Marketing teams. Some people love them, some people don’t. But every company needs one—even if it’s just one person. Whether you’ve got a team in house or are looking for an agency (or a partner like RevRoad) to be in charge of your marketing efforts, you can’t do it in the dark. Thousands of marketers throughout the years have studied and tested effective marketing strategies, and many have put together concrete plans just waiting to be executed. We’ll go ahead and call these marketing processes.
The Many Faces of the Marketing Process
One of the most difficult aspects of starting a new marketing team is deciding on the process you want to use to carry out your marketing strategy. Of course, what most people are looking for is the “best marketing process” but an ill-advised Google search into the topic will no doubt lead you down a rabbit hole of salespeople looking to sell you “the next big thing.” “Triple your leads!” “10x your Revenue!” “Live on a yacht like me in just six weeks.” When it comes to increasing your marketing productivity, it feels impossible to separate the wheat from the chaff, the gimmicks from the real insight.
In reality, finding that sweet spot with a marketing process requires a lot of trial and error. This is the exact route that the RevRoad marketing team has taken since its inception in 2017. Of course, we weren’t lucky enough to land on the right marketing process from the get go, so we had to experiment for the first few years. For every new methodology we adopted, we uncovered gaps the marketing team wasn’t quite filling for clients and new needs we wanted to satisfy. We tested marketing concepts from across the spectrum, some we ended up appreciating and others we wanted to avoid.
Contrary to what the aforementioned YouTube wizards might tell you, every marketing method has its own strengths and weaknesses, and in our line of work we need to be very picky with the framework we use. That’s because these marketing processes aren’t just for us. We progress through these steps alongside our clients, because the best marketing teams don’t work instead of you, they work with you! For that reason, it’s essential we take our client’s needs into high consideration, oftentimes even above our own preferences.
Before we began this rigorous search for the right process, a few things needed to happen to get us off on the right foot. First, our teams needed to be well delineated. Though we frequently work together, the RevRoad marketing and video teams would stay separate entities. That way we could easily break up the workload required for each service, and keep projects on course without trying to make everyone a “jack of all trades.” We understood from the very beginning the value of specialized professionals for each aspect of marketing.
Second, we needed consistent feedback from our clients so we could improve on the process over time, or to know when things just weren’t working out with the current methodology. We asked “What do startups want in a marketing team?” Without asking that question, it would be easy to get distracted by a strategy we loved, even when clients hated it.
And thus we began our journey to find the perfect marketing method.
Act I: The Pragmatic Marketing Method
Our first destination involved getting certified in the Pragmatic framework, a grid where marketing deliverables are organized from the stages of Strategy to Execution. Despite all the study, we quickly realized that it just didn’t work for our clients: young companies who needed a simpler system for starting out. What works for Apple may not work for startups at RevRoad.
The problem: too complicated.
Act 2: SOSTAC
Our next stop was to incorporate the famous SOSTAC method. If you’re not familiar, this acronym stands for: situation, objectives, strategy, tactics, action, and control. These six pillars were very comprehensive, which we loved, but once again, the length turned us off. This infographic should give you an idea of just how much is covered by these six topics.
While the total time commitment of this process was a bit daunting for both us and our clients, the biggest drawback is that it still didn’t cover some of the branding, website, and PR activities we commonly engage in.
The problem: too lengthy, and didn’t cover some concepts that were most important to us
Act 3: Primal Branding
Following the SOSTAC, we paid a quick visit to Primal Branding, which was interesting to say the least. It’s a system of giving your brand more personality, using distinct messaging to generate word of mouth and transform your brand into a belief system. As intriguing as the cultish undertones were, this system ended up being very flowery and high-level, not concrete enough for us in its application.
The problem: too theoretical and overly complex.
Act 4: StoryBranding
Starting to feel the effects of our maiden voyage, we stumbled upon the StoryBrand method. Based on the book Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller, this framework focuses on two market groups you need to look out for: heroes and champions. At this point in our journey, we already recognized many of the drawbacks we wanted to avoid, and could point several out in the StoryBrand. Here we saw the complexity of Pragmatic, the unnecessary fluff from the Primal, and the lack of certain inputs we remembered from the SOSTAC method all wrapped into one. Ouch. Thanks to some consulting sessions to help us understand the method better, we knew we were headed the right direction, but all those hours spent in meetings only succeeded in proving this just wasn’t the process for us.
The problem: too complex, took too long, and was lacking certain important inputs.
Act 5: RevRoad’s Custom Three Phase Onboarding System
A true collaboration between the marketing and video teams, our team members developed this idea by taking inspiration from the Marketing Made Simple Framework by Donald Miller (the same author from the StoryBrand method!) and Dr. J.J. Petersen.
We loved the framework because it honed in on something very important to us: simple, yet comprehensive marketing. We began focusing on easy-to-digest questions, carefully laid out in a Google Form and standardized to work with any company and for any marketing service. Since we do it all here at RevRoad, these questions undoubtedly had to cover each of the main pillars of the modern marketing journey: branding, messaging, web design, social media, paid ads, and PR/promotion.
While we tout this process as streamlined and less painful than some of the other methods, our new process can by no means be completed overnight. We usually spend three to four meetings collaborating over the course of a month, all the while maintaining a constant back-and-forth communication between meetings to fine tune and narrow in on each answer.
We collect the input we get from clients, as well as our team’s insights, into three distinct Phases of Brand Development. First, who you are and what you do. Second, who your customer is and why they should be interested. And finally, what channels you need to use to communicate what you do to the people who will listen.
X Marks the Spot
It may have taken a long time for the RevRoad marketing team to get to this point, but the journey and the destination were both well worth it. Not only did we land on a process that molded to meet our needs better than anything else could, we also learned A LOT during the process.
- Cater to the size of your client companies. Lots of these methodologies work very well for grand enterprises in the process of scaling, but fall short for those still trying to find their identity. We needed something that works great with the drawing board, because a lot of times, small startups need a blank canvas and an Expo marker to just go wild.
- Founders can sometimes be a little impatient (of course we’re not talking to you! We’re talking about the other founders…). We needed something that they could make progress on quickly, not something that felt like it required perfection. If you’re asking a founder 50 questions about their brand, and their answer to half of these questions is “I don’t know” then you understand our pain.
- Questions should have well-defined limits. Some founders can get a little long-winded with their responses (once again, not you *wink*), while forgetting that their customers don’t often have the attention spans to read a 5-page paper on their product. Clear and concise responses is the name of the game here.
- We needed wiggle room. Every time a client fills out these forms, a new, working document is formed, giving us the freedom to write down rough ideas to start, then brainstorm and make all the changes we want later. While every answer might not give us perfect, world-shattering insights, they definitely lay the groundwork for the bigger questions that will certainly come later on.
As you probably all guessed from the beginning, the perfect method doesn’t really exist, but what you can find is the perfect method for you. Everyone is different and every marketing team is different, which means the method that works for us might not work for your situation and vice versa. However, one thing is for sure, when you’re first starting out, it’s important to give yourself time to try, fail, and modify your way to your own unique marketing method.
Be flexible. Partner with clients who are willing to give feedback to help you improve, because when your marketing process gets better, so do the marketing deliverables they receive. And finally, never lose sight of the basics; with the attention spans of our clients’ customers shrinking every year, it’s becoming easier to get lost in an ocean of messaging. Never forget: simplicity is your friend.
“Simplicity and clarity is the ultimate sophistication.” —Aristotle
If you have a scalable company that you need help growing, we’d love to get to know you. You can apply to join our portfolio via https://apply.revroad.com/.