I freaking love a good list. Top ten lists, grocery lists, bucket lists, email lists (I am a marketer, after all) -- you get the picture.
So it should come as no surprise that I also freaking love checking tasks off of my Wunderlist app each day. If you’ve ever used Wunderlist, you’ll relate to the satisfying feeling of hearing that “ping!” when you check off another task. It’s like productivity crack.
Unhealthy obsessions aside, I’ve actually harnessed the power of lists to stick to most of my New Year’s resolutions that I made a year ago. And since I used an app to track progress, I can look back at what I accomplished this year and use that to fuel my goal setting for next year.
I’ve used Wunderlist in 2017 to tackle debt, build closer relationships with family members, expand my professional network, and create lasting memories with my husband. It sounds super cheesy, but it’s been a fantastic accountability tool for me this year. However, it took a lot more planning than a typical New Year’s resolution.
As we near the start of 2018, I thought I would share a few tips for how I set and measured my goals using Wunderlist:
I’d love to chat more with anyone individually about how I set and measure my 2017 resolutions, as well as about some of my goals for 2018. Just shoot me a message on LinkedIn or comment below. Otherwise, thanks for reading, and happy goal-setting!
Disclaimer: I’m mostly writing this post because I thought the title was hilarious. Please feel free to click away if you disagree.
Certain buzzwords in marketing are so overused that they eventually transcend to a level of jargon that makes even the most jargon-y of marketers question its meaning. And to be honest, “account-based marketing” (ABM) is slowly rising to that same rank of vagueness also occupied by terms like “thought leadership” or “dynamic content.” As Blades of Glory so eloquently puts it …
In other words, ABM gets the marketers going.
Will Ferrell/Kanye West jokes aside, Emplify is in the process of transitioning to an account-based marketing model. Through this process, I’ve learned that ABM truly means something different to every marketer I’ve talked to. And I think that’s okay.
Like Agile, ABM brings certain principles that need to be modified and adapted for every team and their demand generation needs. In the process of building an account-based marketing strategy for Emplify, I thought I would share some of my interpretations of what this phrase means for marketers, as well as some common misconceptions I’ve encountered as well.
But first, what actually is account-based marketing?
According to Marketo, ABM is defined as:
“an alternative B2B strategy that concentrates sales and marketing resources on a clearly defined set of target accounts within a market and employs personalized campaigns designed to resonate with each account.”
Essentially, account-based marketing is a cohesive marketing and sales effort to convert a select group of accounts (usually called ICP or “ideal client profile” accounts) using customized, multi-channel methods like remarketing, direct mail, and call/email cadences.
And when executed well, account-based marketing can demolish your demand gen goals. According to the Altera Group, 97% of marketers said that ABM had higher or much higher ROI than previous marketing initiatives.
But beyond value and definition, account-based marketing can still be a vastly overwhelming concept to apply to daily planning and operations. In conversations with fellow (genius) marketers in the Indy area and through our own trial and error at Emplify, here are a few early definitions I’ve realized during our transition to ABM.
What ABM is:
What ABM isn’t:
I’ve read approximately 37 blog posts, perused 13 e-books, and attended at least 3 webinars about ABM, and I can still understand why some marketers may be scratching their heads about what it actually means. Hopefully my post provides a bit of clarity around the subject from my experience so far.
Account-based marketing experts, I’d love to hear about what I got right (and what I got wrong!) and I’d love to hear additional questions that fellow marketers are having about ABM applications. Please leave a comment below!
I’m a project manager, so I like to plan. Before you think “no shit, Sherlock” and click away from this post, I need you to truly understand the how deeply good (or bad) planning affects my core being.
If I go to bed with more than 3-4 unfinished tasks on my to do list, I fall into an existential crisis. When I’m stressed, I cope by organizing and reorganizing my Wunderlist until I feel better. I know peoples’ meeting calendars at Emplify better than they do. And I mean this with all the love in the world, but I’m pretty sure my husband would look like Weird Al Yankovic if I didn’t set reminders to give him haircuts.
Digressions aside, when our new VP of Marketing came to me with some pretty revolutionary, but also very intimidating, visions for our marketing strategy, all I wanted to do was lock myself in an office and compulsively move Trello cards until all the scary feelings went away. However, when you are at a crossroads with a team that warrants a greater discussion around marketing vision (and how you’re going to actually achieve said vision), ignoring those scary feelings will only result in spinning wheels on projects and team members who aren’t invested in their work.
Being the process-oriented monster that I am, I suggested tackling these big strategic concepts during a day-long planning offsite. I know team offsites can often warrant an audible groan from those who have endured horrendous training sessions or “team building activities,” but our recent offsite literally set our goals in motion for an entire quarter. We’re currently planning our team’s objectives for Q3, and we didn’t even need to meet about them, because we planned out the majority of our objectives during our offsite. How would you like to plan out an entire quarter’s worth of goals by just collaborating on a Google Doc?
It’s possible, but it takes some intentional focus on how to make your vision a tangible reality. Here are some takeaways from our recent offsite that you can apply to your quarterly planning:
What tactics have you used to set actionable goals for your marketing team? Let’s continue the conversation in the comments, and good luck with your Q3 planning!
So, it’s been a minute since my last blog post.
Actually, it’s been more than 313,000 minutes since my last blog post. A few reasons behind that include:
Needless to say, things have been a bit insane.
When I started this blog, I promised myself I’d write about my professional passions. And something I’m REALLY passionate about is getting shit done. Seriously, if I could just write “good at getting shit done” on a blank piece of paper and call it my resume, I would.
But for a few months at Emplify, the marketing team wasn’t getting shit done. We were doing a lot of great things: working on the new book, going to great events, helping build new brand messaging. But, we were struggling with the paradox of choice - when everything is important and a priority, nothing is. On top of that, we didn’t have clear stakeholders for the projects that did make it to the top of the list. We were overwhelmed by work, frustrated when multiple stakeholders weighed in on project quality, and not getting anything out the door because of last minute edits and fixes. We weren’t meeting OKRs and were constantly confused about who was responsible for missing them.
Personally, I was a mess. I’d stay up all night worrying about problems that weren’t mine to solve and spend the day feeling defeated by my mountainous to-do list, constantly taking on tasks that didn’t have a clear owner. I’ve been really lucky to have bosses that let me be vulnerable, so I booked a 90-minute meeting with our company’s fearless leader and told him something had to change.
Since then, we’ve made a lot of changes, and the marketing team at large is so much more engaged. There are many reasons for that, but one clear reason is due to one (harder than you would think) question that we sat down and asked ourselves:
“Who owns what?”
If your marketing team is anything like ours, you struggle to know who the ultimate owner of a project is. Who is the person that is directly responsible for the success of a deliverable? Who sets measurable outcomes for a task that the team can align with? Who needs this project to be successful so they can ultimately be successful too?
What Ownership Means to Our Team
At Emplify, a lot of our ownership revolves around our demand generation channels. Every quarter, we set an SQL (sales qualified lead) goal for each of our main marketing channels, such as advertising, paid search, events, webinars, organic website leads, and so on. Then, each one of those channels is assigned an inherent owner on our team. That owner is responsible for surfacing problems around that particular channel, such as being behind pace for an SQL goal or needing to update a piece of collateral so it aligns with our product messaging. Those problems are then brainstormed/solutioned, and that owner becomes the stakeholder for the ultimate deliverable.
This method of project ownership has been particularly successful for our team because:
Since then, we’ve been able to ship work more quickly because we rely on the feedback of 1-2 defined stakeholders to refine a project, rather than 3-5 because no one knew who gave the final say. Being able to ship faster results in seeing wins faster, which in turn boosts engagement because we can more frequently celebrate our collaborative successes.
If you’re struggling with similar issues on your marketing team, I’d encourage you to take a step back and truly define channel stakeholders and their associated KPIs to help make project prioritization and implementation a bit easier. This conversation on our team took three hours on a Friday afternoon, included beer, and resulted in significant boosts to our project confidence, ownership and quality.
Have you experiences similar issues with your team? How did you address it? Would love to chat more in the comments below!