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The Five Things to Think About For Your 2022 Marketing Budget

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the-five-things-to-think-about-for-your-2022-marketing-budget-–-jd-supra
It’s budgeting season. My favorite time of year! (Not.)

This time last year I was telling anyone who asked my opinion to think long term: Don’t cut marketing spending. Invest wisely. Yes, times are scary, but it is the firms that lean into their brand and digital presence that are going to emerge in a better place than those that do not.

Some firms listened. Others didn’t.

With 2022 fast approaching, it’s time to take stock of your firm’s marketing health. The longer you wait to make investments in critical marketing initiatives, the further behind your competition you will be. And take it from me: smart, forward-thinking firms are investing in marketing right now.

So, where should you focus your marketing dollars?

Marketing Automation

First and foremost, you need to invest in marketing automation tools. Marketing automation is the process of making repetitive tasks more efficient with tools like email marketing platforms, social schedulers, etc.

There are some things a human being should always be the one executing. But pushing “send” on a marketing email at a specific time, posting to your company’s twitter feed, or making a blog post go live? Nope.

“I’ve already got a social scheduler and email marketing platform,” you’re saying. Great! Now it’s time to kick it up a notch. What type of communications do your website visitors receive when they download a resource from your site?

Notice I said communications. A single “thanks for downloading” email isn’t enough. Setting up automations to nurture those contacts is simple and truly takes just a little bit of time.

Imagine: Visitor registers for a Trusts and Estates virtual CLE you are running. Once they register, they get an email thanking them for their registration, and they are entered into a workflow so that they also receive subsequent, tailored emails on trusts and estates and other related topics every three to four weeks. Enrollment in this workflow is triggered simply by signing up for the event. No further manual action required. Until they reach out for more information on your services that is.

Resources Required:

  • Graphic designer
  • Marketing technologist
  • Project manager
  • Marketing automation tool

Time Required For:

  • Researching the options available in the tools you have or new resources.
  • Creating automated emails from existing content and/or templates for new content as it is generated. (~30 mins/email)
  • Designing automated email templates. (~30 mins/email)
  • Setting up workflows. (Depends on the complexity of the workflow, but could be as quick as 5 minutes once you have all the right pieces in place.)

Multimedia Marketing

Call me captain obvious, but videos and podcasts are an increasingly valuable and important marketing method in your toolbox. And right now we’re in a great spot to be producing quick hit, high-value multimedia content. It doesn’t take much more than a ring light, a usb lavalier microphone, and a decent webcam (or your smartphone) to become a livestream or podcast producer. No one is expecting perfection.

“Do I have to?” No, you don’t have to. But here are some reasons why you really should:

  1. A one to three-minute video on social media gets your brand and your content in front of your audience in a method they are accustomed to consuming.
  2. Adding video to email can increase click-through rates by 200%+
  3. A video is 50x more likely to appear on the first page of Google search results, especially when it’s a YouTube video.
  4. 94% of video marketers say video has helped increase user understanding of their product or service.
  5. 68% of consumers say the pandemic has impacted the amount of video content they’ve watched online, with the overwhelming majority (96%) saying this has increased.
  6. 84% of people say that they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video.

“When asked how they’d most like to learn about a product or service, 69% [of respondents] said they’d prefer to watch a short video. This compares to 18% who’d rather read a text-based article, website, or post, 4% who’d like to view an infographic, 3% who’d rather download an ebook or manual, and 3% who’d rather attend a webinar,” says Wyzowl.

What does take time is the planning and distribution of this content. Invest in resources — either internal or external — that can help you put together content that can be used multiple ways, multiple times.

Resources Required:

  • Lighting for each contributor like this ring light from Amazon. This is another good option for on-the-go. (I have both)
  • A decent microphone for each contributor. This lavaliere mic works with a standard audio jack, or has an iPhone lighting port adapter. Another good option is this Shure microphone. (Again, I have both.)
  • Video and/or audio editing software OR an outsourced editor. You’d be surprised what you can do in Canva with video, but this is a truly worthwhile external investment.
  • A place to host videos (YouTube works great) and/or Podcasts (Libsyn, BuzzSprout, and Soundcloud are all good options depending on what you want to achieve.)
  • Royalty-free music (I recently subscribed to Artlist and I’m very happy with the options available. They also pre-test music for YouTube copyright passability.)
  • Graphic designer for intro/outro if your outsourced editor is unable to provide.
  • Video caption creator.

Time Required For:

  • Recording videos. Start with one-hour blocks and try to get enough content for three to four one-minute videos. (1 hour/recording.)
  • Designing video intro/outro (Varies)
  • Researching content and writing scripts (Varies)
  • For video: reviewing captions and editing transcript (Depends on length of content.)
  • Posting transcript to website (15 minutes)
  • Related email, social, and other promotion (varies)

Integrated Systems

I’m going to go on record right now and tell you there are dozens, if not hundreds, of tools that all do kind of the same thing when it comes to marketing automation. I couldn’t possibly compare all of them for you, but here is what I will say: At the heart of what you should be doing is connecting all of your marketing functions to your Client Relationship Management (CRM) tool.

CRMs and their connected marketing platforms today are not the tools they were 10 years ago. Fully integrated systems today can and should be the hub of all marketing activities, helping you attract attention, validate your presence in the marketplace, and convert prospects into clients.

Why is this important? When you have a fully integrated marketing ecosystem, your web traffic, social performance, business development pipeline, email marketing, and contact database all live in one place. This means you can better track your marketing efforts and reach your target audiences efficiently and effectively.

We at LISI are big fans of HubSpot, but like I said, there are other tools that might get the job done.

Resources Required:

Time Required

  • System configuration
  • Template migration
  • Contact migration

I won’t lie, this is going to take a lot of time. This is not a project you’ll enter into lightly, but I promise you, you won’t be sorry you did.

Branding and Marketing Messaging

Is your brand tired? Does your visual representation in digital and print reflect where your firm is today? Sometimes it’s just time for a refresh. Nothing is necessarily “wrong,” but your brand is outdated. That’s a subliminal message to prospects that your firm isn’t investing in itself. In technology. In systems and processes. That you’re slow to change.

Resources Required:

  • This is one of those times you need to bring in an outside perspective. Depending on how deep of a dive you decide to do, this can range from brand ‘lite’ to full brand overhaul.
  • Graphic designer (internal or external)

Time Required For:

  • Conducting stakeholder interviews
  • Conducting client interviews
  • Doing a comprehensive brand audit
  • Creating a new Brand
  • Creating all the “things” that go with a new brand

In total, this can take 3-6 months for a comprehensive process. I recommend ensuring you’ve got all your stakeholders on board so this doesn’t drag out. You want these conversations to be fresh in people’s minds and reasoning behind decisions to be clear.

Omnipresent Digital Presence

I read this term recently and it really resonated with me. Having an omnipresent digital presence means being present across all the appropriate channels for your brand, consistently. This requires diligent strategic planning, consistent content production, and coordinated efforts across each platform.

In practical terms this means:

  1. Focusing on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Optimizing your website for organic search is a critical first step. Whatever type of law you practice, when someone searches for information about that area online, you want to be front and center. Ranking high on search engine results pages (SERPs) is a long game, but having a coordinated strategy to get you there starts with the first step.
  2. Investing in Pay-Per-Click search engine marketing (PPC SEM) if warranted for your practice. Essentially all consumer-facing practices need to invest money in targeted PPC. Why? Because SEM completely changes the face of digital marketing and if you don’t show up in ads at the top of the SERPs, you’re missing out on business. Plain and simple.
  3. Putting a mechanism in place to generate content consistently. Two to four valuable pieces of content per month, depending on your practice. I’m talking about guides, infographics, videos, podcasts, FAQs, blogs. How? Pick a broad topic, then make a list under that topic heading of all the things that could fall under that topic. Then plan out a content generation plan to address each of those items. Vary your mediums.
  4. Creating a social media strategy. Think about the audience on each platform. On LinkedIn, for example, you’ll go for referral sources and professional contacts. Twitter, possibly media sources, or clients looking for news. Instagram is for the softer side/behind the scenes. Pick the platforms that make sense for your audience and tailor your content accordingly.

Resources Required:

  • A digital marketing specialist who knows what they’re doing re: SEO/SEM. You might have this resource internally, but if not, you’ll need to hire someone to help you with this.
  • A content specialist. Someone who can create the strategy and execute production, whether as a project manager, or as the person who is actually producing it herself. Again, this could be done internally depending on your staffing, but is a good place to outsource.
  • A social media strategist who can create the strategy and tailor content for each platform.

Time Required For:

  • Creating content (3-5 hours/piece)
  • Optimizing your website for SEO (varies depending on how many pages your site has.)
  • Creating SEM campaigns (varies)
  • Creating social media (10-20 hours/month or more)

MARKETING

45 Free Content Writing Tools to Love [for Writing, Editing & Content Creation]

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45 Free Content Writing Tools to Love [for Writing, Editing & Content Creation]

Creating content isn’t always a walk in the park. (In fact, it can sometimes feel more like trying to swim against the current.)

While other parts of business and marketing are becoming increasingly automated, content creation is still a very manual job. (more…)

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MARKETING

How data clean rooms might help keep the internet open

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How data clean rooms might help keep the internet open

Are data clean rooms the solution to what IAB CEO David Cohen has called the “slow-motion train wreck” of addressability? Voices at the IAB will tell you that they have a big role to play.

“The issue with addressability is that once cookies go away, and with the loss of identifiers, about 80% of the addressable market will become unknown audiences which is why there is a need for privacy-centric consent and a better consent-value exchange,” said Jeffrey Bustos, VP, measurement, addressability and data at the IAB.

“Everyone’s talking about first-party data, and it is very valuable,” he explained, “but most publishers who don’t have sign-on, they have about 3 to 10% of their readership’s first-party data.” First-party data, from the perspective of advertisers who want to reach relevant and audiences, and publishers who want to offer valuable inventory, just isn’t enough.

Why we care. Two years ago, who was talking about data clean rooms? The surge of interest is recent and significant, according to the IAB. DCRs have the potential, at least, to keep brands in touch with their audiences on the open internet; to maintain viability for publishers’ inventories; and to provide sophisticated measurement capabilities.

How data clean rooms can help. DCRs are a type of privacy-enhancing technology that allows data owners (including brands and publishers) to share customer first-party data in a privacy-compliant way. Clean rooms are secure spaces where first-party data from a number of sources can be resolved to the same customer’s profile while that profile remains anonymized.

In other words, a DCR is a kind of Switzerland — a space where a truce is called on competition while first-party data is enriched without compromising privacy.

“The value of a data clean room is that a publisher is able to collaborate with a brand across both their data sources and the brand is able to understand audience behavior,” said Bestos. For example, a brand selling eye-glasses might know nothing about their customers except basic transactional data — and that they wear glasses. Matching profiles with a publisher’s behavioral data provides enrichment.

“If you’re able to understand behavioral context, you’re able to understand what your customers are reading, what they’re interested in, what their hobbies are,” said Bustos. Armed with those insights, a brand has a better idea of what kind of content they want to advertise against.

The publisher does need to have a certain level of first-party data for the matching to take place, even if it doesn’t have a universal requirement for sign-ins like The New York Times. A publisher may be able to match only a small percentage of the eye-glass vendor’s customers, but if they like reading the sports and arts sections, at least that gives some directional guidance as to what audience the vendor should target.

Dig deeper: Why we care about data clean rooms

What counts as good matching? In its “State of Data 2023” report, which focuses almost exclusively on data clean rooms, concern is expressed that DCR efficacy might be threatened by poor match rates. Average match rates hover around 50% (less for some types of DCR).

Bustos is keen to put this into context. “When you are matching data from a cookie perspective, match rates are usually about 70-ish percent,” he said, so 50% isn’t terrible, although there’s room for improvement.

One obstacle is a persistent lack of interoperability between identity solutions — although it does exist; LiveRamp’s RampID is interoperable, for example, with The Trade Desk’s UID2.

Nevertheless, said Bustos, “it’s incredibly difficult for publishers. They have a bunch of identity pixels firing for all these different things. You don’t know which identity provider to use. Definitely a long road ahead to make sure there’s interoperability.”

Maintaining an open internet. If DCRs can contribute to solving the addressability problem they will also contribute to the challenge of keeping the internet open. Walled gardens like Facebook do have rich troves of first-party and behavioral data; brands can access those audiences, but with very limited visibility into them.

“The reason CTV is a really valuable proposition for advertisers is that you are able to identify the user 1:1 which is really powerful,” Bustos said. “Your standard news or editorial publisher doesn’t have that. I mean, the New York Times has moved to that and it’s been incredibly successful for them.” In order to compete with the walled gardens and streaming services, publishers need to offer some degree of addressability — and without relying on cookies.

But DCRs are a heavy lift. Data maturity is an important qualification for getting the most out of a DCR. The IAB report shows that, of the brands evaluating or using DCRs, over 70% have other data-related technologies like CDPs and DMPs.

“If you want a data clean room,” Bustos explained, “there are a lot of other technological solutions you have to have in place before. You need to make sure you have strong data assets.” He also recommends starting out by asking what you want to achieve, not what technology would be nice to have. “The first question is, what do you want to accomplish? You may not need a DCR. ‘I want to do this,’ then see what tools would get you to that.”

Understand also that implementation is going to require talent. “It is a demanding project in terms of the set-up,” said Bustos, “and there’s been significant growth in consulting companies and agencies helping set up these data clean rooms. You do need a lot of people, so it’s more efficient to hire outside help for the set up, and then just have a maintenance crew in-house.”

Underuse of measurement capabilities. One key finding in the IAB’s research is that DCR users are exploiting the audience matching capabilities much more than realizing the potential for measurement and attribution. “You need very strong data scientists and engineers to build advanced models,” Bustos said.

“A lot of brands that look into this say, ‘I want to be able to do a predictive analysis of my high lifetime value customers that are going to buy in the next 90 days.’ Or ‘I want to be able to measure which channels are driving the most incremental lift.’ It’s very complex analyses they want to do; but they don’t really have a reason as to why. What is the point? Understand your outcome and develop a sequential data strategy.”

Trying to understand incremental lift from your marketing can take a long time, he warned. “But you can easily do a reach and frequency and overlap analysis.” That will identify wasted investment in channels and as a by-product suggest where incremental lift is occurring. “There’s a need for companies to know what they want, identify what the outcome is, and then there are steps that are going to get you there. That’s also going to help to prove out ROI.”

Dig deeper: Failure to get the most out of data clean rooms is costing marketers money


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MARKETING

Ascend | DigitalMarketer

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Ascend | DigitalMarketer

At this stage, your goal is to generate repeat buys and real profits. While your entry-point offer was designed for conversions, your ascension offers should be geared for profits—because if you’re serving your customers well, they’ll want to buy again and again.

Ascension offers may be simple upsells made after that initial purchase… bigger, better solutions… or “done for you” add-ons.

So now we must ask ourselves, what is our core flagship offer and how do we continue to deliver value after the first sale is made? What is the thing that we are selling? 

How we continue to deliver value after the first sale is really important, because having upsells and cross sales gives you the ability to sell to customers you already have. It will give you higher Average Customer values, which is going to give you higher margins. Which means you can spend more to acquire new customers. 

Why does this matter? It matters because of this universal law of marketing and customer acquisition, he or she who is able and willing to spend the most to acquire a customer wins.

Very often the business with the best product messaging very often is the business that can throw the most into customer acquisition. Now there are two ways to do that.

The first way is to just raise a lot of money. The problem is if you have a lot of money, that doesn’t last forever. At some point you need economics. 

The second way, and the most timeless and predictable approach, is to simply have the highest value customers of anyone in your market. If your customers are worth more to you than they are to your competitors, you can spend more to acquire them at the same margin. 

If a customer is worth twice as much to you than it is to your competitor, you can spend twice as much trying to acquire them to make the same margin. You can invest in your customer acquisition, because your customers are investing in your business. You can invest in your customer experiences, and when we invest more into the customer we build brands that have greater value. Meaning, people are more likely to choose you over someone else, which can actually lower acquisition costs. 

Happy customers refer others to us, which is called zero dollar customer acquisition, and generally just ensures you’re making a bigger impact. You can invest more in the customer experience and customer acquisition process if you don’t have high margins. 

If you deliver a preview experience, you can utilize revenue maximizers like up sells, cross sales, and bundles. These are things that would follow up the initial sale or are combined with the initial sale to increase the Average Customer Value.

The best example of an immediate upsell is the classic McDonalds, “would you like fries with that?” You got just a burger, do you also want fries with that? 

What distinguishes an upsell from other types of follow up offers is the upsell promise, the same end result for a bigger and better end result. 

What’s your desired result when you go to McDonalds? It’s not to eat healthy food, and it’s not even to eat a small amount of food. When you go to McDonalds your job is to have a tasty, greasy, predictable inexpensive meal. No one is going there because it’s healthy, you’re going there because you want to eat good. 

It’s predictable. It’s not going to break the bank for a hamburger, neither will adding fries or a Coke. It’s the same experience, but it’s BIGGER and BETTER. 

Amazon does this all of the time with their “Customers Who Bought This Also Bought …” But this one is algorithmic. The point of a cross sell is that it is relevant to the consumer, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be aligned with the original purchase. What you don’t want to do is start someone down one path and confuse them.

You can make this process easy with Bundles and Kits. With a bundle or a kit you’re essentially saying to someone, “you can buy just one piece, or you can get this bundle that does all of these other things for a little bit more. And it’s a higher value.”

The idea behind bundles and kits is that we are adding to the primary offer, not offering them something different. We’re simply promising to get them this desired result in higher definition. 

The Elements of High-Converting Revenue Maximizers (like our bundles and kits) are:

  1. Speed

If you’re an e-Commerce business, selling a physical product, this can look like: offering free shipping for orders $X or more. We’re looking to get your customers the same desired result, but with less work for them.

  1. Automation

If you’re a furniture business, and you want to add a Revenue Maximizer, this can look like: Right now for an extra $X our highly trained employees will come and put this together for you. 

  1. Access 

People will pay for speed, they’ll pay for less work, but they will also pay for a look behind the curtain. Think about the people who pay for Backstage Passes. Your customers will pay for a VIP experience just so they can kind of see how everything works. 

Remember, the ascension stage doesn’t have to stop. Once you have a customer, you should do your best to make them a customer for life. You should continue serving them. Continue asking them, “what needs are we still not meeting” and seek to meet those needs. 

It is your job as a marketer to seek out to discover these needs, to bring these back to the product team, because that’s what’s going to enable you to fully maximize the average customer value. Which is going to enable you to have a whole lot more to spend to acquire those customers and make your job a whole lot easier. 

Now that you understand the importance of the ascend stage, let’s apply it to our examples.

Hazel & Hem could have free priority shipping over $150, a “Boutique Points” reward program with exclusive “double point” days to encourage spending, and an exclusive “Stylist Package” that includes a full outfit custom selected for the customer. 

Cyrus & Clark can retain current clients by offering an annual strategic plan, “Done for You” Marketing services that execute on the strategic plan, and the top tier would allow customers to be the exclusive company that Cyrus & Clark services in specific geographical territories.



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