement Software Products and Services



Procurement software is the automation of the procurement process across a web-based system which allows buyers and sellers to locate each other quickly and submit relevant bids for products and services.

By implementing reliable procurement software or services, it enables a company to stabilize the process of obtaining necessary materials and services at quite affordable rates. Of course, besides the obvious financial advantages, procurement software/service also helps a company to have sustainable economic growth.

Today, we’re going to talk about the ways you can effectively sell your procurement software/services.

To start it off, let’s look at the key benefits of having good procurement.

Improved Spend Visibility

All transaction details are stored and monitored regularly. It gives complete details about the passage of the money regarding the cost, suppliers, and quality and time of delivery of the products, etc.

Cost Savings

A procurement system analyzes the areas where high and low costs are required in acquiring things, which services are purchased regularly, places where the company can save costs, and suppliers who provide the best quality products at lower costs.

Minimizes time and errors

Procurement software works in an automated or semi-automated way thus eliminating the errors and time consumption by manual labor.

Improved Supplier relationships

The suppliers are highly competitive. That puts the company at the liberty of choosing the best suppliers and negotiating the terms based on the company’s demands, concerns, and constraints.

The main reason why we kicked off with the key benefits of procurement software/service is that you need to be able to make your customers understand why it’s important and how it can specifically help their business when you do your sales pitch.

Before you market your software/service, make sure that you know exactly who your key target is going to be. In this case, your key target would be the CFO as his or her imperatives such as margin, risk/controllership, cash flow are directly linked to the CPO and procurement organization of their company.

The typical resistance you will face especially when selling your procurement services is the concern of taking over people’s jobs. So to shed light on this concern, you have to let your customers know that procurement isn’t about eliminating jobs, rather it’s about creating bandwidth for the procurement organization so they can focus on more specific activities all while you, their partner, can focus on driving value on the transactional or fragmented activities.

Another key element of selling this service is to develop a compelling commercial model that shares the risk of the endeavor.

When you finally arrange a meeting with the decision-makers, plan your key points the same way you plan your discussions with marketing directors. Think through the procurement executive’s role and mindset, and make sure that your compensation discussions recognize procurement’s needs and hot buttons.

It may be tricky and it definitely has its hurdles when selling your procurement software/services, but just remember to not over complicate things. Be straightforward but coherent and most importantly, offer solutions rather than just trying to sell your product/service.

This article originally posted at The Savy Marketer.

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Marketing Strategies

Dancing with belief



All of us believe things that might be inconsistent, not based on how the real world actually works or not shared by others. That’s what makes us human.

There are some questions we can ask ourselves about our beliefs that might help us create the change we seek:

Is it working?

If your belief is working for you, if it’s helping you navigate a crazy world and find solace, and if it’s not hurting anyone else, it’s doing what it’s supposed to do. Often, beliefs are about finding human connection and a way to tell ourselves about our place in the world, not as an accurate predictive insight as to what’s actually happening. And beliefs are almost always about community, about being part of something.

Is it helpful?

Air traffic controllers and meteorologists rarely believe that the earth is flat. It’s a belief that would get in the way of being competent at their work. If your beliefs are getting in the way of your work, of your health or the health of those around you, or of your ability to be a contributing citizen, it might be worth examining why you have them and how they got there. Did you decide to have these beliefs or did someone with an agenda that doesn’t match yours promote them?

Is it true? 

True in the sense that it’s falsifiable, verifiable, testable and predictive. Falsifiable means that the belief is specific enough that something contrary to the belief could be discovered (“there are no orange swans” is a falsifiable belief, because all we need to do is find one orange swan). It’s not necessary for a belief to be scientifically true, in fact, it undermines the very nature of belief to require evidence. Once there’s evidence, then whatever is true is true, whether or not you believe it.

Do you need it to be true?

Which means that much of what we do to somehow prove our beliefs are true is wasted time and effort. If a belief is helping you make your way through the world, if it acts as a placebo and a balm and a rubric, then that’s sufficient. The problems occur when some people use our beliefs to manipulate us, when they prevent us from accomplishing our goals or contributing to the well being of those around us.

What would change your mind?

If we decide that our belief is actually true, we owe it to ourselves to be clear about what would have to happen for us to realize that it’s not. One of the frustrating things about conspiracies and modern memes is that as soon as they’re examined or contradicted, they’re simply replaced with a new variation. It’s one thing to change beliefs because the scientific method shows us a more clear view of what’s happening, it’s totally different to retreat to ever more unrelated stories in the face of reality. Sometimes, it’s easier for people to amend their belief with one more layer of insulation than it is to acknowledge how the world is likely to work.

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