By Kyle Eliason
A man goes to into the doctor’s office and says it hurts no matter where he touches his body. The doctor looks at him noting that he doesn’t appear to have any full body trauma. Skeptically, the doctor says “Impossible.”
The man says to the doctor, “No. I’m not making this up. It hurts really badly. I must have a disease! I need lots of help.” So the doctor says, “Fine, show me.”
The man takes his finger and pushes his elbow and screams in agony. He pushes his knee and screams, he pushes his ankle and screams and so on.
The doctor says, “You’re not really that in tune with your body, are you?”
The man asks, “What does that have to do with anything?”
The doctor replies, “I’ll explain it to you after I fix your broken finger.”
What does this have to do with marketing? More than you’d think.
One of the things that I’ve come to understand more and more lately is that a shop that advertises as a full service agency isn’t always necessarily equipped to make sure your marketing program is healthy.
It doesn’t simply take an arsenal of tactical services to solve complex solutions; it takes critical thinking and a wide-angled approach.
You know better than anyone that your marketing effort is an ecosystem of different initiatives all with different targets, tactics, KPIs, and interdependent purposes. Just like a complex machine, each piece may serve a different function, however they all need to be aligned and working together. If one piece breaks down, there is no telling the magnitude of damage – and more importantly where that break-down will manifest.
Lazy Doctors Prescribe Advil to Patients on Fire
Ask any doctor, and I can guarantee you that they see patients who walk in already claiming to know exactly what their symptoms mean and what they need for treatment. (On behalf of the entire medical profession: “Thanks WebMD!”)
Sometimes those patients might even be right, but many times they’re too focused on the symptom to realize that there’s a bigger underlying problem. Sound familiar?
I’m definitely guilty of this. I’ve complained about chronic headaches and exhaustion only to be told to drink more water, take a multivitamin and get more rest. “Okay, so I didn’t go to Stanford Medical School per se, nor have I had 10 years of training and experience, but I’m pretty sure I have the plague, you quack.”
What sets good doctors apart from mediocre ones is that they’ll listen to your symptoms and instead of just focusing on the pain point, they’ll dig underneath to find the cause. They’ll analyze your entire body and make recommendations that make you healthier as a whole. They take a total body wellness approach.
Of course, they need to address the initial issue, but the last thing they’d want to do is give a quick fix, only to have the real problem growing underneath until your entire body starts to fail. By that point, it’s too late.
Lazy Marketers Throw Simple Tactics to Clients On Fire
This is exactly where you want your marketing agency to be like your amazing doctor. They should be able to take a total marketing wellness approach no matter what issue you bring to the table.
Certainly don’t ignore the problem of a channel or campaign that seems to be falling flat. But if the end-goal is top-line revenue growth, let’s have a look at your whole marketing stack before we run to prescribe some PPC-feel-good, shall we?
If your paid advertising isn’t doing well, have you analyzed your target content? Are the majority of your leads unqualified? Are you ranking for the wrong terms?
What does this look like in the real world?
A client came to us last year for help with lagging customer engagement. The symptom they described was that users would never make it to filling out their contact forms (their #1 goal). They assumed that it was ineffective content and needed help from our content team.
Of course we looked into their blog and on-page content and they certainly had room for improvement here and there, but ultimately it wasn’t that bad. However, we also looked into Google Analytics and noticed that there was actually a higher than expected bounce rate as well as low session times. Interesting.
As a team, we went through all the possibilities. Our Senior Developer was in the room and immediately said “Infrastructure.”
“What do you mean?”
“The code” he said. “Let’s take a look at the code.”
He pulled up the site and it took him a matter of minutes to zero in on the underlying issue. Much like my mother would routinely say when walking into my room as a 10-year-old, he said “Good lord. This is a mess.”
Over the next month, rather than jettison their blog, their product descriptions, and a great team of on-staff writers, we worked with them to clean up the site’s WordPress back-end and add components to nearly triple their page load speeds. Just like that, engagement immediately spiked. The problem wasn’t the content strategy, the promotion, or the writing itself, it was that their customers had a terrible time accessing all that goodness. #UXFail.
Let’s Grow Old Together
Another huge benefit of the total marketing wellness approach is providing solutions that will actually prevent issues down the line – future-proofing.
Solutions implemented to solve a single, immediate pain-point are often short-sighted. More strategic solutions that solve underlying issues frequently work as preventative care against issues down the road. Just like the goal of our awesome doctor, your marketing expert should aim to provide you with a symptomless future.
Let’s do one more example. We’ll call this: “I’m frequently stiff.” “Let’s try stretching?”
A client for whom we’d designed and built a new website last year began describing a symptom of “trouble with landing pages.” For context, they’d begun using landing pages generated by their CRM. These were incredibly easy to spin up, but they lacked flexibility and were not aligned with the design of their new site.
The initial request for our team: Find a way to bend and redesign several of the CRM’s canned landing pages.
The actual diagnosed goal: Create highly flexible, easy-to-use landing pages that didn’t require a truck-load of wasted work re-aligning each new page and campaign with a beautiful new site. Let us focus on our unique selling proposition, without the stiffness of the page getting in the way.
The long-term prescription: Using WordPress itself, we created a custom landing page builder which gave them WYSIWYG modules like calendars, video features, and product description panels, adaptable to any campaign goal. Effectively: the ridiculous simplicity of a service like Squarespace, on the more powerful, adaptable platform WordPress, without creating a graveyard of static pages.
Once we got past the initial diagnosis, each part of the treatment (module) was tailored to the specific needs of their sales team. If they were building a landing page for an event, they simply pulled in the Map module, entered an address, and wrote out the unique selling proposition. If they were building a landing page for a new whitepaper, they could prominently feature a video for thought-leader introduction, a few panels for key benefits, and off to the races.
The bottom line: This not only provided a simple and elegant solution to an initial symptom, but by taking the time to solve the root cause, that pain’s not coming back for a long, long time. And wouldn’t you know it? Those landing pages are perfectly aligned with the design and branding of the site, allowing them to dynamically update along with the site for years to come.
Future proof? Check.
The idea of a total marketing wellness approach isn’t so much ground-breaking. There’s no marketer or agency or exec that’s going to tell you they focus on one quick-fix solution at a time. But just like the WebMD enthusiast patient, if your doctor isn’t asking “why?”, you may want a second opinion.
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