Almost Timely News, 12 September 2021: 3 Year Marketing Strategy, Google Postmaster Tools, Personal Data Science

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Almost Timely News, 12 September 2021: 3 Year Marketing Strategy, Google Postmaster Tools, Personal Data Science

Almost Timely News

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What’s On My Mind: My 3-Year Marketing Strategy

The folks at Talkwalker recently asked me in an interview what I thought the major trends would be over the next couple of years, what marketers should plan for. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I see three strategic imperatives that inform my plans for the next three years.

Disclaimer: when we’re talking about the funnel, I’m specifically referring to our marketing operations funnel, the order of operations we use to conduct marketing internally. The customer journey may be non-linear, but our org charts are not.

Top of the funnel: brand, brand, brand. A recent paper by the folks at LinkedIn’s B2B Institute states that only 2-5% of our target market are actual buyers at any given time. Recall I don’t particularly believe in the arbitrary division of B2B/B2C – there’s only complex and simple sales. A mortgage looks more like a “B2B sale”, and buying a simple SaaS service on your credit card looks more like a “B2C sale”. If we’re spending all our time and effort on trying to persuade people to buy who aren’t in the buying cycle, we’re pissing away our budget and resources.

So, what’s the alternative? Spending on brand. Spending on share of mind. Investing in attention, awareness, and ideally enrollment in some kind of marketing program that allows us to stay in touch. And I don’t just mean spending hard dollars, this includes soft dollars as well – guest appearances on podcasts, guesting on live streams, showing up in other people’s books – you name it, if it puts me in front of a new audience, it’s fair game.

Middle of the funnel: publishing. Not necessarily for purchase, but doubling down on a robust publishing program, a content marketing program that helps me to stay in touch with you. This newsletter. A new offering on YouTube coming soon. Finding new ways to provide you value, to reinforce the brand promise I’ll be working on building in the top of the funnel. But above all else, creating a robust publishing platform that I own, so that I am less beholden to big tech social networks and search engines as much as practical and realistic (they will continue to be a major part of the mix, let’s be honest).

What can I do to earn my way into someone’s inbox, in their ears, on their coffee table, into their weekly routine? That, by the way, is the principal reason I publish a weekly newsletter – you have 52 opportunities a year to remind people you exist, instead of what most people do, which is a monthly newsletter that gets you only 12 opportunities a year.

Bottom of the funnel: community building. Again, for what I do, the buying cycle may be once or twice a year. That means for the rest of the time, I need the ability to interact with people without the pressure – on both our parts – of trying to sell to them. The community in my Analytics for Marketers Slack group is exactly this kind of community, a place where people can hang out and chat about work-related and life-related stuff.

Community is the natural and logical extension of influencer marketing except that instead of focusing on one or a select handful of individuals, you grow a community of influencers. And they don’t have to be big names or loud mouths; they simply need to be part of organizations that eventually buy whatever your products or services are. If you earn your way into the minds and hearts of people on, say, the vendor selection committee at your target companies/industry, that’s real, bottom-line influence.

Again, to the greatest extent possible, we want to own our community relationships and have them be as algorithm and model free as possible. That’s one of the reasons I avoid places like LinkedIn Groups and Facebook Groups. You’re competing with every other post in the News feed for attention. When you’re in Slack or Discord or other similar software, it’s unfiltered – what people post is what people see.

Why these three rather bland, almost painfully obvious strategies? Where’s the sexy stuff? Well, part of the sexy stuff is in the implementation, but the reality is these three strategies are more resistant to the blindingly obvious changes coming to advertising and marketing, mainly in the form of privacy restrictions. Experienced Facebook advertisers have already felt the impact of reduced targeting options making ads cost more and deliver fewer results. Experienced display advertisers have long felt the pain of reduced tracking capabilities as more browsers drop support for third-party cookies.

More privacy, less data, and more restricted marketing technology means we have to move away from targeting customers to embracing customers. As my friend and partner John Wall says, any time you’re using military/hunting words to describe your customers, it says a lot about what you think of them. These three strategies are the beating heart of building actual, true relationships with customers, and in the end, they are sustainable and profitable over the long-term.

What are your strategies for the next few years, given the telegraphed landscape changes in marketing? Let me know – pop on by my Analytics for Marketers Slack group and share!

Share With a Friend or Colleague

If you enjoy this newsletter and want to share it with a friend/colleague, please do. Send this URL to your friend/colleague:

ICYMI: In Case You Missed it

If I had to suggest only one of these articles to read from this week on the blog, it would be the piece on personal data science. Digging into your own data can sometimes reveal really interesting surprises and marketing lessons.

Skill Up With Free Classes

These are just a few of the free classes I have available over at the Trust Insights website that you can take.

Thank You Notes

These are the places you’ve had or mentioned me – on your podcast, on your blog, in your newsletter. Thank you!

What I’m Reading: Your Stuff

Let’s look at the most interesting content from around the web on topics you care about, some of which you might have even written.

Social Media Marketing

Media and Content

SEO, Google, and Paid Media

Ad: The Marketing AI Conference

Want to get a jump start on learning how to pilot AI in your marketing? Join me at the third almost-annual (thanks, pandemic) Marketing AI Conference, MAICON 2021. Hear from folks actually implementing AI in everyday marketing. I’ll be presenting a session on the basics of natural language processing.

Register here and use discount code TRUSTINSIGHTS20 for 20% off »

Want to get more of a sense of some of the topics? Watch this livestream I did with Marketing AI Institute Chief Growth Officer Cathy McPhillips on YouTube:

Fireside Chat with Cathy McPhillips

Tools, Machine Learning, and AI

Analytics, Stats, and Data Science

All Things IBM

Ad: Create Better Content with AI

Does content marketing take too much time? Do you find yourself struggling to meet deadlines and still produce the quality of content needed to attract and win audiences? MarketMuse’s AI-powered content creation software combines cutting edge natural language processing with a user-friendly interface to dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes to produce great content. Research, outline, and even get machine-made first drafts that rank well in SEO and answers users’ questions.

Try MarketMuse free for 7 days, no credit card required »

Good Reads, Long Reads, Interesting Stuff

Fun, Games, and Entertainment

Economics, Politics, Environment, and Society

Ad: How to Prove the ROI of your Marketing Agency

I put together a brand new talk on how agencies could use data-driven marketing as a way to showcase their value and real results they obtain. In it, you’ll learn the 5 steps agencies must take to be more valuable to its clients. For folks on the client side, these are the things you should expect of your agencies, things you should ask for when agencies are pitching you. Agencies not doing these things will not serve you as well as they could. There’s obviously a lot more detail, so go ahead and watch the talk now.

Watch the talk now by filling out this form »

How to Stay in Touch

Let’s make sure we’re connected in the places it suits you best. Here’s where you can find different content:

Events I’ll Be At

Here’s where I’m speaking and attending. Say hi if you’re at an event also:

  • MAICON, September 2021, virtual, register here and use discount code TRUSTINSIGHTS20 for 20% off
  • MarTech East, September 2021, virtual
  • Content Marketing World, September 2021, Cleveland, OH
  • MarketingProfs B2B Forum, October 2021, virtual
  • HELLO Conference, October 2021, New Jersey

Events marked with a physical location may become virtual if conditions and safety warrant it.

If you’re an event organizer, let me help your event shine. Visit my speaking page for more details.

Can’t be at an event? Stop by my private Slack group instead, Analytics for Marketers.

Required Disclosures

Events with links have purchased sponsorships in this newsletter and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

Advertisements in this newsletter have paid to be promoted, and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

My company, Trust Insights, maintains business partnerships with companies including, but not limited to, IBM, Cisco Systems, Amazon, Talkwalker, MarketingProfs, MarketMuse, Agorapulse, Hubspot, Informa, Demandbase, The Marketing AI Institute, and others. While links shared from partners are not explicit endorsements, nor do they directly financially benefit Trust Insights, a commercial relationship exists for which Trust Insights may receive indirect financial benefit, and thus I may receive indirect financial benefit from them as well.

Thank You!

Thanks for subscribing and reading this far. I appreciate it. As always, thank you for your support, your attention, and your kindness.

See you next week,

Christopher S. Penn

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