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OCTOBER 25th, 2022 hosted by Glenn Bottomly

Ep: 35 - Essentials of Testing for Changing Marketing Landscapes

Posted by Glenn Bottomly on Oct 25, 2022 11:27:24 AM

Focusing mainly on your customer may seem like the best strategy in marketing, but so much gets lost in the process before you even get there. 

While marketing is a highly creative field, we forget that data analysis is the real driver of success — and what all other assets rely on. Without proper testing and reporting of critical data, we’re left with ineffective campaigns and processes that don’t serve us.  

Tim Parkin, President of Parkin Consulting, has worked with global companies and sees that the most significant gap in marketing departments is that they fail to drill down and identify the data that truly matters.  

Join us as Glenn and Tim discuss:

  • Identifying waste in your internal processes, how to reduce it, and how to stop spending time on ‘vanity metrics’
  • Reporting and analysis as the foundation of any marketing strategy
  • Crafting an integrated B2B game plan that seamlessly combines physical marketing with omnichannel digital assets 

What are the biggest challenges and opportunities for marketing ops teams in this ever-shifting environment? 

“When you have everyone at the table in those initial steps, you're then able to make a tighter feedback loop.” — Tim Parkin

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People times process times purpose

Tim’s former life as a software engineer instilled a love of constructing the most efficient possible process for any and every objective. 

He rapidly realized that marketing organizations should solve their own problems first before addressing customer pain points — “whether you're an enterprise-level organization or a startup, you have to put your oxygen mask on yourself first” in order to establish cohesive internal operations. 

Identifying underlying issues

When Parkin is called in to work with flailing teams, he starts by evaluating the current situation, honestly evaluating a team’s performance, testing, and finding the cracks. 

Everyone faces tight budgets, staff shortages, constant changes, and analysis paralysis. But Tim emphasizes that there are “tons of improvements that they can make that are very minimal in terms of effort but massive in terms of reward.”

“Having collaboration is key to having adoption through the process.” — Tim Parkin

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Nonsense and waste

Marketing ops teams are guilty of four key areas of waste, according to our guest:

  • Reporting
  • Analysis
  • Testing
  • Optimization

You may have the shiniest new martech stack with all the reporting bells and whistles, but if you’re clueless about what exactly you’re measuring and what to do about it next, then you’re wasting time running nonsense reports no one understands or cares about. 

How do you find your true north and discover the right KPIs and reporting methods?

The first thing to do is ditch the cookie-cutter reporting templates and employ “advanced common sense.”

Thinking critically

To translate and distill data into truly actionable strategies, marketing operations teams need to go in with a laser focus and a willingness to be brutally honest in their analysis.

Tim points out that while vanity metrics are used to show value and contribution, they typically don’t line up with your team’s fundamental objectives. It’s just noise. Less is better, and alignment is key.

Sometimes all it takes is a massive perspective shift.

“It's very important to look at these periods of growth, not only at forward-facing client services or sales or marketing team members, but also equipping your backend teams with the tools they need to really close those leads.” — Tim Parkin

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The output is insights

Trying to deploy campaigns without the right insight is like “driving your car with your eyes closed.” 

You need to know what data truly matters and how it impacts your larger goals and objectives. That’s why Tim recommends creating an “insights library” so crucial information and concepts are documented, shared, and freed from their silos.

This “book of knowledge,” as Tim calls it, is critical for propelling your company culture forward as well as codifying and formalizing your processes.

Testing at scale and volume is a huge component of reducing waste. You need to “develop experimentation and optimization programs centered around testing,” he states, “and you’ll become addicted to the idea of it.”

Tim reveals the secret to success is that validation is the key to speed. And speed is the key to figuring things out faster and getting better results much faster.

Start at the end

Contrary to conventional wisdom, he thinks the most valuable place to optimize your operations is at the bottom of the funnel instead of the top. “Start with the end in mind,” he advises.

It’s also essential to integrate your digital approach with an anchor in the physical world. Consumers are accustomed to being reached wherever they are.

Tim says many teams get stuck in a digital bubble, but you have to think bigger. Incorporating cross-media retargeting could be a powerful tool in your arsenal. Not sure? Test it.

He acknowledges that while marketing is a creative endeavor, there’s both an art and a science behind it. Operations professionals need to communicate the importance of a strong process and how it can dramatically improve performance.

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