Marketing is a unique animal. With a combination of creativity, analytical thinking, taking data into consideration, and project management, a modern-day marketer must possess a great number of skills and have quite a few tools at their disposal.
Sure, you can delegate some of the work, but it also means you’re responsible for getting multiple people on the same page…some of which work in different states.
Rather than allowing your frustration to build, you can utilize tools that will make your job easier. More specifically, marketing frameworks. In this piece, we’ll discuss what a marketing strategy framework is, the benefits of utilizing one, the best marketing models out there, and how to decide which is best for you.
What is a marketing strategy framework?
A marketing strategy framework details how you’ll enact your marketing plan and deliver marketing content to your audiences in ways that will help you achieve your marketing goals. It’s often a template or visual representation of what you’re looking to accomplish.
You can think of it like this: you wouldn’t dream of approaching your marketing with a “throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks” attitude because it would be a disaster for your organization.
Instead, you'll likely spend days, weeks, and maybe even months identifying your target audience, where they spend time and determining the perfect way to reach them and communicate the benefits of your product or service in a marketing plan.
Your marketing strategy framework takes this all a step further and, as mentioned above, ensures your marketing plan is successful because you’ll share content with your audiences at the right time in the most relevant channels that are more likely to drive results.
The Benefits of a Marketing Framework
A Marketing Framework does more than just keep you focused on the task at hand. As your company grows and your team grows along with it, you must find a way to communicate with every member of the marketing department, no matter where they work or what tasks they are responsible for.
Creating a marketing framework is the best way to ensure that everyone knows what they need to do and how they need to do it. Additional benefits of utilizing a marketing framework include:
- Creating a home for templates, guides, tools, and assets that all marketers in your organization will need to access.
- Establishing and communicating approved verbiage for the organization.
- Improving marketing which then improves the growth and bottom line of the company.
- Allows the team to compare different strategies and determine the best route.
- Clearly communicate who is responsible for what and make it easier to transfer people from one role to another.
- Save time by limiting “redos” - areas that are often susceptible to errors and therefore must be reworked.
In addition, your framework will help you predict your customer’s behavior and the revenue you can expect to see. As a result, it will help your team function more efficiently and produce more effectively.
The Best Marketing Frameworks
Marketing has probably been around since prehistoric days when entrepreneurial cavemen designed state-of-the-art spears and tried to sell them to their less “handy” counterparts.
Okay, that might not be true, but marketing has been a necessary aspect of business for a long time, and, over that time, savvy marketers have designed models and frameworks to make their (and your) job easier. Let’s take a look at some traditional models as well as some newer frameworks.
Traditional Marketing Models
1. 7Ps Marketing Mix
This widely used model considers the stages of business strategy, beginning at conception and taking it to evaluation. The Ps stand for:
- Product: What’s being sold?
- Prince: How much does it cost?
- Place: Where will the product be sold?
- Promotion: How will you communicate with your audience?
- People: Who is involved in the production, promotion, and distribution?
- Process: How will you deliver it to the customer?
- Physical Evidence: How will you prove to customers that your business exists?
When you utilize the 7P model, you’ll have the opportunity to analyze and optimize every aspect of your company and your strategy to improve your business.
2. STP Marketing Model
The SPT model is a top-down approach that focuses on how a company addresses customers and helps deliver personalized (and relevant) messages to audiences.
STP stands for segmentation (dividing your audience into different sections), targeting (who will be the most receptive to your product), and positioning (how do you make your product the most appealing to that audience), and has helped many companies shift to utilizing social media to deliver content.
3. Porter’s Five Forces
While most marketing frameworks focus on the product itself and the audience, Porter’s Five Forces looks at the outside influences that can affect profitability. These include:
- Supplier Power, how many other suppliers exist, what makes them different, and how much their product costs.
- Buyer Power, which is the customer’s ability to influence decisions made by the company.
- Threat of Substitution, which is how your product compares to others on the market.
- Threat of New Entry, which is any barriers you might experience when entering the market.
- Competitive Rivalry, which is any other outside forces that affect how your product compares to the competition.
This model will help determine just how competitive your business environment is.
Now, let’s look at some of the newer models to hit the marketing scene. While they may not have been around as long as the more traditional models, they take into account the current marketing climate and often focus on start-ups.
Modern Marketing Models
4. Pirate Metrics or “AARRR!”
No, you don’t have to don an eye patch or adopt a parrot to use this framework. Developed by serial Startup Founder Dave McClure, Pirate Metrics allows you to see how a customer may travel on their buying journey and what areas you need to improve. AARRR stands for:
- Acquisition: Where are prospects finding you? Facebook ads, blog content, a paid search, etc.
- Activation: What step did a prospect take once they arrived at your website? Depending on the business, this could include signing up for an account, downloading a free giveaway in exchange for their email, filling out a profile, etc.
- Retention: Once they’ve left your site, do prospects or customers come back? How often?
- Revenue: How do you earn money from your customers? Consider reviewing metrics such as conversion rates, shopping cart size, and the LTV or customer lifetime value.
- Referral: When customers are happy, they tell other people, and you end up with more customers. This lowers your CAC or customer acquisition cost because your loyal customers will attract new prospects for you.
5. Lean Analytics Stages
Developed by Alistair Croll and Ben Yoskovitz, the Lean Analytics Stage framework combines aspects of many different models and is ideal for improving startup growth. There are five pillars to this model:
During the product development stage, you’ll spend most of your time listening to customers, empathizing with their challenges, and taking in as much feedback as they are willing to provide. Once you have identified a problem you can solve to create your minimum viable product (MVP), you can then move on to the next stage.
Focus on engagement and retention as you work to create something that yields return customers. When you’ve got an engaged base and a low attrition rate, you can continue to stage three.
Before you try to attract customers through heavy advertising spending, focus on your existing customers. As your organic growth rates improve, you can move to stage four.
Without money, you’ll be out of business quickly. Pay attention to your customer acquisition cost metrics to make sure your customers spend more money than they cost to acquire. Once you’ve reached your revenue goals, you can move to the final stage.
You’ve got explicit knowledge of your product and your market. Now, it’s time to increase the revenue from your current market and potentially enter into new markets.
6. The Hook Model
No, it has nothing to do with the Pirate Metrics we discussed earlier, but it does compliment the stickiness and virality we discussed during Lean Analytics.
The Hook Model was developed by Nir Eyal, author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. He believes that our most purchased and utilized products achieve that status because they become a part of habitual behaviors. As marketers, we can tap into that by understanding the cycle:
- Trigger: The beginning of the cycle is often an external trigger like a push notification. However, as the cycle continues, negative internal emotions become triggers as we attempt to lessen these negative emotions with an action.
- Action: The easier you make things to do, the more likely a person will do it. Habit-forming products make taking action painless and straightforward.
- Variable Reward: The anticipation of reward is a strong motivator. Variability increases anticipation, making prospects and customers more likely to take an action that warrants a reward.
- Investment: Creating an investment or “buy-in” for your customers makes it more difficult for them to step away from your product or service.
7. The ICE Score
Sean Ellis, the Father of Growth Marketing, teaches the ICE score, a simple and quick way to evaluate potential channels for growth.
Rather than implementing a complex system, Ellis suggests asking three questions:1. What will the impact of this move be if it works?
2. How confident am I that this plan will work?
3. How much time, money, and effort will be necessary to put this into action?
Asking yourself and your team these questions is one of the fastest ways to evaluate an idea and determine if you should move forward.
Developed by Jonah Burger, the author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On, STEPPS is a formula to create contagious content that has people talking and sharing.
- Social Currency: Invite your customers to feel more like insiders. Humans are programmed to care what others think of them. This taps into that need to be seen positively by others and encourages conversation around your product.
- Triggers: Frequently remind people of your product utilizing triggers and they’ll talk about it more.
- Emotion: Highly emotional content is more likely to go viral. Taking that one step further, high arousal emotions like anger will be shared more often than low arousal emotions like sadness.
- Public: When you make something public, you encourage people to talk about it and share it.
- Practical Value: Provide value in the form of useful content, and people will be more likely to share it.
- Stories: We are biologically wired to see the world through narrative. Creative stories that are easy to relate to and easy to remember, and they’ll also be easy to share.
9. They Ask, You Answer
Marcus Sheridan developed They Ask, You Answer after he saved his pool company from failure during the Great Recession.
The strategy was simple: If a customer asked a question, he would answer it on the company website. He never let himself off the hook, even if the questions touched a nerve. So because customers asked about price (which they did a lot) or asked about his competition (which they also did a lot), Marcus provided a thorough, transparent, unbiased answer to each question.
At the core of They Ask, You Answer are what Marcus called The Big 5: Five topics that every company needs to cover thoroughly and honestly on their website:
- Price: Explain the cost of everything you sell, including the factors that make that number go up and down.
- ‘Best of’ lists: Give your buyers lists of the top options they should consider when making a purchase.
- Reviews: Provide expert reviews of everything related to what you sell — even if you don’t directly sell it yourself.
- Problems: Openly address the drawbacks of your products or services. Explain who is (and is not) a good fit to buy from you.
- Comparisons: Offer head-to-head comparisons to help buyers make an informed decision.
Together, these topics form the foundation of a content marketing framework that can build a strong connection with your intended audience.
Selecting the Best Marketing Framework for Your Business
While there are a variety of models available to you, they are not all created equal. There are a number of factors that will influence which framework is best for you and your organization.
In order to determine which framework to choose, you’ll want to examine the following aspects of your business:
- What are the top priorities of the business?
- What is the role of marketing within the organization?
- How is success defined and measured within the marketing?
- What is the marketing department capable of, and what improvements would you like to make?
- Where would you like to see the most impact due to marketing efforts and what’s the easiest way to ensure that impact?
Over To You
Marketing is a difficult role no matter your product or service. You are in essence responsible for telling the world that your company has the cure to what ails them. Without you, the most amazing product or service ever created will never reach the hands of the people who need it.
As challenging as it is, there are tools you can utilize to take some of the difficulty out of your responsibilities. A marketing framework will help you stay the course, keep your team in the know and on the right path, and will ultimately help you better achieve your desired goals. Create a marketing framework today and make tomorrow easier.