Pantheon’s Roland Smart Details the Secret to Agile Marketing Transformation #DSMPLS

Roland Smart at Digital Summit Minneapolis

Roland Smart at Digital Summit Minneapolis

Run a Google search for “agile marketing” today and you’ll see 144 million results. It’s an insanely hot topic, which has steadily grown more applicable and desired from it’s “Scrum” beginnings.

Why are marketers today so obsessed with agility? Roland Smart, podcaster, author of “The Agile Marketer: Turning Customer Experience Into Your Competitive Advantage” and Vice President of Marketing for Pantheon*, shared his insight on the subject at Digital Summit Minneapolis this week.

For starters, the average marketer’s tenure is just 18 months. After all, we need to get results—and we need them fast. Second, while our strategies and tactics have been artfully crafted with insight and data, once we put everything into the wild, we need to be able to act fast to monitor, measure, and optimize performance—while also navigating budget and “waterfall” resourcing limitations and challenges. And finally, today’s marketers are often managing a growing tech stack, making an agile approach a match made in heaven.

Read on to learn more about agile marketing and Roland’s secrets to making agile marketing a reality in your organization.

What is Agile Marketing?

There are several different things that marketers think of when it comes to agile marketing. (Scrum and Kanban are two of the concepts that are likely top of mind.) But a simple definition is: Agile marketing is a methodology that enables marketers to meet the rising tide of challenges of customer experience in the digital era.

At the most basic level, an agile marketing approach means tackling your highest priority task, assessing success, optimizing until solved, and then moving to your second priority task. As it relates to general agile practices: “Scrum and Kanban are simply a collection of underlying practices that your team is going to do day-in and day-out as a part of your agile practice,” Roland explained.

While each team will have its own subtle variations of their agile practices, a solid framework for marketers trying to get started is: 

  • Maintain a Backlog
  • Iterate
  • Scrum
  • Demonstrate
  • Retrospective

Examples of Agile Marketing Practices

How Can Marketers Benefit From Agile?

According to Roland: “Agile is the shortest path to driving results.”

[bctt tweet=”#Agile is the shortest path to driving #marketing results. @rsmartly #DSMPLS” username=”toprank”]

In a traditional waterfall methodology, the output is exactly what is planned. But by using an agile methodology, thanks to frequent feedback loop with stakeholders and customers plus subsequent direction refinement, the output is what is needed to drive results.

Agile Marketing is the Shortest Path to Success

The Secret to Agile Marketing Transformation

Test Before Advocating for a Transformation

Of course, completely transforming your marketing operations is a major undertaking. So, in the spirit of agile practices, marketers can dip a toe in the agile marketing waters, Roland said.

He suggested a simple exercise testing the “Growth Lever” for a “North Star Metric.”

First, identify a priority website metric like conversions; that’s your North Star Metric. In a waterfall method, you might dive in and optimize several of your form fields and your calls to action copy and design. But in this agile approach, you can select a single Growth Lever. This should be something on the website that you can change and measure that will ultimately impact your North Star Metric.

For example, you may simply change a single CTA copy. If you have the ability and traffic volume to set up the change as an A/B test, great. If not, you can reference your past performance as a benchmark.  

Roland explained, “This [data from the] Growth Lever won’t move ‘the hour’, but you’ll see the minute hand moving and can learn from that.”  

The bottom line? This can help you learn before you’ve invested a massive amount of time and resources.

Get Buy-In & Break Down Silos By Leveraging Your ‘Secret Weapon’

Getting buy-in and collaboration from stakeholders across the organization is key to the success of any initiative, and it’s no different for agile marketing. But while this is undoubtedly critical, it’s not always easy to achieve, especially when it comes to getting executives on-board.

But Roland has some advice on this front. He suggests activating your organization’s “secret weapon”: Your web team.

Why? “Your core digital experience is your website,” Roland said early in his presentation. 

“Everything leads to your website,” he added later. “The web team is set up to integrate with every department. They are in a unique position to exert their influence when it comes to the way the rest of the organization works.”

At the end of the day, it’s all about collaboration, which is where WebOps comes into play—something Roland’s company is well-versed in. WebOps is DevOps (a culture that promotes collaboration between development and operations teams) for web teams.

“DevOps gives web teams agile superpowers,” he said.

[bctt tweet=”#DevOps gives web teams #agile superpowers. @rsmartly #DSMPLS” username=”toprank”]

From helping create structured agile workflows to site management, there are a lot of things web teams can do to automate and streamline so your marketing team can focus on higher-value things, Roland explained.

“WebOps is at its core, is about streamlining the process of how work gets done through agile tools and processes,” he said.

Is Agile Marketing For Your Organization?

After reading this, you’re probably pondering: Is agile marketing a good fit for my organization?

Certainly, making the switch to an agile model needs deep consideration. But from Roland’s perspective, agile marketing is no longer a good practice. It’s best practice.

For more marketing tricks and tips, stay tuned here for updates from Digital Summit Minneapolis (#DSMPLS). 

*Disclaimer: Pantheon is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Pantheon’s Roland Smart Details the Secret to Agile Marketing Transformation #DSMPLS appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Source: SEO blog

Digital Marketing News: Google Indexing Podcasts, Unity’s Rising Marketing Value, Facebook’s Flashy Slideshows & More

2019 August 16 Marketing Charts Chart

US digital ad spend up 18% YoY, new IAB report says
Digital advertising expenditures in the U.S. increased by 18 percent year-over-over from the first quarter of 2018, hitting $28.4 billion, with paid search comprising some 40%, according to new report data from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). ClickZ

[embedded content]

B2B Buyers Prefer Email, But That’s Only One Of Their Demands, Study Finds
41 percent of B2B buyers consider email as their preferred channel, with some 57 percent preferring quotes to come via the channel, while 33 percent choose vendors based on reference reviews, according to newly-released survey data. MediaPost

Report: Instagram Story ad share doubles while overall ad growth levels out
Instagram Story ad spending doubled from 9 percent to 18 percent year-over-year from the second quarter of 2018, reaching levels that are now similar to those of Facebook, according to newly-released report data from Kenshoo. Marketing Land

Just 22% Of Consumers Trust ‘Native’ Ads, Study Finds
Sponsored content advertising is trusted by only 22 percent of consumers, with varying levels of engagement and trust in native ads depending on age, according to recent study data that examines how various demographics interact with and trust sponsored digital content. MediaPost

Millennials value unity more than diversity, study finds
79 percent of millennials want ads that showcase diversity, while also passionately seeking unity, according to newly-released study findings. 85 percent of millennials also prefer that brands carry messages that everyone can enjoy, with 81 percent liking when brands give a voice to underrepresented groups, the study found. Campaign US

72% Notice In-App Mobile Ads That Match Their General Interests
72 percent of consumers are more apt to notice advertisements that mesh with their general interests, while mood, current activities, location, and app themes all also boost appeal, according to newly-released study data of interest to digital marketers. MediaPost

2019 August 16 Statistics Image

Google Indexing Content of 2 Million Podcasts, Lets Users Stream Directly From Search Pages
Google has indexed over two million podcasts and incorporated them in relevant search results, and has also begun rolling out podcast episodes that are playable directly from within search result pages, the search giant recently announced. Variety

Five Charts: Gauging Gen X’s Digital Device Usage and Attitudes Towards Advertising
Some 17 percent of Gen X smart speaker owners have asked for product recommendations on their smart speakers, and at 16 percent nearly as many have browsed products using the digital devices, two on many findings in recent survey data examining the advertising attitudes of Internet users between 35 and 53. eMarketer

Facebook Adds New Slideshow Option to Facebook Stories to Boost Usage
Facebook has released a new slideshow feature for users of its Facebook Stories format, allowing an easier way to add a stream of images within Story frames, and Social Media Today takes a look. Social Media Today

Is Your B2B Marketing Strategy Like Stale Potato Chips? [Infographic]
80 percent of B2B buyers now expect a B2C-like experience, while 47 percent read between three and five pieces of content before initiating sales contact communication, just two of several recent statistics of interest to digital marketers released in infographic format. Webbiquity


2019 August 16 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at cost-cutting and zero-based budgeting by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

How a ‘NULL’ License Plate Landed One Hacker in Ticket Hell — Wired


  • Lee Odden and TopRank Marketing — Top 10 Influencer Marketing Agencies — NeoReach
  • Joshua Nite — Market Online Like a Pro with These 10 Tips — Small Business Trends

Have you found your own top new B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week?

Thank you for joining us, and please tune in again next week for more top digital marketing industry news, and in the meantime you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

5 Common Objections to SEO (& How to Respond) – Whiteboard Friday

How many of these have you heard over the years? Convincing clients and stakeholders that SEO is worth it is half the battle. From doubts about the value of its traffic to concerns over time and competition with other channels, it seems like there’s an argument against our jobs at every turn. 

In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Kameron Jenkins cover the five most common objections to SEO and how to counter them with smart, researched, fact-based responses.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hey, everybody. Welcome to this week’s edition of Whiteboard Friday. My name is Kameron Jenkins, and today we’re going to be going through five common objections to SEO and how to respond. Now I know, if you’re watching this and you’re an SEO, you have faced some of these very objections before and probably a lot of others.

This is not an exhaustive list. I’m sure you’ve faced a ton of other objections, whether you’re talking to a potential client, maybe you’re talking to your friend or your family member. A lot of people have misunderstandings about SEO and that causes them to object to wanting to invest in it. So I thought I’d go through some of the ones that I hear the most and how I tend to respond in those situations. Hopefully, you’ll find that helpful.

1. “[Other channel] drives more traffic/conversions, so it’s better.”

Let’s dive in. The number one objection I hear a lot of the time is this other channel, whether that be PPC, social, whatever, drives more traffic or conversions, therefore it’s better than SEO. I want to respond a few different ways depending. 

Success follows investment

So the number one thing I would usually say is that don’t forget that success follows investment.

So if you are investing a lot of time and money and talent into your PPC or social and you’re not really doing much with organic, you’re kind of just letting it go, usually that means, yeah, that other channel is going to be a lot more successful. So just keep that in mind. It’s not inherently successful or not. It kind of reflects the effort you’re putting into it.

Every channel serves a different purpose

Number two, I would say that every channel serves a different purpose. You’re not going to expect social media to drive conversions a lot of the time, because a lot of the time social is for engagement. It’s for more top of the funnel. It’s for more audience development. SEO, a lot of the time that lives at your top and mid-funnel efforts. It can convert, but not always.

So just keep that in mind. Every channel serves a different purpose. 

Assists vs last click only

The last thing I would say, kind of dovetailing off of that, is that assists versus last click only I know is a debate when it comes to attribution. But just keep in mind that when SEO and organic search doesn’t convert as the last click before conversion, it still usually assists in the process. So look at your assisted conversions and see how SEO is contributing.

2. “SEO is dead because the SERPs are full of ads.”

The number two objection I usually hear is SEO is dead because the SERPs are full of ads. To that, I would respond with a question. 

What SERPs are you looking at? 

It really depends on what you’re querying. If you’re only looking at those bottom funnel, high cost per click, your money keywords, absolutely those are monetized.

Those are going to be heavily monetized, because those are at the bottom of the funnel. So if you’re only ever looking at that, you might be pessimistic when it comes to your SEO. You might not be thinking that SEO has any kind of value, because organic search, those organic results are pushed down really low when you’re looking at those bottom funnel terms. So I think these two pieces of research are really interesting to look at in tandem when it comes to a response to this question.

I think this was put out sometime last year by Varn Research, and it said that 60% of people, when they see ads on the search results, they don’t even recognize that they’re ads. That’s actually probably higher now that Google changed it from green to black and it kind of blends in a little bit better with the rest of it. But then this data from Jumpshot says that only about 2% to 3% of all search clicks go to PPC.

So how can these things coexist? Well, they can coexist because the vast majority of searches don’t trigger ads. A lot more searches are informational and navigational more so than commercial. 

People research before buying

So just keep in mind that people are doing a lot of research before buying.

A lot of times they’re looking to learn more information. They’re looking to compare. Keep in mind your buyer’s entire journey, their entire funnel and focus on that. Don’t just focus on the bottom of the funnel, because you will get discouraged when it comes to SEO if you’re only looking there. 

Better together

Also, they’re just better together. There are a lot of studies that show that PPC and SEO are more effective when they’re both shown on the search results together for a single company.

I’m thinking of one by Seer, they did right now, that showed the CTR is higher for both when they’re on the page together. So just keep that in mind. 

3. “Organic drives traffic, just not the right kind.”

The number three objection I hear a lot is that organic drives traffic, just not the right kind of traffic. People usually mean a few different things when they say that. 

Branded vs non-branded

Number one, they could mean that organic drives traffic, but it’s usually just branded traffic anyway.

It’s just people who know about us already, and they’re searching our business name and they’re finding us. That could be true. But again, that’s probably because you’re not investing in SEO, not because SEO is not valuable. I would also say that a lot of times this is pretty easily debunked. A lot of times inadvertently people are ranking for non-branded terms that they didn’t even know they were ranking for.

So go into Google Search Console, look at their non-branded queries and see what’s driving impressions and clicks to the website. 

Assists are important too

Number two, again, just to say this one more time, assists are important too. They play a part in the eventual conversion or purchase. So even if organic drives traffic that doesn’t convert as the last click before conversion, it still usually plays a role.

It can be highly qualified

Number three, it can be highly qualified. Again, this is that following the investment thing. If you are actually paying attention to your audience, you know the ways they search, how they search, what terms they search for, what’s important to your brand, then you can bring in really highly qualified traffic that’s more inclined to convert if you’re paying attention and being strategic with your SEO.

4. “SEO takes too long”

Moving on to number four, that objection I hear is SEO takes too long. That’s honestly one of the most common objections you hear about SEO. 

SEO is not a growth hack

In response to that, I would say it’s not a growth hack. A lot of people who are really antsy about SEO and like “why isn’t it working right now” are really looking for those instant results.

They want a tactic they can sprinkle on their website for instant whatever they want. Usually it’s conversions and revenue and growth. I would say it’s not a growth hack. If you’re looking at it that way, it’s going to disappoint you. 

Methodology + time = growth

But I will say that SEO is more methodology than tactic. It’s something that should be ingrained and embedded into everything you do so that over time, when it’s baked into everything you’re doing, you’re going to achieve sustained growth.

So that’s how I respond to that one. 

5. “You can’t measure the ROI.”

Number five, the last one and probably one of the most frustrating, I’m sure this is not exclusive to SEO. I know social hears it a lot. You can’t measure the ROI, therefore I don’t want to invest in it, because I don’t have proof that I’m getting a return on this investment. So people kind of tend to mean, I think, two things when they say this.

A) Predicting ROI

Number one, they really want to be able to predict ROI before they even dive in. They want assurances that if I invest in this, I’m going to get X in return, which there are a lot of, I think, problems with that inherently, but there are some ways you can get close to gauging what you’re going to get for your efforts. So what I would do in this situation is use your own website’s data to build yourself a click-through rate curve so that you know the click-through rate at your various rank positions.

By knowing that and combining that with the search volume of a keyword or a phrase that you want to go after, you can multiply the two and just say, “Hey, here’s the expected traffic we will get if you will let me work on improving our rank position from 9 to 2 or 1” or whatever that is. So there are ways to estimate and get close.

A lot of times, when you do improve, you’re focusing on improving one term, you’re likely going to get a lot more traffic than what you’re estimating because you tend to end up ranking for so many more longer tail keywords that bring in a lot of additional search volume. So you’re probably going to even underestimate when you do this. But that’s one way you can predict ROI. 

B) Measuring ROI

Number two here, measuring ROI is a lot of times what people want to be doing.

They want to be able to prove that what they’re doing is beneficial in terms of revenue. So one way to do this is to get the lifetime value of the customer, multiply that by the close rate so that you can have a goal value. Now if you turn on your conversions and set up your goals in Google Analytics, which you I think should be doing, this assumes that you’re not an e-commerce site.

There’s different tracking for that, but a similar type of methodology applies. If you apply these things, you can have a goal value. So that way, when people convert on your site, you start to rack up the actual dollar value, the estimated dollar value that whatever channel is producing. So you can go to your source/medium report and see Google organic and see how many conversions it’s producing and how much value.

This same thing applies if you go to your assisted conversions report. You can see how much value is in there as well. I think that’s really beneficial just to be able to show people like, “Look, it is generating revenue.My SEO that’s getting you organic search traffic is generating value and real dollars and cents for you.” So those are some of the most common objections that I hear.

I want to know what are some of the ones that you hear too. So pop those in the comments. Let me know the objections you hear a lot of the time and include how you’re either struggling to respond or find the right response to people or something that you found works as a response. Share that with us. We’d all love to know. Let’s make SEO better and something that people understand a lot better. So that’s it for this week’s Whiteboard Friday.

Come back again next week for another one.

Video transcription by