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The 7-Step Process for Making Logical Decisions

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The 7-Step Process for Making Logical Decisions

Psychology tells us that emotions drive our behavior, while logic only justifies our actions after the fact. Marketing confirms this theory. Humans associate the same personality traits with brands as they do with people — choosing your favorite brand is like choosing your best friend or significant other. We go with the option that makes us feel something.

But emotions can cloud your reasoning, especially when you need to do something that could cause internal pain, like giving constructive criticism, or moving on from something you’re attached to, like scrapping a favorite topic from your team’s content calendar.

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There’s a way to suppress this emotional bias, though. It’s a thought process that’s completely objective and data-driven. It’s called the rational decision making model, and it will help you make logically sound decisions even in situations with major ramifications, like pivoting your entire blogging strategy.

But before we learn each step of this powerful process, let’s go over what exactly rational decision making is and why it’s important.

Rational decision making is an important skill to possess, especially in the digital marketing industry. Humans are inherently emotional, so our biases and beliefs can blur our perception of reality. Fortunately, data sharpens our view. By showing us how our audience actually interacts with our brand, data liberates us from relying on our assumptions to determine what our audience likes about us.

Rational Decision Making Model: 7 Easy Steps(+ Examples)

Rational Decision Making

1. Verify and define your problem.

To prove that you actually have a problem, you need evidence for it. Most marketers think data is the silver bullet that can diagnose any issue in our strategy, but you actually need to extract insights from your data to prove anything. If you don’t, you’re just looking at a bunch of numbers packed into a spreadsheet.

To pinpoint your specific problem, collect as much data from your area of need and analyze it to find any alarming patterns or trends.

Example:

“After analyzing our blog traffic report, we now know why our traffic has plateaued for the past year — our organic traffic increases slightly month over month but our email and social traffic decrease.”

2. Research and brainstorm possible solutions for your problem.

Expanding your pool of potential solutions boosts your chances of solving your problem. To find as many potential solutions as possible, you should gather plenty of information about your problem from your own knowledge and the internet. You can also brainstorm with others to uncover more possible solutions.

Example:

Potential Solution 1: “We could focus on growing organic, email, and social traffic all at the same time.”

Potential Solution 2: “We could focus on growing email and social traffic at the same time — organic traffic already increases month over month while traffic from email and social decrease.”

Potential Solution 3: “We could solely focus on growing social traffic — growing social traffic is easier than growing email and organic traffic at the same time. We also have 2 million followers on Facebook, so we could push our posts to a ton of readers.”

Potential Solution 4: “We could solely focus on growing email traffic — growing email traffic is easier than growing social and organic traffic at the same time. We also have 250,000 blog subscribers, so we could push our posts to a ton of readers.”

Potential Solution 5: “We could solely focus on growing organic traffic — growing organic traffic is easier than growing social and email traffic at the same time. We also just implemented a pillar-cluster model to boost our domain’s authority, so we could attract a ton of readers from Google.”

3. Set standards of success and failure for your potential solutions.

Setting a threshold to measure your solutions’ success and failure lets you determine which ones can actually solve your problem. Your standard of success shouldn’t be too high, though. You’d never be able to find a solution. But if your standards are realistic, quantifiable, and focused, you’ll be able to find one.

Example:

“If one of our solutions increases our total traffic by 10%, we should consider it a practical way to overcome our traffic plateau.”

4. Flesh out the potential results of each solution.

Next, you should determine each of your solutions’ consequences. To do so, create a strength and weaknesses table for each alternative and compare them to each other. You should also prioritize your solutions in a list from best chance to solve the problem to worst chance.

Example:

Potential Result 1: ‘Growing organic, email, and social traffic at the same time could pay a lot of dividends, but our team doesn’t have enough time or resources to optimize all three channels.”

Potential Result 2: “Growing email and social traffic at the same time would marginally increase overall traffic — both channels only account for 20% of our total traffic.”

Potential Result 3: “Growing social traffic by posting a blog post everyday on Facebook is challenging because the platform doesn’t elevate links in the news feed and the channel only accounts for 5% of our blog traffic. Focusing solely on social would produce minimal results.”

Potential Result 4: “Growing email traffic by sending two emails per day to our blog subscribers is challenging because we already send one email to subscribers everyday and the channel only accounts for 15% of our blog traffic. Focusing on email would produce minimal results.”

Potential Result 5: “Growing organic traffic by targeting high search volume keywords for all of our new posts is the easiest way to grow our blog’s overall traffic. We have a high domain authority, Google refers 80% of our total traffic, and we just implemented a pillar-cluster model. Focusing on organic would produce the most results.”

5. Choose the best solution and test it.

Based on the evaluation of your potential solutions, choose the best one and test it. You can start monitoring your preliminary results during this stage too.

Example:

“Focusing on organic traffic seems to be the most effective and realistic play for us. Let’s test an organic-only strategy where we only create new content that has current or potential search volume and fits into our pillar cluster model.”

6. Track and analyze the results of your test.

Track and analyze your results to see if your solution actually solved your problem.

Example:

“After a month of testing, our blog traffic has increased by 14% and our organic traffic has increased by 21%.”

7. Implement the solution or test a new one.

If your potential solution passed your test and solved your problem, then it’s the most rational decision you can make. You should implement it to completely solve your current problem or any other related problems in the future. If the solution didn’t solve your problem, then test another potential solution that you came up with.

Example:

“The results from solely focusing on organic surpassed our threshold of success. From now on, we’re pivoting to an organic-only strategy, where we’ll only create new blog content that has current or future search volume and fits into our pillar cluster model.”

Avoid Bias With A Rational Decision Making Process

As humans, it’s natural for our emotions to take over your decision making process. And that’s okay. Sometimes, emotional decisions are better than logical ones. But when you really need to prioritize logic over emotion, arming your mind with the rational decision making model can help you suppress your emotion bias and be as objective as possible.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in July 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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The Future of Content Success Is Social

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The Future of Content Success Is Social

Here’s a challenge: search “SEO RFP” on Google. Click on the results, and tell me how similar they are.

We did the same thing every other SEO does: We asked, “What words are thematically relevant?” Which themes have my competitors missed?” How can I put them in?” AND “How can I do everything just slightly better than they can?”

Then they do the same, and it becomes a cycle of beating mediocre content with slightly less mediocre content.

When I looked at our high-ranking content, I felt uncomfortable. Yes, it ranked, but it wasn’t overly helpful compared to everything else that ranked.

Ranking isn’t the job to be done; it is just a proxy.

Why would a high-ranking keyword make me feel uncomfortable? Isn’t that the whole freaking job to be done? Not for me. The job to be done is to help educate people, and ranking is a byproduct of doing that well.

I looked at our own content, and I put myself in the seat of a searcher, not an SEO; I looked at the top four rankings and decided that our content felt easy, almost ChatGPT-ish. It was predictable, it was repeatable, and it lacked hot takes and spicy punches.

So, I removed 80% of the content and replaced it with the 38 questions I would ask if I was hiring an SEO. I’m a 25-year SME, and I know what I would be looking for in these turbulent times. I wanted to write the questions that didn’t exist on anything ranking in the top ten. This was a risk, why? Because, semantically, I was going against what Google was likely expecting to see on this topic. This is when Mike King told me about information gain. Google will give you a boost in ranking signals if you bring it new info. Maybe breaking out of the sea of sameness + some social signals could be a key factor in improving rankings on top of doing the traditional SEO work.

What’s worth more?

Ten visits to my SEO RFP post from people to my content via a private procurement WhatsApp group or LinkedIn group?

One hundred people to the same content from search?

I had to make a call, and I was willing to lose rankings (that were getting low traffic but highly valued traffic) to write something that when people read it, they thought enough about it to share it in emails, groups, etc.

SME as the unlock to standout content?

I literally just asked myself, “Wil, what would you ask yourself if you were hiring an SEO company? Then I riffed for 6—8 hours and had tons of chats with ChatGPT. I was asking ChatGPT to get me thinking differently. Things like, “what would create the most value?” I never constrained myself to “what is the search volume,” I started with the riffs.

If I was going to lose my rankings, I had to socially promote it so people knew it existed. That was an unlock, too, if you go this route. It’s work, you are now going to rely on spikes from social, so having a reason to update it and put it back in social is very important.

Most of my “followers” aren’t looking for SEO services as they are digital marketers themselves. So I didn’t expect this post to take off HUGLEY, but given the content, I was shocked at how well it did and how much engagement it got from real actual people.

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7 Things Creators Should Know About Marketing Their Book

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7 Things Creators Should Know About Marketing Their Book

Writing a book is a gargantuan task, and reaching the finish line is a feat equal to summiting a mountain.

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Being position-less secures a marketer’s position for a lifetime

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Optimove Positionless Marketer Optimove

On March 20, 2024, the Position-less Marketer was introduced on MarTech.org and my keynote address at Optimove’s user conference.

Since that initial announcement, we have introduced the term “Position-less Marketer” to hundreds of leading marketing executives and learned that readers and the audience interpreted it in several ways. This article will document a few of those interpretations and clarify what “position-less” means regarding marketing prowess.

As a reminder, data analytics and AI, integrated marketing platforms, automation and more make the Position-less Marketer possible. Plus, new generative AI tools like ChatGPT, Canna-GPT, Github, Copilot and DALL-E offer human access to powerful new capabilities that generate computer code, images, songs and videos, respectively, with human guidance.

Position-less Marketer does not mean a marketer without a role; quite the opposite

Speaking with a senior-level marketer at a global retailer, their first interpretation may be a marketer without a role/position. This was a first-glance definition from more than 60% of the marketers who first heard the term. But on hearing the story and relating it to “be position-less” in other professions, including music and sports, most understood it as a multidimensional marketer — or, as we noted, realizing your multipotentiality. 

One executive said, phrasing position-less in a way that clarified it for me was “unlocking your multidimensionality.” She said, “I like this phrase immensely.” In reality, the word we used was “multipotentiality,” and the fact that she landed on multidimensionality is correct. As we noted, you can do more than one thing.

The other 40% of marketing executives did think of the “Position-less Marketer” as a marketing professional who is not confined or defined by traditional marketing roles or boundaries. In that sense, they are not focused only on branding or digital marketing; instead, they are versatile and agile enough to adjust to the new conditions created by the tools that new technology has to offer. As a result, the Position-less Marketer should be comfortable working across channels, platforms and strategies, integrating different approaches to achieve marketing goals effectively.

Navigating the spectrum: Balancing specialization and Position-less Marketing

Some of the most in-depth feedback came from data analytic experts from consulting firms and Chief Marketing Officers who took a more holistic view.

Most discussions of the “Position-less Marketer” concept began with a nuanced perspective on the dichotomy between entrepreneurial companies and large enterprises.

They noted that entrepreneurial companies are agile and innovative, but lack scalability and efficiency. Conversely, large enterprises excel at execution but struggle with innovation due to rigid processes.

Drawing parallels, many related this to marketing functionality, with specialists excelling in their domain, but needing a more holistic perspective and Position-less Marketers having a broader understanding but needing deep expertise.

Some argued that neither extreme is ideal and emphasized the importance of balancing specialization and generalization based on the company’s growth stage and competitive landscape.

They highlight the need for leaders to protect processes while fostering innovation, citing Steve Jobs’ approach of creating separate teams to drive innovation within Apple. They stress the significance of breaking down silos and encouraging collaboration across functions, even if it means challenging existing paradigms.

Ultimately, these experts recommended adopting a Position-less Marketing approach as a competitive advantage in today’s landscape, where tight specialization is common. They suggest that by connecting dots across different functions, companies can offer unique value to customers. However, they caution against viewing generalization as an absolute solution, emphasizing the importance of context and competitive positioning.

These marketing leaders advocate for a balanced marketing approach that leverages specialization and generalization to drive innovation and competitive advantage while acknowledging the need to adapt strategies based on industry dynamics and competitive positioning.

Be position-less, but not too position-less — realize your multipotentiality

This supports what was noted in the March 20th article: to be position-less, but not too position-less. When we realize our multipotentiality and multidimensionality, we excel as humans. AI becomes an augmentation.

But just because you can individually execute on all cylinders in marketing and perform data analytics, writing, graphics and more from your desktop does not mean you should.

Learn when being position-less is best for the organization and when it isn’t. Just because you can write copy with ChatGPT does not mean you will write with the same skill and finesse as a professional copywriter. So be position-less, but not too position-less.

Position-less vs. being pigeonholed

At the same time, if you are a manager, do not pigeonhole people. Let them spread their wings using today’s latest AI tools for human augmentation.

For managers, finding the right balance between guiding marketing pros to be position-less and, at other times, holding their position as specialists and bringing in specialists from different marketing disciplines will take a lot of work. We are at the beginning of this new era. However, working toward the right balance is a step forward in a new world where humans and AI work hand-in-hand to optimize marketing teams.

We are at a pivot point for the marketing profession. Those who can be position-less and managers who can optimize teams with flawless position-less execution will secure their position for a lifetime.

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