Should Marketers Think Like Product Owners?
Marketing campaigns: projects of finite length, designed to affect a pre-defined marketing outcome.
This is, to the best of my knowledge, how most marketers view what a marketing campaign is.
For example, “During Q1, we’re going to be running a series of 12 events to sell 500 licenses of our latest SaaS solution to enterprise sized business”.
The process would look like this:
OK. So I have two questions:
1. What happens if the events run in Q1 only sell 300 licences?
2. What happens if I’m a CTO and I’m looking for a SaaS solution, just like yours, in Q2?
This is where I think Marketers should think like a product owner.
A product is developed over time, improving as it goes, to achieve an outcome. The goal of a product owner is to release the best thing they can develop, while they are working on the next improved version.
A product owner’s process would look like this:
As you can see, the process doesn’t include a finish, only another round of iteration.
Now, let’s try and answer the questions above, thinking like a product owner as well as a marketer.
Q. What happens if the events run in Q1 only sell 300 licences?
A. The events would adapt to over the course of Q1 to achieve the 500 license target. Following the results of event 1, the ‘winning combinations’ of attendee, content and offers would be refactored to deliver more in event 2, and the results of event 2 would affect the planning of event 3, and so on.
Regular monitoring of results would allow the marketer to increase/decrease invite list sizes, change the target audience and adjust the event’s content schedule to react to licence sales
This iterative process is usually known by the acronym PDCA – Plan, Do, Check, Act.
Of course, this example, whilst possible, would be extremely complicated (and potentially expensive) to manage, but replace the words ’12 live events’ with ’12 creative display banners’ and the PDCA process becomes a lot less complex and a lot less expensive.
Q. What happens if I’m a CTO and I’m looking for a SaaS solution, just like yours, in Q2?
A. As a product owner, your development strategy and outcome goal is normally defined by balancing the business’ goals with the requirements of its users.
The example marketing campaign (“During Q1, we’re going to be running a series of 12 events to sell 500 licenses of our latest SaaS solution to enterprise sized business”) addresses the business’ goals clearly, but it doesn’t balance the requirements of the user.
Thinking about your users during the campaign planning stage would certainly change your strategy for achieving the 500 licence goal. Knowing that CTOs are busy, and that their decision making process starts with desk-research and can take several months, your campaign might be change as follows:
“During Q1, we’re going to launch our 500 licence campaign with 12 live events, which we’ll film for content for our automated email campaign, which will be triggered by long-term SEO, SEM, Display and Social channel activity in Q2-Q4”.
As you can see, thinking like a product owner and considering the user’s requirements, has changed the campaign significantly – adopting a longer-term tactic to make sure a CTO receives your campaign, even if they want it in Q2.
Are there any other traits we could borrow from our product owner chums?
Above are my thoughts on how we can borrow iterative thinking and user-centric planning to make our marketing campaigns more effective, but are there more? Happy to discuss on @dnxtra.