June 11, 2020

The Marketer's Support Group

By Zackary Alspaugh

I’m a Lifecycle Marketer – Here’s My 3-Step Guide to Future-Proofing Your Marketing

This article is part of a series for the Marketer’s Support Group. We are a group of marketers, each of us with a very different background but one common goal of persevering through the pandemic. We are hoping that by sharing our stories, we will give you tips, tricks, and coping mechanisms to make it through all of the plan-pivoting, uncertainty, and change.

It all began three months ago. At least, I think it was three months ago. To be honest, I’m not even sure what day it is today. But what I am sure of is it was back long, long ago when I could still leave my house, and there were seven days of the week instead of three – today, yesterday, and tomorrow. I had just joined a new company, Sendoso, the leading Sending Platform. It was a brand new role for me to build out. I spent weeks interviewing with all of the teams, learning faces, learning names, and drinking from the firehouse. We built an elaborate and cross-collaborative plan – with our marketing and sales, sales ops, demand gen, field events, CX, and sales development. It was a full six-month plan, complete with thought leadership, direct mail campaigns, account-based marketing strategies, and tradeshow follow-ups. We even had wild dreams of building a brand new Sendoso community. We were ambitious, and we were excited. It was a beautiful plan, and in a matter of days, it all went belly up. Lesson learned.

3 Steps for Future-Proofing Your Marketing Strategy

Here is how we rebuilt our marketing strategy to ensure we never go belly up ever again:

Step 1: Repurposing is Your Friend

Change can be unpredictable, but you can always plan for the unexpected by including contingency plans within your programs.

A good starting point is repurposing. As you build net-new content or engagement strategies, you should always consider how it can be reused, repurposed, and re-disseminated across your audiences. Anything you do in person, you should be able to replicate digitally. It makes for excellent follow up, but can also be shared with those who are unable to make it in person. Anything you do digitally should be replicated and spread across as many channels as possible. Audio can become articles, print, and blogs. Blogs can be read aloud for audio clips or a quick podcast. Video can be mined for drop quotes, clips, screengrabs that could be used in social or by reps in their outreach. You get the idea.

Repurposing offers two important benefits: first, it helps extend the shelf-life of your content. Using it in more ways can create parallel paths for your content to be consumed without expending additional resources. Secondly, and most importantly, if repurposed content is baked into the original plan, it can double as your backup plan. For instance, if a trade show session gets canceled but you’ve pre-recorded the audio during your dry run to use later digitally, you can quickly pivot that session into a webinar without significant changes in your calendar.

Step 2: Diversify Your Channels

As marketers, we love to lean on the tried and true and pursue channels that we are most familiar with. However, we need to be cognizant that the people that make up our audiences consume content in a variety of ways and across various channels. By having more channels in your repertoire, you have more opportunities to engage your audience. It also eliminates the vulnerability of your pipeline if one channel happens to become unavailable, as we saw with trade shows and field events earlier this spring. So as the old adage goes, don’t put all of your eggs into the same basket. In planning, you should set aside budget and bandwidth to experiment with new channels. Another key recommendation is to develop an accurate demand waterfall, encompassing both your lead generating channels and your sales development efforts. You should be able to accurately understand and predict which channel will generate what and each part of your funnel, so if one goes down or simply falls behind, you’ll know exactly which levers to pull to make up the slack.

Step 3: Build Plans That Can Bend Without Breaking

Plans are just plans. As long as you can hit your numbers and respond to market changes, the how doesn’t matter. Don’t allow yourself to get too fixated on any one program or project. Flexibility is your friend. Be sure to measure at regular intervals and make adjustments based on the results you are seeing. If you wait until the end of a month or quarter or a post-mortem to measure, it will be far too late. Aim for short term deadlines with long term goals. This will allow you to adjust if necessary and provide a consistent north star for what you and team should hope to accomplish.

My name is Zack, and I’m a Lifecycle Marketer.

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