Almost Timely News, 24 October 2021: Marketing Supply Chain, Social Listening, Building Strategy

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What’s On My Mind: Your Marketing Supply Chain

Pop quiz: what’s in your marketing supply chain?

Something that occurred to me earlier this year was that marketing has a supply chain – and it’s not the companies that make marketing technology. No, our supply chain as marketers are the suppliers that deliver the raw materials we work with to make our products.

As marketers, our product is typically marketing or sales qualified leads that we give to our buyers – the sales process in our organization. Whether it’s an automated shopping cart doing ecommerce transactions or a sales representative calling leads or a retail store attracting walk-in prospective customers, our buyers take our outputs.

And what’s our input? What’s the supply we buy? Audience attention. We purchase audiences’ attention from suppliers, and with our marketing operations, we refine that attention and pass the refined product down to our buyers. Sometimes we pay money outright for our raw materials, as we do when we pay to run ads. Other times, we’re bartering for our raw materials, as we do when we create content for organic search.

Does that make sense so far? It aligns with what we call marketing operations, the execution of our marketing strategy to move our company forward and to serve the customer all along the customer’s journey to being a valued member of our community. Now, to be clear, this is not what the customer sees or experiences. This is what’s happening behind the scenes.

One of the questions people often ask about attribution analysis is, “So what? What does this tell us? What good is this information?” For example, here’s a recent attribution analysis from my website:

Current attribution Click for a full size view

When we talk about attribution reports, we often talk about what’s working, how to know if our marketing is working. Consider this mindset shift though:

An attribution report is an analysis of your marketing supply chain.

Instead of telling you only about your marketing performance, an attribution analysis also tells you about the state and health of your marketing supply chain. More important – REALLY important – your marketing may not be responsible for a supplier underperforming.

For example, in the real world, if all your company’s goods are stuck on a cargo container ship stranded off the coast of Los Angeles, all the marketing and sales efforts in the world won’t restock your shelves. In fact, they may make things worth by creating demand for which you don’t have supply to fulfill.

Likewise, when you look at your attribution reports, you’re seeing what suppliers are sending you the attention of audiences. You see what your raw supplies look like – and with that mindset, you know which suppliers themselves might be in trouble if you’re not getting enough supply.

For paid ads, advertising networks have done a great job of convincing us as marketers that any problems are our fault – bad creative, bad setup, etc. And that’s certainly not out of the question; we’ve all see our share of terrible ads. But ad networks themselves don’t talk about the quality of their supply, of the quality of attention they sell to us – and yet that’s what an attribution report is also telling us.

The next time you look at an attribution analysis, remember this key point: you are not just looking at your marketing performance. You are looking at the quality of marketing suppliers in your supply chain. Once you think of attribution that way, your mind is open to thinking about where else, what other suppliers you could swap in to get the same raw materials your marketing needs to generate the products your buyers – sales – are waiting for.

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ICYMI: In Case You Missed it

If I had to suggest only one of these articles to read from this week, it would be the piece on social listening. Social listening is a useful, important practice but it’s equally important to know how you can be mislead by the data – and how to avoid that problem.

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

Advertisement: Supermetrics for Google Data Studio

Google Data Studio is an incredibly powerful tool for bringing your data into one place for analysis. Out of the box, it serves up Google ecosystem data that marketers need – Google Analytics, Google Search Console, YouTube, Google Ads.

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Tools, Machine Learning, and AI

Analytics, Stats, and Data Science

All Things IBM

Ad: Make Better Videos with Techsmith Camtasia

If you enjoy my videos, like You Ask, I Answer, Do Something With Your Marketing, Saturday Night Data Party, and many others, then consider using the platform I use to edit and publish them: Techsmith Camtasia. Camtasia is just the right balance between too easy and inflexible, like iMovie, and absurdly complex and expensive, like Adobe Premiere. It’s got just the right features, from subtitle editing to all the usual transitions and special effects, and it’s a desktop app, so there’s none of this crazy trying to “edit in the cloud” (which is insane for video production). If you need to produce videos, screencasts, and even animations, give Camtasia a try.

Good Reads, Long Reads, Interesting Stuff

Fun, Games, and Entertainment

Economics, Politics, Environment, and Society

Advertisement: AI For Marketers, Third Edition

With every software vendor and services provider proclaiming that they too are an AI-powered company, it’s more difficult to demystify artificial intelligence and its applications for marketers. What is AI? Why should you care? How does it apply to your business?

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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:

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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