Sitting in the “Marketing Hot Seat”

My good buddy Adam Cohen, a Rosetta partner who heads up their Search, Online and Social Media businesses, issued a challenge called “The Marketing Hot

You’re the CMO.  You
have a marketing budget of $1M.  Your company is a consumer product
company, relatively unknown / early stage.  Customers who know the
product like it. CEO wants ROI within 12 months.  What do you do?

I thought this would be a fun exercise to take on, particularly because the scenario placed me in the seat of a manufacturer, publisher or product company. Would my retail oriented perspective provide a different line of thinking than would typically come from a manufacturer, and would that perspective be worthwhile? I’d certainly love to know your thoughts.

My take is actually the first one Adam posted on his blog, A Thousand Cuts. Check things out over there over the next few weeks to see perspectives from the other 12 bloggers.

Here’s my answer to Adam’s challenge:

OK.
Setting aside all the caveats about the fact that I don’t know what the product is, what it costs to make and what our margins are, here’s generically how I would approach the situation:

Strategy

  1. Thoroughly understand the customers who like our product
    The customers who know our product like it. We need to find out why, in their words, and determine what personality traits, hobbies, demographics, etc. in those customers are relevant to their liking our products so that we can speak to others like them.
  2. Get our online destinations right
    With a relatively small marketing budget, we’re going to need to maximize our online strategy. (Actually, we should do that even if have a large marketing budget.) We need to make sure our website and our retailer websites are highly usable and highly effective in merchandising our product and providing the ability for customers to easily spread the word about us.
  3. Drive traffic with whatever budget is left
    Only when we have ensured that we have solid destinations for our traffic will we start to actively search for traffic.


Tactics

  1. Learn as much as we can about the customers who most love the product.
    Why do they like it? What are there personality types; let’s use the Myers-Briggs personality test and really get a  thorough understanding of these folks. How do they describe our product? Let’s pay attention to the words they  use as we’re going to reuse those words in our copy.
  2. Hire ForeSee Results to measure our site’s effectiveness from our customers’ perspectives.
    I realize this may seem self-serving since it’s my company, but I was a client for seven years before joining the  company three months ago, and I’ve see how well it works.  So, I want it in this role. So there! We’ll use  measurements, analysis, Session Replay and usability audits to ensure we’re providing the best experience  we can.
  3. Hire Bryan Eisenberg to develop archetypes and to implement Persuasion Architecture on our site.
    We need to speak to customers in language that resonates, and Bryan understands how to do that. We’ll also use  his language for product descriptions and other content we give to retailers for their sites.
  4. Create a high quality product video.
    We’ll use this video on our own site and we’ll give it to retailers for their sites. We’ll focus on the key aspects  customers love and use copy that includes words that resonate with those customers. We’ll also show real  customer testimonials.
  5. Launch customer reviews and customer forums on our site
    We need to make sure our customers can openly provide their thoughts about our product, even when  they’re negative.
  6. Launch several blogs on our site
    Since we only have one product, we need to provide some fresh and compelling content on our site to give people a reason to come back. The content doesn’t need to be about the product all the time. It can be able anything, as  long as it’s compelling. I’ll focus on general marketing, our CEO can blog about leadership, and we’ll find some  people to blog about topics our customers are interested in. All of this blog content will also be great for SEO.
  7. Launch a marketing campaign to retailers informing them about key customers and teaching them how to sell the product
    Our initial marketing efforts will essentially be internal. Let’s get the sellers pumped up and doing their jobs well  before we send customers their way.
  8. Develop a widget for retailers that gives customers the ability to easily share information about the product
    We need to give our customers ways to share information about our product on their own in a way that is easy and  positive. Let’s create a fun widget that people want to share on Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.
  9. Get our SEO right, buy search terms, send emails, run re-marketing campaigns, etc.
    I don’t want to minimize the value of these techniques, but we really need to make sure our destinations are right  before we add lots of traffic.So there you have it. My main point here is to focus on the customers first, the destination second and the traffic driving last.

What do you think? Does my strategy make sense? How would you have addressed the challenge? Do your manufacturer/publisher/product partners address your needs?

6 Comments

  • By Xavier Casanova, October 14, 2009 @ 9:28 pm

    I am pleasantly surprised to hear about so many strategies around content creation. It’d be interesting to see how many people would just take that $1M and buy Adwords.

  • By Kevin Ertell, October 15, 2009 @ 12:22 pm

    Thanks for your comments, Xavier. I definitely don’t think buying Ad Words is a bad thing; I just wouldn’t want to waste the traffic on a bad site experience. So, I would get the site right first to maximize my investment.

  • By Maris Daugherty, October 15, 2009 @ 6:22 pm

    Kevin, I lke your plan and might adjust it a bit but I would add two things:
    1) leverage your existing assets and 2) look externally to understand your competition. These are both relatively low cost/no cost additions to the plan.
    Your existing assets might include leveraging your partners marketing or tagging everything you produce with a push to the web. Using your employees to push out a “Friends and Family” promotion. Another might be reviewing your partner network for large contact data bases that makes sense for you to test. In times of tight budget, partnership opportunities are low hanging fruit that should be tested.
    A competitive audit will help you understand where you may need to place emphasis on differentiation or areas/categories you may want to build your capabilities in. I think many companies forget to do this on a regular basis.
    Maris

  • By Kevin Ertell, October 16, 2009 @ 2:58 pm

    Thanks for your excellent comments, Maris! I love your addition, and I think you make some great points about leveraging partner networks. Your point about understanding the competition is also certainly solid advice. Thanks again!

  • By Custom T-Shirts, October 23, 2009 @ 3:24 am

    Thank you. I like your content. Very nice

  • By heaveeck, December 25, 2009 @ 10:15 pm

    I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
    And you et an account on Twitter?

Other Links to this Post

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Retail: Shaken Not Stirred by Kevin Ertell


Home | About