In our encounters with marketers, we often come across something what can be described as “overwhelmed paralysis”. These marketers are (more than) willing to actually make progress in transforming their operation to be better aligned with these digital times, but they do not know where to start.
Often the (perceived) costs involved with making investments in digital marketing innovation are a high barrier to get actually started. We are educated that big spendings can not be made easily. A well thought off rationale and intelligent business case should at least be in place. How could we otherwise convince our boards to invest the money implied? What is the ROI?
Look at it from a bootstrapper’s perspective. The costs are marginal. A cost-based, traditional business case suddenly is no longer the issue. This is not imaginary. Further on in this article we will show you how you can assemble a Marketing Stack for US$ 9,- per month. That is 8,26 per month in euros. Now the costs are non-relevant, what keeps you from starting tomorrow? Suddenly the actual hurdles come in sight:
- Who will be involved in operating and managing your Marketing Stack?
- How will a company-wide integration of the insights gained, will be organized?
- What capacities and capabilities do you need in order to really profit from transforming to a more digitally oriented (marketing) operation?
- What does it actually takes to innovate?
Funny enough, these questions can best be answered by taking a first step. And a second one. And a third. By getting your feet wet in actually experiencing first hand what a more data- and digitally oriented marketing operation takes in your specific situation and market place. By failing also. Nothing wrong with that when you keep your learning journey in mind. Especially not when there are no huge investments at stake. You might lose time. Big deal. Learning takes time. According to Malcolm Gladwell (in Outliers), it takes 10.000 hours to achieve greatness in any new capability. But much quicker than the greatness stage, you will pick the fruits of your efforts.
Shameless self-promotion: You can also speed up the process by keeping a master aside. But then again: learning is work. Business is tough, especially now. Yet even in the midst of a challenging economy, there are individuals and companies that prosper beyond all expectations. Practice plays a major role in their success.
Now for that bootstrapper’s approach. What do you want in your Marketing Stack? Analytics? Sure! A/B Testing? Nice. Marketing Automation. Naturally. Well, for Analytics you can consider 3 completely free tools: Google Analytics (probably already in place), Segment or Mixpanel. The latter 2 are volume based. But when taking your first steps 100,000 or 25,000 events/month respectively are mostly sufficient.
When it comes to A/B-testing Optimizely is an easy pick. Their Starter version includes all the basics for free.
Wanting to take your first steps in Marketing Automation? Now you have to pay. While ActiveCampaign used to be free, they now charge US$ 9 per month for a 3 users-account. You might consider HubSpot as an alternative. But their cheapest rate is US$ 200 a month…
With this stack you can:
- analyze your funnel(s);
- capture leads;
- track visitors and events;
- do marketing automation (tag-management, workflows, opt-in forms, email marketing, CRM);
- A/B test your website and emailings;
- do drip campaigns;
- send behavioral emails.
Not bad for 9 bucks a month! When you want to expand to social media activities you might consider Buffer (free for up to 10 buffered posts) and Share by SumoMe (free).
The first things you will encounter when getting your feet wet with these tools are the crucial question every digital savvy marketer needs to answer:
What do I really need/want to track? What does my tracking plan look like? What lifecycle events can I define for my clients and prospects? What goals do I define?
The rest is a matter of setting up and integrating the tools mentioned above so you get your insights and can deliver communications based on your goals. These might include pre-defined onboarding flows for new customers.
The crux of this story is that you don’t need massive investments to get started with a data based digital marketing practice. While there is very little out-of-pocket budget involved, you can concentrate on organizational and HR aspects. Your ROI is easily realized and your learnings will be huge. You might consider the assistance of CRUX to stand by your side in this journey. We won’t work for free, but we will speed up your learning journey and make your learning curve less steep.