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So What? Choosing tactics and campaigns – the Bullseye Framework

So What? Marketing Analytics and Insights Live

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In this week’s episode of So What? we focus on the Bullseye Framework. We walk through what exactly is the Bullseye Framework, how to use the Bullseye framework to determine campaigns and proven tracks to scale with the Bullseye Framework. Catch the replay here:

So What? Choosing tactics and campaigns - the Bullseye Framework


In this episode you’ll learn: 

  • what is the Bullseye Framework
  • using the Bullseye framework to determine campaigns
  • proven tracks to scale with the Bullseye Framework

Upcoming Episodes:

  • TBD


Have a question or topic you’d like to see us cover? Reach out here:

AI-Generated Transcript:

Katie Robbert 0:27
Well, hello everyone. Happy Thursday. Welcome to so up in marketing analytics and insights live show, Chris John, how’s it going?

Christopher Penn 0:35
It’s going last Thursday before a holiday weekend here in the USA.

Katie Robbert 0:39
That’s right. This week, we are talking about the bullseye framework. And so choosing tactics and campaigns, what is the bullseye framework using the bullseye framework to determine campaigns and proven tracks to scale with the bullseye framework? And so, John, this is something that you’re going to be leading today. What the heck is the bullseye framework?

John Wall 1:01
What is the bullseye framework? Yeah, you know, one of the biggest questions we always get, or anytime we’re, you know, working as an adviser to companies, it’s always what should I be doing? You know, what kind of marketing campaign should I be running? And so the big question is, okay, you have limited time you have limited resources, what are the types of things that you should be doing? And the bullseye framework comes from a bunch of work that actually came from the book traction by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin mares, where they did research into hundreds of startups and actually analyze like, what campaigns worked for them? How did they get to traction to get to growing? And so yeah, that’s what got me the kick about kick around is basically, what’s the basic approach you have to take? And then from there, you can dig in? And what are the there’s a good 20 different paths you can take, but we’ll kick around all those different options and explain how that stuff works.

Katie Robbert 1:53
All right, Chris, questions? Where do you want to start?

Christopher Penn 1:59
Well, I mean, the challenge with today’s marketing is that there’s so many different options now for, you know, if you think even just a channel like digital advertising, you got a gazillion different ad tech vendors and all these different things. So how do you how do we go about sorting this out to even start narrowing down? Especially if there’s new channels where we’re not even sure what they do? Like? Okay, we’ve got this new MetaBase, do VR advertising? Like?

Katie Robbert 2:36
I like to go backward from there and think, well, we might not know what they do. But do we even know what we want? You know, and so let’s say there’s some VR MetaBase, whatever. Once we figure out what that does, do we have? Do we know enough of what we want, where we could figure out where that goes? And I feel like that’s a whole separate conversation. So John, you know, where do we get started? How do we how do we do this?

John Wall 3:05
Yeah, well, the first is to talk about just the overall strategy of, you know, where does the marketing mix fit into your whole approach, and how much of the time you know that you’ve got gets devoted to that, and one of the big learnings they had was that the most successful organizations split their time in half between half the time is working on the product of the service. And then the other half of the time is working on marketing and demand generation, you know, interfacing with customers, there’s basically a huge pile of failed companies that thought that they could just work on the product, and eventually the customers would show up. And ultimately, that’s not how it works, you know, you do have to have a map of where you’re going.

Katie Robbert 3:42
That is the company that I used to work for 100% of the time was spent on the product, the marketing and sales teams were laid off. And then they brought in a new CEO who looked at me and said, You’re gonna do lead gen. And I said, I don’t know what that is. But okay. So yeah, right, right. You say that company doesn’t exist anymore.

John Wall 4:04
They have been left in the trash bin of history. Yeah, that’s the way it goes. Because there’s so much that needs to be done as far as getting people who will become the ambassadors of your product, and who will spread, you know, the message of what you’re offering and the value of what you’re doing. And, yeah, if you just kind of sit around and wait for people to show up, the biggest risk is that someone else will do the same thing and do a better job of promoting it, right. I mean, this goes all the way back to, you know, why did Windows take on so much of the market because they just were cheaper, faster and got in front of more people. It’s not that it was the highest quality product. And yet we see this over and over again. So that was the first half is the you know, make sure you’re spending time working on your marketing promotion plan. And then from there, I had slipped to this. Here’s actually the full traction diagram that marason Weinberg kind of put the first version of this together over the years we’ve actually changed it and added a few more branches to this tree, but there’s, you know, three large branches You get into the first is product marketing, the fact that you can do things in the product itself that will help it spread and make it more viable. You know, you see this with pretty much any kind of social media tool, you know, you see somebody using some cool thing. And so you jump on board. And those are really great. There’s a lot of leverage in those types of features and marketing campaigns, because if you get it right, it builds upon itself. That’s a lot of the flywheel stuff falls into that category over there. The second huge pile is, you know, content advertising, PR, social media, content, marketing, all that stuff, which once we dig into this more realize that this all falls under Gini Dietrich, this PESO model, you know, this is all awareness stuff, and Peso fits right there easily. And so these are a lot of this classic marketing campaigns, right, you’re running ads, you’re doing PR, you’ve got social media accounts set up all over the place, you’re creating content, you’re going to events, each one of those is a an avenue that you can dig into and get going. And then for most startups, sales, some kind of direct, you know, interfacing with a customer trying to figure out what works is part of the mix there too. And so there’s, you know, having people who are solely devoted to talking to the customer and figuring out where they want to go, or what they want to do is, you know, another full set of, of items. And then another one that we’ve added over the years is marketing analytics, or data science, you know, we found that there’s things that you can do, especially as your product gets more mature, where you can create competitive advantage, you know, this is the classic Amazon thing of Shri, who cannot be named in my office will come on my smart speaker and tell me about some device that’s available. Because he knows that I bought, you know, the previous five of these, and it’s a slam dunk. So being able to take advantage of that data as a huge competitive advantage. But so looking at this chart here, now, their research, again, was focused on startups. And so they found a really interesting fact was that, you know, if you’re just a team of one to four people, you can really only focus on three of these at the most, you know, what Chris dug into, as far as how these things are always changing. And there’s new options coming in all the time, you know, any one of these channels, as you become a more mature company will be a full time employee, right? I mean, any one of these things, you could have somebody do this as their job for their entire career and, you know, become an expert, but still have things to learn and places to go. So, yeah, a lot of the challenge for smaller organizations is just like, Okay, where do we spread our money around, and again, the learning was that three is the max. And so we see over and over again, for smaller organizations, right, if you’re gonna have a website, well, that’s pretty much you know, having a blog and having, you know, you’re creating content, that’s content marketing, like publishing. So that’s pretty much a given nearly every business has to do that. And then email marketing tends to be another area where there’s a lot of advantage for relatively little cost, you know, you can have both prospects and customers in your email list. And then the third one after that is usually some kind of direct sales or business development, you know, having someone to talk to customers directly to get feedback, because you need that for your product cycle, early in the, in the making of it. So yeah, having this kind of whole list of tactics gives you a place to start. And then from there, they say, Okay, you basically dig into these three things and take an agile approach to it, you know, you pick three for a month, do the three, figure out which ones are working, come back, close the loop at the end of the month, and decide where you want to adjust and go. And one thing that we’ve seen over and over again, too, is that there’s huge learning curves for almost all of these. And so the more time you invest in a single channel, and the better you get at it, you tend to find that over time, it delivers higher returns, right. So if you’re doing LinkedIn ads for the first week, you know, you may burn through your budget and a couple of mistakes, and actually, you know, tank yourself, and then suddenly after the first month, okay, you’ve got a couple campaigns that are generating conversions. But by five or six months, now you’re doing things like, you know, using negative phrases to get the effective ads out and you you’re learning how to, you know, when do you want to turn on the full network of ads versus targeting individual titles and things like that, you know, the returns continue to scale up as you get smarter about how to run those programs. And so that’s why it’s always smarter again, pick with three and get those three fully optimized, instead of sprinkling it over 10 Different areas where you’re going to be a noob in each one of those and you’re gonna go through that painful learning process along the way. Yeah, that’s kind of a good place to break there. Are there any questions about that? Or like, you know, where do people usually go? And you know, what do you think about what you’ve got as far as this full menu in front of you?

Christopher Penn 10:00
What’s the million dollar question? Which three? Which three? Do we do?

Katie Robbert 10:04
I was, as you were describing it, you know, my first instinct was, well, content marketing is always going to be a part of the strategy. But I was able to sort of in my brain work through Well, no, that’s not necessarily true. I think in B2B, it makes sense. Like, because you always have content marketing, if you’re always creating content, then you can repurpose that content for other things. But if you are a transactional, e commerce, business, content marketing may not make sense. It probably makes more sense if you have, you know, social media to do you know, sales through if you have maybe a newsletter of here’s our new stuff to do sales through. And then maybe you focus on like more of a your website, or brick and mortar or something like that. But in, I would say, a lot of the time, my inclination would always be to start with the content marketing. What do you guys think?

John Wall 11:02
Yeah, that’s definitely where you want to jump in? Well, what you’ll find sales actually tends to be the very first one, the lead one, you know, usually have a founder that’s interacting directly with customers to get feedback and figure out that the thing is going to work. But the big value of content is that when you create materials, and you have them hosted, you’re your own publishing outlet, that stuff is evergreen, you know, great white papers, and how tos, and videos and stuff like that, you make them once, and they stay up there forever and generate traffic. You know, I’ve seen past companies where, you know, you do a good one on one white paper, and it’ll generate leads for seven, eight years, you know, you go back every two or three years to update the thing and clean it up. But it continues to generate traffic at the other end of the spectrum is advertising, right until you have strong budget and are a company that has momentum. Advertising is terrible, because as soon as you dump the money, two weeks later, you know, if you turn off all the ads, that’s it, it’s all completely gone. Like there’s no ongoing value to that now, you’ll reach a certain point where you need to dump that money in to grow. And you eventually get hooked on the quarterly hit, like like most users do. But that becomes part of just the way you’re, you’re doing your work. So yeah, content marketing is usually always pretty early in the cycle. And for us events, you know, we’ve got speaking engagements as part of that, like, that’s a whole avenue for us that has just proven to work over time. It’s like if you can get in front of audiences and tell your story that builds your network, which then gives you referrals, and gives you insight into the industry. So yeah, so you know, sales are always there first, then pretty much content marketing and awareness stuff that’s not paid. The product marketing stuff that’s kind of, you know, unicorn kind of stuff. Like if you can stumble upon something that works there, that’s great. And that can be huge. But those just kind of evolved with the product, and that there’s no rhyme or reason to when those things show up. And then Marketing analytics is a similar one too. And that that’s just kind of has to be there through the whole cycle. But if you ever hit a point where you can leverage it over to revenue, that’s just like the product marketing of it’s just kind of a those things show up when the opportunities are there. There’s really no predicting when that kind of thing would come into it. I don’t know too, it’s interesting now, Social, I’m starting to wonder how much that’s past its peak, you know, because it used to be that organic social was a thing. I don’t know, we see so many cases of where people are publishing social stuff. And it’s just it gets no views, no shares, nothing. I mean, should that are we going to lose that branch? Do you think

Christopher Penn 13:42
it depends, it depends on how many people you’ve got access to that can help promote it. So for example, the last few months, I’ve been doing this whole Warrior Nun campaign thing. And when you have even just 100 people who will basically retweet and comment on anything that is enough to juice the algorithms to say, Hey, this is important, start showing it to people really fast. The same is true, even if you have maybe a couple dozen people but their rabid fans that will quickly share something or there’s something a piece of content that they just have to share. Organic social can still work for the average marketing content. Now, the average market content doesn’t go anywhere. Back in the old days, we used to have this graph and I I will have to redraw it one day, but it was basically two power lockers one going sort of down into the right one going up into the right. And the down to that one was advertising the up into the right was organic content and SEO and content marketing. And the premise that we told people back then was you need to have that spend upfront to build your audience quickly because you’re going to be waiting for 18 months for SEO to pick up. On average. You Every SEO vendor that will say no, no, with our tool or our software, our agency will be up and running three months. Yeah, but you know, realistically, we’re as with advertising, yeah, you spend a lot of money up front. And then it’s you just spend a lot of time, spending money. Not getting not getting anywhere, that. So the trick, the trick was to try and get those two curves overlap as much as possible to try and get the ads to build enough audience to create people who stuck around and would boost the SEO stuff faster.

Katie Robbert 15:36
What’s interesting, I asked, in our free slack group this morning, which you can join for free at AI slash analytics for marketers. I asked if you had to drop one active tactic from your marketing, which one would it be? And right out of the gate, the first one was organic social. Because it’s I mean, it, it works for some companies, some companies, that’s exactly where they should be. But for a lot of companies, it’s not. So it was interesting. And unsurprising, at the same time that organic social was the first one that people if given the choice would drop from their tactics.

Christopher Penn 16:15
Social is tough, too, because there’s, there’s so many variations of it. So like what constitutes social if you’re thinking just Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, then yeah, that’s pretty now a category but then you expand that. What about YouTube? YouTube’s a social network, what about Tiktok? That is social. What about group chats, Discord, Slack, all that also falls to the bucket of social and so socials was really hard thanks to even put your arms around, and to what John was saying, as you get bigger, you will have people are an entire teams just for individual channels within that category, like you will have Facebook ad experts who are just just running ads on Facebook, because you can get so narrow and so deep into any one of these categories.

John Wall 17:02
Yeah, as I’m looking at and thinking about more tonight, it just seems like social is gonna have to become a branch of content marketing, right, you’re gonna have to have content that you share on social. And so you know, you’ve already got publishing text, video audio. So you know, things like YouTube and things fit over there. And I think social is just gonna have to become a branch of that. Now, just

Christopher Penn 17:21
think of content is horizontal, and like, the channels is vertical, right? Because you have text, audio, video interactive, and stuff as as horizontal that can go across multiple categories, right? So you have text, that can be a blog post, which is a blog as a vertical in your email, newsletters, a vertical, and so on, so forth. So that’s the same horizontals can go across many different categories.

John Wall 17:43
Yeah, yeah, that whole matrix that makes a lot of sense. So as far as running these, again, most commonly, the success they saw starting out was with monthly check in, you know, you have your three, and at the end of the month, you go back and look in and see what works. And for the majority of this stuff, you can pretty much look at, you know, website traffic. And then if you have some kind of CRM system where you can measure both, you know, leads, sales accepted leads, and then what goes to deals and what closed, you know, with all of those points, you’re usually able to get enough data to kind of figure out, Okay, what’s working? And then of course, you just work the way down the hierarchy with that, you know, if at the end of the month, you’ve had three deals that have come from one thing, well, then that’s it, like, all the money goes to that one thing. If you’re not at deals, then it’s like, okay, well, how many conversations did we have? If you know that it’s how many contacts did we get how many people made it into the database, and then at the bottom of the hierarchy is just the right traffic, like what at least drove some traffic to our website. But by using that you’re able to, you know, adjust and move on the fly. And, yeah, unfortunately, for the first couple cycles, you may find that you know, you have one of the three does something, the other two may be completely garbage. And hopefully, after six months or so you’ve at least got two that are working and maybe you’ve finally got one that is going to become a permanent program, because it’s you know, continuing to drive traffic and you continue to level those up, you know, usually for most of these, you start doubling the budget, and putting more people on them as possible if you have that kind of expansion. But you just continue to level these things up and add them to the mix until Yeah, hopefully, ultimately, you’ve got, you know, four or five different programs running on a regular basis. There is actually I’ve got a chart that I picked up from a large company that let me show this one here as far as where these things tend to grow. So this is kind of a classic map by Team side of where stuff tends to go up again, as a startup, it’s just a single person, you’re doing everything to attract attention, convert them to deals, get the deals closed. But then over time The next checkpoint you get to would be a staff of three. And in that point, it’s usually best to divide them up amongst the three different disciplines, you know, you’ve got one person that’s doing content, just attracting traffic, the second one is working at getting leads into the pipeline. And then the third is actually working on what actually closes, you know, what gets people over the end, or an alternate setup for that is just two for traffic and one for convert and close. And then, you know, the map gets more complicated as you keep adding staff, but it’s basically that was from the zero to $50 million, you know, checkpoints, as you’re adding staff, giving you a rough idea of how they should be spread out. And so again, when you get to the huge team, now you’re actually doing, you know, SEO as two people dead on board, you’ve got a design team, you’re starting to figure out, you know, by product, or by product manager where the sales team should be at. But this was just a good kind of thumbnail sketch of where you should go through time as you move up the ladder.

Christopher Penn 21:04
It’s interesting that this basically maps to the funnel, right, in terms of like, the size of the funnel at each stage. So your attract is those largely because that kind of goes contrary to what the way a lot of people manage where they’re like, Okay, we know, we just we just staff up sales, we need to be selling around the clock. And oh, yeah, there’s that marketing thing. I don’t know sure what they do, but Go Go call another 100 people, which has been the philosophy I’ve seen in previous companies, when they’re trying to figure out like, what do we do? How do we how are we going to make some money? They always seem to be over reliant on sales and marketing kinda got the short end of the stick.

John Wall 21:39
Yeah, absolutely. That’s, again, classic failure strategy of you know, you hire three marketing people and 10 salespeople, and then for the next nine to 12 months, you know, those salespeople are working five leads, right. Whereas if you go the other route of, okay, you’ve got three marketing people, and you only start hiring salespeople, when they can’t handle the volume, you know, that they’ve got in front of them as far as their pipeline, that’s a lot more effective way of a cost effective way of doing it really, right. Because those sales guys at the top of the pipe end up being the most expensive employees in the chain, usually, you know, except for, you know, when you start to get up to Team 18. If you have an SEO specialist on staff, you know, people like that start to get paid heavy salaries. But yeah, the idea with this was to build a strong funnel, you know, you want to have a lot of traffic at the top, and then you’ll be able to figure it out as you get to the bottom. Whereas if you have a ton of people at the bottom of the funnel, staring up and a team that’s understaffed and underpowered, you know, driving traffic down there. It’s yeah, that’s just recipe for disaster. Usually.

Katie Robbert 22:44
It makes me wonder, and you answered one of the questions that was going to ask you about covering, attract, convert and close. But it makes me wonder, sort of maybe rhetorically, you know, do you think companies will look at something like the traction framework and focus only on attract or only on close, and skip over the other, you know, parts of the funnel, not realizing that you need all three working together? So that’s one sort of, you know, way my brain was thinking the other thing I’m wondering, because, you know, you have in here, you start to list out some of the tactics of like blog SEO? Do you find when, as you’re talking to other companies that they’re using these channels, these tactics incorrectly, like they’re using? They’re trying to use organic SEO to close versus attract, for example?

John Wall 23:35
Yeah, that you know, and the problem is, you know, the model just gets exponentially complex as time goes by, right? Because it’s great. When you have the team of one that’s doing attract, convert close, they have kind of the lifecycle in their head of where it is and where it’s supposed to be. And yeah, so that’s, like classic plug for us along the way, right? Once you get to team size nine, you want if you had a digital customer journey report, then you’d know, hey, you know, SEO and email are at the top of the funnel. So we need to make sure we’re doing attraction campaigns for that. But of course, for us, too. It’s also email is also key closing one that you have to email specifically designed for closing. And yes, so having some analytics built around, where certain programs fall certain points in the funnel. Yeah, that can be huge. And yeah, this is one of those things. Again, when you look, look through the dumpster of history of these startups that haven’t made it, you see these things all the time, it’s like, Oh, if they had just done, you know, these campaigns as part of the closing strategy, as opposed to part of the attracting attention, like they could have done so much better. It’s like, yes, sending cold email to drive leads, didn’t do anything for them, and they flamed out whereas if they had been doing videos, and then, you know, following up with the folks that shared those videos via email, maybe they could have survived you know, you don’t know Unfortunately, we never are able to study that stuff, right? Nobody shares the results of why their startup went down in flames. Right? Those lessons are lost to history originally. But, ya know, you bring up a great point. And, yeah, it’s kind of something that I talked about a lot with this is that, you know, if anybody tells you that their path is going to be successful for you’re like, This is the way to grow the business, and this is how to win. It’s not that they’re lying. But it’s the fact that basically, we’re giving you this map and saying, okay, you know, we know that 95% of companies die. And so this is the map that those 5% use to be successful. But there’s still like a 90% chance you’re gonna die, you know, like, we’re giving you a path to success, and at least showing you all these pitfalls where you absolutely will fail. But it’s still a mystery path to get to success. And that, you know, we can make you more successful, but there’s still by no means any guarantee that you’re going to be able to, you know, build a repeatable process that has regular revenue and, you know, keeps customers satisfied. It’s a really, it’s a magic combination that just takes iteration and guts and money and time. You know, there’s just so many variables. And you know, the other joke is always like, it’s like a chocolate chip cookie recipe. Right? All it takes is one teaspoon of Drano, and you’re screwed. Yeah.

Katie Robbert 26:24
I don’t know that. I’ve heard that’ll,

John Wall 26:26
that’ll it. Yeah, that is it’s, you know, anything very specific.

Katie Robbert 26:29

John Wall 26:31
right, my uncle who shouldn’t be named, caught in that old thing. But yeah, it’s, you know, there’s just so many different knobs and levers to pull, and you can at least use some strategy to try and get, you know, to a more effective place. But, you know, again, there’s no guarantees, it’s just, again, this, your only hope, is constant iteration, and adjusting and trying out new tactics, as stuff does, you know, get successful continue to dump resources into it. But, yeah, there’s no guarantees on any of this path.

Christopher Penn 27:03
So where do we start?

Katie Robbert 27:07
That’s gonna be my question, too. So you know, let’s, you know, let’s pretend for a second, you know, we’re starting a brand new company, and we’re going to sell some kind of a widget that you know, makes coffee and washes your windows, and we know who the audience is. But we like started from scratch, how does someone use this bullseye framework and get started? Like, what do they do?

John Wall 27:33
Yeah, and it’s usually the best way to do this is, you know, you sit down with the founders, and you basically teach them, each of the branches, you know, you make sure that they understand what every branch means. And then you usually just go with their gut on their first three, you know, they will have some feedback, as far as Okay, well, we’ve been selling some of this product through here, or we’ve been getting some information on where the product should go. And so some kind of either direct sales or engineering, as marketing, you know, are the first two on the, the, the list that they’ve got to go with. And then, again, just the kind of that publishing content marketing publishing branch, you know, people want to have some kind of web contact, and they usually want to have a contact form, you know, they have to have some kind of presence. And so that one usually always makes the list. But yeah, it’s just a matter of talking to them and figuring out, you know, what do they think but yeah, it’s absolutely true that for the first, you know, five or six iterations, it’s just going to be people going on their gut, like, Okay, we think this is going to work, we’re gonna give this a try for a month to see if we can move the needle in any direction at all. And, you know, it may or may not run well. And another interesting point is, because I always like to dig into this as far as for us, you know, I mean, for us is pretty much it’s publishing, email marketing and speaking engagements, right, like, those are three that are kind of right in the bullseye for us, especially when you consider publishing is also community. You know, like Slack presents and things like that. Yeah, as a matter of fact, if you want to talk about any of these strategies swing on over to analytics for marketers, our Slack group where the conversation is always rolling. But yeah, I don’t know. And when you guys look at these, are there any that you think about for Trust Insights? Like, what are some things that you’ve thought about maybe kicked around that we’re not doing or ones, you know, Texas we’re doing that you think could be accelerated if we stepped on the gas more.

Katie Robbert 29:24
One of the tactics that we’ve tried on and off it almost never works for us, partly because we’re not experts in this particular tactic is advertising. We’ve tried Google ads, social ads, streaming ads. And we just for Trust Insights, we either we’re either getting the copy wrong, the offer wrong or the audience wrong or all three. And because I am so conservative when it comes to spending I probably tend to pull the plug on the ads before really learn enough about what we’re doing right or wrong. I’m definitely the, you know, frustrating CEO who’s like, well, it’s not working immediately. So just pull the plug, because I get really nervous about spending the money because it is an investment. So I can say that ads haven’t worked for us, but we also haven’t really given them a fair shake. And we are also not ads experts. Yeah, what do you think? What’s some other stuff that we’ve tried that just fell flat?

Christopher Penn 30:34
Um, organic social on most public, social media networks typically doesn’t do a whole lot. And that’s, that’s consistent with what we see other companies in our space experiencing, right, we’re not, we’re not Arby’s, you know, we’re not steak. I’m having philosophical conversations about frozen meat and things like that. So there, there’s that aspect, that the ads part was definitely one that I was going to hit on. Because it really is that we’re bad at ads. And we’re not willing to spend the money to become good at ads. You know, it’s like, the way we always tell people like you can’t go to the gym just once. Gotta go to the gym, and work really hard for a very long period of time, if you want good results out of going to the gym. And the same is true of all the channels, I mean, your your first we’ll say your first 10 podcast episodes are gonna suck, right? And you gotta go back on, look at it. Listen, one day go, oh, let’s delete these and pretend they never existed. Your first 10 YouTube videos like, Wow, your lighting was wrong. You were like 15 feet away from the mic if he even had a mic. So those are the ones that adds the thing, this other thing that’s not on here. And that I think is more important than ever is partnerships of some kind, right? You know that? How do you because increasingly, as as we deal with the impacts of AI and content generation stuff, having partners that have audiences you care about is going to be so so important, because everything else is just going to get drowned out. I mean, I was looking the other yesterday at what you can now do with some of the video AI tools and like, this is gonna be a tsunami of stuff. And the people who have attention right now who have a community have an audience, they’re going to be super valuable. Because as things like SEO get harder, as social media gets noisier and filled with disinformation, people are going to kind of retreat to the communities where they know they can trust the other people in those communities, at least to some degree. And increasingly, there’s a harder and harder to find. Well, and

Katie Robbert 32:53
so it’s interesting that you mentioned partners, because I was going to mention influencer marketing, which I don’t think is on here, either. I think that’s one of the tactics that is pretty misunderstood, in terms of what it is and how effective it can be. You know, it’s not just going out hiring your Kardashian to say the name of your product and like, hoping for a lot of sales, there’s a lot that goes into it. And, you know, our good friends, you know, Justin Levy and Ashley Zeckman. Like that’s their primary focus is influencer B2B marketing. And I would think that for a company like Trust Insights, for example, I would kind of bucket it under sort of maybe content and events, in some ways, depending on what the actual tactics of that is. But I can see where a tactic like that could be very effective for us.

Christopher Penn 33:49
Yeah, I think the other thing too, that and this is something I’ve talked with both of those folks about is so evolving that away from individual influencer marketing to community based influencer marketing where your entire communities like analytics for marketers, or you know, or the CMI slack, or our friends over at the marketing AI Institute, where you’re marketing to and with groups of people rather than individuals. Because, you know, if you provide value to the community, over a long enough period of time, eventually when you need to ask that community for help you get a lot of people jumping in and the nature of a lot of the AI based algorithms for things like social media now is that you need multiple people jumping in on something to be able to move the needle.

John Wall 34:37
Yeah, the influencer? You know, the evolution of influencers is interesting, because there’s a segment of it that is just straight advertising, right? I mean, you’re just paying some people to talk about your thing and promote your stuff, and that’s fine. But then yeah, you do get down into stuff. Well, yeah, it really is more community building. It’s like you want to align your community with their community, because there’s some overlap and it makes sense for everybody in there. Yeah, you know, Jason walls has a ton of stuff on that, too, I have to give him a plug. Because if you are interested in measuring reach and things like that he has a lot of good approaches to that, that that can get you where you want to go. Yeah, and it’s, you know, there’s really so many challenges in kind of lining this stuff up and getting it to be effective that, yeah, we always find ourselves debating branches, you know, or like the campaign is that even I was talking with a VC a couple months ago, who was saying, yeah, for some reason, every startup that I work with, like, has one marketing campaign that doesn’t really fit any of the branches, you know, there’s something that they’re doing. That’s, you know, some kind of weird variation of a trade show, or, you know, just something that doesn’t really fit neatly into a box. And, yeah, that goes back to the whole idea of, you know, this is just you’re trying to change human behavior. So it’s, you know, it’s not direct science, right? The stuff that worked for you six months ago, is not going to work a year from now, again, so it’s keeps coming back to adjusting on the fly all the time.

Christopher Penn 36:03
Where does brand building fit on this? It’s not a channel, it’s not a tactic, but it’s critical to being known?

John Wall 36:12
Yeah, that’s a really good question. So for smaller organizations, right, for startups, like they’re just not interested in that, right, you’re, you’re not going to be running ads, just to get the perception of your brand in line and make sure that you’ve got a customer 10 years from now. Some for a free framework like this, you could argue that it’s really product marketing, right? It’s the promise of the product, you have to make sure that the thing itself does what it’s supposed to do, and people trust and feel that it’s what they need, further down the line. But yeah, I know, there’s, there’s a lot of discussion and argument about the importance of brand building, and you know, what does that really mean? And where does it really go? Because we’ve seen a lot of the brands today, the conglomerates, their power is just drying up and vanishing, you know, when you look at the top 200 brands, today versus 25 years ago, you know, the, the concentration of power is all in the top 10 Now, and nobody has even heard of the bottom, you know, two thirds. But yeah, that’s a whole argument in itself, I get the, the general argument is, you know, until you get over $50 million, you’re probably not doing any just straight up branding, you know, you’re not sponsoring, you’re not doing TV commercials, or, you know, any other kind of just, like get the name out there, you know, have your name on the building that kind of stuff. Unless there is some kind of weird direct thing where Oh, because of doing that, you’re gonna get some direct leads, you know, there’s some kind of path to instant traffic. But yeah, just worrying about the impression of the brand is further up on the food chain.

Katie Robbert 37:53
So let’s say I wasn’t me, I was someone you know, completely from the outside, and I were to reach out to you, John, I would reach out to AI slash contact, I would get John Wall. And I said, Hey, so I have this company, pretend it is Trust Insights. What is the one thing that we’re not doing that we should be doing based on this fraction framework? Like, what are they? So basically, what would you tell me that Trust Insights isn’t doing that we should be?

John Wall 38:23
For Trust Insights, as you’ll see, because in general, to answer that question, anytime leads come to us, for whatever reason, 85 90% of the time, if you’re not doing email, right, we just see that over and over and over again, like they’re doing a bunch of different campaigns. But we know, you know, so many of our clients have huge success with email. And if you’re not doing any structured or format, email thing, like you’re just there’s, there’s probably a pot of money there that you’re missing on. missing out on, and you need to jump on that. So that’s we just see that over and over again, it’s almost, you know, it’s just cliche that we see that so many times. For us, you know, there’s really no way to I mean, obviously, we can go with gut and with our, you know, experience on what we’ve seen, but really, the best way to do that is like the digital customer journey, you know, take a look at all the programs you’re running, which ones are effective, which ones you know, where do they fall in the overall pipeline? You know, are they good at attracting attention? Are they good at closing deals? And so that’s really the best way to figure out, you know, you can rank everything that you’re doing, and that gives you one level of insight. And then the next level is like, okay, what are you not doing that we’ve seen work that you should be doing? And so that’s a second level. And yeah, again, still, there’s no way to do that, but test but it’s great if you can have somebody come in and tell you that well, based on your vertical and where you’re at, you know, we’ve seen companies that by trying these three things, at least one of these are going to be effective. That’s a lot better map than, you know, sitting around the conference table and you know, whoever gets the ping pong ball in the cup gets to pick the campaign that’s

Christopher Penn 40:02
no beer pong was a valid strategic tool.

John Wall 40:05
It’s many startup right? Over pizzas. So

Christopher Penn 40:10
that’s our prescriptive remedy. Right? The channels down on the beer pong cup. So just throwing the ball across the table lands, you’ll

John Wall 40:17
you’ll try for a week. Yeah, yeah.

Christopher Penn 40:19
I mean, if I was talking to, to a new start that had nothing at all, like, because with Trust Insights, it’s kind of a little awkward in the sense that we started with a lot of assets, like we started the company with a good sized list and a reputation and brand stuff or your start with absolutely positively nothing. My inclinations were, yeah, we get an email marketing program in place so that you can have a publishing platform of some kind, get a community in place so that you can retain access to your audience that you’re you have. And then I would say, for somebody who’s brand spankin, new, you need some content, obviously, to to, to be attractive. But you’d have ads running to that content, just to get people to just to even get eyeballs on it. Because if you don’t, you’re gonna be waiting 18 months for your first five visitors to find you on the top page 12 of Google search results.

Katie Robbert 41:14
Yeah, I was I was gonna ask, but I think he answered the question with the advertising is okay, it’s great for them to stand up an email marketing. But if they don’t have an audience, and they don’t have a presence on social media, how does anyone know to sign up for the emails? And so it sounds like they would have to use the advertising initially to get people to sign up for the email, and then they can start to pull back on the ad dollars.

Christopher Penn 41:39
Yeah, if you think about, like the funnel awareness, engagement, conversion, just like those three looks, you got to have some mechanism, and each one of those stages in the beginning, just to catch what kind of falsehood and you know, to what John was saying, it doesn’t have to be everything should be I think, but you should have one mechanism per stage, so that you’re not just pouring traffic out into a funnel out all over the floor.

John Wall 42:02
Yeah, we’ll have to do the advertising thing is huge. I have been playing around with some stuff as far as like dollar a day campaigns, you know, campaigns where you just go super focused. And you may only get two or three clicks a month. But those are people that are squaring the bullseye, you’re not wasting a penny of that. And you know, the total spend is effective. So yeah, hopefully after another month or so I’ll have some numbers and could talk a little bit more, you know, database as far as what’s working and what you could be doing on this runs? All right. Well, yeah, that’s the overall framework. If you want to learn more about this stuff, definitely ping us at any time, we’re happy to look at what you’re doing. And we can give you some ideas as to where you should be going. And of course, all this stuff works better if you have Marketing analytics set up and running and you have some dashboards to see, you know, if you can easily at the end of the month, go back and in 20 minutes, say okay, here’s the five campaigns that are, you know, did it right, and here’s the channel we’re going to drop that takes all the headache out of this, and we would be happy to help out with that. But I don’t know if so, any final thoughts on that?

Katie Robbert 43:11
I think the final thought is, don’t try to do every single digital marketing tactic known to man if you’re just getting started, you know, be a little bit more picky, be a little bit more strategic, but also before that even know where your audience is.

Christopher Penn 43:29
Yep, I agree with that, because you can have the right offer and the right creative, but if it’s to the wrong people, ain’t gonna matter. Alright, folks, that’s it for this week’s show. We will see you all next time. Thanks for watching today. Be sure to subscribe to our show wherever you’re watching it. For more resources. And to learn more, check out the Trust Insights podcast at trust AI podcast, and a weekly email newsletter at trust Got questions about what you saw in today’s episode. Join our free analytics for markers slack group at trust for marketers, see you next time.

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