Erin Everhart / Digital Marketing / March 4th, 2013

Targeting, Testing and Teamwork: Our New Way of Marketing

The past two years brought some of the biggest changes to SEO and digital marketing. Granted, I’ll probably be saying that same thing two years from now, and that further establishes my point.

Successful marketing doesn’t exist without constant innovation, integration and iteration.

  • Innovation: Creativity fuels dramatic results. Doing the same thing everyone else has already done won’t get you anywhere.
  • Integration: You can’t view SEO, social media, offline marketing and the rest of the gamut in their individual bubbles. To do so is a disgrace to the industry, yourself and your clients.
  • Iteration: Marketing is both art and science, and no one knows exactly what’s going to work. Test the bejesus out of everything.

We’re constantly looking for ways to improve. Every good marketer should.

Over the past 4 months, we’ve been restructuring how we work. What we were doing before wasn’t broken, but it wasn’t efficient. We had locked ourselves in the silo of (traditional) SEO. We weren’t integrating with other tactics at our disposal and the efforts our clients were already doing.

We were too focused on budgets and not enough on results. Too focused on rankings and not enough on conversions. Too focused on clearly laid out tactics and not enough on agility.

Our new approach changes that. It focuses on research, agility and above all, teamwork.

Huge thanks to Ryan Jones, Rae Hoffman, Marty Weintraub, Wil Reynolds, Todd Friesen, Tony Wright and many others for letting me pick their brains. I hope I didn’t make too much of mess.

Research

We don’t start a smidgen of work until we know who your users are. They’re the most important part of your marketing anyway, so how can you start marketing before knowing who you’re marketing to?

Our UX (user experience) team helps with this discovery.  We do things like market research for demographics and psychographics, focus groups, surveys, stakeholder interviews and persona development to help us paint that picture.

Then, we figure out what the heck you want to accomplish. More sales? More leads? More repeat sales? More referrals? More brand recognition? More foot traffic to a retail store? Launch a product?

Once we know the goals, we refine them. You want more sales? Great. What’s your best selling product? No, I didn’t ask for the one that was searched the most; I asked for the one you sell the most.

And we don’t accept rankings as a goal. News Flash: Google doesn’t pay you for a No. 1 ranking. (Thanks Matt McGee!) If you’re getting more sales or leads from our efforts, why does it matter where you’re ranked?

Agility

We adopted agile web development practices. The industry changes daily, and we want to be able to adapt and adjust to when they do. Agile allows us to do that be focusing on flexibility and collaboration. There is no benefit in locking you into a set of tactics when they may not work in 3 months.

Once we know your goals, we figure out which medium will work best to meet those goals. Most of the time that’s search, but we don’t view SEO in number of keywords targeted and links acquired each month.

We see it as how to get more customers from organic search traffic. It’s less about algorithm chasing and more about qualified traffic. It should be measured by real business results: revenue, not rankings.

Sure that means keywords and links and title tags and all that jazz, but it also means things like:

Changing title tags to improve CTR for a 151% increase in entrances with no change in rankings

 

Split testing landing pages for an 64% increase in leads generated from that page

 

Adding video on a lead conversion form for a 198% increase in conversions

 

Simplifying navigation and clarifying purpose on home page for a 302% increase in conversions and 675% decrease in bounce rate

See a trend there? WE TEST.

We think holistically about what will bring more customers. Consider us general specialists (borrowed from Mr. Marty Weintraub).

We’re a mind-blowingly creative group of geeks that just want to kick butt. We focus on the results we’re getting over the hours we’re spending. We’ve got the chops to work across any medium. Individually, we each have our own jam, and as a team, those skill sets are amplified.

Teamwork

Teamwork amplifies our talents and elevates our abilities. We strongly believe that 2 heads are better than 1, and 3 heads are better still. So, we teamed up.

We work in 3-person teams with myriad skillsets. Those who crunch data sets and analyze reports share an office with those who develop messaging and create marketing plans. The strategizers execute and the executors strategize.

What you get is a dynamic system of complementary forces, greater than any one discipline alone.

Teams do everything for their clients’ campaigns, across whatever medium will best reach their goals. The client is at the center, helping us set priorities so we can set tactics.

We don’t believe in project managers. Every marketer should be able to talk to a client. We hear directly from them what they need. We build relationships that are well outside your typical client-agency relationships. We’re invested. We’re more accountable. We communicate better. We do better work.

We have 15-minute daily stand-ups. Everyone quickly runs down what they did, what’s coming up and what’s standing in their way. We have a strategy team that integrates with the project team to provide even more insight and value when planning a campaign.

A sturdy Live Oak probably isn’t your idea of a poster child for anything labeled agile, but stick with me. Its branches and roots work together to help it grow. They explore for new sources of light and nourishment. Most importantly, they secure it with a rock-solid foundation.

That’s exactly what our new process is about. Agility fosters creativity to innovate. Digital integrates with other marketing efforts. Tactics should always be tested.

What do you think about your new structure? We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.

  • Krishna Chaitanya

    Once again i recollect my MBA classes. That's a good idea,,! Continuous Innovation will really hleps to integrate changes that are happening in and around the world with support of team work..!

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