- Colleen’s 12Ps of marketing technology© is built upon the tenet that martech is an enabler for marketing. Marketing technology, in and of itself, is not a strategy. The tech offers no value unless it enables a solid marketing strategy.
- Further, for martech to succeed, the technology needs to be successfully adopted and utilized by the marketing team in a manner that advances, or accelerates, the marketing strategy.
- The 12Ps is a framework that provides guidance (and guardrails) for one martech project or for a portfolio of projects. It is comprised of three phases, each with sub-steps, that directs marketing leaders through the marketing technology process.
- Recognizing how easy it is to get carried away with marketing technology, riding the wave of promise without adequate checks and balances, each 12P step is designed as a hurdle – a decision-gate where marketing must decide if they should proceed, stop, or re-engineer.
Marketing technology (martech) projects are notoriously hard.
The technology landscape is complex with over 8,000 tools. The growth in marketing technology, from 150 tools in 2011 to over 8,000 tools in 2020, is mind blowing.
Scott Brinker, calls the phenomenon, of marketing teams evolving at a pace slower than the technology advances “martech’s law” and labels it the “greatest management challenge of the 21st century.”
With such a vast array of tools, and marketing technology companies (especially the big marketing clouds) being amazingly good self-promoters, it is easy for marketers to get distracted by the latest shiny new object (i.e. the “it” technology du jour) rather than focus on maximizing current tooling or laser focusing in on their most critical capability needs.
Successful marketing technology planning and implementation requires discipline. According to a 2019 Gartner survey, marketers utilize only 58% of their martech stack’s potential.
While there are many reasons for low adoption and under-utilization, the top eight tend to be:
- Leading with technology before strategy.
- Non-existent or deficient business case.
- Lack of experienced marketing leadership to drive the project.
- Getting swept up in the excitement of martech rather than a detailed capability and vendor fit audit.
- Wrong tool selection.
- Insufficient marketing organizational readiness to successfully adopt and utilize the technology.
- No infrastructure to support the technology investment (data models and systems administration, most notably)
- Poor integration planning (i.e. tools are siloed)
I experienced first-hand how challenging it can be to get marketing technology right. My earliest foray into martech was plagued with many rookie mistakes.
After Technology declared the project successfully completed; it quickly became clear that the marketing team was underprepared for, and not excited by, the new technology.
I decided then, that if I wanted future martech projects to succeed, I needed a different approach. While this first project left some bumps and bruises, it also served as the catalyst for my marketing technology framework – The 12Ps of Marketing Technology©.
Since then, as a CMO and a consultant, I have led numerous martech projects where this framework, and the associated methodologies and guidance, have been core to my approach.
How the 12Ps work
The 12Ps of marketing technology© (12Ps) is built upon the tenet that marketing technology is an enabler for marketing. Marketing technology, in and of itself, is not a strategy. The technology offers no value unless it enables a solid marketing strategy.
Further, for martech to succeed, the technology needs to be successfully adopted and utilized by the marketing team in a manner that advances, or accelerates, the marketing strategy.
The 12Ps is a framework that provides guidance (and guardrails) for one martech project or for a portfolio of martech projects. It is comprised of three phases, each with sub-steps, that directs marketing leaders through the marketing technology process:
- Steps 1-6: Marketing Planning
- Steps 7-10: Active Project
- Steps 11&12: Post Project
Recognizing how easy it is to get carried away with marketing technology, riding the wave of promise without adequate checks and balances, each 12P step is designed as a hurdle – a decision-gate where marketing must decide if they should proceed, stop, or re-engineer.
Steps 1-6: The marketing planning phase
The first phase focuses on the internal planning needed within the marketing function. It is led by the CMO. For organizations with an embedded marketing technologist, this specialist role is heavily involved.
While it is fine to collaborate with technology resources outside of marketing during this initial phase, it is not necessary to do so. Too many martech projects start without adequate pre-planning work.
Technology resources are valuable, and costly, (and often scant) and organizations should be judicious of how and when they use them. In addition, technology projects run more efficiently and at lower cost when there is robust strategic planning.
This first phase can take anywhere from a month to over a year depending on the complexity of what the organization is trying to achieve and their martech muscle.
A quick pilot, for a smaller organization should take no more than eight weeks, whereas a portfolio of martech projects, requiring a marketing transformation, for a larger organization usually takes over a year.
Step 1: Purpose
Successful projects start with an overarching vision and strategy. Marketing technology is an enabler. Therefore, it is critical to understand what you wish to enable and why.
How does the marketing vision support the wider organizational strategy? What are you trying to achieve (the specific business outcomes and metrics) and how will the technology accelerate your vision?
Step 2: Participation
Socialize your vision widely – within your marketing team, with you peers in other functions, and with the executive leadership team. At this stage, your vision is high-level, and you are seeking input to shape it further.
This socialization is the first step in your marketing team’s change management journey. Early, robust, and frequent communication galvanizes marketing around the vision and makes the team feel part of the process. In addition, issues flagged early in the process are easier to address.
Step 3: Plot capabilities
The 12Ps uses a capability planning approach. A capability is an articulation of what a business does or needs to do to drive value. Capabilities focus on the “what” you need to do rather than on the “how” you will do it.
A capability approach has many advantages: Capabilities:
- Ensure organizations stay focused on strategy rather than jumping too soon to solutions.
- Enable consistency and organizational alignment – avoids duplication and confusion.
- Form the foundation for vendor RFPs and evaluations.
The 12Ps has an inventory of hundreds of martech enabled capabilities, with varying levels of granularity, to help organizations audit their current state and identify gaps.
In addition to identifying gaps, this process helps organizations spot where there are multiple tools delivering the same capability. Unnecessary duplication is costly and inefficient.
Step 4: Priortize capabilities
Once capabilities gaps are identified, they are prioritized by business value. Your top priorities populate your strategic martech roadmap.
Step 5: Prerequisites
This step is about the planning work that should be done, within the marketing function, prior to kicking off an official martech project. The 12Ps encourages marketers to think through martech’s many implications, including:
- How will your marketing strategy adapt?
- Do you have the right organizational design, talent, and skills to utilize the technology (and new marketing capabilities)?
- What processes need to change – both the processes within marketing and the processes that connect to other functions, such as sales and product.
- How will the technology be managed and supported?
- Do you have the right data infrastructure?
- How do you envision the technology integrating with your other solutions and platforms?
- How will your marketing metrics change? What constitutes success?
Step 6: Prize
By this step, the last pre-planning step, marketing has enough information to begin a “size of the prize” business case. At this stage, CMOs are estimating:
- What are the benefits this martech investment will yield?
- What is your best estimate of total costs?
While it is too premature to have all costs and benefits locked down, you should know enough to see if the prize is adequately sized (i.e. are the benefits worth the likely cost range?) In my experience, more than a third of martech projects do not make it past this stage.
Steps 7-10: Active project
The second phase, steps 7-10, is the project zone. You have a sufficiently “sized prize”, you understand the change needed within marketing, and now you are ready to partner with technology.
Step 7: Project definition
Marketing brings technology up to speed on the pre-work in steps 1-6. Technology partners with marketing to:
- Connect capabilities with possible technology solutions
- Develop project cadence and technology sequencing
- Define the scope of the project (costs, resources, timeline, etc.)
With this added information, technology can help sharpen the costs in the size of the prize business case. This is another opportunity to validate whether the project should proceed.
Step 8: Platform
It is time to evaluate and select technology vendor(s). Vendor selection is largely about capability fit but it is also about service packages, costing, and numerous other factors.
Platform is also about your integration strategy. Integration capability is just as important as native functionality-based capability.
My personal philosophy is that the best martech stacks are best-in-breed. It is critical to understand how your new technology integrates with your legacy tools and your future roadmap.
Ideally you choose tools that help you plan an iterative digital transformation agenda (i.e. tools that integrate well with legacy systems and allow for optimal flexibility in the future). Happily, there are now vendors on the martech landscape with robust integration capability.
Step 9: Proposal
With the vendor selected, costs can be finalized. Martech projects are notorious for overruns and hidden cost. There are three main cost consideration for a martech project:
- Project Costs: Project management, configuration. integration, and implementation costs plus the costs associated with the change that needs to occur within the marketing department (new roles, training, data model development, etc.)
- Technology Running Costs: Subscriptions, license fees, activity, or volume costs, etc.
- Ongoing Maintenance and Customization: Ongoing configuration, tool maximization, and technical support. What can be done by the in-house systems’ administrator? When will you need Technology to help? What is included in your vendor package?
With the costs finalized, the benefits get one last review and the business can be finalized. If it still makes sense, it can be advanced for official approval.
Step 10: Project delivery
Technology now shifts into project delivery. Both technology and marketing leadership needs to ensure the project scope is defended and project bloat is avoided.
Martech projects, due to how they greatly impact marketing strategy and day to day marketing activity, need a high level of training and change management.
It is critical that the training focuses not only on how to use the tool but also how the tool impacts marketing strategy, data models, and team processes, why the tool is important, and how you measure success.
The earlier work in step 5 (prerequisites) provides a solid baseline from which the project team can build upon.
Steps 11-12: Post project
The last two, and often forgotten steps, start after official project delivery. Unlike the prior two phases, with defined start and end dates, this phase is ongoing, as it is about continual optimization and monitoring your technology investment.
Step 11: Persistence
Once the marketing technology is implemented, ongoing maintenance and support are both critical. Marketing leaders need to:
- Listen, through formal and informal mechanisms, to their teams to see if and how the technology is working.
- Ensure continual training and configurations keep pace with evolving marketing strategies and new hires.
- Understand and leverage vendor road-maps effectively advocating for desired enhancements.
- Focus on in-house custom development and additional integrations, as needed.
Step 12: Performance
Once technology is in place, marketing leaders need to make sure the investment was warranted. The metrics in the business case need to be regularly monitored and reported.
If metrics are not achieved, marketing leaders need to understand why and adjust accordingly.
To support martech projects, most organizations invest in outside technology support (technology consultants, project contractors, ISPs (implementation service providers, etc.) and wonder why projects still fall short of expectations.
Colleen Scollans is a former CMO and current Marketing & Digital Transformation Consultant. As a consultant, advisor, and CMO coach, Colleen loves to advise on the strategic and operational aspects of Marketing. She is passionate about driving business transformation through a data-driven, technology enabled, and customer focused modern marketing organization. In addition, she provides strategic advisory services for martech, EdTech, SciTech, and other software and technology companies on their product and go-to-market strategies. Colleen frequently speaks and writes on marketing topics and is on the advisory boards of ClickZ and Conscia (an experience orchestration platform).
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.
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.
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.
How to Turn One Piece of Content into Multiple for SEO
Posted by liambbarnes
As most SEO specialists have learned, you must create quality content to grow organically. The same thing can be said for businesses that are building a social media presence or a new newsletter following.
But as people consume more and more content each day, they become less receptive to basic content that doesn’t provide a new perspective. To counter this issue, you must make sure that your content is native to each platform you publish on.
However, that doesn’t mean that you need to start from scratch. There’s a way to take one content idea and turn it into multiple, which can scale across multiple platforms and improve your brand awareness.
It takes time to write a brand-new blog article every day, especially when you’re an in-house team with a low number of resources and budget. The biggest challenge here is building a content strategy at scale.
So, how do you create a lot of great content?
You start with video.
If you have a video on a relevant topic, it can be repurposed into various individual pieces of content and distributed over a period of time across the right channels. Let’s walk through the process.
Using video to scale content
In fact, this article was transcribed.
For every article you write about, you must do extensive research, write out your first draft, edit, make changes, and more. It can consume an entire workday.
An easier way to do this? Record yourself on Loom or another video software, save it, and send the video file to an audio/video transcription service. There are so many tools, like Rev.com or TranscribeMe, that do this for relatively cheap.
Of course, even if you’re relying on text-to-speech, there’s still editing time to take into account, and some would argue it will take MORE time to edit a text-to-speech transcription. There isn’t a “best way” to create content, however, for those who aren’t strong writers but are strong speakers, transcription will be a powerful way to move at a quicker pace.
The step-by-step process
Once you write out your content, how do you ensure that people read it?
Like any other content strategy, make sure that the process of planning, creating, and executing is written down (most likely digitally in a spreadsheet or tracking tool) and followed.
Let’s break down how to get the most out of your content.
1. Grab attention with your topic
Sometimes, content ideation can be the most challenging part of the process. Depending on the purpose of your content, there are various starting points.
For example, if you’re writing a top-of-funnel blog article where the goal is to drive high amounts of organic traffic, start by performing keyword research to craft your topic. Why? You need to understand what your audience searches for and how to ensure you’re in the mix of search results.
If you’re creating a breakdown of your product or service, you may want to start by interviewing a subject matter expert (SME) to gain real-life details on the product/service and the solutions it provides to your target audience. Why? Note what they’re saying are the most important aspects or if there is a new feature/addition for the audience. These points can be tied into a topic that might pique the target reader’s interest.
2. Create an outline for the blog
When you’re building out your blog structure, record a video similar to how you would write a blog article.
In this case, by creating an outline for the article with the questions that you ask yourself, it’ll be easier to format the transcription and the blog after you record.
3. Pick your poison (distribution strategy)
Now that you’re ready to begin recording your video, decide where your content will be distributed.
The way you’ll distribute your content heavily influences the way you record your video, especially if you’re going to be utilizing the video as the content itself (Hello, YouTube!).
For example, if you run a business consultancy, the videos that you record should be more professional than if you run an e-commerce surf lifestyle brand. Or, if you know you’re going to be breaking the video up, leave time for natural “breaks” for easy editing later on.
By planning ahead of time, you give yourself a better idea of where the content will go, and how it will get there.
4. Your time to shine
With Zoom, you can record the video of yourself speaking into your camera, and you will get an audio file after you hang up your call.
With Loom, you can use the chrome extension, which allows you to record yourself in video form while sharing your screen. If you have additional content, like a Powerpoint presentation or a walk-through, this might be the tool for you.
Regardless of the way that you record, you need an audio file to transcribe and transform into other content formats later on.
5. Transcribe your video
The average writer transcribes one hour of audio in around four hours, but some of the best transcribers can do it in as little as two hours.
To put that into perspective, the average one-hour audio file is about 7,800 words, which would take the average writer around three and a half hours to write.
Additionally, you have to add research time, internal linking, and many other factors to this, so on average it’ll take around an hour to write 1,000 words of a high-quality blog post.
Transcription shortens the length of this process.
When looking to transcribe your audio, you can send files out to transcription tools including Rev or TranscribeMe. Once you send them the audio file, you’ll typically receive the audio file back in a few hours (depending on the demand).
6. Alter transcription into blog format
You’ll receive the transcribed content via email, broken out by speaker. This makes it much easier to format post-transcription.
If you properly outlined the blog prior to recording, then this editing process should be simple. Copy and paste each section into the desired area for your blog and add your photos, keywords, and links as desired.
7. Chop your video into digestible parts
Here’s where things get interesting.
If you’re using your video for social media posts, shorten the video into multiple parts to be distributed across each platform (and make sure they’re built to match each platform’s guidelines).
Additionally, quotes from the video can be used to create text graphics, text-based social posts, or entire articles themselves.
Think of the watering holes that your target audience consumes information on the internet:
Each platform requires creating a different experience that involves new, native content. But that doesn’t mean you have to start at zero.
If you have a 10-minute-long video, it can be transcribed into a 2,500-word blog that takes about 10-15 minutes to read.
Boom. You have another resource to share, which can also include proper keywords so it ranks higher on the SERP.
Let’s say you end up editing the video down to about five minutes. From here, you can make:
- A five minute video to post on YouTube and your blog
- Ten 30-second videos to post across several social media platforms
- Twenty 100-word posts on LinkedIn
- Thirty 50 to 60-word posts on Twitter
Not to mention there are other platforms like Reddit and Quora, as well as email marketing, that you can also distribute your content with. (Turn one of the 100-word LinkedIn posts into the opening in your latest newsletter, and attach the full video for those who want to learn more!)
By starting off with an all-encompassing video, you extend your content capabilities from a regular blog article into 50+ pieces of content across multiple social media platforms and search engines.
For example, Lewis Howes (and many other brands and marketers) are famous for utilizing this method.
As you can see below, Howes had an interview for his podcast with Mel Robbins, which is scaled across YouTube and podcast platforms, but he took a quote from her in the interview and scaled it across Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
When you build out your content calendar, simply copy and paste certain sections into an excel spreadsheet, and organize them based on date and platform. Make sure they make sense on the platform, add an extra line or two if you need to, and work your magic.
This will save you hours of time in your planning process.
Now that you have created your various forms of content, it’s time to make sure it appears before the right eyes.
Having a consistent flow of relevant content on your website and social media platforms is a crucial part of empowering your brand, building credibility, and showing that you’re worth trusting as a potential partner.
As you repurpose older content as well, you can repeat this process and pull together another 50+ pieces of content from a previously successful article.
Improving organic search visibility
“Discoverability” is a popular term in marketing. Another way to say it is “organic search visibility”. Your brand’s search visibility is the percentage of clicks that your website gets in comparison to the total number of clicks for that particular keyword or group of keywords.
Normally, you can improve your visibility through writing a piece of content that reflects a target keyword the best and build links to that page, which improves your rankings for that keyword and long-tail variations of that keyword.
However, as you begin to grow your business, you may begin heavily relying on branded search traffic.
In fact, one of the biggest drivers of organic traffic is branded traffic. If you don’t have an authoritative brand, it’s challenging to receive backlinks naturally, and therefore more difficult to rank organically.
One of the biggest drivers of brand awareness is through social media. More than 4.5 billion people are using the internet and 3.8 billion are using social media.
If you want more people to search for your brand, push relevant social media campaigns that do just that.
But even further than that, we are seeing more and more social media platforms such as Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter showing up as search results and snippets. For example, below is the SERP for the keyword “how to make cookies”, where a series of YouTube videos show up:
And this SERP for the keyword “Moz“ has the most recent Tweets from Moz’s Twitter.
Writing content that ranks will continue to be important — but as Google keeps integrating other forms of social media into the SERPs, make time to post on every social media platform to improve search visibility and make your brand discoverable.
But, duplicate content?
Duplicate content can be defined as the same content used across multiple URLs, and can be detrimental to your website’s health. However, from what we have seen through multiple conversations with marketers in the SEO world, there is no indication that websites are getting penalized for duplicate content when reposting said content on social media platforms.
Say goodbye to the time drain of creating one piece of content at a time. The most effective way to create a successful content marketing strategy is to share thought-provoking and data-driven content. Take advantage of this process to maximize your output and visibility.
Here are some final tips to take away to successfully launch a content marketing strategy, using this method:
- Consistently analyze your results and double down on what works.
- Don’t be afraid to try new tactics to see what your audience is interested in (Check out a real-world content strategy I helped get results for here).
- Analyze the response from your audience. They’ll tell you what is good and what is not!
Have other ideas? Let me know in the comments!
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