Our goal as iterative marketers is to produce continuous improvement. Accomplishing this goal does not come easily without a trusted toolkit of tactics, templates and measurement tools. The following list offers 10 essential tools for getting started on the path to continuous improvement across all marketing efforts.
1. Google Analytics: Google Analytics is an effective and free way to measure and provide feedback on the success of our marketing activities. This might sound obvious, but many marketers still fail to make measurement and feedback a part of their planning process. With a measurement interface in place, we can make sure that we have the necessary data to drive decision-making.
Using Google Analytics may seem challenging at first, but a little training will go a long way. The metrics we pay attention to include sessions, bounce rates, goal completions, pages per visit, engagement rate (sessions/impressions) and cost per engagement (amount spent/total sessions).
2. Personas: Tape them to the wall, carry them in a three-ring binder — whatever you do, have your personas handy. Iterative marketers rely on personas on a daily basis to get inside the heads of their target audience. Personas create a shared vocabulary between marketing and sales departments, and can help break down silos. Follow our step-by-step guides with our free templates for creating a B2B buyer persona or B2C buyer persona. If you need help developing personas, check out these additional resources:
- 9 Research Ideas for Creating Data-Driven Personas
- 8 Underexplored Areas of LinkedIn For Persona Research
- How To Use Facebook To Research Buyer Personas
3. Persona Matrix: Identifying one or two primary personas is an essential first step to targeting our audience. But what do we do when the lines between personas are blurred, or we simply have too many of them to handle? A persona matrix helps us to distinguish clear boundaries between one persona and the next, and organizes them in a reader-friendly table.
4. Customer Journey Map: Wouldn’t you like to know how your audience feels before, during and after they interact with your brand? Customer journey maps are used to document an audience member’s journey throughout the sales cycle, as well as outline the role of both marketing and sales departments. Journey maps improve organizational decision-making and future planning. We’ve developed tools for each state of customer journey mapping.
5. Statistical Significance Calculator: Don’t run away just yet — statistical significance is not as scary as it might seem. Statistical significance proves if a marketer’s A/B test is conclusive, or if it is the result of chance. We can find this statistical significance, or confidence, with an A/B confidence calculator. The higher the confidence, the more likely we are able to reproduce the results. For a simpler approach, use an A/B testing software such as Optimizely, Convert.com, Unbounce and KISSmetrics. But before you do any of that, first read: How To Ensure Your A/B Testing Gets Results.
6. Executive Report: As marketers, we often struggle to communicate our impact on our organization. But by writing an executive report we can concisely communicate our marketing efforts relationship to the bottom line. Our executive report reports on: revenue or ROI based on an individual program for maximum insights, long-term assets that position the company for future growth, recommended improvements derived from experimentation, and general insights.
7. Brand Guide: The components of branding go beyond font and logo design. A well communicated brand inspires a company’s internal vocabulary and how its employees interact with customers. While the components that make up brand and brand management are numerous, the brand guide is integral to each aspect. This manual of style, or “brand bible,” clearly outlines the identity and personality of a brand. Here are 6 Questions To Determine If Your Brand Guide Is Effective. Additional resources:
8. Decision Tree To Stop Wasting Resources: Too often, marketers are stuck in a campaign or program that is not producing positive results. But instead of axing the underperforming marketing tactic, we try to recoup our investment or keep it running to “see what happens.” This backward-looking decision-making, or fallacy of sunk costs, keeps marketers in a dangerous cycle of wasting resources. We developed this handy Marketing Activity Decision Tree to help marketers see when it’s time to cut an underperforming tactic. Additional resource:
9. Collateral Audit Worksheet: Marketing personalization helps us deliver the right message at the right time to our target audience. Facilitating a collateral audit will help marketers see where they have gaps in their content strategy, and where they meet the needs of their audience. Use this Collateral Audit Worksheet to document each piece of content and advertising in your arsenal. Additional resource:
10. See-Think-Do Cheat Sheet: Every member of our target audience is in one of three consideration states in the buyer’s journey: See, Think or Do. Avinash Kaushik first developed this framework, and iterative marketers must refer to it often. Understanding our customer’s state of being in either the See, Think or Do stage helps us better identify marketing channels, develop content, target our advertising, and measure success. Download our See-Think-Do worksheet, and provides content, media and measurement tips for each state.
Did we leave anything off the list? If so, please share your own recommendations in the comments.