Marketing Priorities Draft

Each year at the end of April, the American sporting eye focuses on a phenomenon that seems oddly absurd to the outside observer. With 47.5 million TV viewers and 600,000 fans in attendance, few actual sporting games will garnish the same level of national interest.  Simply put, the National Football League (NFL) Draft has become a national day of football fan bliss, a day where you can observe instant millionaires being made and lives changed, and overall a very memorable few days.  

The draft is organized to allow the 32 NFL teams to pick college players deciding to turn professional in a descending order from the worst team (picking first) to the best team (picking last) and over seven rounds. The idea is that the worst teams need the most help.  Prognosticators have made careers building "Mock Drafts," grading players, and predicting which teams will select which players and why. It's a busy time for the team scouts, general managers, and coaches who can make or break careers with their choices and, of course, fans who believe their team's fate can be transformed in just a few days.   

As a small or medium-sized business decision-maker, we know you have a finite marketing budget and many cross-organizational priorities.   And just like an NFL General Manager, you are looking to transform your organization by selecting the right marketing priorities that fit your goals and game plan.   Who and/or what should you draft as your marketing priorities is the goal of this exercise. The picks are in!

Round 1:  Be a Quarterback
It should be no surprise that good quarterbacks are highly coveted.  In fact, in this year's draft, the first three picks will likely all be quarterbacks.  Like in the NFL, every company needs someone to take charge, be a leader, and most importantly, work tirelessly across stakeholder groups to execute.   Ensure that you know and communicate the organization's game plan and then apply marketing methods to contribute to those goals.   Work with various internal groups so that everyone agrees on what the goal line looks like and you agree on what constitutes success or failure.  From top to bottom, everyone in the organization should understand the company's vision and how they can each contribute to reaching that successful place.  Be prepared to huddle up with your teammates regularly to review previous plays – regardless of whether they have been successful or not.   Understandably, not every play will be a touchdown, but you can fit the right game plan with the right plays and score over time by working across stakeholder groups.

Round 2: Focus on Site Optimization & Conversions
As a business owner, you are undoubtedly conscious about cost and efficiencies. Still, when it comes to the main window into your company, your corporate website, think beyond an initial quote and marginal functionality and ensure you have a platform or agency strategy that can grow with your business and scale in a secure and manageable fashion. Sites must be optimized to attract, retain, and delight potential clients and designed to convert visitors either onto a purchase path or a nurture journey.

Round 3: Double Check Inbound
One of the most significant untapped sources for new leads is inbound visitors. Visitors might find you organically or through other means, but ultimately they have taken the time and made an effort to investigate your organization.  Are they treated to a choreographed journey? Can they request help or guidance throughout their visit?   Can they expedite to purchase if so desired? And ultimately, is navigation complemented by quick loading pages, no dead ends, no broken links, and relevant content for the various buying steps of the buyer's journey?   Make inbound a high priority.

Round 4: Prioritize Retention Marketing
We find a strikingly high number of small and medium-sized businesses who are only focusing on the new shinny customer and forgetting entirely about their existing base.   This is a mistake.  ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue) is the gold standard for valuation.  New clients are 5X more expensive to acquire than nurturing your existing base.  Do all you can to show appreciation to your existing base of clients, nurture them, ensure you work towards understanding what it would take to capture 100% of their available business and remember there is no better viral marketing than a happy customer!

Round 5: Choose Personalization
Many think of personalization as addressing someone by their first name in an email blast or letter, but the real goal here is to build buying personas, understand pain points, decision drivers, and triggers and ultimately clearly explain how your solution will make their lives easier, create efficiencies, or make them the hero in their organization.  Personalization is about understanding the industry vertical, its nomenclature, drivers, and future challenges.  So you have our permission to get personal!

Round 6:  Choose a Listening Program
Are you building a product or service and just hoping they come and buy? Are you truly listening to your customers and optimizing your marketing to capitalize on their careabouts and challenges?  The best companies, regardless of size, are good listeners first, and then they are experts at predicting where the market will go.   Build programs where the entire company is encouraged to listen first, empowered to communicate their findings, and then incentivized to find and build solutions. 

Round 7: Think How-To
How-to videos are converting at incredible rates from Instagram reels, TikTok, or YouTube.   People love to hear how others have done things, so why not take a minute or two to describe your products or services—search terms including "How to" as a prefix are skyrocketing up the most popular lists.  Your How-To videos can come in various flavors, such as explainer, software demo, or instructional.  Keep them short, professional, with a touch of entertainment, and you should see conversions rolling in.