Tuesday, October 8, 2013

marketing isn't a real thing, is it?

Dilbert by Scott Adams

My favorite panel, from any comic strip, ever, has to be this one. I love "Marketing isn't a real thing, is it?" "It's mostly guessing." Haha, that Dilbert, he gets me every time.

Of course, if you're reading this and you're a marketer yourself, you know that marketing is anything BUT guessing.

Marketing is actually a very precise science - something that only seasoned marketers - those who have failed and those who have triumphed - can truly understand.

Think back to your 5th grade science fair. What were you asked to do? First: Identify a problem. Then form a hypothesis. Next, design and perform an experiment(s). Then, collect and analyze the data. Lastly, formulate your conclusions about your hypothesis.

And class, what do we call that?
The Scientific Method

The S-C-I-E-N-T-I-F-I-C M-E-T-H-O-D.

Good job, class.

Marketing is science. Your client is your teacher, he/she brings you a problem, "Hey Kathy, we have these really great thingamajigs that nobody knows about, how can we increase our sales?"

"Hmmm," you say to yourself, "nobody knows about them, you say?" You do some more thinking and then it hits you, "I bet if we tell people about your thingamajigs, they'll know about them, and they'll buy them." There's your hypothesis.

So then you do your research and discover that the guy down the street from your client also sells thingamajigs. But your client's thingamajigs are 20% cheaper, come in 50% more colors, and your client has the ability to ship them directly to their buyers. These are your major points of difference (sometimes called your value proposition) and will later help inform your messaging strategy.

You also discover that your client's competition only promotes their thingamajigs with flyers and directory listings. So you design a marketing plan that also incorporates flyers and directory listings, PLUS e-mail marketing, a CPC campaign and social media. You design your communications strategy around several trackable entities including a rewards program, coupon redemption program and a referral program (all underscoring your client's value proposition). And you spread each of these programs across the various outreach methods - equally.

Using a tool like Intelliclick or MailChimp or even Constant Contact you can easily track the number of email opens, forwards, and even navigation to your client's website. Every time a digital coupon is redeemed on your website, or someone signs up for your referral service, this information is collected too. You make a simple separate spreadsheet to track how many paper flyers make their way into your client's store.

At the end of a month you compare and analyze the data to find out what offerings and what delivery methods were most effective. On top of selling 245 thingamajigs in just one month - your client's highest ever sales number for a single month - you conclude that not only did "telling people about the thingamajigs" prove to be a correct hypothesis, but that the most effective way to sell to people was using a digital coupon on social media, which also earned your client referrals outside of the referral program that rewards your client's customers when they tell a friend about your client's thingamajigs. Which is great, because  social media is so much cheaper than a CPC campaign, so you advise your client to scale back on the paid-for media opportunities as you go back to the drawing board to create a new hypothesis about how you can increase your client's sales and begin designing a new experiment around socially shared pop-up store events in your client's densest populated target market area.

A mad scientist like me.
In my 10+ years of experience, rising from a executive temp at a PR agency to having run my own consultancy, to directing major national brand campaigns for companies like Toyota, and even working one-on-one with celebrities like Tim Robbins and Daryl Hannah, I've learned a great deal about manipulating the formula that creates brand buzz. And because no two brands are alike, no two formulas are alike. Sometimes it takes a mad brand scientist to really elevate a brand to its full potential - someone with a keen insight, a different way of looking at this mad, mad, mad world, and with natural-born leadership skills.

Sometimes when you're looking for a marketing manager, what you should really be looking for is a mad brand scientist. You should be looking for someone like me.

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