February 17, 2013

Smarketing and Goals

The term “smarketing” has been used recently by Hubspot to refer to their successful process of sales and marketing alignment (they credit the term to Dan Tyre).

Sales + Marketing = Smarketing.

But I've taken to using that word for Smart + Marketing.

Smart Marketing = SMarketing.

SMarketing is the antithesis of going through the marketing motions.

Really, we shouldn't even need a separate term, since we’re talking about classic, effective marketing—goals, target markets, personas, messaging strategy, integrated marketing mix, best practice execution.

But not everyone does their marketing that way. And we probably won’t get them to change what they’re doing to … oh … I don’t know … Dumarketing. So let’s name the good stuff as the exception. SMarketing.

Most marketers are aware of the tenants of SMarketing. Still, a combination of old habits, perceived institutional constraints, inability to prioritize, mismatched skills, and lack of training lead to a culture of activity based, ineffective marketing programs.

Lack of marketing training and mindset is a particularly pesky problem.

Let's say you broke your leg while snowboarding. Would you go to an emergency room where the person who sets broken bones was schooled in accounting but took to setting bones because, “well someone had to do it?” Look, there’re all sorts of reasons people choose or fall into a marketing role. Once there, they should be interested enough to seek out basic training and continuing education to stay on top of their craft. Or get out of the way for someone who will. Okay, getting off soapbox.

SMarketing starts with Goals. Business goals.

You shouldn't really set out to do any marketing plan, let alone executing tactics, unless you know what the business is trying to do.  Go ahead, ask your executives or line of business heads. If the executives cannot articulate it, time to find a new company. More than likely, though, you forgot to even ask them.

So what is your business (or line of business or product line) trying to accomplish? Create a new market. Defend or take market share from the competition. Increase return business from current customers.

From these goals you can choose your targets, messages, content and metrics and make a plan.

This goal thing works down the production chain too. Every email, post, tweet and trade show should, on the one hand, support a top level goal and, on the other hand, have it’s own particular project or task goal. And when you ask a creative or operations person to execute a marketing element, tell them the goal. How else can they help you optimize results?

Goals. The first step on the road to SMarketing. Check back for more SMarketing.

February 04, 2013

On Going Through the Marketing Motions

I’ve been thinking of things that begin with the letter M. Marketing. Motions. Mediocrity.

This video got me started. (Michael Bierut as recommended here by Nishant Kothary.) Specifically, the portion from 12:50 to 17:00 where Bierut speaks on his four qualities of a good client: Brains, Trust, Passion, and Courage. He’s speaking of clients, but this is a great framework for selecting a team, joining a company, and even picking your friends.

Brains is a well-rounded notion, not meant to require genius IQ or even a single-subject rocket scientist expertise. Flexibility, adaptability, and even street smarts lead the way.

Trust is of key importance. If you task a subject expert to execute something, you should trust their expertise, judgment, and ability to execute it. If you have your mind made up on the solution before you start, why’d you hire the expert in the first place? If you don’t trust anyone, why hire them at all?

Passion is not strictly for design or coding or copywriting or even for marketing. But there must be some passion for the business, the product, or the results.

Courage doesn’t mean jumping out of airplanes or into MMA cage matches. It means that one will, for example, confront institutional constraints and not simply accept the, “that’s not the way it’s done here” habits.

Going through the marketing motions, then, happens when some or all of these traits are lacking. And if you find yourself in one of these teams or companies, it can become an “up at dawn, pride swallowing siege” about which you can never fully tell anyone.

Going through the marketing motions can look from the outside like a cutting edge team. Hey look, there’s a shiny web site, visitors are filling out forms; we’ve got followers all over the place; white papers, webinars and ebooks are being published; tradeshows are running like clockwork.  We’re monitoring social media, running paid search, writing blogs. And the illusion is not just from the outside; those on the inside might fool themselves into thinking they are on top of the craft.

A group going through the marketing motions can still be busy. Very busy. But the activity is not adding up to its potential. A big symptom reveals itself at evaluation time. The team has to scramble to bend, fold and mutilate some numbers to justify their activity.

The underlying problem is that some lack of Brains, Trust, Passion, or Courage is leading to a lot of activity that isn’t strategically planned, isn’t properly executed, or both.

When you’re going through the motions, where do you start a lasting fix? With Passion, it seems. If you can inspire people to overcome their fears, to let go of control, to learn to think critically and strategically, you stand a chance of breaking the cycle of mediocrity.