Top Chef, Marketer Edition: Quickfire Solutions for Difficult Marketing Problems

    by Allyson Galle

    Date

    July 16, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    marketing challengesintroductory3

    Summertime, and the livin's easy. Unless you're a marketer. Actually, the summer months are some of the hardest months for marketers. Leads and prospects are all on vacation, and you're stuck at your desk freaking out about hitting those monthly metrics. What are we to do? 

    Turn on an episode of Top Chef, that's what.

    Okay, Top Chef alone won't cure what ails you, but we can take a cue from the Quickfire Challenges the chefs embark upon at the beginning of every episode. If you've never watched the show, the Quickfire Challenges are very difficult scenarios the chefs find themselves in, usually with limited or otherwise "weird" resources with which they must solve the particular challenge at hand. For example, you have to make breakfast in bed ... but all you can use is a microwave and you have to tie your dominant hand behind your back. Now that's a lesson in resourcefulness.

    So what can we as marketers do with limited or impaired resources to solve some of our common marketing problems? That's what this post will set out to answer. We've set up three theoretical marketing challenges -- quickfire challenges, if you will -- and are going to walk through how you could utilize a random assortment of resources to solve the marketing problem! Because let's be honest ... there's no such thing as a perfect world in marketing.

    Quickfire Marketing Challenge #1: Your boss says you have to kick up the blog post volume, but you can't hire anyone new.

    Uh oh. There's nothing worse than an already strapped marketer being asked to produce even more work. But there's no excuses in marketing! Let's see what resources you have at your disposal:

    • PPC landing pages
    • Partner organizations
    • A graphic designer

    You were hoping one of your resources was going to be a freelance writer, didn't you? We're not letting you off that easy. At first glance, none of these resources seem directly related to blogging, but there's something to be done with each of them to help you solve your content shortage problem.

    The quickest solution of all is to repurpose the offers that live behind your PPC landing pages into blog posts. I'm willing to bet you've been isolating your PPC content up until this point, but content is content, and content that you paid to direct people towards is probably pretty good.

    If you want to create some blog posts that are both super quick to write and super effective at getting massive amounts of traffic and leads, get ready to dig through some data -- data from your partner organizations! Data posts, especially ones containing original data, are sure to captivate your blog's audience. If you have access to a partner organization's data, craft blog posts around some of the surprising statistics gleaned from their numbers (giving them credit, of course). If your partners don't have data repositories, you can still lean on them for guest contributions. Offer them inbound links back to their website so their content creation for your blog reaps them benefits in return.

    Finally, let's visit your graphic designer -- sidle up, smile your most winning smile, and ask them to make you some infographics, data visualizations, cartoons, or other types of visual content. Visual content resonates well with readers because, well, there's very little actual reading involved! They're also super-shareable, helping you grow your reach and hit those lofty traffic and leads goals. For more visual content ideas, visit this blog post that highlights unique content you can post to your blog.

    Quickfire Marketing Challenge #2: Social media engagement took a nose dive with everyone on vacation, and you need to increase it ... stat!

    Can't I just tweet more? No, not really. Let's see what resources you have at your disposal to solve this social media engagement problem, and then we'll figure out a solution:

    • Smartphone
    • Live event
    • Leftover advertising budget

    Surely you or someone in your marketing department has a smartphone, right? Well smartphones are hotbeds of marketing hacks due to one little thing: apps. Whether you've got an iPhone and have the App Store at your disposal, or run on Android and have the Google Play store to, well, play around with, there are lots of apps that make marketers' lives easier and will help you solve a social engagement problem. Are you a fan of memes, for example? Lots of people are. And you can make them easily with the MemeGenerator app for Android. If you've got an iPhone, you have another tool at the ready called Over. Over allows for the quick and easy insertion of text onto your pretty iPhone pictures, taking your visual content creation one step further. Take a look:

    Over - Content Creation app

    Of course, Instagram is probably the easiest and most frequently recommended visual content creation tool for social media. Available for both iPhone and Android, Instagram is one of the best free social tools your company can use. Incorporating more of this visual content into your social media will help you engage an audience that's more inclined towards easily digestible content of this nature.

    Now let's talk about that live event. When we talk about live events, we mean both in-person gatherings like our upcoming INBOUND 2012 conference, and online events like webinars. These events can help your social media engagement with a little assist from gameification -- get a hashtag going for the event, and encourage participants to make use of it in order to win something. For example, on our latest webinars we've been giving away tickets to our upcoming inbound marketing conference to those who meet some end, like tweeting the most with our hashtag.

    Finally, that extra paid ad budget you're sitting on can give you the quick engagement boost you need. Did you know about Facebook Promoted Posts, for example? They're Facebook updates whose overall reach you can pay to increase. In an effort to monetize, social networks are making use of paid ads more and more frequently in order to let brands get more out of their social media presence; don't be afraid to experiment with it!

    Quickfire Marketing Challenge #3: Sales is projected to miss quota, so they need extra marketing support to help meet their goal.

    When sales is in trouble, we're all in trouble. What can marketers do to help? Let's visit your resource kit:

    • Closed-loop analytics
    • Social media monitoring tool
    • Blog content

    First things first, it's time to do some serious data diving. Break out your closed-loop marketing analytics tool and figure out which types of leads close at the fastest rate, with the highest average sale price. Knowing this will let your sales organization prioritize the leads that are most likely to close before the end of the month, and drive the most amount of revenue for your business. Think about it -- if a salesperson knew there was someone in the pipeline worth $500 that would close in a week, they'd probably like to prioritize them over the lead that will close at $100 in 3 weeks. And if you're the one to tell them that, boy will you be a hero.

    Additionally, you can use your social media monitoring tools to locate promising leads who aren't even on your radar yet -- often when they're at the bottom of the funnel, too. Monitor for updates explicitly mentioning your company's product or service so you get tipped off to people who are sales-ready, but somehow haven't landed in your company's funnel yet. Then you can identify and connect those new leads directly to sales reps right at their point of need!

    prospecting on social media

    Now that your sales organization is swimming in bottom-of-the-funnel leads, you can help them accelerate the process with some collateral that addresses their leads' problems. Instead of starting from scratch, visit your business blog to find content you've already written that directly addresses the questions that come up on sales calls. What better way to let your sales organization assert themselves and your business as the foremost authority on a subject matter than having a huge bank of collateral to send along to answer absolutely any question that's asked?

    How have you gotten creative with the resources you have on hand to solve some tough marketing problems?

    Image credit: kennymatic

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