Finding Holes in your Marketing

Our favorite, easy-to-use tool for finding gaps in your marketing resources.

We are seeing many of our clients and marketing friends take the time during COVID-19 to review and reevaluate their marketing plan for the year. We are doing the same thing at Pace; reviewing our plans and prioritizing what is most important during this time. There is one tool we have used with our clients during a Pace Marketing Physical that is very useful during a time of planning and re-evaluation: A Marketing Framework.

This tool allows you to outline your customer journey by stage, your goals, the marketing tools you have in place for each stage and what marketing tools you would like to create for each stage. In this article, I will teach you how to set up your own marketing framework and discuss some of the nuances to utilizing this tool in different organizations.

Building the framework is pretty easy, but to make it even easier, you can click here to download a free tool from Pace Marketing. We will do almost anything to make it simpler for you!

The first step you will want to take is to outline the stages of your customer journey. These stages will become the titles for each column of your marketing framework. If you have never done this before, or it sounds overwhelming, do not fret. Keep it simple to start. You can always refine this as you move forward with your ongoing marketing efforts. This is meant to be a fluid tool that allows you to make changes as the needs of your brand or product change.

So, what would those stages look like? In the simplest form, you would create stages your prospect goes through from the beginning, where they are unaware of your product or service, to the time they become a referral source - a customer willing to rave about their experiences with your brand. Here is one example of those stages:

  1. Unaware
  2. Notice
  3. Connect
  4. Partner
  5. Grow
  6. Advocate

You can break this down into additional stages if it makes sense for your product or service. To do so, work with your sales team to brainstorm what the steps toward closing a sale look like. Are there key milestones that happen within the sales process? This could look much different for a company with field sales representatives than it will for an e-commerce product. The sales cycle with sales representatives will have more steps and a higher need for marketing collateral such as brochures, case studies and white papers. 

The next step is to define the customer desire. In this section you are going to define what the prospect or customer needs in each stage. This is where any market research or customer voice sessions you have executed would apply. Document what you know about those who would benefit from your services and define their need at each stage. For example, at Pace, we know that in the Notice stage, a prospect will recognize the need for external resources to complete projects. If a marketing director already has the internal resources needed to execute important marketing projects, then she will not qualify as a prospect for our services. Once acquired as a customer and wowed by our services, the need would change to determining how Pace could help fill other gaps in her marketing program. Defining the need is crucial to helping you put yourself in your customer’s shoes. It is about understanding them and how they will benefit from your services. 

Once you understand the prospect or customer desires, you can begin to define the marketing goal around those needs for each stage. This is where you define how you, as a marketing team, are going to respond to the desire in each stage. What is the marketing goal for that stage? As an example, the unaware stage goal would likely be to build brand awareness while the connect stage would be to define the client's desires and match those needs to existing products or services. Once a prospect becomes a client, the goals shift to ensuring a smooth onboarding process or highlighting customer success stories to drive referrals.

The next step in building your marketing framework is to consider the tools you already have. I love this step because often clients have tools that have been sitting dormant but are still very useful. With a little refresh, they can take on a whole new life in the marketing toolbox. This is a valuable lesson I learned from a boss/mentor who would often start a discussion with, “Remember when we created that piece for [insert purpose]? We can start with that and make some adjustments to use it for [new purpose]!”

Now you will define the existing tools you have that apply to each stage. Your tools can be repeated in multiple stages. For example, a brand guide and website will more than likely apply to all stages, but your search engine marketing tactics will apply to your unaware and notice stages. I encourage you to take the time to dig through your files or collaborate with co-workers on this stage. It’s a good exercise to unearth old pieces and see if they fit in the framework or need to be abandoned. We often find in this step that the client has more tools available than they originally thought. It also helps them see where there are glaring holes. For example, if there are no tools for the onboarding process, that is a huge opportunity to improve the marketing framework. After all, you want to retain your new customers, right? 

Finally, we get to the place for new ideas, your Marketing Tools Wish List. This is a place where you and your team can brainstorm on how to fill the gaps in your marketing framework. What stages are weak and need more support? What stages need more attention based on the strengths and weaknesses of your organization or product?

This is also a good section to use to re-evaluate your marketing tools during a challenging time or crisis. For example, many of our clients have a trade show program that contributes heavily to prospecting stages. Their exhibits and marketing around major trade shows are meant to generate awareness, pull prospects through the buying process with demonstrations and show specials and close deals. With all spring trade shows cancelled this year, this framework has been useful to re-evaluate other marketing tools that could be used in place of major in-person events. I’ve seen clients shift to webinars, online 1-on-1 demonstrations and even virtual exhibitions.

Once you have your ideas on paper that gives you the opportunity to review the feasibility, budget and priorities around the new tools needed. Taking an agile approach, your marketing team can begin executing the creation of a few tools over the next two weeks and then revisit the list to prioritize the next, most vital needs.

To help you along the process, be sure to download our free ebook here or contact us to learn how Pace can support your marketing needs.