The path to success may not always be clear for marketers, and having your voice heard among your competitors can be exceedingly challenging. Part of this challenge is created by the competitive market, while the other part is the ability to adapt and innovate as an individual marketer.
Learning from other marketers can help you gain valuable insights to help solve similar problems while offering a different and fresh perspective. This week, read what marketing expert, Santiago Uribe has to say about successful marketers and successful marketing.
Santiago is VP of Marketing at AppSheet, a Seattle-based startup helping individuals and businesses increase productivity by turning business or personal data into mobile application.
He is a B2B Marketer with extensive experience in developing and executing integrated marketing campaigns to accelerate business pipeline.
1. It’s no secret that the marketing field is saturated one. With more and more marketers entering the field, which practices set aside good marketers from great ones?
There are five core skills that I always like to look for when identifying a new marketer:
Strong digital marketing skills: Most customer acquisition for us happens online. The default state for marketers we look at are marketers comfortable with SEM, SEO, and Social Media customer acquisition. If the marketer has experience with other growth-hacking techniques then that’s definitely a plus.
Operational excellence: Marketing operations is a must for a growing and established business. At our startup, we grew from a couple of channels a multiple set of channels to acquire, nurture, and convert customers, the risk of creating an unwieldy net of processes that no one can manage is too high. Every marketer must realize they are building an engine and, as an engine, set up the processes to allow for successful implementation.
Customer success: If, as a marketer, you don’t feel the pain your customer feels. Then you are not looking outwards enough.
Great Storytelling: What’s your product about? Who buys and uses the product? Who’s successful using your product? Why should I care about it? Can you answer all those in less than 30 seconds?
Great Analytical skills: A marketer must be able to understand the forces that shape his/her marketing problem and define the performance metrics to track against them. Each marketing problem will have some uniqueness to it and is key that the marketer doesn’t simply “import” metrics to the business but rather builds the core metrics and understanding for the business based on on customer segments, purchase behaviors, competitive moves, and product road map.
2. Which innovative trends do you recognize in marketing nowadays?
There are great innovations happening in marketing today, most of those are related to achieving true scale when you want to reach thousands of latent segments with specific messaging.
Programmatic paid campaigns: I can’t understand how we used to do it in the past and achieve scale. You can now run campaigns that adapt to specific parameters, adjust bids, and reach audiences with incredible precision through a multitude of channels.
Want to reach operations managers in hospitality businesses that have affinity to mobile application solutions? Yes you can.
Machine Learning: This is an infrastructure innovation, but running campaigns through machine learning algorithms will live optimize your investments through time without having to manually make decisions on how much and what to invest next. This is something we want to explore in the future and we are very excited about.
Ad-hoc channels: Finding the right channels for your customers to learn about you used to rely exclusively on a few set. There are hundreds of thousands of opportunities to acquire customers in different channels. From developing a LinkedIn Group to ads in a set of low-competition keywords.
There are plenty of paths to discover, some of those channels are short lived and taking advantage of them – identifying it, executing on it and maximizing returns – is the difference between true growth or constantly depending on ad buys to acquire new customers. For example, we recently joined Google in their Android Add-ons for Google Sheets and Docs. Given the affinity of our product to Google Sheets, we participated as a launch partner in the effort. The result was an 11% increase in daily users acquired by enabling, through product development, another channel for potential customers to discover us.
There are dozens of innovations popping up every day, the risk is probably trying too many things and not focusing on becoming great in just a few. Being able to pick and also letting go some of those tactics is something we constantly struggle with and one of the key marketing skills to have.
3. What do you do to prepare a new campaign and stand out from competing brands?
We generally concentrate on the marketing engine first. We evaluate if the customer journey is not broken before we execute the campaign and decide if any gaps in the journey are critical to properly execute.
Once we have clarity on the customer journey and how we can respond to it through the campaign, we start to run experiments to test how certain audiences respond and then optimize based on the audience responds. This approach lets us try multiple variations in our campaigns. We evaluate all steps in the customer journey to see if it makes sense to continue running the acquisition campaign.
For example, we recently noticed that the retention rates on certain campaigns were not as high as other channels. We had great CTR and conversion rates, but post-retention we saw a significant drop. We realized that running campaigns in that channel was not going to be efficient just yet and we needed to address the retention problem for that audience before we amplify investments in the campaign.
4. We are flooded with buzzwords lately – brand identity/big data/ clickbait, etc., where do you think the marketing world is heading?
I probably used 80 buzzwords in my previous answers, so guilty as charged. The buzzword/jargon is just a method to communicate quickly with an audience that is expecting your message.
Having to start from scratch in communication every time is a very inefficient way you communicate. Beyond the buzzwords and thinking on our profession, I see marketing becoming a more automated process and marketers getting closer to product development as enablers of great customer experiences.
Delighting the end user of your product and having that end user advocate and sell in your stead is the biggest success of marketing and product development.
This goes beyond simple impressions, and views of your content and it becomes a process of building a relationship and creating an army of advocates for your product. If what you are doing is not really delivering on that, then it’s just noise and distraction.
5. Let us in on some of your secrets… where do you look for innovation? For inspiration and revolutionary ideas?
Not sure if I have a secret. But I’d recommend something: Cross-training. What I mean by this is not to look inwards to learn new things about your profession.
Read history books, draw, try random apps for narrow audiences. Try to have some time to meditate every day, and don’t get to obsessed with knowing every little new marvelous marketing tool as if knowing its existence suddenly becomes a new skill in your resume.
To me, the best thing to do is to master the basics of going to market and build on that.