From Idea to Execution
In today’s fast-paced business world, with constantly shifting digital marketing processes, it is an everlasting trial to continue to reach your target market effectively. As if keeping content on topic and fresh wasn’t already hard enough – now we have to contend with regularly shifting algorithms, market changes, trending topics and keywords, and a wide range of metrics.
An in-house marketing team may be a no-brainer at first. You can be catered to the specific company’s needs, fine-tuned to the industry, and be quickly adaptable.
The reality ends up being slightly different, and there are several unique challenges that you may find yourself facing. These are challenges that may be new to the market, and google may be a daunting place to hunt down answers.
Marketing strategies can become complicated very quickly and very daunting. They are made up of many different initiatives to be followed and managed, with data collection and timelines to contend with.
Teams can get overwhelmed during the process and miss key indicators. Keeping up with all of this is very time-consuming and difficult. It can be time well spent to identify what is best to be done in-house and then work with a compatible marketing partner on the remainder.
Performing this review regularly helps ensure your company stays ahead of trends and your competitors. In highly saturated markets, that can be the difference between new customers or no customers.
Let’s look at a few things that make it hard for an in-house team to manage the A-Z marketing strategy. Good news: there are easy solutions to these problems! With a little research, a few resources, and a well-placed digital marketing partner, these can be overcome with great results.
Problem #1: Staffing and Costs
Keeping and retaining a good talent pool is difficult most of the time. Then you add to that that digital marketing help needs to be more invested and self-motivated than most. You must also provide constant training to keep their technical skills and expertise up to date.
The salaries to keep those people engaged can easily break budgets, and then there’s the time you spend managing everyone!
Arguably the biggest benefit of working with a marketing partner is the resources you get access to without needing to recruit, train and manage. Digital marketing is a puzzle of many different pieces: graphics, content writing, copy, website design, SEO, keyword research, video editing, and more. An in-house marketing team might be lucky to get one person who can google their way through most of those things.
A digital marketing agency can leverage scale to bring the best of those resources straight to small companies. You get the full, fractional team.
Problem #2: High Performing Creativity
The annoying thing about making marketing material is that it needs to be good enough for people to want to look at it. You need to be constantly creative and stay up to date with your market’s interests.
Then you need to look at it again through a second lens: make sure to keep it on target, consistent with brand colors, logo styles, visual media specifications, platform preferences, and writing do’s and don’ts. It takes concentrated effort to develop a real voice, style, and presence to ensure consistency and effectiveness.
Here are a few key things to consider while creating a solid brand strategy:
- Dissect your audience and understand them – moreover, don’t just understand them as physical people. Understand how they interact with the digital world
- Define a strategic brand vision, document it, and communicate it clearly with everyone involved
- Give your voice an authentic personality by featuring real users and team members
- Create a regular testing schedule to continuously review the effectiveness of your landing pages and creative assets
- Be consistent with branding and voice. They say it takes a consumer 7 interactions with a business to trust them. If your content is inconsistent and they don’t realize you’re the same company, you’ve reduced your effectiveness
Problem #3: Tracking Key Performance Indicators
Knowing where your leads are coming from is crucial for making key decisions. By setting up proper tracking of your Key Performance Indicators (KPI), you can better analyze how your campaigns are performing. This allows you to adjust them based on how your audience is responding.
Most in-house marketing professionals understand this – the problem comes from automation, integrations, and systems to assimilate the data for regular analysis.
If your process for data review is checking Facebook business manager once every morning for 2 minutes, how effectively are you analyzing data and making decisions with it? You may understand the trends inside and out, but it takes time and analysis to take that and turn it into a strategy.
Several key steps are needed to create a scalable system for data tracking and analysis:
Define your metrics – You will want to make sure that you understand which metrics to analyze. A common mistake is to think that you should monitor all metrics and hope that all of them get better in one fell swoop.
This untargeted approach of casting a wider net can result in fewer real results. If your social media reach goes up exponentially but your clicks stay the same, at first glance that may look like a win.
Things like Social Media Reach, Most Viewed pages, Bounce rate, Frequency, Conversion Rate, and Sales Revenue will tell you different things about your campaign’s performance. They are all key indicators in different ways, and the most important ones are unique to each business.
Define your audience – Having a clear definition of your audience allows you to target them better. Going as far as defining a buyer persona will allow you to make sure you are speaking to the right customers. Casting a wide net may seem like a good idea in the beginning. Many of us have heard people say that niching down makes more money, and they’re usually right.
Reducing your reach to very few highly targeted people reduces your spending and increases conversion.
Database Management – Figure out which tools you need to keep track of the metrics. This may not be directly in the marketing tools themselves. Many software options are available to consolidate and track marketing data from multiple sources based on your specific needs.
A well-defined and organized database will help keep track of your data and allow you to analyze it quickly. The database must integrate with your ad system so that the information can be used to feed directly from the database into the system, eliminating the potential for human error.
Analyze your metrics – We recommend that you make the tracking someone’s job. When things get busy, tracking or going back to analyze the data can be the first task that flies out the window. Set up an employee to do the tracking with consistent expectations on when and how it will be completed.
It is also crucial to develop a good communication network to communicate the results to the needed parties. If everyone is busy and the team member does the report but no one takes the time to look at it, how does that serve you?
This is one way that costs can vastly increase with in-house marketing – projects are started but not always seen through to fruition. Data not analyzed is wasted.
Problem #4: Forecasting
When handling and analyzing current and past data, ensure you have a system for processing it. We referred to this above when we discussed analytics, but we can take it a step further than just reviewing and planning with the data. If we structure our database for forecasting, we can take our data further.
An external marketing partner may be able to help you to create more effective marketing forecasts and anticipate changes.
Problem #5: Marketing Mix Modeling
Understanding all the different marketing channels will go a long way to reaching your targeted buyer persona in each channel, as each may need a different approach. This mix is comprised of several different umbrellas, including organic content, paid ads, email campaigns, affiliate marketing, or influencer marketing.
To make it more complicated, each of those umbrellas exists in several different channels or platforms.
You probably already understand this, but taking it to the next level requires serious experience and collaboration. Do you have access to an expert in each area and channel who can optimize your efforts for the best results in those areas? Your approach to one item may be completely different from the way you approach a different channel. Do you have an expert who has analyzed your business, compared it to the market, and figured out the way to position you specifically? How do you know how to structure your tests, or when to complete the test and call the results?
To figure out your best markets, internal teams must carry out expensive and labor-intensive testing to figure this all out from scratch. Be sure to pay close attention to all running campaigns! A failed test running too long can be a big budget hit.
Don’t give up on any platform until you have given it a true test. It might be best to spend a decent chunk of your budget on a platform that has proven results while you are testing new platforms.
Problem #6: Multi-Channel Synergy
It’s important to consider the full strategy and have that plan further broken down by channels to ensure a comprehensive marketing plan. Often, internal marketing teams apply the same generic plan and creativity to all channels. It can be a better approach to customize content and creativity based on the specific target customer that is best reached on each particular channel.
Matching a buyer persona with the right channel will allow you to maximize message impact to trigger action.
Problem #7: Offer Development
Rather than saturating the market with multiple offers, whittle it down to as few as possible. Tap into your buyer persona mindset and create highly targeted offers instead of casting a wide net. A common mistake with new marketing teams is to attempt to be as inclusive as possible with many offers live at a time. Reducing your offers allows you to avoid confusing a potential audience.
Remember, they will need to see your business 7 times. Several different offers are likely to create an inconsistent and inefficient campaign.
Problem #8: Benchmark Marketing
Competitive benchmarking is where you keep track of how your competition is performing within your market. This is critical to capture market share and make progress targeting specific customer segments. Some internal marketing teams use their target customer persona to develop marketing strategies, and that’s awesome! Take it to the next level by anticipating the moves of your competition.
It’s also good to understand the saturation points. Some keywords simply are not worth tackling. Another common mistake of new marketing teams is to target broad keywords that will yield a very low chance of success. Understanding your competitors’ positioning will help you know what you can reasonably target.
Many of our businesses are currently digital, presenting a new set of challenges. A SWOT analysis is easy enough for a dentist’s office. How do you identify major competitors in a digital landscape with hundreds of potential contenders? A marketing partner can help you interpret your data to understand the best approach.
Problem #9: Legal Changes
As new rules and government regulations are being developed, you must constantly be aware of changes that will affect your current and future marketing strategy. The best way to address this is to get a legal checklist or check with a business attorney when you are starting a new campaign online or changing an existing one.
We recommend looking for a new, updated checklist on a regular schedule – perhaps monthly or quarterly. This is especially crucial if your internal marketing team handles the business website.
Problem #10: Change of Targeting
The growing movement away from using cookies as a method to monitor a target market is changing the landscape of digital marketing. We will see new and innovative ways of gathering, monitoring, and analyzing real-time data developed soon. Keeping up with these changes is necessary to grow your market and avoid potential legal complications.
Problem #11: Managing Your Team
Managing a team is hard on a good day. Recruiting and maintaining a team has been especially challenging lately. In this area, we can give you all the hiring and management pro tips in the world, but the reality is that tips don’t change the market. You know how to hire and manage; that’s not the issue.
The plug-and-play experience that comes with a marketing partner is simply not replicable until your company revenue is in the tens of millions.
In this area, a marketing partner can change the game of the way your department operates. Digital marketing agencies can competitively leverage top talent from all over the country or the world. They have access to better talent pools due to remote, part-time working environments. Best of all, you don’t have to be the one to go through the entire sourcing process for each person. The plug-and-play experience that comes with a marketing partner is simply not replicable until your company revenue is in the tens of millions.
Once you have the team, managing them is an entirely different project. Project management, integration, and quality control are immense duties for any marketing manager. Marketing partners can again leverage their scale to complete these projects for you, presenting clean and complete results.
Technologically, having a fractional team at your disposal has additional benefits. Many marketing teams maintain members certified in different areas, including Google Analytics, Google Ads, Bing Ads, WordPress SEO, etc. This means you benefit from certifications without having to pay for your team members to maintain these certifications.
Many agencies work directly with reps from Google and other resources and have access that you might not have as an in-house team. Also, ask what SEO, social media, and paid advertising platforms they subscribe to as an agency. Again, you get the benefit of these without the direct costs of maintaining subscriptions to multiple platforms.
The biggest mistake we see from growing companies is to think that digital marketing is a simple job, one that involves completing a set of checklists.
“10 social posts per week, 2 videos, and an email and we’re good to go! It’s absolutely something that we can handle in-house, maybe even with just one person!”
That kind of thinking makes the internal marketing job easier but produces few results, which is why the dynamic approach of a marketing partner can be appealing. Internal teams can often invest a lot of time into marketing projects but miss key aspects of targeting or strategy, resulting in low RoI.
If you plan to grow your company with an internal marketing team, make sure to use the tips here to start with a great strategy from day 1. Reverse engineering a plan is often helpful. Begin by identifying the areas you and your team are great at, then identify the remaining areas where a marketing partner may be a good resource for you. Working together to develop a strategy based on strengths will bring you the best possible results.
Start bringing in the Right Leads.
Let’s build an effective marketing strategy for you.