Connect with us


“Undercover” Case Studies: Why the Future of Marketing Is Proving Yourself in the Field



“Undercover” Case Studies: Why the Future of Marketing Is Proving Yourself in the Field

“Undercover” Case Studies: Why the Future of Marketing Is Proving Yourself in the Field

If generative AI is the future of marketing (and media in general), how can you compete with other marketers if ALL OF US have access to the same tools?

We can all create amazing images, videos (soon), and articles. We can all use the most amazing copywriter as a template to write our own copy. We can even develop entire marketing plans in SECONDS.

We can also research almost any topic to justify the claims that we make for the products and services we’re trying sell… in almost no time.

Basically, pretty soon we’ll all be able to build anything we want to help our clients sell whatever they want with little effort… but is it a good thing?

It means UNLIMITED competition which may be a problem, but more importantly, it means that all businesses will soon lose the competitive advantage known as “professionalism.”

Why “Professional” Marketing Assets Aren’t Special Anymore

Back in the good ol’ days of digital marketing, if you could produce professional copy and visuals, you would be ahead of 90% of your competitors.

Writing consistent copy WAS hard.

Generating professional graphics WAS hard.

Producing professional pictures and videos WAS hard.

Now, professional marketing assets aren’t just widespread and more available than ever before, they’re LESS effective than user generated content (UGC) in most cases!

According to a Nielsen study, 92% of consumers trust organic, user-generated content more than they trust traditional advertising.

Why is UGC content more effective than professionally created content? It feels genuine and trustworthy.

Even if UGC content is made for personal gain (e.g. influencers, sponsored individuals, affiliates, etc.), it doesn’t matter to the viewer. They just see amateur content made about a product or service they might be interested in. They’ll trust that much faster than the fanciest commercial you can make.

UGC materials don’t need to PROVE anything, we as marketers do.

How Can Professional Content Keep Up with UGC?

So, what can marketers do to influence viewers the same way unpaid (or low paid) amateurs do with UGC?

The answer isn’t simple, but it is necessary.

If we need to produce professional content AND it needs to be compelling, we’re going to have to start proving ourselves in real world situations.

Content Marketing CertificationContent Marketing Certification

Want to get certified in Content Marketing?

Leverage the tools and channels to predictably and profitably drive awareness, leads, sales, and referrals—EVERYTHING you need to know to become a true master of digital marketing.​ Click Here

We all sell high quality, well-vetted products and services (of course), but a list of features, benefits, and even testimonials isn’t going to be compelling enough any more. People want proof, and there’s something we can do to directly provide it.

How Case Studies Can Deliver Results Like UGC

Case studies are the professional business/marketing equivalent to User Generated Content.

Here’s what makes UGC effective:

  • Authenticity: UGC is perceived as genuine, fostering trust and credibility.
  • Relatability: Real user experiences make it easier for potential customers to envision product use.
  • Social Proof: Positive interactions in UGC serve as powerful endorsements, boosting confidence.
  • Diverse Perspectives: UGC provides varied viewpoints, appealing to a broader audience.
  • Engagement: UGC generates higher engagement, fostering a sense of community around the brand.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Leveraging UGC is more budget-friendly compared to producing polished branded content.
  • Scalability: UGC can be easily scaled, allowing for continuous and diverse content creation.
  • Emotional Connection: UGC can evoke emotional responses, creating a stronger brand connection.
  • Word of Mouth: UGC acts as digital word of mouth, amplifying the brand message organically.
  • Adaptability: UGC can be adapted for various channels, maximizing its reach and impact.

Now, let’s look at what makes case studies compelling:

  • Authenticity: Like UGC, case studies are authentic and based on real experiences, fostering trust.
  • Relatability: Case studies provide real-world examples, making it easier for potential customers to relate.
  • Social Proof: They serve as powerful social proof, showcasing successful experiences with the product or service.
  • Diverse Perspectives: Case studies often include diverse perspectives, offering a well-rounded view of the product’s impact.
  • Engagement: Well-crafted case studies can engage readers, drawing them into a narrative that highlights the value of the product or service.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: While creating case studies involves some investment, they can be cost-effective compared to other forms of content creation.
  • Scalability: Case studies, once created, can be shared across various platforms, maximizing their reach.
  • Emotional Connection: Effective case studies can evoke emotions, creating a deeper connection with the audience.
  • Word of Mouth: Positive case studies can be shared by customers, acting as digital word of mouth to amplify the brand’s success stories.
  • Adaptability: Case studies can be adapted for different marketing channels, offering versatility in their use.

Even with all of these similarities, Case Studies can feel stuffy (especially when they’re related to services). There’s one type that can come closer to UGC, and that’s the “Undercover Case Study.”

What is an “Undercover Case Study?”

This type of “case study” has been done for years, and was popularized by the show “Undercover Boss” which started airing in 2010. If you didn’t know… this was marketing (and was probably paid for by the company being featured). Here’s a few entertaining moments if you haven’t seen the show before:

Yes, there are a ton of cringy moments when the “boss” proves to be incredibly incompetent while working simple jobs, but the desired effect was usually achieved: humanizing big companies and their owners/managers.

It also provides a ton of exposure for the brand, what they sell, and why you should shop there (even if the only reason to shop there is to help the poor souls that work there).

You might be saying, “I don’t have millions to spend on a production like this, what can I do?”

Good news! Marketers are stepping up to show how this type of case study can be done without a million-dollar budget.

Undercover Billionaire: A Step Closer to Practical Undercover Case Studies

“Undercover Billionaire” is this American TV show where super successful business folks get stripped of everything and get plopped into small towns armed with just $100 and a car. They’ve got a tight 90 days to spin that measly $100 into a cool million-dollar business, all from scratch.

The show kicked off on August 6, 2019, and wrapped up its first season on September 24, 2019, featuring bigwig Glenn Stearns. Season two stepped up the game with three entrepreneurs, including the likes of Grant Cardone. Here’s a peak at the content:

Folks love this show for throwing the American dream into the ring and seeing if it’ll come out on top. Can you really build a booming business with just pocket change? Sure, the show’s taken a hit for maybe being a bit too scripted or over the top, but it’s dishing out some serious lessons on hustling and business building.

Here’s the rundown: these high rollers pick a business, build a squad, hustle their way from that humble $100, and BOOM – a startup is born. Oh, and there’s a Discovery Channel film crew shadowing them, calling it a documentary on starting a small business from scratch. They want you to think, “Hey, if these guys can do it, so can I!”

Yeah, we get it – reality shows can be a bit Hollywood, maybe stretching the truth here and there. But, “Undercover Billionaire” serves up some real-deal insights into the wild world of entrepreneurship and the crazy hurdles of starting a business from ground zero.

It also shows whether the marketing techniques touted by people like Grant Cardone ACTUALLY work.

Again, you might be saying, “This is great, but I still don’t have a budget for something like this.”

In that case, good news! Someone is making a show that could prove the practicality of undercover case studies for the rest of us!

Undercover Agency: The Future of Marketing?

We know you can produce a compelling, interesting undercover case study if you have the money for a big show and the ability to get huge names on it, but what if you have a smaller budget and a smaller following?

Enter our DigitalMarketer friend and community members, JC & Karen Hite from Hite Digital.

They’re gearing up to embark on a daring mission: launch an agency from scratch and try to acheive $10k in profits within just 4 months. To up the stakes even higher, they’re moving to Searcy, Arkansas (from their home in Nicaragua) to do it.

They want to prove that their marketing techniques, for both starting an agency and gaining results for their small business clients, works. To do that, they’re following these specs:

  • No team
  • 4 months
  • $2k starting funds

To add an extra layer of challenge, JC is throwing in a commitment to keep faith and family at the forefront. That means reading the entire Bible during this experiment and powering down the phone from 5pm-8pm for some quality family time!

Can the Hite’s “Undercover Agency” show prove that undercover case studies are the future of marketing? We’ll find out!

If you’re an agency owner and want to join JC on this journey, they’ll be posting their progress starting in December 2023. To follow along, just join their Facebook Group.

Undercover Case Studies Why the Future of Marketing Is Proving

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address


Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists



Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.


Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading


A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots



A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading


Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)



Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.



To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

1716755163 123 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 123 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To
  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

1716755164 910 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755164 910 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

1716755164 348 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755164 348 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.

Disruptive Design Raising the Bar of Content Marketing with Graphic

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading