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{PODCAST} In-Ear Insights: Pumpkin Spice Marketing Planning

Just kidding. This episode is about marketing planning, marketing strategy, and marketing budgeting. As autumn rolls around, companies begin the extensive planning process for the coming calendar year, and one of the most searched-terms during the next 6 weeks is “marketing plan template”. In this episode, Katie and Chris discuss marketing planning, how to plan for uncertainty, what your plan should look like in case of a recession, and even a few sneak peeks at an upcoming research paper on what social networks to pay attention to in 2020. Tune in now!

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for listening to the episode.

Christopher Penn
In this week’s in your insights is the first hints of autumn that coolness and they can see your breath in the morning, there’s pumpkin spice, everything pumpkin spice brake pads, pumpkin spice pet washes. But for everyone in our world, the real focus is on marketing, planning, marketing, strategy, strategic planning. As we roll into past the Labor Day holiday in the United States, everyone spends most of the month of September and a good chunk of October into planning and budgeting. So I can think of no one better to talk to about planning and budgeting and making sure that we’ve got our heads on straight, then you, Katie, because this is literally has been your life the last 20 years. So obviously, we have we know the basics, you need your business requirements, you need to have some sense of a goal, you need to have some sense of what resources you have available. What In your opinion, are the things that people do wrong? They’re doing marketing planning? Where does marketing planning go off the rails? Is it just not having clear goals? Is it not having enough resources? One thing that I’ve seen in a lot of the feedback we’ve received from our surveys is people saying, you know, I may asked to do twice, twice the results for half the resources. So how can people start to make sense of the planning process and keep their heads on straight?

Katie Robbert
Well, before we dig into that Fun fact, for anyone who doesn’t know, pumpkin spice dog wash is is really a thing. It is. It is vile, and horrible. I don’t know why you would want your dog to smell like that. But, you know, to each his own. So back to the planning piece of it. You know, I think the thing that people do wrong, or I shouldn’t say that they do wrong, it’s it’s easy to forget to look at the data. It’s easy to forget, especially if you’ve been following along with us this year, we’ve been preaching the whole set it and forget it, set up an automated dashboard, you know, set up something like Google Data Studio. Well, if you’re not in it every day, and you know you have an automated then it’s very easy to forget that it’s even there. And so what I’ve seen a lot of my experience, and what you know has happened to me earlier on in my career is I’ve started to make a plan. And then you know, started talking about it with like, higher ups and managers and clients. And then oops, I took a look at the data. And it’s different from what I was planning on doing. And so it’s forgetting to actually check if you are on track with your KPIs if you’re on track reaching your goals. So I think that that’s one thing is, you know, don’t forget to actually pull the data in. And if you’ve been looking at your data all along, then you’ve been co course correcting. As you’re seeing things go, you know, off track. Don’t try to I think the other thing is people try to course correct all at once. Because they forgot to look at the data. So okay, and this year, you know, it’s the last quarter, let’s pull that like end of year report and see what happened. This is the first time we’re going to look at the data all year. Oh, crap, things aren’t what we thought they were going to be. Let’s try to fix it all right now. And then, you know, planning goes out the window. So it’s, I think that the data is really that central focus of the plan. And I think that’s where people go wrong is they forget to look at it, they forget that they have it, and then they try to fix it all at once and forget about the plan, or the plan is let’s fix everything that went wrong last year. And that’s not a forward looking thing. It’s just still very it keeps them in that reactive space.

Christopher Penn
What do you do with the person typically the we call them the hippo is the highest individually paid person’s opinion, this is, well, this is the way we’ve always done, or I’m just going to have you add 5% on to last year. And there’s no actual planning other than, you know, you get 5% more budget and need to deliver 50% more results.

Katie Robbert
Um, you know, there’s a couple of things, and it always depends on the person, there’s no one good answer

Unknown Speaker

Katie Robbert
it. Yeah, exactly. You know, it depends. I mean, sometimes they’re reasonable. And they’ll listen, sometimes they’re not, and they won’t listen. And so if you know that you’re going to have that person in the room, the best thing you can do is, best thing you can do is to anticipate it. And so basically have your risk assessment done. And what that really means is just a couple of different scenarios where, okay, year after year, this person says just add 5% on the top, is what we’ve always done, play that scenario out and show them what it would look like. But then side by side, show them other scenarios, alternatives, you know, based on what you think should be happening, and really, you know, do the work, you know, lay it out as if it had happened and show them some projection so that way, they can at least see the comparisons. And it’s not just, well, this is how we’ve always done it. Okay, this is what it looks like when we’ve always done it. And we just said 5%. This is what it looks like if we slightly pivot and do something else. And then this is what it looks like if we do nothing. And then that way, you’re at least giving them the information to make a slightly more informed decision. Now, they may still decide the same thing. But then you can at least when they say, Well, why didn’t that work? You can point back to the snares and be like, well, I showed you these options. And this is you know, the one that you chose, unfortunately, because you’re an idiot. Probably don’t say that you might lose your job.

Christopher Penn
I mean, one of the things that I know I’ve said to people is like, Look, if you got somebody who is absolutely positively data resistant, it probably is time to update update your LinkedIn profile, because you know that there they are going to run that division or that department of that company into the ground. I’m really glad you mentioned scenarios because one of the things that is on everybody’s mind and we’ve got we’ve gotten survey responses about this, too, is economic uncertainty. Some economists are saying recession by the end of q3, some are saying q4 summer saying q1. I know in our in predictive analytics, we’ve been looking at the job searches and it’s it’s between right now it looks like q2, but the big question on everyone’s mind from a global perspective is how does Brexit go? If the Brit at the UK leaves the European Union with no deal, that creates a massive economic Shockwave. So for the average marketer, who’s not an economist, but knows that there is substantial uncertainty coming down the road within the next six months? How do you think planning out those scenarios? Do you do like a worst case? do you do? Nothing changes? How do we put this together in a way that doesn’t require us to a be economists and be take five months to do because by then that, you know, whatever will have happened has happened?

Katie Robbert
Well, that’s exactly it, you play out, you know, you can do as few as two scenarios. Best case, worst case, you know, it depends on the resources that you have, and the information that you have. Ideally, you’d be able to do something a little bit more in depth in that. But if you’re doing worst case, okay, worst case, for example, is, you know, I’m given no marketing budget next year, what does that look like? What can I do with zero budget? And for a lot of teams, that’s going to be the reality. And so what can you do? Well, they’re still paying you to show up to work every day. So within those eight hours, if you’re not spending money using third party tools, what can you do with the information that you do have, and so that’s a great time to really dig into the search console data from your Google Analytics, it’s a great time to search, you know, into some of the free SEO tools and figure out what they’re telling you. Start building out some of those automated reports and take those off your plate so that you can focus on, you know, creating more content, you know, start looking through Reddit forums, manually figure out what people are saying, if you don’t have tools already baked in to do this in an automated way, there’s a lot that you can do with zero budget. So you can still create a plan. So that sort of your worst case is I have no budget, but I can still do some things to start to meet our goals. Best case, we’re given, you know, a budget plus 5% on the top and you know, so, you know, you sort of play at the snares that way, you know, middle of the ground, we have budget, but it’s slashed 50%. What does that look like? You know, we have the 25%, we have the, you know, 75%. And then you can really start to wrap your head around, okay? No, we don’t have any additional budget, but we’re still going to get worked on, we’re still going to demonstrate results. And so when any of those scenarios happen, you’re not caught off guard, you’re ready for it, you’re just going to keep moving forward. So I would absolutely moving into next year or any year honestly plan my 2020, my next full year strategy with those different scenarios, you should never have just one flat strategy ever.

Christopher Penn
And as a sneak preview for podcast listeners, we’re going to be releasing a paper in the next couple weeks on sort of what’s going to be trending with social networks and will tell you right now, communities are in the end. By the way, if you haven’t joined our slack community over at trust insights.ai slash analytics for marketers, please join us now over 500 analytics minded professionals hanging out and causing trouble on a regular basis. So we know private communities are going to be in, we also know that YouTube is going to be in in a big way, because of a lot of the trust issues and the lack of data visibility issues with networks like Facebook and Instagram. Given that backdrop, and given the possible budget scenarios, how do you think companies should be thinking about their YouTube strategy coming into the latter part of this year and early next year? I know for us, one of our priorities is getting people to to want to pay it attention to the trust insights YouTube channel.

Katie Robbert
Well, you know, it’s I think YouTube is one of those things that still scares people videos still scares people, in the sense of producing it. There’s this notion that it needs to be polished and overproduced and perfect and edited and glossy. And that’s honestly not the case. You know, I know that one of our good friends, Perry, he just recorded a video on his iPhone of himself walking down the street, and those videos do very well. And the audio like the audio and the video, are they the best quality No, but you can still hear him clearly you can still see him. And he gets his message across. And so I think that moving into next year, there should be some element of low cost or even no cost, video production, start experimenting, start getting your message out there. And as it gains popularity, as people are doing the things that you want them to do with the video, you can add on slicker production. But that’s not how you have to start right out the gate. So I think people should be looking at YouTube, as you know, another search engine, as we’ve talked about, you know, we have some great resources on our website around how to SEO optimize your YouTube videos. That’s something that you can do with no budget. And you know, having a YouTube channel, it’s not going to cost you anything except for your time.

Christopher Penn
Yep. And when you look at video video to us is the holy grail of content marketing. Because once you have video, you can split off the audio, now you have a podcast split off that and transcribe it and I have a blog post. And you can do it in reverse. This is something that I was talking about recently, we have a channel that we want to do well. And one of the things that we have backlogged is over 400 issues of my personal newsletter for the last seven years, it commentary and things like that, I can’t think of a better place to find great content to turn into video, that stuff that we’ve been sitting on, I’ve got 11 years of blog posts on my personal blog, go back and look at the best all time performing blog posts. And we can turn those into videos as well. So if you’ve got content, there is no shortage of opportunities for you to take the stuff that you already have, and just convert to video. And it really can be as Katie was saying something you can just, you know, read out loud, practically marketing bedtime stories, you probably should do a few rehearsals. So it’s not robot robotic in nature. But But you’ve got the content already. Or you can do kind of, there’s a couple other approaches you can take one is answering people’s questions, which we do a lot of, and the other is offering your point of view and commentary on what’s going on in the industry. We have seen marketers take content curation and turn into Hey, this is these are the articles that we want you to pay attention to this coming week. So to bundle all this together, what is a good marketing plan look like? Like what what are the what should be in this thing? Is it you know, a 200? Slide PowerPoint? Is it a book? What What does it look like?

Katie Robbert
No, honestly, I think that the the longer it is, the more you lose people. So I really think you should just get to the point. What are your goals for the next year and you know, you can safely bet that they’re probably around, you know, audience growth, revenue, and you know, retention. So just just start with those three simple goals. And then just, you know, within a couple of slides, figure out channel by channel, how are you going to contribute to each of those goals? So with my direct mail, and how am I going to contribute with my SEO? How am I going to tribute with my organic search? How am I going to contribute? And so really break it down with all of those different activities? And what are you going to do to continue to push to reach your goals, and I think you can get away with, you know, let’s say 20 or less slides, because it’s just breaking it out channel by channel. And then summing it up, you know, putting some budgets, putting some numbers, you know, don’t overthink it. Because honestly, one of the other things you know, and we’ll dig into this next year within like the first few quarters is you’re going to want to revisit your strategy. It’s not something where you just set it, forget it, and then look at it again, the next year. You want to revisit it from time to time. So it should be a living, breathing document, it should be something that’s agile. My dogs agree with that sentiment.

Christopher Penn
In terms of motivating other people, one of the things that I I know we’ve encountered in the past is helping people who are not like senior level executives who have ownership in like p&l numbers, getting people motivated towards their own individual KPIs goals. When you build this plan, how much thought and detailed effort do you put into? Here’s how we’re going to motivate Jane in purchasing. Here’s how we’re going to motivate Bob. In SEO hissing I don’t go to motivate Ahmed in PPC, how do you do that from a as a people manager to say like you so the goal is these what we’re working towards. And this is why it should matter to you.

Katie Robbert
It comes down to a sense of ownership. So if you’re talking with the SEO person, what part of the plan do they own? How are they personally contributing, and then setting up those numbers so that you can show them week over week? Here’s what you did, here’s how it contributed to the overall goal. Same thing with purchasing. Same thing with operations. And it’s really okay, this week, I want to challenge you to create three new pieces of content. And those three pieces pieces of content are going to help us reach our goal of 20% growth and then showing them okay, your piece of content brought in, you know, 10 new followers, you are now contributing to the overall goal. And so really breaking it down to that granular way to give people that sense of ownership of here’s how I am it’s it’s just a people version of an attribution analysis.

Christopher Penn
Interesting. Okay, well, this is something that we should probably figure out how to turn into a piece of software at some point. But to wrap up, if you don’t have planning, on your roadmap for the next quarter, you will

Unknown Speaker
not acknowledge it.

Christopher Penn
And keep your planning as simple as possible, as direct as possible so that people can understand what their role in the plan is and how, how they participate. And make sure your plan is clear based on data. Make sure that it is realistic that is based in reality. And if you do have people who are super resistant to to using data, it Do your best with what you can, if you can’t afford to leave your position. If you can’t afford to leave your position, you may want to look for companies little more focused on how marketing is done in in the early 21st century here. As always, please subscribe to the trust insights newsletter over at trust insights.ai with fresh new marketing data every week, and stop by our YouTube channel. If you get a chance as well go to trust insights.ai slash YouTube to find your way over there. We’ll talk to you next time. Oh, we have one thing from the mailbag. I should probably if you do leave comments on the trust insights. episodes, we will actually answer them on the air. So Alessandra asked from last week on gated content. Interesting episode. What about b2b product technical details and data sheets? Does it make sense to allow download only via filled out form to avoid competitors getting details of your products? First thing I think of it as well, if you’ve competitors, Philip before they still got? What’s your feeling? Yeah.

Katie Robbert
Well, I mean, that’s exactly yeah. If it’s gated, and you have to pay for it, then they’re less likely. You know, I think, you know, having proper copyrights in place, and trademarks, those types of things, especially with a product is always important. But you know, you want to make the information as easy to get for your customers as possible. So I think it really depends on you know, is this truly a super secret proprietary? Like it’s going to send people into space? Or is it a pretty straightforward product, you know, when I worked in product development, and you know, I apologize for my dogs being loud today. But today ending and why when I worked in product development, we wanted to make the information as available as possible, even if it meant competitors could see it, because there’s not a whole lot they can do with that. Because Chris, as you’ve always said, it’s one thing to have the recipe, but if you can’t cook, it doesn’t matter. And then you know, a recipe is a recipe, but you’re still going to add your own flair it so we weren’t publishing our code base, we were just publishing the specifications of the product, which should be available to anybody. So I don’t think that having that information available to your customers or your competitors. Is that big of a deal. It actually does the opposite. It builds trust with your audience.

Christopher Penn
I would agree. I mean, I can’t think of you know, there’s three things that go into every piece of content, right? Why, what and how. I’ve never seen a product data sheet or something like that, that has the how I’ve seen a lot of what and why the why. And honestly, if your product or service is so then that you can put your secret sauce entirely in a one page data sheet. It might be time to revisit your product marketing strategy, but that’s for another show. So thanks for leaving your comments. If you’ve got comments on this episode or any episode of trusted insights, in your insights, please go over to the trust insights.ai website, leave a comment and we’ll answer your questions on the air. Thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you next time.

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