Iterative Marketing is a structured methodology for planning, executing and optimizing marketing. It is independent of any technology platform, instead providing a set of tools and techniques for applying continuous improvement to your marketing activity.
The current model of marketing is rapidly breaking down:
- The promise of big data and analytics means we struggle to meet ever-increasing demands of accountability with each marketing decision. Our clients, executives, investors and shareholders no longer expect just results, they now demand we connect the dots between spend and revenue.
- Our target audiences consume 15.5 hours of media and are inundated with more than 174 newspapers-worth of information every day, resulting in an audience that is extremely selective as to what content gets through.
- The rapid pace of business, employee turnover and marketing technology adoption means competitors and media channels are shifting faster than quicksand.
- Agency of record relationships are fewer and farther between as brands question the agency’s ability to be experts in all facets of new media. Internal agencies and multiple vendors make it harder to keep anyone accountable and on the same page.
With stakeholders no longer accepting the uncertainty of big campaign thinking and the loss of confidence in the agency of record relationship, we as marketers are stripped of the structure that enabled us to get things done. We are left staring down a barrage of new demands with little more than a few buzzwords and tactics to cling to. We need a clear path forward.
Imagine you had a system that gave you, and those holding you accountable, confidence in your marketing decisions. Imagine marketing programs with built-in feedback loops and built-in continuous improvement. Imagine a framework helping you make sense of each new tactic you read about in Digiday or Social Media Examiner. Imagine that your marketing efforts went beyond lead-generation to insight-generation. Imagine a system that keeps the focus on results and the graphs pointing up and to the right.
This is the vision of Iterative Marketing and you are all invited to join our journey to this utopia. Iterative Marketing promises clarity and focus around every decision we make. It bakes in continuous improvement methods to ensure that we build on past success and limit our risk on the untested. Iterative Marketing allows us to develop valuable market insights as we improve results, letting the market (and marketing) guide our organizations to success. Join us as we refine and apply our methodology to stamp out wasteful marketing practices in our businesses or those of our clients. Let’s start a revolution together.
Iterative Marketing is a combination of six fundamental truths and six actionable components. The six fundamental truths are a set of shared beliefs within the Iterative Marketing community and frame all decision making. These truths also clarify what is, and is not, Iterative Marketing. The six actionable components are the action steps and tools to consistently and successfully implement Iterative Marketing.
While it is possible to cherry pick fundamental truths and actionable components, the methodology as a whole is most successful if it is implemented in its entirety. That said, there’s no reason to take on everything at once. Most organizations already have marketing and sales activity in place that is working and may not fit within the Iterative Marketing methodology. In that case, successful organizations start working with the first two to three actionable components while auditing existing activity against the six fundamental truths, making small adjustments until the majority of marketing activity is in alignment.
The following six fundamental truths represent the shared beliefs that the Iterative Marketing community hold to be true. These truths keep us focused guide our decision making.
- Persona-First: Marketing is most impactful when every idea is approached from a persona-first mindset.
- Programs (Not Campaigns): Programs produce the best ROI when they are indefinite (not time-boxed), continuous and repeatable.
- Measurement & Feedback: By making measurement and feedback part of the planning process, we ensure we have the data needed to make business decisions and allow for continuous improvement.
- Minimum Viable Marketing Program (MVMP): Beginning with a minimum viable marketing program maximizes opportunity to apply insights as a program grows, minimizing investment in unsuccessful ideas.
- Data-Driven Decisions: The best decisions are based on data, rather than bias or sunk cost.
- Create Insight: Experimentation is most valuable when it not only leads to improvement in program results, but also drives insights into our personas.
The Iterative Marketing methodology is broken up into six actionable components. These components are most successful when implemented wholistically, but can be implemented a few at a time.
- Brand Discovery: Uncover how your buying audience feels about your product or service and how they rationalize the decision to buy.
- Persona Discovery: Document the individuals involved in the buying process in a way that allows us to empathize with them in a consistent way.
- Journey Mapping: Plot the stages and paths of the persona lifecycle, documenting each persona’s unique state of mind, needs and concerns at each stage.
- Channel and Content Alignment: Align every piece of content and marketing channel/activity to a primary persona and primary marketing stage, identifying new channels and content needs where opportunities exist.
- Experimentation and Optimization: Conduct thoughtful experiments designed to produce statistically significant business insights and apply the results to optimize performance.
- Reporting and Feedback: Report and review data and insights to drive decisions in content and strategy, as well as information to be used by the organization as a whole.
Where Do We Go From Here?
If the framework supporting Iterative Marketing resonates with your vision of what modern marketing should be, we hope you’ll join us for the ride and begin employing these ideas within your organization or with your clients. We are working to build a strong community of passionate Iterative Marketers who practice its methods and are willing to help us further refine the methodology. As we do so, the best way to stay connected with the movement is by subscribing to our newsletter or podcast and participating in our LinkedIn community. Watch this space for more as we move forward.