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Fix, Marry, Kill: What Would You Do in These 3 Marketing Scenarios?

At the end of each year, it’s natural to reflect on the outcome of the past 12 months. What worked but could have been better? What worked so well you want to do more? What didn’t work and you need to permanently delete?

Have a little fun with your annual review this year. Adapt the popular forced-choice game – Kiss, Marry, Kill – and call it “Fix, Marry, Kill.”

The rules of play are simple: List your content projects and choose only one for each of these:

  • Fix for a project that showed promise but could benefit from experimentation
  • Marry for a project that worked so well, you want to invest in it over the long term
  • Kill for a project so ill-conceived that it’s not worth saving because it took more time than the results merited or prompted a negative reaction from your audience, customers, or leaders
Play Fix, Marry, Kill for your annual #content review, says @Kmoutsos via @cmicontent. Click To Tweet

As a warmup, try your hand at evaluating three troublesome scenarios shared by the ever-entertaining Andrew Davis in the new digital CCO this year. As he always does in his Unsolicited Advice column, Andrew showcases a problem and generously offers a better solution. Do any of these scenarios fall into your fix or kill categories? Or are you doing them so well they fall into the marry category? Decide for yourself which of these practices are worth your effort.

Emails that sound like they came from automatons (April 2019)

Dear Marketing Automators,

Stop sending me automated email sequences that feel like they’re written by a robot or cut and pasted from a template you found on HubSpot.

Like you, I’m mesmerized by automation flow charts. I cherish if-then branches and automated tags. I’ve identified more customer segments in my CRM than Ben & Jerry’s has ice cream flavors (and they have 40, I’m told).

But good grief, if your customers, clients, prospects, or subscribers can tell that you’re using a marketing automation tool, you’re missing the point of marketing automation.

If your customers can tell you use a #marketing automation tool, you’re missing the point, says @DrewDavisHere via @cmicontent. #email Click To Tweet

I get it. Automation tools eliminate repetitive marketing tasks and interactions. However, in an effort to reduce redundancies in your work, you’ve removed the very thing that made these interpersonal communication tools like email and chat so effective in the first place: you!

My most successful automation sequence starts with a straightforward email: “Hey Mark, I was just thinking about you this morning. How’s it going? – Drew”

That’s it. It’s simple. It’s open-ended. It’s short. But, most importantly, it’s social. Sometimes, a simple open-ended question can reignite a dialog that leads to a sale, a referral, an objection, or a new opportunity.

So take a few minutes to review your least successful automated sequence. Ask yourself: Would I take the time to type out every word in this email and send it to a prospect? If the answer is no, you’re just automating for the sake of automation.

Here’s the deal: If you send me your revised email sequence and I can’t tell it was automated, I’ll sign up for your free trial, download your white paper, or engage your sales team. Otherwise, I’ll report it as spam. (OH NO!)

What do you say? Do we have a deal?

Whether you wanted it or not,

Andrew Davis

Newsletters on autopilot (July 2019)

Dear Marketers,

Before you go chasing the next big thing, do us all a favor: Fix your email newsletter or kill it.

I love that you’re excited about AI and ABM. I too have read the predictions that podcasts and Alexa Skills are the future of everything. We’ve all heard the same experts touting video marketing’s coming of age, the promise of influencer marketing, and the rise of the all-knowing chatbot.

But before you race off and start investing your time and energy on whatever some wise internet sage claims is the next big thing, do yourself a favor: Stop doing something that’s not working before you add something new.

Stop doing something that’s not working before you add something new, says @DrewDavisHere via @cmicontent. #contentmarketing Click To Tweet

Why? Two reasons.

One, for your sanity. The time and energy we can expend is finite. Which means the more channels, tactics, content, and strategies we pursue the more overwhelmed and exhausted we get. When we’re overwhelmed and exhausted, are we capable of doing anything exceptionally well?

And two, for your audience’s sake. Which is why I’m asking you to rethink your email newsletter. While you get swept up by the ABM-hype monster, your email newsletter is on autopilot, and it’s wasting your audience’s time. If it’s wasting your audience’s time, it’s probably not delivering results. If it’s not producing results, maybe you shouldn’t be sending it.

Which means you have two options: strike it or fix it.

Here’s the deal: if you kill one marketing activity each time you chase a new one, you’ll make better marketing decisions, deliver higher value, and quickly realize that a lot of that hype is just hot air.

Whether you wanted it or not,

Andrew Davis

Free trials that quickly become tribulations (October 2019)

Dear Software Marketer,

There’s a massive disconnect between the marketing experience you’ve created and the sales experience you deliver.

I’m sure your product is excellent. Those explainer videos you’ve created for the platform you’ve built are stellar. I’m happy to report that the interactive tours, feature demos, and blog posts you publish are helpful, smart, and convincing. Bottom line: Your marketing feels spot on.

So, I signed up for your free trial.

That’s when your sales team got overly assertive. Maybe even aggressive. Whatever you want to call it, the constant emails, drip campaigns, chat invitations, webinar appointments, demo meetings, and phone calls turned me off – so much so, that I canceled my free trial and signed up with a competitor.

As marketers, we spend a lot of time working to understand our target market. We build audience personas and map their consumer journeys. We answer our prospects’ most burning questions, and we create the impression that we’re here to help. (Nice work!) Unfortunately, the moment I fill out that free trial form and you hand me off to your inside sales team, everything changes.

Maybe there’s an easy fix?

I’m willing to bet your marketing team has never been tasked with selling your software. I doubt they’ve ever had to take a few qualified marketing leads and turn them into paying customers. Perhaps you think you already know how the sales process works, but I seriously doubt you know how it feels from my side of the screen. If you knew how it felt, you’d either change the way you market your software or change the way your sales team sells it.

Do marketers know how it feels from the prospect side of the screen, asks @DrewDavisHere via @cmicontent. Click To Tweet

Here’s the deal: If you (and your marketing team) spend one day sitting with your inside sales team as they try to convert a few of those leads you’ve created, I’m willing to bet you’d quickly identify three ways to make that sales experience better. And when you do, let me know, so I can sign up for that free trial again!

What do you say? Do we have a deal?

Whether you wanted it or not,

Andrew Davis

What’s Your Advice?

If you, like me, can’t get enough of Drew’s Unsolicited Advice, take a spin through these collections of his columns from years past: 2018, 2017, and 2016.

Back to the Fix, Marry, Kill game. I know no one reading this article is guilty of anything like the egregious examples Drew offered. But we all have our share of misfires along with our direct hits. Which are you planning to fix, marry, or kill in 2020? Let me know in the comments.

Check out more from Chief Content Officer Magazine in 2019 here. And subscribe today to the digital magazine to receive future issues in your inbox. 

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute