Thursday, December 27, 2012

Agile Marketing - check list for 2013

Agile Marketing is such of new term that there's not even a Wikipedia article about it. I guess the basic idea behind the agile marketing comes from agile software develoment and one of its famous frameworks called Scrum. I'm sure you can adapt and use these methods by the book with your marketing team. However, in current complex and fragmented marketing environment with multiple vendors, it may be very difficult to hold on rutines like daily scrum. Therefor, it can be more convenient to use an applied model of Scrum or other.

This post is more like an unformal bullet point check list, collected from my own experiences, especially during this year (2012), although each point would probably deserve a whole post or a book chapter. You can read the whole article or check out only numbered bullet points to have a check list for 2013. See also couple of very good and inspiring videos at the end of this post by Bryan Eisengerg and Jonathon Colman.

What is strategy anyway?


Beware of the corporate strategy bullshit which you may hear people speaking and not actually knowing what they are saying. "Strategy is a general, undetailed plan to achieve a goal in the long run. Strategy is a set of options (strategic choises) than a fixed plan". This is where agility really kicks in. First of all, companies and marketing team should have strategic goals in place. Your strategic goal may be put in 5, 10 or even 15 years ahead. Therefor you need to define benchmarks and yearly goals in order to follow your plan.

1. Check out your web analytics, marketing automation or business intelligence system to see if you have goals in place? If you don't, the very first thing to do in 2013 is ask / find / call help!

Do you have the right Key Performance Indicators?


Following your goals is crucial and you should have a process to deliver this information back to strategic planning. If your tactics are not working, you may need to choose another strategic option or improve your tactics. Staring at your goals (final outcomes is usually sales) is not enough because you don't know what happened on the way? This is why you need to have key performance indicators (KPIs) for your tactic campaigns. You can use customer life cycle, net income or other framework for KPI modeling.

2. Check out if your organization or your marketing team has KPIs defined and the final outcomes are linked to sales (and back to strategic goals). If you don't have KPIs at all, or you don't have "right" KPIs, you are doing something wrong. Seek help.

Campaign planning and execution


Without decent goals and KPIs you lack a lot. It's very difficult to run a simple A/B test if you don't have goals. Or then you are testing and optimizing wrong goals such as impressions or click throug rates. From day one, it's important that all people (and I mean ALL no matter if they are your team members, vendors, partners or your staff) know what are you are trying to achieve. It would be ideal that people responsible for e.g. your paid search or newsletter marketing are reporting the common KPIs and acknowledgements for everyone in the team and executives as well.

3. Check out if everyone in your marketing team, including vendors, know atleast your goals. You can also ask if they know your exact KPIs. If they don't, you have some communication to do. Ask help if needed.

Measuring is nothing without analyzing


This is the most important part for achieving success. You should set up the measuring and analysing frequency depending on your business pulse. If you have high volume online store, you could do meauring and analyzing even on daily basis. Remember that people responsible of marketing activities should report and analyze the common KPIs.

4. Check out if your people (or a single analyst) are producing questions, development and testing ideas based on your numbers. If you are not able to create a todo -list based on measuring and analyzing, it's not working as it should be. Ask help.


Decisions, decisions, decisions


One of the main duties of managers and executives is decision making. That's what they are hired for. When you have the "right" KPIs in place and your analyzing part is good, the decision making gets lots of easier than ever before. Everything is based on your company's strategy and you have data and people backing up your decisions. It's more important to run several tests and collect the marketing knowledge in the long run than being always right or afraid beforehand.

5. Check out how many new tests in tactics or strategic changes you had last year based on your reports, insights, feedback or recommendations you received? If you had none, you have a serious problem of not evolving fast enough. Ask help.

Improve your communication


The more people and vendors you have envolved in your marketing, the harder it's to communicate with all of them. I think of the key ideas in agile software development is the communication. Daily scrum rutines help that people really know what other people are doing. Be ready to surprise when smart people put their heads together.

6. Check out if you have a common (social) communication platform where you can easily share information and discuss about marketing with people in different organizations. If you don't have one, check out possibilites of Google+Basecamp or other. 


So here are my thoughts on agile marketing. Like always, feel free to disagree or comment anyone of these points. I hope you got the idea of constant and fast development of marketing. It's ongoing loop of Planning > Doing > Measuring & Analyzing > Decisions.

Here's one good article of agile marketing.




Thursday, November 29, 2012

N2 Social Media Hub with Facebook


Thank you N2 and Heineken for setting up the social media hub yesterday with Facebook. Check out this Twitter feed to get different point of views from participants. Here are my notes and comments from the event. It was a bit funny, but I believe that speakers didn't mention Facebook (banner) advertising at all?!

The key take away from Johnas Liljegren is that things happen in news feed. Facebook is changing the EdgeRank all the time and no matter what, you should be visible in people's news feed in order to engage with them. This doesn't mean spamming. Here's one tip:
"People can subscribe to your Facebook page notifications. Use sponsored post to tell people about it."
In general, it may be a good idea to compare sponsored posts and other ad formats against Facebook banner ads. I so agree with Johnas about the fact that companies should think Facebook, and social media in generally, as a long term investment. You should use insights and measure social media activities in years rather than months. Ninni Lindertz said very well that Facebook marketing is more psychology than technology. Every marketer planning (if the planning stage exists) content for Facebook should think:
"Why people would engage with us? And why they would share?"
Ninni showed us couple of very nice examples how companies are using Facebook in innovative ways. Like with all kind of marketing, you should start planning with the end in mind. What do you want to achieve in the long run? Andy Pang told us about cost savings (-25-60 % against overall online campaigns) with better targeting and how to measure Facebook marketing.

Andy told us about reach, resonance and reaction model, which is not far away from models like REAN and other similar. Nowadays I use pretty much reach, engage, convert, retain and advocate - kind of model. So the last one, advocate, really including social media to your key performance indicators. You can take a look of real life KPIs from my previous post. And one social media metric that I really like is called Interactions Per Mill.
"IPM, a social media metric, stands for interactions per thousand fans."
Anyway, no matter what your KPIs are, at least you should have them and you should use them in regular basis in order to get better understanding how your activities are performing against your goals. If you want to sell better or you want to improve your return on investment (ROI) or return on Facebook ad spent (ROAS), you may have micro goals such as better customer satisfaction or engagement before the final outcomes.

Jussi-Pekka Erkkola gave us good learning points from Valio perspective: enable and integrate social media to your other marketing activities. Communicate, work and engage with your fans (yes, this needs some resources). Plan (daily, weekly basis), be topical and measure your social media activities. And don't be noise!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Improve comparison of traffic source KPIs with Google Analytics cost import feature

Google announced several improvements this week during their annual Summit of Google Analytics. Long waited cost import feature is now available in public beta. From now on, you will have two options to compare your return of investment (ROI) for all reach sources directing traffic to your website.

Previously you had no other choice than copy, download or use API to get the collected data out of Google Analytics. Then you would add cost data from other sources or campaigns in Excel, Google Drive or other tools. Below you can see a real life example of key performance indicators by source. With this data, you can easily compare effectiveness of last click interactions of each channel.



This table includes KPIs such as visits, bounce rate (BR), cost, cost per click (CPC), actions (in this case orders), conversion rate (CR), cost per action (in this case cost per order), sales and return on ad spent (ROAS). This kind of KPI table is the fundamental basis of getting insights for each reach source.

From now on, you will have another option. You can import cost data from other sources than Google Adwords, into Google Analytics. I haven't got my hands on this new feature yet, but I hope that Google Analytics will calculate the very same metrics automatically with the imported cost data (than presented above).

There are many businesses and websites where visitors don't convert within one visit. That's why you need multi-channel funnels reports in addition. Glad to see all these new features coming up and GA moving towards to a real business intelligence tool. As always, feel free to add your comments and questions. Or you can send me a private message as well.