Thursday, June 04, 2009

Aligning tactics with strategy

by Lisa Roner:
Original Post: EyeforPharma

The latest “gee whiz” e-tool is just that unless the use of it is aligned with a company’s or brand team’s marketing strategy, says Aaron Uydess, senior eMarketing manager at Novo Nordisk. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or a host of other online communication advances, Uydess says marketers should be using new tools because the offer the right channel for reaching their customers and delivering their messages, not simply because they’re the latest buzz.

The greatest misconception of eMarketing is that it is a strategy in and of itself, he told attendees at eyeforpharma’s recent eMarketing Europe 2009 conference. “We shouldn’t want to Twitter or Facebook simply for the sake of doing it,” Uydess says. “We should use those tools only if they truly serve our goals.”

Online tools as tactics for executing strategy
He says eMarketing should be used as a tactic because it’s the right channel, not because it’s the “hot” thing to do, despite a program’s goals.

“eMarketing fails in the long-term when concentrating on the ‘sexy’ factor and working backwards to the strategy,” Uydess says. “Show internal stakeholders how technologies support their strategies and ultimately the business goals. The question should always be: What online tactics can I use to effectively market my messages to my target audiences?”

Uydess suggests using a “target model” that aligns metrics to your strategy and tactics, allowing you to show value for your investments and support for the chosen strategy. This means beginning with a marketing strategy that targets specific customers with specific messages, using only the tactics (online of otherwise) deemed most likely to yield success – and then measuring that success effectively.

To become truly customer-centric, he says, marketers must take their strategies and begin to think like their customers. He suggests asking questions like:

• What are the issues from your customer’s point of view?
• How does your customer obtain your product?
• What are the key benefits to your product from your customer’s point of view?
• What drives your customers to make a decision on a product?
• Who are the outside influencers and how do they talk to your customers?
• What are your company’s key strategic drivers?
• What has worked in the past and what has not?

And he stresses that “silos happen” and can be leveraged to a marketing team’s advantage.

“Your customers don’t just communicate with you online, why market to them that way?” Uydess asks.
Whether communication is online or companies are in touch with customers through the call center, the sales force, print ads, telesales or events, the important thing is ensuring that data collection methodologies allow for one view of the customer, he says. And he stresses that there’s no point in closed loop marketing tactics that allow for the collection of large amounts of data if companies don’t understand and use it to improve their strategies.

Uydess says his #1 recommendation is to create a project team to reduce and leverage silos, communicate goals and objectives, leverage resources and share successes. He stresses the importance of the “extended brand team” concept as a mechanism for getting everyone together on brand strategy.

Measure to treasure
Last, but not least, Uydess urges measuring success (or failure). “If you can’t measure it, you can’t treasure it,” he says.

He advocates developing “scorecards that tell a campaign’s story.” These one-page scorecards should: outline the strategy, explain the tactics, showcase the target audiences and provide KPIs, Uydess says. Most importantly, however, they should highlight lessons learned, he says.

“Communicating the lessons learned tells stakeholders that eMarketing is an ever-evolving entity and by taking an honest look at what worked and what didn’t, you’re telling the organization that you’re ready to evolve, you’re ready to do better the next time,” Uydess says.

One important way of assessing a campaign’s success is through the use of “funneling” tools offered by analytic services such as Google, Omniture and Webtrends, he suggests. “These tools are great for marketers,” Uydess says. “They tell you that based on a predefined experience, where people are dropping off. If it’s after they hear the first message, maybe it’s not resonating or maybe you didn’t deliver it in the best way and you can tweak it a little to keep their attention.”

Funneling, he says, creates an added sense of dimension to metrics, allowing marketers to optimize campaigns through customer insight. And having such customer insight facilitates shaping the way eMarketing tactics are sold to stakeholders the next time around, Uydess says.

“It’s not just about conversions, it’s about becoming more effective marketers,” he says.

And becoming more effective marketers relies on communicating more effectively with senior management, Uydess suggests. He stresses the importance of “telling the story in terms your brand manager understands.”

By not talking in terms of technologies (hits and visits), but rather reach and frequency of campaigns, we can make brand managers look good, he says. “It’s important to frame eMarketing not as something that’s different, but as something that’s strategically aligned to other tactics – like sales. Doing so, develops confidence in the tactics and provides the language needed to sell those tactics to others.”

In summary, Uydess says marketers should:
• Consider strategy first, tactics second
• Think like their customers
• Reduce silos
• Strategically promote
• Properly set expectations
• Communicate metrics and lessons learned

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