My very first job was delivering newspapers back when I was in elementary school.
I miss that job for its simplicity.
Get newspapers. Deliver newspapers. And once a week, collect money.
I always knew what I should be doing.
Marketing is a much more complex job. To help you define your role and focus your energy, read on for examples and data from an online education company, parking marketplace, review site, and job search platform.
This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.
“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all,” Peter Drucker said.
Of the myriad ways you could spend your time today, what will be the most effective? How should you invest your energy this week? This month? This year?
Put simply – what really is your job?
If you look at the role holistically, it probably comes down to one all-encompassing task. “The marketer’s job isn’t to make claims. They foster a conclusion,” said Flint McGlaughlin, CEO, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute in the following podcast excerpt.
There are many jobs a marketer can do to serve that overall purpose. To help you determine the most effective focus in your role, we bring you four ways you can concentrate your time backed up by specific examples and data.
First, an online education company CEO who increased landing page response rate by dedicating time to ideation. Next, how the head of marketing for a parking marketplace increased bookings with a channel focus. Then, data showing the importance of reputation management. And finally, how a dedication to real-time performance metrics helped a job search platform founder pivot to attract new users.
John Ross, CEO, Test Prep Insight:
In my role as lead marketer of our little company, the most important function I perform is ideation. Anyone can manage PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns, assess conversion rates across custom landing pages, and manipulate pricing structures. It’s our creative juices that define us as marketers and where we add the most value. So I would say that the ideation process is the biggest value add as a marketer.
For example, without effective ideation and setting aside time for that process, our various marketing activities were always stagnant. I recall when we first launched, I was like a man on a mission, just jumping from task to task without time to create. Now that I am more purposeful with my time and allow blocks in my day to ideate, we launch 2.5x as many campaigns on a monthly basis, whether those are content marketing or PPC campaigns, or exploring other channels.
There is no doubt in my mind that my ideation process has opened up avenues for us and it is where I have added the most value for our team.
Volume alone is no metric of success. After I started specifically dedicating time on the calendar to ideation (including in small group sessions with my team), we did see a significant uptick in campaign success. One year after incorporating this practice into my schedule, custom landing pages we built had a 16% higher response rate. I directly attribute that to having more creative time to thinking through the customer journey.
In addition, our content marketing efforts were more successful as well, with blog traffic increasing by 47%. I can’t attribute all of that directly to my ideation practices – much of it had to do with the natural growth of our website and our blog picking up steam over the course of 12 months – but I do believe having more time in each day to think creatively about the type of content that people want to see, including time for independent market research, contributed immensely.
Emma Tippett, Head of Marketing, Spacer:
While it’s no secret the average marketer wears many hats, I think arguably the most important one of these is being an advocate and an owner of the key marketing channels within the business. Monitoring and juggling the different channels that Spacer relies on for new customers and returning customers is a full-time job in itself, and without this focus and attention, it's easy to lose sight of the core of your business.
For example, last quarter we centered our team’s KPIs (key performance indicators) specifically on conversion rates for our key channels. Just by including this as a focus in our weekly marketing meetings and having it front of mind we saw:
Not losing sight of the key business channels helps you not to take your finger off the pulse and become complacent. This includes being the voice of key channels and platforms in meetings, when fighting for dev resources and deciding budgets. We still treat experimentation as a huge part of what we do, but it's important to know our bread-and-butter tactics well and then experiment on top of these.
This focus also helps us when working with freelancers to remember what’s commercially valuable and keep them aligned to our main business objectives.
Let’s take a break from case studies and take a look at some that might help inform how to focus your time as a marketer.
Good reviews play the biggest role in online purchasing decisions, according to Digital.com
The review site surveyed 1,250 Americans about their online shopping habits on May 17, 2021 using the online survey platform Pollfish.
When asked “what factor plays the biggest role when making an online purchase?”, 26% of American online shoppers answered “good reviews” – making it more important than “free shipping,” “coupons or discounts,” and “speed of delivery.”
Creative Sample #1: Most influencer factors among online shoppers (chart)
Based on the data, we asked the team at Digital.com how marketers could focus their time on reputation management.
Dennis Consorte, Digital Marketing Expert, Digital.com:
“Use an automated tool to aggregate new reviews and social mentions so that you can address them promptly. Give someone on your team ownership of reputation management across platforms and put systems in place for handling both positive and negative reviews. Most importantly, activate a post-purchase engagement process. Ask satisfied customers for reviews, and address any issues with unhappy customers before they start publishing negative content about your company.”
David Ciccarelli, Founder & CEO, Voices:
The most important thing a marketer can do is pivot quickly based on results and learnings. By diving deep into the data regularly during a campaign, being reactive, and making key changes, you will help fuel the results you need to make a campaign successful.
A recent example of this comes from our marketplace expansion in mid-July of this year, during which Voices expanded its freelance service offerings to include translation, audio production, and music composition and singing in addition to voice over.
Our talent acquisition campaign began before the actual public expansion and we needed to attract new freelance creative talent to our marketplace to help fuel our category expansion. The primary goal of this campaign was to acquire 20,000 new freelancers in each of the new service categories, equating to 20,000 translators, 20,000 audio producers, and 20,000 musicians to the platform.
The initial campaign started on May 21st, 2021 and allocated a set campaign budget. We invested in Google Search Ads, Facebook ads, Instagram ads, LinkedIn ads, and Reddit ads.
Targeting freelance interests with Facebook, we leveraged Special Ad Categories and focused on employment opportunities to target freelancers looking for work.
Creative Sample #2: Facebook ad for job search website
LinkedIn ads were targeted to specific job titles or members groups within each of our talent expansion categories.
Creative Sample #3: LinkedIn ad for job search website
Reddit Ads targeted niche subreddits in niche interests such as:
Creative Sample #4: Reddit ad for job search website
Google Search Ads targeted net new campaigns and ad groups into the three talent expansion categories for terms such as “freelance audio jobs,” “freelance music jobs,” and “freelance translation jobs.”
Creative Sample #5: Google ad for job search website
Each of the categories had a dedicated landing page, as well as a generic freelancing page. The messaging invited brand new talent to join Voices as we expanded into these new categories in which they are able to find work.
Creative Sample #6: Landing page for job search website
Within the first week of launching our paid initiatives, we met as a marketing team to analyze results closely. Looking at our results, we saw that LinkedIn’s overall CPA (cost per acquisition) was 3.4x higher than Google Ads and Facebook. Specifically, we saw LinkedIn CPA was 6.2x more than Google Ads in the Translation category.
We also noticed that Reddit ads weren’t generating enough reach nor conversions and decided to turn those ads off quickly to save spend.
Within 14 days of launching paid advertising, we managed to only spend 60% of our allocated budget and had exceeded most of our goals, with the exception of audio producers falling just below our goal. However, we did see natural organic growth after the paid spend stopped which helped us reach 100% or more of our targets within the consecutive 14-day period.
At the very end of the campaign, we ended with 52,000 translators, 23,000 musicians and 17,000 audio producers.
Using real-time metrics to pivot during the campaign instead of waiting until the end of the campaign to examine results allowed us to achieve our goals and underspend on our budget.
Creative Sample #7: New user acquisition for job search website (chart)
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