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(530) 350-8857 services@tacticalma.com
Why Isn’t My Marketing Working?

Why Isn’t My Marketing Working?

“We just aren’t seeing results from our marketing.”

An overwhelming majority of our new clients open our very first conversation with this as the force that urged them to reach out.

Companies often ask us to evaluate underperforming marketing campaigns. It’s one of the free services we offer, and we’re usually able to deduce the problem within that first consultation. We audit their marketing strategy and never hold back solutions to their marketing limitations.

We recognize that marketing is a science, first and foremost; a blend of behavioral sciences that seeks to understand people individually and in groups. As engineers must understand physics, so marketers must understand psychology. It studies norms, deviations, probabilities. Anyone who has studied psychology beyond a few Buzzfeed articles will quickly learn:

Psychology is a data science.

Great marketers understand this, but putting into practice is difficult. Making the academic science actionable in your marketing is a developed skillset.

In our assessments, we are evaluating several essential criteria. Most assessments follow a typical evaluation format and include questions like these:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What is your objective?
  • How is your target audience engaging?

The answers to these questions reveal breaks in clarity and specificity, and it becomes straightforward to diagnose where we’ll find gaps in the marketing process. 

Let’s break down some standard answers, the problems they indicate, and how to fix them.

Who Is Your Target Audience?

 

Common Answer: “We are targeting businesses of X size.”

What It Indicates:

With this kind of generic approach, the messaging in any individual piece of marketing targets a business, not a person; a person with needs, doing research who is going to come across their content.

How To Fix It:

Develop buyer personas to identify the people who need the solution you’re offering. Tailor your marketing approach to their customer’s needs, not the company they work for.

Need help identifying your target audience?
Download Your Free Tactical Guide to Buyer Personas

What Is Your Objective?

Common Answer: “To generate more revenue in 2020.”

What It Indicates

The objective is too vague. An indirect outcome (like “generate revenue”) is too far removed from an actual marketing plan. This ambiguity in process creates an obstacle to developing real solutions.

How To Fix It

Define the process by which a person would get from the asset (marketing) to the end goal (a purchase) and create individual conversion goals to track at each stage so they can be continuously measured and improved.

How Is Your Target Audience Engaging?

Common Answer: “We are seeing poor opens and click-throughs.”

What It Indicates: The first indicator here is what they see as the most important activity of their marketing strategy (in this case: email). It also indicates the true metric by which they measure marketing success (in this case: click-throughs and page views).

How To Fix It: Think of all metrics as part of a whole. Each individual metric has a story to tell. In this example, low open rates indicate the email subject lines aren’t clicking with the target audience. Poor click-through rates indicate that those who do open the email don’t find the content relevant and/or are missing a clear call-to-action.

Learn More About Target Audiences Here

Obviously, these are just a handful of common examples. The advantage we have, as a full-service marketing agency, is exposure to massive data sets, including thousands of collective marketing scenarios. We will look at as many Google Analytics reports in a given week as most marketers will in their career, and we build as many emails in a month as a typical marketer will in their life.

When you have that kind of exposure to information, patterns emerge that will elude those who are focused on one brand at a time.

So if your marketing could use a fresh pair of eyes, a quick diagnosis, a new perspective – set up a free consultation. We give you the first hour of pure consultation (no sales pitch). For us, this approach results in a large conversion to paid engagements – not because we asked you for the business but because you find value.

Perfect symbiosis.

Do You Know Who You’re Talking To?

Do You Know Who You’re Talking To?

Ready to get started? Click below to download our guide instantly.

An Easy Guide to Buyer Personas

For 20 years, I have been a leader in business development, whether as head of the organization or as a professional consultant. I am constantly astounded that nearly every sales or marketing resource I help knows what a “Buyer Persona” is but has never taken the time to document who their target Persona is! If this is a new topic for you, a “Buyer Persona” is best described as a fictional person who represents your target audience.

 

A “Buyer Persona” is best described as a fictional person who represents your target audience

Most people are intelligent, and it takes a striking marriage of that raw intellect and related experience to become an expert in sales or marketing; that dual skillset is what differentiates yours from others. With that, I know there are also 20 things in any day that we know we “should” do, but we just don’t find the time. Instead, we’re forced to prioritize, and the academic exercise of developing and documenting a Persona often just doesn’t make the cut today…

Or this week…
Or this month…
Or this year.

The Critical Value of Personas

Whether your focus is sales or marketing, you know that generic messaging yields generic results. The business that can make it’s product feel relevant and Personal will always beat the competition who offers bland services, features, or functionality.
You cannot make your message personal until you know who you’re personalizing it for. Many times I’ve seen companies target female buyers with ads, email, and web imagery that are predominantly male. I’ve seen companies target 25- to 30-year-old buyers with long and wordy messages. I have seen entire marketing campaigns targeted at corporate decision-makers promoting specific features and product functionality. These are gross errors that are almost always guaranteed to fail.
The value of a Persona is that it forces the most valuable trait in sales and marketing — Empathy.
When we think of our target audiences as people it changes the way we market. People live lives, raise children, have mortgages, careers, promotions, and dreams. People are worried about judgment, getting fired, or missing opportunities.
People are very different in character and remarkably similar in how they make decisions. With marketing, there is this universal truth:

If you try to reach everyone, you will reach no one. If you try to be everything, you will be nothing.

The only way to make your marketing relatable, relevant, and impactful is to define who you are targeting at an individual level. What makes them tick? Why they would care about you? You need to answer these questions, then wrap everything in your marketing process around them.

A Persona Is Not A Business

Perhaps the most common “miss” in Persona development is that marketing and sales teams define the people they are targeting by the companies they work for. At every company, there are very different people working in very different roles. Some are highly technical and require advanced degrees, such as engineers. Others are very Personal and require no higher education, but do require “soft skills,” like sales. Business leaders get frustrated by too much detail, but a junior resource need lots of information to distill and present to their higher-ups.
When your Persona is “companies in the Midwest with 250M+ annual revenue and 500 employees,” there is no chance your messaging will be on point. That is not a person, so it follows that it is also not a Persona. There are at least 500 people, likely grouped in 20 different departments with different working skill-sets, priorities, job functions, lives.

If your Persona is a company profile, you are guaranteed to miss.

How Many Personas Should I Have?

 

If you are ready to take your marketing to the next level and you’re passionate about Personas — that’s great! Now the immediate risk is over-segmenting your audience, which leads to massive time loss and creates targets that are so narrow and nuanced that they cease to be useful.

My Rule For Personas: Three Per Vertical

I’ll use my own business for example. My team could help any marketing organization. We’ve worked with massive Fortune 100 companies and local “mom-and-pop” businesses, B2C and B2B, non-profit and membership, financial and venture capital.

At Tactical Marketing Automation, we made a deliberate decision to not market to “everyone we could help.”

We made a deliberate decision to not market to “everyone we could help.”

Instead, we focus on four verticals: B2B Services, Credit Unions, Membership Organizations, and Manufacturing. In this process, we have defined three Personas for each of these industry targets.

I break my Personas down into three main categories:

Decision Maker

The Decision Maker Persona is typically the person who will approve the purchase but not directly engage with or use the service. In most companies, this is an executive who holds budget authority but doesn’t get involved in the nitty-gritty of the tactical execution process.

  • Purchase Authority
  • Executive

Influencer

The person who will use the service but isn’t likely to have the budget authority. Often this is the Manager or Director level of an organization that will directly benefit from using a product or service but doesn’t have purchase authority.

  • Engages with the Product/Service
  • Managerial

Beneficiary

The person who will benefit from the service but is not likely to use the service. These are the people in an organization who may be suffering from the problem that your product or service helps to solve, but would not be involved in solving the problem.

  • Problem to Solve
  • Anywhere Within the Business

When you see how these fit together, a clear business case emerges. For example, a clever CEO (Decision Maker) looking to increase revenue will approve a budget for the savvy Marketing Director (Influencer) to engage with Tactical MA; Sales (Beneficiary) will receive an increased lead flow.

How to Build an Effective Persona

Remember that a Buyer Persona is a fictitious customer or client. The goal is to create the “ideal buyer” so that you can empathize with their day-to-day struggles and tailor your marketing towards their needs.
An effective Persona has three core elements:
  1. Name
  2. Demographic
  3. Psychographic Traits

What’s In A Name?

The very first tactic we use in developing a Persona is to give them a real person's name. This helps in two ways. First, it helps us to remember we’re thinking about an actual living human being. Second, it makes it easy to contextualize this for our team. When working through messaging briefs or design, we can ask, “Will this resonate with Janice?”

This context breeds empathy in our human brains and facilitates genuine creativity.

Demographic

Demographics relate to “census” type information. Education level, income, age, etc. Your Persona should include enough demographic data to clearly define who you’re targeting.
While gender may not be a major concern for you, age probably is. Is your marketing targeting edgy up and coming managers or are you looking to target seasoned professionals? What’s the best fit for your product or service?

As we refine these questions down, focus on the following attributes:

  • Role/Title
  • Age
  • Education
  • Income
  • Housing
  • Geography

 

Psychographic Traits

Psychographics relate to “attitude” information. This is where the difference between good and bad Personas is made.
For clarity, if your Persona is 100% demographic, then yes, I called it bad... because it is.
There’s a lot of psychographic development to add to Personas. Some of my favorite questions to include are “What is their day like?”, “What motivates them?”, and “How do they get information?”

This is how you personalize your marketing. This is how you create marketing that hits. Now you have real and tangible targets that you can truly tailor your messaging towards.

The Whole Point

There are four absolutely critical questions that we ask for every single Persona. These four questions are the core of everything in the Tactical MA marketing methodology, every campaign we design, every image we create, every asset we build.

They are simple and yet oh so amazingly effective:

  • “What’s the problem they need you to solve?”
  • “How will your solution help solve this problem?”
  • “Why is your solution better than any other option?”
  • “Why would they object to the solution you offer?”

 

In the marketing work that we do, everything aligns with one of these questions or it isn’t allowed. If a hero image doesn’t relate to one of these questions, we don’t use it. If an email or ad doesn’t answer one of these questions, we don’t run it.
I have sat in more than a thousand conversations where these simple questions changed the course of entire marketing departments. I have listened to CEO’s who have worked 30 years building their business as they realize that they don’t really know who their customers are.

And I have watched the simple act of developing a Buyer Persona change the strategy and increase the output of marketing over and over. Statistically, by about 300%.

So if you aren’t getting what you need from your marketing, if the leads aren’t there or the sales revenue seems a bit light, my first and best recommendation is to look at your Personas and ask:

“Do I really know who I’m talking to?”

Ready to get started? Click below to download our guide instantly.
Need more help? Contact us HERE to schedule a consultation!

Tactical Marketing Automation Announces Master List Creation Tool for Act-On Software

Tactical Marketing Automation Announces Master List Creation Tool for Act-On Software

Simplifies Act-On List Management

Cameron Park, CA, July 10, 2019 (Newswire.com) – Tactical Marketing Automation, LLC., a digital marketing agency specializing in marketing automation consulting and services, has announced the release of Unity List Aggregator (ULA), a Software as a Service (SAAS) application designed to augment the list capabilities of Act-On Software’s marketing automation software.

The ULA application is designed to connect to an Act-On Software customer account using their standard license credentials and extracts all marketing lists in the account. Through a proprietary design, the application allows a user to identify list columns that contain the same data types and then generates a complete master list containing all contact data for that Act-On instance. Furthermore, the application automates the management of adding new contacts to the Act-On Master List.

Tactical Marketing Automation’s CEO, Philip Easley-Bosley said, “Having a master list is a critical component to advanced Act-On marketing automation strategy. In the last year alone, we have worked on nearly 150 different Act-On projects that required creation or management of a master list. With ULA (pronounced yoo-luh), our customers will be able to effectively manage their master lists without investing dozens of hours into the custom process development currently required.”

Shane Wooten, lead developer and co-owner of the ULA application, commented on the product saying, “I’m excited to bring ULA to market, and just as excited about its product road map. We’re really just getting started and already working on our next iterations.”

More information about ULA can be found here.

Tactical Marketing Automation does not represent that ULA is part of the Act-On Software application nor that it is in any way a product affiliated with Act-On Software. As a separate application, Act-On Software provides no support for the ULA product. Act-On Software has not reviewed or endorsed this press release in any way. More information about Act-On Software can be found here.

About Tactical Marketing Automation, LLC.

Tactical Marketing Automation is a full-service digital marketing agency that specializes in marketing technologies, including marketing automation platforms. It focuses on developing strategic marketing plans and tactical marketing plans to enhance its customers lead generation, lead nurture, marketing qualification, and sales efforts. Tactical Marketing Automation also provides enhanced reporting services to help its customers turn data into actionable insights and improve business decisions.

Contacts
Philip Easley-Bosley | Tactical Marketing Automation, LLC. info@tacticalma.com | Office: (530) 350-8857
Corporate website – https://tacticalma.com

Safe Harbor
This press release contains statements, which may constitute “forward-looking statements.” Those statements include statements regarding the intent, belief or current expectations of Tactical Marketing Automation, LLC. and members of its management team as well as the assumptions on which such statements are based. Such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties, and that actual results may differ materially from those contemplated by such forward-looking statements. The Company undertakes no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect changed assumptions, the occurrence of unanticipated events or changes to future operating results.

Original Source: www.newswire.com

3 Keys to Align Marketing to Your Business

3 Keys to Align Marketing to Your Business

It’s been 7 years since the Fournaise Group published a survey stating that “80% of CEOS admit they do not really trust, and are not very impressed by the work done by Marketers.” It’s an old article that I find immensely insightful in my everyday work and life. In my career, it focused me on the right priorities, making sure that every marketing activity was aligned to the priorities of the CEO.  I had no idea that this simple change would one day lead to the formation of my owner marketing agency and consulting company.

However, just saying “marketing should be aligned to the business objectives” is stupid obvious and very unhelpful.  I’ve never met a marketer who said: “I don’t care about the business I just want to make pretty pictures.” In fact, every marketer I’ve worked with throughout my career has been extraordinarily passionate about their work, the results of their work, and the positive impact it has on the business.

As I take a moment to reflect, I think about some key influencers on my path. Great marketers like who not only taught me skills, they challenged me to be better and think differently. They were passionate about their work, committed to the business, and celebrated by the Sales team. Until the company missed a sales number – then it was their fault. As silly as this is, every marketer has been there; we all know that marketing can sometimes be a frustrating, disheartening, and thankless job. If marketing was easy, there wouldn’t be an entire industry dedicated to it.

It’s my experience that the biggest reason marketers “miss” is because they didn’t know what they were aiming at.  They are told to find leads, and they do, but they aren’t the right people. They are told to find the right people, and they do, but they aren’t converting. They are told to create better-qualified leads, and they do, but it is taking too long.  On and on it goes, such is the nature of poorly defined goals that are not part of a well thought out plan.

So how do we take the statement “Marketing should be aligned to the business objectives” and make this more practical? How do we turn a platitude into a plan? 

1) Executives Set Data Driven Goals

Every successful marketing organization has clear, actionable marketing objectives and it is the role and responsibility of a company executive to set these goals. You don’t have to know how to make it happen.  It will be the job of the marketers to figure out how to do “it”, but it is the executive’s job to define what “it” is.

We have invested a considerable amount of time unpacking this concept substantially in our new whitepaper – Aligning Marketing to Your Business.  The feedback has been excellent and we trust you will also appreciate the insight. 

2) Form a Sales and Marketing Covenant

Neither of these organizations can function without the other.  It is a symbiotic relationship consisting of two partner organizations working together to accomplish the same goal. With the executive goals set, the leaders of these organizations should agree to a strategic marketing plan, a tactical marketing plan, and a specific timeline of execution.  If either party deviates from the plan, they should be proactive and provide this information to the other the way we would in any other healthy relationship.

3) Apply the Science of Marketing

Marketing is to Psychology as Engineering is to Physics.  Humans in a given culture behave predictably, and great marketers know how to use this. Great marketers always define their target audience, always define their buyer’s journey, and always develop tactical marketing plans to target each stage of this journey with relevant content to keep them moving.  When done right, marketing is predictable. Lead generation, opportunity conversion, and customer retention become statistical norms that can be counted on and invested in.

Write it down.  

Formalize the expectations, the strategic plan, the tactical execution plan, the timeline, and the signoff.  These formalities create accountability and unity among companies. If I have helped you, I’m happy, if I have engaged your mind, I’m glad, and as always, if you’d like to entertain hiring Tactical Marketing Automation as your agency, I welcome the call.
3 Act-On Automated Programs You Didn’t Know You Needed

3 Act-On Automated Programs You Didn’t Know You Needed

From time to time I like to geek out on tactical marketing topics, and this is an uber nerd topic relating to my favorite Marketing Automation Platform, Act-On Software.

Also, for some reason I use caps like an old person. It’s late. I’m old. Leave me alone and let me pontificate.

Real Marketing Automation

When most people say “Marketing Automation” they are typically referring to its simplest form of “Email Automation” which is essentially a trigger for set of scheduled messages. While this has some amount of utilitarian value, if that is all you get from your Act-On Marketing Automation efforts, the idea and potential value in marketing automation will soon lose their luster.

As most of my readers know, I had the privilege of working at Act-On for just shy of 5 years and was honored to serve as the Lead Marketing Automation Strategist for much of that time. In this capacity, I was afforded substantial amounts of time to research trends in Act-On and identify opportunity for Act-On customers to enhance their use of marketing automation. It’s no surprise that a significant amount of this time and energy was invested into researching and developing Automated Programs.

Having worked directly with more than 2,000 Act-On accounts and nearly 10,000 Act-On users, I often found myself explain “Marketing Automation isn’t just scheduling email, it is automating your marketing processes so you have time to do more valuable things.”
You see, Act-On isn’t just for scheduling emails. It manages your marketing lists, improves your data, facilitates reporting, and interacts with your human resources.

How? Allow me to share…

Form to Master List Management

 Act-On Forms write to selected Form Submission lists. We very often want to track how many people registered for our Spring Event, so they must go to their own submission list.  But I ALSO want them to go to my Non-CRM Master List.

I could configure a new List Maintenance Program (LMP) every time I build a form, but that is tedious and painful.  Also, the LMP will keep overwriting the original submission data to my Master List every time it runs (e.g. they submit “PHILIP” as their First Name. You scrub the data and change this to proper case “Philip”.  The LMP will keep overwriting the bad data.)

This one is simple.  Use an Automated Program!  All you have to do is add your Form Submission List to the a single Act-On Automated Program.

May have mentioned this… any time an event should occur one time, you should always use an Automated Program.  In this case the logic is simple:

Automated Program Source List:
Each new Form Submission List

AP Workflow:
Copy to Non-CRM Master List

Marketing Stage or Sales Stage Management

 Many people use List Maintenance Programs (LMP) for this, and that’s just inviting disaster.  For example, imagine a lead hits a target Marketing Qualified Lead Score of 40 points. They enter a segment and an LMP sets their Sales Stage to MQL.  Job done, right?

Except sales takes the lead and sets the Sales Stage to “SQL” because they are pursuing the opportunity.  That night, your LMP changes the Sales Stage BACK TO MQL!

 Anytime an event should occur one time, you should always use an Automated Program.  In this case the logic is simple:

Automated Program Source List:
Segment: MQL (Lead Score = 40+)


AP Workflow:
Change Field Sales Stage to MQL

Reporting Augmentation

This one is similar to Stage Management but serves an entirely different purpose.  At Tactical Marketing Automation, we believe “Everything is a funnel.” Call us old school.

Marketing = Funnel

Sales = Funnel

Prospecting = Funnel

Going to lunch?  FUNNEL.

In our workflows, when someone enters a funnel stage they start a stream of emails designed to move them through that stage and advance them towards qualification.  We typically have 3 stages before MQL.

Here’s the problem, I like reports.  I use them to make better decisions. Act-On doesn’t do that.

(Before someone comments about the native “Funnel Reports” – it’s an abomination.  You don’t know what you’re talking about.)

So the fix is easy.

When someone enters one of my email workflows, I set their current stage in a field.  I also note this as their “Previous Stage” immediately before they leave. Now I’m tracking what stage are they in, and what stage did they come from.  To get even slicker, I create counters that increment by 1 each day which gives me the ability to track exactly how long they were in that stage.

Then I create reports like this… Well, I don’t, Mike does.  He’s cool like that.

Conclusion

I believe most things are possible in Act-On.  I regularly solve “impossible problems” in hour long consulting calls that I do for free.  I can admit it, I’m better at marketing automation than I am at sales (that’s why I have Stu).

Act-On is not perfect but damn, it’s powerful, and I love it.

About Phil Bosley

Philip, CEO, has nearly 20 years of marketing experience and has served as a consultant, advisor, and resource for thousands of companies like yours.