The ACRU Marketing Roadmap

Last week I spent a lot of time thinking about a marketing roadmap. This week I’m still trying to get my arms around the topic. By roadmap, I’m thinking high-level,  framework from which a more specific digital strategy will later be developed.

Kind of like back in the pre-digital days when you’d first purchase a map of a state you were travelling to and then take it all in and figure out the best way to get from here to there.

The Name

We market to support sales. I have a digital marketing roadmap, ACRU, (cause it has to have a name right;-) to accomplish four things: Acquire, Convert, Retain, and Up-Sell.

You want to acquire new users, convert them to being customers, retain them as customers over time, and expand the products and services they are buying from you (and not from your competitor).

The Digital Destination

Smart Insights’ Dave Chaffey (sorry, I could read within Reader, but couldn’t link to the original content either from Reader or Google Search) made a post titled, “Strategic Options to Reach and Engage Online Audiences” in which he referenced Brian Solis’ revised Conversation Prism and a few other models including  his own Digital Marketing Radar.

Unlike the Prism, with 30+ categories, the Radar is reduced to eight all of which drive to the corporate web site. The Radar’s categories include owned properties (blogs, RSS, forums etc), customer service, publishers, bookmarking, social networks, photo/video, search, and aggregators.

I believe the Web site remains the central hub and I also believe all marketing needs to drive users to that hub, so I liked Chaffey’s general approach.

Keep the Web site as your central property, push and pull users to it, drive home your points of differentiation, get them to sales, and educate them on additional products and services.

Today, you have to be thinking of how to connect the off-line to online and online to off-line movement by users. QR codes and ReDirects are one way to connect a print campaign to online results. Unique phone numbers are a good way to identify the number of users who visited the site and picked up the phone as a result. Coupons and offer codes are also good ways of tracking.

If you can’t connect the parts of the campaign, you can’t properly measure and you won’t know what parts of it worked and what didn’t.

Pathways to the Destination

After categorizing, and re-categorizing, I’ve arrived at 6 primary channels that drive traffic to your site.

Owned. These are the properties you own and have control over (or at least within the same company). I include in here other business groups, country or global sites, blogs, feeds, and any social accounts you manage.

Events. In healthcare, and medical in particular, speaking directly with a medical professional and allowing them to use or see the product for themself is critical. This includes conference trade show booth, in-service at a medical facility, or a rep’s office visit. In addition to print material to leave behind, now with the use of tablets content is being emailed on the fly to the physicians.

Campaigns. New product launches, upcoming tradeshows, discounted pricing, campaigns today blend the on and off-line spaces and should be a significant driver to your Web site.

Search. Both organic and paid search are important to your web traffic as they drive users who are trying to find a solution to a problem and have found your site. A bit in the weeds here, but I always include a segment in my analytics to pull those who used search with the company or product names as they are navigating via search not finding you serendipitously. I’m also separating Paid search from Advertising, though you could easily argue they are one and the same.

Publishers, Aggregators, and Sharers. This group includes those who publish, aggregate published content, blog about published content, and share, like, or otherwise tag any and all of the above. Articles about your company or products ought to ultimately link back to your site.

Advertising. Both online and off-line advertising is available as a channel to drive users to your web site. Online there are often industry sites, journals, and networks where you can purchase very targeted advertising and there is also the ad display networks.

Today’s Audience

Having thought through the destination and the channels to drive users to it, I started thinking more about users (customers, people) and available touchpoints (from regulated B2B medical device industry perspective).

While we are more diverse beings than I’m about to credit us as being, you could say that each user has four aspects of their being right now. Personal and Professional are the two big ones, but I’d also extrapolate out Play and Development, respectively.

Play are those things in our Personal life that people are more likely to share or post publicly about and Development is either the mandated or personal desire to continue learning/improving skill sets, which I believe is indispensable today.

Play and Development are very likely candidates for me to engage with on social sites.

All four of these user aspects are addressed differently online with varying levels of privacy and access being applied making some areas accessible to marketers and others not.

Communication Types

Regardless of the tools used, there are three fundamental means of communication today: Live, Broadcast, and Archive.

Live. This is not necessarily a conversation, but it involves at least two people communicating in real-time. It could be conference speaker, real-time chat, Twitter, a phone call, etc.

Broadcast. Maybe a broad interpretation, but anything published from one (your company) to many is a broadcast. This would cover TV advertising, sponsorship, Tweeting, publishing a web page, posting to a corporate Facebook account, etc.

Archive. Once the Live or Broadcast communication ends, it becomes archived (unless you take it down). This content often remains viewable even after it is no longer being “followed” closely.

These distinctions are important resource considerations. If you are opening up “live” channels, will you have the resources to monitor and respond?

What’s Next? Analytics & Technology

I like frameworks and approaches because they are technology agnostic (I think given the length of this post, I’ll make technology considerations a separate one).

I also like considering outcomes from the very beginning – what are you trying to accomplish and how will we know that we did it?

Considering I said at a very high level there are four objectives, I need to determine how to measure against those. This should be easier than it is. Unfortunately, due to the size of our product portfolio and fact that a facility is a customer, not an individual, it is very difficult right now to close the loop. Of course this is also why you develop a roadmap, to figure out how you can eventually get to where you want to go.

Acquire. I like to segment my site users first by those focused on product pages (pre-sale) and those on service pages (post-sale). Then, I group my users by those who were looking for my company (visited directly or used company/product name in search term) and those who were not (either general search query or visited via a campaign). I then like to compare the total audience and percent of each segment to the prior month and the prior year.

Convert. I have two primary segments to measure ‘conversions’. I look at the percent on pre-sale pages who visit a “Contact Us” page and I look at a set of requirements that result in what I term an “engaged” user. This includes a return visitor, minimum time on site, minimum number of pages viewed, and I restrict the location to the US.

Retain. Tracking return visits has some challenges, so to assess retention, I’m instead going to track visits to sections of the site intended for existing customers (post-sale, or customer sections).

Up-Sell. In the Web site currently under development, the biggest change is our approach to focusing on the technologies used in our products coupled with how the products work together. While direct sales can’t be attributed to site usage, we will be able to track sessions and see that users viewing a product, looked at other compatible products, spent a certain amount of time per page, etc. As noted earlier, it is to support the sale, not make it. The more aware the user is of the full offering the more receptive the user will be when it is discussed with the rep.

Final Thoughts

Don’t get caught up in the service, software, or app of the day, but do consider how they fit into your overall framework and if they are a tactical solution to support your strategy.


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