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What and Why and When And How and Where and Who?

What and Why and When And How and Where and Who are words we use throughout the day, but not necessarily together! Combining them gives a simple check that you’re you're using the right approach for business planning. In this post, I’ll outline what to consider and link through to some posts giving more detail. I like to think of them in this order when relating to planning, although they don’t have the nice poetic rhyme which their original source has, as I explain at the end of the post.

WHY plan?

Start here, since the need to plan isn’t obvious, or at least making planning happen isn’t obvious according to our polling which shows that over half of businesses don’t have a digital marketing plan - here are 10 reasons why we think…

Do you recognise these 5 Marketing Sins?

It’s that time of year again, and I’m not referring to some of us heading towards winter. We’re reviewing the results of this year's marketing efforts, rueing some decisions and celebrating others. We’re also looking to next year and asking “where do we go from here”? Dependent on this years results you're possibly busy justifying, arguing, rejoicing and, if you’re smart, we’re planning what’s next.

Are you about to screw it up?

The next three months is when, we’d suggest, you’re most likely to screw up next years marketing, and it'll be down to what you don't do. A marketing screw up will most likely be down to one or more of five dynamics - we call them The Sins. Unfortunately they tend to fall into each other and accelerate, like the proverbial plug-hole. The good news is that, it's all fixable with some…

Which media give the best clickthrough rates?

I shared this engaging call-to-action on our Pinterest last week. Since size of a call-to-action has an impact on response rates, you would certainly expect this to perform well, although other factors may be at work here... There was an interesting discussion on Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter about this, thanks if you took part or shared. This tweet was my favourite summary: HUGE call-to-action, no reason to scan, no brand message = Epic Marketing FAIL (who drives & scans?) ow.ly/ed7U6 via @smartinsights — Linsay Duncan (@LinsayDuncan) October 4, 2012 Most labelled it “dumb” since lone drivers aren’t going to scan while driving and even passengers would need to be quick on the draw with their scanners. In terms of communications effectiveness, while you can’t miss the call-to-action, there…

Smoothing the way to digital enlightenment

Working in digital marketing is without doubt one of the most rewarding ways in which you can spend your days. The rate at which new products and services are churned out means that apart from having to spend a large part of your working week just keeping up, the new and emerging trends and strategies mean you can never rest on your laurels. That being said working as a freelancer in digital marketing doesn’t come without its share of problems, after all why should we be any different from the rest of the world. Simply getting across the importance of an online strategy is the start of the journey with any new client and following a process that makes it easy for others can be a challenge, but one that’s ultimately worth taking.

A rocky road

In my…

Setting yourself and your marketing presentations apart using five steps and one change in behaviour

According to some estimates, between 30 and 40 million PowerPoint presentations are created each day. If each presentation averages 35 slides, simple math tells us that enough slides are produced to provide every man, woman and child on the planet with a new slide each week. But of those millions of presentations delivered each day, how many are effective? How many provide information of value to the audience, making the presentation a good use of their time?

The state of the presentation art

During the past 20 years at my workshops and seminars, I have asked more than twenty thousand people to raise their hands to each of the following statements in turn: Raise your hand if most of the business presentations you’ve attended in the past few years have made extensive use of visual aids. Raise your hand again if…

24 checks to help focus your digital marketing budget

I've been reminded a few times during the last month that we're at "that" time of year. A time where many of us get our budgets reigned back for us (or we're at least asked to). It got me thinking that this might be a good thing to post about, so we wanted to create a list of pro-active budget improving, questions, ideas and checks - please add your thoughts in the comments, I am sure others will value your shared insight.

Plan for success

At times of budget cuts it's easy to cut the investment in the quality of your research and planning. Yet this is so important since helps get management buy-in when it comes to retaining budget and showing value of marketing to the bottom line. It's also vital to keep your communications customer-centric and beating the competitors. Otherwise the brutal…

Using lifetime value models to set campaign investment levels

We think Lifetime value (LTV) models are a powerful tool to help businesses demonstrate the future value they can generate from marketing activities. It’s a much better approach to evaluate investment based on long-term returns from marketing activities rather than the short-term success of a single sale. As the inimitable Avinash Kaushik has said, setting marketing budgets without using LTV is like saying a relationship will be successful based on a one night stand. Although the benefits of using lifetime value models are strong, in our experience, lifetime value is a technique that’s not used as much as you might expect or it should be. It seems it’s mainly a “big company thing”, more often used in sectors like financial services, retail or where direct marketing marketing has been practiced. We think LTV models can and should be used in businesses of different…

A 5 step process using 90-day time-boxes to help implement your plans

The start of a new year always brings a period of reflection and forward planning. New strategies are created and exciting initiatives are launched. It's often the case though, that plans and strategies end up in drawers, little changes and businesses continue on doing the same old things. I am lucky in that between working for both Smart Insights and First 10 I get to bridge both the creation of strategies as well as the implementation of them. At the moment I'm more involved at the implementation stage which is why I have decided to share our process for making the most of a strategy and delivering on your big ideas. Running marketing services at First 10 often sees us managing multiple clients as well as multiple freelancers in different markets, positions etc but essentially we help clients run and manage…

Our framework for owning marketing success

Thanks for your comments and shares for our new Marketing Growth Wheel, it was good to see that many found this useful. We'll be going into more depth on how to apply this in our guides and templates for members  in future. By way of an introduction, I wanted to explain a bit more about our thinking behind it; why there is a need for a planned approach to digital marketing, yet the majority don't have a plan. Perhaps, the best way to explain the need for a planned approach to give you the right focus is through this...

A Typical conversation about digital marketing:

A person: "How do I get more traffic?" Me: "Do you need more traffic?" A person: "Yeah, of course, we always want more traffic!" Me: "Hmmm, sure. Is that the priority though? Isn't the real question around commercial growth and the priorities in [digital] marketing…
It's always useful to be able to compare the way your marketing budget split to others for different marketing approaches. Particularly if changes in allocation are highlighted and ideally if the budgets are for similar companies. A new international survey from Econsultancy and SAS helps with this. With permission, this post includes a summary of the main findings of the report:  Marketing Budgets 2011 and charts of the budget mix.

Summary of marketing budgets report

The main insights from the report for me are: Marketing budgets overall are up, in digital 72% of companies are investing more and 26% in offline channels - great news and indicative of a more upbeat feeling for the future, maybe? On average, digital budgets are being increased by 35% over last year, so a big increase. The continuing growth of investment into social channels is a big theme 75% companies investing more, though interestingly it's the area that companies…