The Iterative Marketing Podcast Ep. 28: Marketing More Effectively With Long-Term Assets

The Iterative Marketing Podcast Ep. 28: Marketing More Effectively With Long-Term Assets


Hello, Iterative Marketers!
Welcome to the Iterative Marketing Podcast, where each week, we give
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of your fellow Iterative Marketers. Now let’s dive into the show. Hello everyone, and welcome to
the Iterative Marketing podcast. I’m your host, Steve Robinson, and with me, as always, is the intellectual
and interesting Elizabeth Earin. How are you doing today, Elizabeth? I am doing well.
How are you? I’m doing great,
coming off a poker win last night. Nice, nice. Now this is a weekly
poker game, right? No, no, monthly. I don’t think I’d be allowed to go off
and play weekly with the guys, but no, it’s just a monthly
guys poker night, very friendly tournament-style, and yeah, it’s just more or less an
excuse to get the guys together, right? Yes, it seems that when we
become adults and have families that we need those excuses
to get out of the house and stay in contact with
those people in our lives. That’s very, very true and a friendly
game is a good excuse. Even better when you win. Absolutely, absolutely. So what are we
talking about today? Today, we are talking about assets,
specifically long-term assets. And this is important because we
as marketers have a tendency to really be focused
on the money in and what are the short-term gains
that we are getting out of it rather than what are we
building up long-term, right? Um-hmm. It’s sad that we avoid that because when we take a look
at those long-term gains, when we take a look at
those long-term assets, we really are adding some
additional value to the organization. And we are going to talk a little bit
about that at the end of the podcast, but it’s really an opportunity for us
to elevate our marketing game. And specifically, we
are going to go through three different types
of long-term assets and we are going to
outline exactly what these are and how they do impact our
long-term marketing success. Um-hmm. So we are going to dive
into each one individually content, brand, and data and then talk about how they impact,
like you said, the marketing efficiency and also how we
can measure it because that’s a very important part that
I want to make sure that we cover today. And the best part is these three things
do not just work independently. They best work together. And so we will explain the relationships
between content, data and brand and how they really, to use the overused term, present some synergies as they — as they work together
and enhance each other. That’s a really great point. I think before we dive in,
can you talk a little bit – can you put this
into context for us? Because some of our listeners might
have a hard time understanding why it’s important to
build long-term assets. So we as marketers have a tendency
to focus on the short-term gains that our marketing dollars
are going to appreciate for us. So we invest in media.
We invest in content. The idea is that that media and that content
is going to draw in a certain audience and that that audience will monetize
themselves in the form of sales. And we can – there might be a delay in
when we put that money to work versus when the sales come in but we expect that. So there’s a ratio here. The more money we put in, the more
sales we are going to get out. And that’s true of some
of our investments, but there’s another
class of investment that, in the business world, is called a
capital expenditure or capital investment that we as marketers
generally overlook, and that’s what we want
to talk about today. If we relate this back to the rest of the
business or another type of business, you can think about like a factory floor. And if you were to build a factory, you have to spend money on
machinery and equipment. And the more money you spend in
that machinery and equipment and automation and infrastructure, the more efficient your
factory can become. So it’s not like the raw
materials that you are buying, which if you relate back to marketing,
would be like the media and the content that has short-term return. It is a long-term investment that’s
going to improve your profitability in converting those raw materials
that is coming into your factory into the finished goods that
come out the other side. When we relate this
back to marketing, we are going to talk about three key
classes of these long-term assets, these capital investments
or capital expenditures that we as marketers invest in. We put money into this pot so that
we can improve our efficiency later and those three areas
are our brand, the content that we produce, specifically the evergreen
content that we produce as well as the data that we
use to access our audiences to segment and target
and reach the audiences that we want to get
our content in front of. So let’s start with content because
that’s something that — it’s a hot topic. We are all producing content. And I think it’s important to note,
and you sort of alluded to this, is that not all content
is created equal. We have got that the content that has
the sort of the short-term gains but that’s not what
we are talking about when we are talking about
this as a long-term asset Instead, we are talking
about evergreen content, content that is going to be
able to stand the test of time, is going to have a shelf life that extends
beyond a very defined and short period. And when we think
about evergreen content, there’s a lot of different
things that come to mind, but for me, what comes to mind
first is like that how-to content, the stuff that people are
continuously referencing that’s going to do well in search, that’s going to come up in search
results for people searching today as well as people searching six months
from now or a year from now, right? Yeah, and I think giving
an example of this, if you are a playing card company, you can offer an illustrated
guide to poker hands or statistics on poker hands. And so this is something that not only
are people going to be looking for now and five years from now but even the same person
could be coming back and accessing this reference material. And so again, it’s evergreen. It’s ongoing. It doesn’t have a short
defined life that it lives. You can keep using it
over and over and over and so that investment
it becomes spread over time. I said I won poker last night. I don’t need a
reference card for that, but yeah, that’s exactly right and it’s not just reference
material that can be evergreen. There’s other things
that can be evergreen, certainly tools and utilities, even some entertainment pieces
can end up being evergreen. I think back like that —
the Dollar Shave Club video that they have been running
for how many years now and is still on their homepage, still works for them because, well, it’s that entertaining
and it still defines their brand and it still draws people in and works. Um-hmm So to be considered
a long-term asset, content needs to be evergreen
but it also needs to generate revenue, whether that’s directly or indirectly. And by direct we mean that
it’s the type of content that in and of itself will
convert into a sale. So this could be persuasive content that
has calls to action on it right there that can drive revenue immediately but also it can be content that
is indirectly driving revenue and that it’s helping you build
or segment your audience. We will talk more about
that on the data side, but content really is a huge driver in
helping you identify who your audience is and establish a relationship with them whether it’s via email
or paid media as well as understand them and what they like
and what they want. And those are indirect revenue drivers
that still impact the bottom-line, and they just don’t do it in
that quick hit call-to-action, convert into a sale
right now sort of way. So I think as we sort of wrap this up, I want to talk about how we measure
content and content as an asset because it’s one thing
to say that we have it. And I can sit here and tell you that
I have got 56 pieces sitting out there that I can use
in different things but is that really telling
the whole story? Is volume of content the
only thing that I have to measure this as
a long-term asset? Ideally, you are tracking these assets
both for your own knowledge but also to report up because somebody’s holding the
purse strings to your marketing budget. And maybe it’s you, but more
likely it’s somebody else, right? And so they want to know how
you are spending your money. And so if you are spending
your money on content and it’s evergreen content that maybe
is producing some marginal returns today but will be a long-term
asset for you, will continue to generate
revenue long into the future, that’s something you need
to be able to communicate. And I think there’s two metrics
that help you do that in concert. I don’t think one
alone does the job and the first one
is volume of content. How much stuff
are you making? and volume alone
doesn’t mean anything. I can spit out thousands of
200-word snippets of gibberish and it’s not going to
do a thing for our brand but it will be quick
and dirty to produce. It’s also the quality, and the quality can be measured
in a couple of different ways, but the ones that we like to look at
are the things like engagement time or whether or not it’s driving
new traffic to the site. And ultimately, if it is more of
a direct revenue type piece, is it converting into revenue
right there on the spot? You need to tie back to some KPI
that leads to revenue down the line in addition to talking about how
many pieces you have produced. So I think that about wraps it
up on the on the content side. So let’s jump into the
second long-term asset and this is also a hot
topic and it’s brand. Yeah. So how would you – can you remind our listeners, Elizabeth,
how we define brand here? Because I know that
a lot of different people define brand a lot
of different ways. Um-hmm. So when we talk about brand, we are talking about something that
goes beyond logos and brand names. And instead, it becomes that emotional
connection between you and – or between your company
and your prospects. And this kind of ties
back to the fact that we as individuals are not
hardwired to make decisions about intangible things like companies. We want that emotional connection. We want to feel like
we know you, 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago.
It was your going down and your making that connection
with the local sales guy, kind of given the advent of the internet
and how businesses have changed and how we buy things now that’s not necessarily the case and so our brand gives
our prospects the chance to have that emotional
connection with our company. Yeah, to do business with those
that we know, like and trust, right? I mean, it’s — to use
the clichéd term there — we are going to throw as many clichés
into this podcast episode as we can. But that brand becomes an asset to you
because it’s a competitive advantage. It allows you to do things in more
powerful ways in the future because you have established
that threshold of trust. My favorite example of this is
recently Tesla released the Model 3. And this was a long-awaited thing but there’s a lot of people who
are in love with the Tesla brand even though they
don’t own a Tesla and aren’t able to be in
the market for a Tesla. But when Tesla released the model 3, because they had
such a strong brand and they developed such
goodwill with their audiences before they had even shown
what this car looked like or released specs
or anything else, they had 100,000 people who would
put a down payment on the car. That’s amazing. Could a no-name car
company do that? Absolutely not. It is only through
the Tesla brand that they were able to sell 100,000 of
something that nobody had ever seen. And that right there is
the power of the brand and that’s why having a strong brand
is not only a competitive advantage but it helps to translate
into long-term profitability. There was a great study that
was done a few years back, I think was in 2010. Credit Suisse had taken a look at
the companies that were on — I forget, it was the Fortune 500
or one of the major lists of companies — and had taken a look at performance
of which companies did well and which companies did poorly and they had correlated that back to which
companies had invested in their brand as one of their top line items of
marketing and advertising expense. And what they came up with was that
there was a very, very strong correlation and the companies that put
a strong investment in brand outperformed the companies
that didn’t by a factor of three. And that’s a pretty impressive
statistic right there. And it just goes to show that it’s an investment. That it’s
hard to track immediate ROI on but that has a long-term impact
on your success in market. You said something interesting there,
it’s hard to track. It is hard to track because we are talking
again about something that’s intangible but that doesn’t mean
that you can’t track. It just means you have to be a little bit
creative in what we use to measure that. So when we are talking
about measuring our brand, one sort of easy way to do that
is through brand awareness, specifically how many people are
aware that your brand exists. And there’s a couple of different
ways that that can be done From sort of a big
budget perspective, you can go out and do
formal market research where you have got a third party vendor
going out and asking about your brand, both unaided and then also
with some prompts and kind of finding out what
people think and feel and how aware they are of
what it is that your brand, who your brand is
and what it represents. But for those companies out there that
don’t necessarily have that budget, which – it’s a lot of us — there’s sort of this hack
that we use in AdWords that lets us find out what
brand awareness is. Do you want to talk a little
bit about what we do? Sure. And it doesn’t work
for every company because you have to have
a unique brand name. But if you have a unique brand name
that you can plug into Google AdWords, you can bid on that keyword. And then by bidding, you
get access to the raw data. Exactly how many people have
searched for your brand name? And if you think about it, nobody’s going to search for
a brand they don’t know exists. So it can be an indicator
of brand awareness although probably more accurately
an indicator of brand interest but a great little
proxy to know. Hey, am I letting people know that we
exist and do people care that we exist based on our brand name? And I just want to make a little note. You said a unique brand name. Obviously, a lot of us have
a unique brand name because we wouldn’t have a company that
necessarily shares a name with someone else, although that does happen
occasionally across industries. But we are not just talking about other
companies that you are competing with. And we have a client
that we work with now, unfortunately that has a very
unique name within their industry but it happens to share
the name with a prophet in I believe South Africa who’s
up to no good right now and so we have a little bit of trouble
measuring their brand awareness and brand interest because this prophet who is,
again, up to no good is wreaking havoc with our brand
awareness measurements. And then we have another client who their brand has a number of
brand extensions associated with it. It’s global. It’s applied to a lot
of different products in areas outside of the group
that we are working with. And so again, there — it’s not really a
good proxy to their brand awareness within their audience because the brand is applicable
well outside of their audience and the majority of the traffic
that we would be measuring would be coming from there. So it’s not perfect
for every organization but for a lot of smaller groups
it can be a very great little hack to get a finger on that pulse
and a great way to report that up as you make an impact there. And then another measurement that we
can use with brand is brand alignment. And this is, I think,
really important. Not saying that brand
awareness isn’t important, but specifically we
are looking at how well your brand is aligned
internally and externally, meaning I know what
my brand stands for but what did my prospects and my
customers think about my brand? And if the two come together,
then we are in a good spot, but if the two are separate,
then I have got some work to do. And so we use something
called the brand vector process which measures alignment between
our customers and prospects, our senior management team
and then employees, and it sort of plots
that all out. We have talked about this and I believe it was Podcast 11, Using Brand Vectors to
Measure & Align Your Brand. So I think that’s a great one
to go back and listen to because this really is a really great
tool to see where you have alignment and where you have some
opportunities to really focusing and help to try
and change that message. Yeah. The danger is if you invest a bunch
of money in promoting a brand that’s not in alignment, all you are going to end up doing
is creating some bad experiences or some dissonance that will end up hurting you more than
it will end up helping you in the long run. So it’s a very important measurement
along the same lines. I think this is a great point
for us to take a quick break. When we get back, we will talk about
data as a component to your assets. And in the meantime, let’s go talk about
how we can help some people. Before we continue, I’d
like to take a quick moment to ask you Iterative Marketers
a small but meaningful favor and ask that you give a few dollars to a
charity that’s important to one of our own. This week’s charitable cause
was sent in by Michael Kowarski. Michael asks that you make
a contribution to HeartLove Place, a non-profit providing
programming and services that empower, develop spiritual growth and motivate to build a stronger
community in the inner city of Milwaukee. Learn more at heartloveplace.org
or visit the link in the show notes. If you would like to submit
your cause for consideration for our next podcast, please visit
iterativemarketing.net/podcast and click the “Share a Cause” button. We love sharing causes that
are important to you. And we are back. So before the break, we talked about
two of our three different types of assets that we want to be growing
and measuring the growth of as we continue to get
better at marketing, right? The first two were
content and brand, and now we are going
to talk about data. So what do we mean when we say data in
the context of a marketing asset, Elizabeth? Well, what we are talking about
here is specifically audience data and when we are taking
a look at our audience data, it helps us do one
of two things: Either connect with our audience through
targeting and permission marketing or segmenting our audience so that we can get the right message
to the right person at the right time which is one of I think our
favorite things to say here. And the data that we are building,
we are putting that in one of two places. We are either going to put that in
a database like a CRM database or marketing automation database which helps us pull lists and direct
email and do other segmentation and directing of marketing that way, or we are going to store that
data in third-party data audiences and those are going to be usually
housed on the marketing platform, the advertising platform that we
are using to put them to work. So that could be Facebook
custom audiences. It could be Twitter
tailored audiences. It could be cookie pools
or floodlight audiences or whatever in your
display advertising, regardless of where you are
putting them, their third party data. And if you are a bigger
brand, you might have a DMP that you can put
that data into that’s even better because then you can do some
really fancy slicing and dicing of it. Either way, the data is
what we can put to work to get the message out to the
right person at the right time. Before we go much further,
let’s dive into each of those when we are talking about
databases vs first-party data. So in terms of the data
that’s in our database, this could be data that’s
living either in our CRM or in our marketing automation system and the key here is that either one of these based on
what it is that we are tracking allows for some really robust segmentation
along a number of different vectors. And this can be psychographics,
persona targeting – I am sorry, persona segmentation. We could be segmenting based
on interests or based on need. Or if you have done the customer journey
work, we can segment on buyer’s journey and what state they are – what consideration state that
they are in that specific journey as they move through their
interactions with your brand. And by having this database, by understanding where our
prospects are in different segments and different needs and different
states in the buyer’s journey, we are now able to use that and put
that to work in creating content, that is personalized to
those audience members and then delivering that content whether
that’s via email or via advertising by targeting data
from that CRM system. And this is where it gets –
I think it gets really, really fun. We can do some really
cool stuff with this, but before we do that, we need to have
permission or access to market to them, and that typically comes in
the forms of opt-in lists, newsletter signups, whether that’s through email
or in some cases even text messaging. And it’s having these opt-ins that is
really one of your most valuable assets. If you aren’t currently working to
build an opt-in email or SMS database, it’s something that you should
probably look at building. Again, you are not going to get
immediate returns on that investment. So if you are advertising, saying
sign up for our newsletter or opt-in to receive
our text messages or whatever that message may be, that doesn’t immediately
translate to revenue. But if you build that over time, it means you now have permission to get
very intimately into that user’s inbox or message stream in ways that not every
marketer is allowed and that one-to-one relationship
can be monetized in the future over and over and over again through
clever use of content and offers and other content that’s
going to put that to work. Again, these are people
that have opted-in and these are people that
have actively taken a step to sign up to receive your content and to let you talk to them
and to market to them and so it’s a really
great opportunity. But I think we also want
to be respectful of that and keep in mind that we
have been given permission and so we want to make sure that
we are adding value as we do this. But again, they want our content, so this is a fantastic time
to be in front of someone that you know is interested in
what it is that you have to say. Now slightly less powerful
from an intimacy standpoint but certainly more powerful from a
reach standpoint is your first party data. And this is where you have the
ability to take your paid media and really personalize it, segment it, and get the right message
to that right person. And so here you want to
be measuring how many – measuring and focused on growing how
many individual Facebook IDs or Twitter IDs or how many cookies you have inside
of these different audience pools that you can reach out
and touch on demand whenever you have a message
appropriate for that particular audience. And the key is to grow
them with quality data and continue to grow them
and nurture them over time which means keeping some messaging
in front of them over time as well. Because if you aren’t doing anything
to add people to these pools, then they will start to decay
over time as cookies expire or as the lifespan of these
audiences hits their end. So that’s on the first
party audience side. When we are talking
about our database, the way that we measure and report
on that is the size of our opt-in lists, our ability to segment either the
different segments we have available, the size of those segments, what percentage of our
database is segmented, pretty much any way that
we can slice that data and use that to send
targeted messaging out. That’s where we have interest.
That’s what we want to report on. How does this stuff all tie together? What really aids the other as far as when you start mixing the benefits
of these long-term assets together? Well, here’s the really cool thing
is that they all work together to build each other up. And so when you are looking at
content and brand and data, you have compared it before
to sort of a three-legged stool. At any point, if you pull one of those legs
out, the whole thing kind of falls apart. You really can’t do
one without the other and so all three of them, content,
brand, and data are necessary when you are talking about building
and sustaining these long-term assets. Now let’s go through each one
individually starting with content. When you look at content, content really holds up your data by
giving you the information you need to segment your audience and by giving the content that’s
going to bring people in to build up those cookie pools
and those Facebook custom audiences and Twitter tailored audiences, right? Um-hmm. When we talk about brand, the power of our brand
and the awareness of our brand makes our content trustworthy and appealing before
it’s even been put out. It’s the type of thing that,
when you see something that comes from one of your
favorite brands, you are interested because you know what
to expect from them and you know what it is that
they are going to be delivering and so it increases that readability
or that chance of it being read. Talk about data, it informs us and tells us exactly
what content we need to be creating to really cater to our segments
and personalize that content and then it can also give us the means
to distribute it through those opt-in lists, and through those cookie pools, we now have the ability to get that
content into those people’s hands. So without data content becomes sort
of neutered, for lack of a better term. So when we look
back on this episode and kind of talk about what
we hope that you take away, I think the big thing is that
all three are important, content, brand, and data
are all important assets that we need to invest in if we
want to have future growth. And each one supports the other. So if you drop one, you are
hurting the other two areas. And I think finally the most
important component here is make sure that you are measuring
this and reporting it back up because senior leadership often
looks at marketing through the lens of the more money I put in, immediately,
the more sales I am going to get out. It ignores the capital
investment component to it. So if you are not reporting that back up, they are going to forget
about the fact that some of your plays aren’t
short-term revenue grabbing plays. Some of your plays are long-term
investment into assets that are going to continue to
provide returns long into the future. That’s a great point. We actually have a blog post that we
wrote a few months ago about this, that talks specifically about how your
reports can help you accomplish what you need and it addresses
the long-term asset portion. So definitely check that out if you
haven’t had a chance to read it, and we will link to
it in the show notes. I think that’s a wrap. I want to thank everybody
for their time today, and as always, until next
time, onward and upward! If you haven’t already, be sure to
subscribe to the podcast on YouTube on your favorite podcast directory. If you want notes and links to
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[email protected] The Iterative Marketing Podcast is
a production of Brilliant Metrics, a consultancy helping
brands and agencies rid the world of marketing waste. Our producer is Heather Ohlman with transcription assistance
from Emily Bechtel. Our music is by SeaStock Audio,
Music Production and Sound Design. You can check them out
at seastockaudio.com. We will see you next week. Until then, onward and upward!

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