Most often, I use this digital space to write about big ideas. I write about big changes. Sometimes these changes seem daunting or unrealistic even though they are important. (Sorry, it’s not my fault. I didn’t invent the Internet.) But these big changes can be really hard to execute.
Much is being written and talked about regarding agile marketing. This method of marketing execution takes its lead from the concepts of agile software development, in which iterations come fast and planning is nearly immediate. I very much enjoyed reading “10 Key Principles of Agile Marketing Management” by Scott Brinker, CEO of Ion Interactive. In it, he speaks of “numerous small experiments” as being among the basic tenets of agile marketing.
I love that concept. Imagine: Every day, you execute a digital marketing activity that isn’t large, isn’t overly complex, but will expose a new way of getting stuff done or provide a new valuable insight.
I asked my team here at Ciceron to share a few things you can do every day to help move the dial without having to kill a ton of brain cells:
Have a Daily “Just One Thing” Meeting
One of my favorite ideas came from my colleague Dawn Hepper. She suggested that you meet every morning with your team for 10 minutes to quickly articulate one thing that you’re going to execute that day that’s new and simple. You should articulate what you hope to happen, what you might learn, and how that change might improve customer experience or a business outcome. Perhaps it’s as simple as a new e-mail segment. Or an A/B test on a search-marketing landing page. Maybe you’re simply going to analyze one page of your website that’s nagging on you because it’s not converting. Making a verbal commitment to your team keeps you accountable and glued together as a group of people who are making daily, incremental improvements to your digital footprints. After a month, you’ll be amazed at the progress you’re making.
Look at Your Analytics
I know. For seasoned marketers, this is a no-brainer. Their dashboards are their lives. But for most marketers, a visit to your analytics is a random and not always purposeful event. Here was Scott Conlin’s advice: “Install and customize analytics to properly track against all business goals and objectives, and to help guide site and content optimization.” We spend a lot of time in companies’ analytics programs, and rarely are they customized to an organization’s specific business goals and outcomes. So a simple idea is to log in to your analytics program and begin customizing your most valuable conversions. Do it for a week, optimizing one path each day. No biggie. But potentially huge outcomes.
Do E-mail Better
If you know Julie Verhulst like I do, then you wouldn’t be surprised to hear her mention e-mail as a key target for constant improvement. E-mail is like that cool uncle who used to play in a kick-ass band . . . in 1988. You haven’t listened to the cassette tape in a decade, then you pop it in your boom box, and whoa! It’s still really good. That’s e-mail. E-mail isn’t shiny. It isn’t sexy. But damn if it’s still not one of the most effective marketing and communications tools you have in your arsenal.
But doing e-mail well isn’t easy. “Batching and blasting” is the biggest four-letter word in marketing, and if you’re simply banging out an e-mail and hitting your entire database with the same message, you’re doing it wrong. So, very simply, if you’re not using a good e-mail marketing software, ditch what you have and get a new one. Then begin segmenting. Then segment some more. A/B test subject lines and content. Be real about it. And watch amazing outcomes.
Participate in Online Customer Conversations
Ah, social media. Everyone’s talking about it. Most companies are posting to Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, but how many are participating in actual conversations? Marketers like to talk. But what about conversing in meaningful dialogue that’s actual human-to-human contact? What if your CEO responded to a customer inquiry on Twitter? The market would freak out. C’mon, it’s a 140-character text message. Tiffani Allen (brand spankin’ new to Ciceron as of last week!) said it best: “I think having employees participate in positive conversations about your company and monitoring/collecting data related to social media is an easy one. I don't know that a lot of companies know where to begin collecting that kind of data.”
Well, you can’t start getting this powerful set of data if you’re invisible. Get in there. See what’s being said about you and your competitors. Get a vision of what reality is. As I’ve written here a thousand times, don’t hope that people are talking about you. Make it happen.
What Are You Waiting For?
None of the ideas shared here are difficult. In fact, they’re quite simple. No one should struggle with any of these individual efforts, and what I love about all of this is that if you execute these simple ideas, you’ll be so much closer to where you need to be with the big changes. I see lots of organizations hit by a collective stun gun when facing the monumental changes in consumer habits and behaviors. Yup. They are big. But taking daily steps toward the future will give you a clearer picture of the future with much more confidence. Which one will you do first? Leave your ideas in the comments.