Ever wanted to know how to really succeed with your marketing automation?
Wanted a strategy and framework that you could easily make your own, and use in your own way?
Wonder no more.
This week we spill the beans on our success methodology - and break down each of the steps we use to get our clients awesome success with their marketing automation.
Find us on Twitter: @automationninjas
If you would like us to take a look at any of your problems - you can pop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to the Marketing Agony Aunt. I’m your Aunty - Kenda Macdonald. Today we are dealing with possibly the cheekiest letter I will ever receive… a letter from a listener who wants me to spill all the beans on our success methodology… IF you want to find out how to ensure success with your marketing automation - carry on listening! It looks like fortune may indeed favour the brave...
So come on in and take a seat on the couch - grab a drink if you need some fortification - and let’s get agonising.
Now to our letter from our cheeky little sausage:
Dear MAD Marketer,
I’m new to your world - I found you on facebook from a live video that you were advertising (awesome strategy by the way), and in it you mentioned that you use a specific methodology when you implement your campaigns.
I run the marketing automation for our small company, and it’s going OKish. We get some results but they’re not amazing. When I watched your video, I went off and binged loads of your content.
I love what you guys do.
I have a really cheeky ask - could you share your “success method”? I think I have the gist of it from your content so far, but I’d love to run my director through the entire framework.
I’m thinking that this framework you’ve created is exactly what we need. I know it’s a cheeky ask - but I thought you could probably create some good content off of it. What do you think?
What’s your secret sauce? And how can I replicate it?
Fingers crossed being cheeky pays off!
A cheeky little sausage
Wow - you certainly are cheeky! And in case you’re wondering, our cheeky sausage did not sign off “cheeky little sausage” I may have taken some liberties with his name considering what’s being asked!
Right then… I may very well be about to spill all my beans here. So I’m fortifying myself with a delicious copper gin. With added sparkles. Make sure you have something delicious and let’s dig in.
OK so. I have spoken about our methodology before. Not in huge depth. But I have covered that it exists! What you are effectively asking for here though is a full run down. All the ins and outs - because you want to know enough to be able to replicate it! Pure cheek!
I reckon most people would probably tell you to buy our damn services - and find out that way - and you totally should.
But I’m not most people, and I believe in the power of good content. So dearest little sausage - I am going to share it all.
Plus you complimented my marketing strategy - flattery gets you everywhere.
The first thing I would say - is that I have actually just recorded a webinar on this topic. So go and watch that too - it goes a bit more into the why than we have time for here. I’ve put the link in the description.
So getting into it the juicy details. Let’s start with - what we mean by a success methodology.
When you’ve worked at volume with marketing automation you start to see patterns. Yeah Rain man shit.
When I started out in the industry - I noticed that even given the exact same variables - some businesses succeed and others failed miserably - or simply coasted by with their marketing automation. I wanted to know why. I spent two years picking this apart - because I obviously have nothing better to do.
And in the end, after dissecting literally hundreds of strategies and campaigns, I discovered that there is one main thing that separates the businesses that succeed from those that fail. And that is strategy.
A solid overarching strategy. The businesses that nail their digital domains are the businesses that are actively creating their marketing automation, and working to achieve a very specific goal. And that strategy dictates their choice of tactics and individual campaigns. They understand how important it is when you create a good overarching experience - and they know that working towards a specific goal allows them to achieve that. They get the necessity of a customer journey.
That is the main differentiator.
Then there was a second almost as powerful factor. The continual improvement of their campaigns and materials. Constant assessing, testing, tweaking and therefore improvement. That’s how they get the results that they do. They’re not magical overnight successes. It might take 10 years of nights to get that overnight success you see.
And with all this information, I built our success methodology. It’s what we use to implement for our clients and customers.
At its core are two things: solid strategy and continual improvement.
Let’s get into the details now. The methodology is called ARMI. ARMI is an acronym for Assessment, Recommendation, Machination and Implementation.
So it’s 4 phases - and you move through the phases in a cyclic fashion, starting with assessment.
Assessment is all about figuring out where you are right now - and taking stock.
When starting this process you want to start with your customer journey. If you’re going to succeed in marketing automation (or in today’s digital landscape) - you’re going to need to have a comprehensive customer journey. You won’t survive very long without it.
Your customer journey is going to need a framework and structure to ensure that you don’t miss any of the vital steps along the way in the buying and consumption cycle. For this reason we use LifeCycle Marketing as our framework. We map the customer journey out along the framework - and this will really help identify all the gaps and holes you may have in your structure. Resources in the description for this!
We suggest mapping it all out as it stands, and then mapping your ideal customer journey out and comparing and contrasting the two.
Mapping out your customer journey can take time and is effortful - but it’s one of the most revealing and aligning exercises a business can do.
Only once you’ve done that can you move onto the next part of Assessment - and that is clarifying what your goals are. We only do this after the customer journey, as you may find that some of your goals change after the mapping process. So now you know where you stand - you can make sure your goals are clear and achievable.
Then haul out your historical achievements. What worked well in the past - and use that to inform your current choices - we don’t want to make decisions without having all the information to hand.
Once you’re clear on what you’ve done previously - it’s time to perform a SWOT analysis. While SWOT became a bit of a buzz term, they are hugely undervalued today. Knowing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your business will allow you to have absolute clarity. And don’t stop with just yourself - hit your industry and your competitors too if you have the resources.
Which brings me to the final piece for assessment - a competitor audit. Understand your competition. Because your prospects will. They won’t just be talking to you - they’ll be trying to find the best fit for their needs. They will do their due diligence. You should do yours too. Know what’s out there and you can differentiate yourself.
Once you’ve done all of that, you should have a very clear understanding of where you’re currently at. You’re assessed.
Which means we can move on to Recommendation. Now recommendation is all about the research. You’re not planning just yet - no no. You’re choosing a direction, and you’re making sure you have the best plan possible before you work out all the details.
So first - identify your priorities. What are you going to work on right now. You can’t do it all at once, you need to choose the first thing to bite off. Sometimes during the customer journey planning you’ll identify some urgent action items that need to be dealt with immediately. Those are your priorities. IF you haven’t got any of those, then you need to find the biggest ROI/ impact items and grab those by the shorty and curlies and go!
Because once you’ve chosen that - it’s time to make sure you identify the best tactics to execute your strategy. So you can go off and research how you’re going to make it all happen.
Then once you have an idea of what you want to do and how you want to do it - subject it to a SWOT analysis - what are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for your chosen items? How can you improve on what you want to execute?
Now that a plan is starting to form - what constitutes success? So how will you know when you’ve achieved what you want from your project? Choose your Key Performance indicators that you will track for - and your lead and lag indicators.
And then the fun really begins. Because now you get into the Machination phase - the planning phase. And yes - Machination is an odd word - but I thought it was better than plan or strategy - it meant the acronym was ARMI and not ARPI or ARSI…
Now in this phase - we’re really all about nailing the plan down. This is my favourite part of the process because it’s flowchart time!
So - you need to map your plan out. ESPECIALLY if you’re building a campaign. So map everything out in a flowchart. The means you get an awesome visual representation of what you’re aiming to achieve.
But it also means we can catch mistakes, and gaps before you implement your strategy/ tactic.
And that’s because with a flowchart you can find and follow positive and negative behaviour. You can find the holes and the gaps and you can plug them. And you can only do this because you can see everything at once, all in the same place.
So I suggest looking at your flow and going. OK - if this happens, then what? And if that happens - then what?
Remember that your audience is not going to behave in a linear manner - they’re human. So you need to plan for that. Look for areas of positive behaviour - where someone may do something, like click on a link or visit a page - and that gives you an indication they are interested. Even if they don’t complete the desired behaviour - like purchase - they still showed you with their behaviour, that they are interested.
And then look for negative behaviour, so the absence of behaviour. This talks to you about a whole raft of different things you could do. Perhaps they aren’t ready right now - what can you offer and do to get them to that point?
Once you have everything mapped out - time to make an action plan. A plan for what needs doing, who’s going to do it, and when by.
Then make an impact plan. What metrics are you going to track - how will you know if you’re heading in the right direction? What does success mean, and what does failure mean?
With all that done, you’re finally ready to start implementing.
Time to hit the implementation phase. This is where you get shit done. Stick to the plan. Test. Launch . Collect data.
Two very important things to do here - firstly - your due diligence when it comes to testing, that way nothing will bite you in the bum when it comes to launching.
Secondly, make sure you have an observation period. After launch - watch and continually diagnose the progress of your campaign. This is to make sure that you can tweak little things here and there to get closer to success.
And then finally - when that observation period is over…. It’s time to assess.
Now you’re in loop 2. Perform a post mortem of your campaign. How did it go? What worked? Why? What didn’t? Why?
And compile all this in your very own greys anatomy.
And then take that information and move to the recommendation phase, then to machination, then implementation.
Repeat Ad infinitum. Always be improving.
And that - dear sausage - is the way of the ninja.
So let’s summarise and write back to our cheeky chappy:
Dear cheeky little sausage,
I have to say well done for the sheer ballseynes of your request… It takes some bravery to ask for something like that.
I want to reward you for that. So I’ve given you a comprehensive rundown of our success methodology - ARMI.
Success in marketing automation is not determined by the tools you use or the platforms, or the hacks. Rather it’s from solid strategy, prioritising for the customer journey, and continually improving.
If you’re not seeing the results that you want from your campaigns, I believe it’s going to be because you’re not focusing on your strategy - and rather you’re implementing tactics sporadically.
I prescribe that you take this information and build yourself a strong overarching strategy. Make sure that you are always enhancing the experience your prospects and customers have, and focus on continually improving.
I hope you are feeling enlightened, invigorated and excited about sitting down with your director and building out your winning strategy.
Your Marketing Agony Aunt
Ah you cheeky little sausage. Thank you for being brave enough to write in and ask for that, I’m sure your bravery has helped a lot of businesses out!
If you’ve been affected by any of the issues raised in today’s programme, your friendly ninjas are to hand. Head over to the site, automationninjas.com and grab yourself a FREE marketing assessment we’ll start you on the road to nailing your success methodology.
If you’d like us to take a look at any of your problems and be featured on the show - you can pop us an email at email@example.com - we’ll keep you anonymous (unless you want to share who you are).
You can also contact us on all the social media options in the description.
And as a little bonus from us to you, when you implement what you learn and get the successes and wins you’re looking for - let us know - and we’ll feature you!
If you enjoyed today’s session, feel free to subscribe to the show on itunes or wherever you get your podcasts from, share with the people you love, leave comments - engage and of course - pop us a nice honest rating and review if you feel so inclined.
Next time on the Marketing Agony Aunt we dissect and sanity a campaign strategy for a concerned marketing manager...
Strategic input - Priorities
Implementation Research - Strategies vs Tactics
KPI’s and success reporting - Lead vs Lag
If this then that
Positive and Negative Behaviour
Stick to Plan
Collect/ Plan for Data
Launch - observation period - diagnose and tweak
Assessment Loop 2
Repeat Ad infinitum
Michael Macdonald is an Automation Ninja. Mike is the bearded ninja, second half of the ninja chiefs and the money man. Mike is dedicated to all things process and works tirelessly to improve how Ninjas operates. When Mike isn’t at his laptop you can find him in the garden, out walking/mushroom hunting or relaxing with a brew.