Deeply Data-Driven Marketing

Chris Penn has always been an open book of what works in his data-science marketing advisory. So, you get what works and why.

Here are highlights from his own marketing plan... and why:

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...

1) Top of the funnel: Branding

Brand, brand, brand.  A PDF by the folks at LinkedIn's B2B Institute states that only 2-5% of our target market are actual buyers at any given time. The key line, "if your advertising is better at building brand-relevant memories, your brand becomes more competitive."

If we're spending all our time and effort on trying to persuade people to buy who ARE NOT 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.


2) 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. My free weekly newsletter (it always has gems). 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.


3) 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.

Where's the sexy stuff? 

Why these three rather bland, almost painfully obvious strategies? 

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. 

Thanks (again) Chris!


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