Last week, I discussed the application of the marketing wheel, a conceptual framework that could be used to consider the consumer experience.

This week, I’m going to use the wheel to contextualize contemporary marketing applications.

I see things generally breaking down like this:

The point is that different marketing applications help the wheel at different times:

  • Awareness – The key here is that you are attempting to reach people who aren’t already in your direct network and bring them into your network.  PR, SEO and advertising are the main tools here.
  • Engagement – Once a prospect has been brought into the network, the engagement process is usually supported through direct sales (enabled through a CRM) and some marketing platform.  Most marketing platforms seem to combine automated elements with planned elements.
  • Action – The action phase is normally preempted by sales although marketing’s influence is still felt here.
  • Evaluation – Post-action, a customer is normally influenced by a combination of automated metrics (facilitated normally by product); post-conversion sales interactions; and services/support (this is normally in a different department).  The majority of this interaction still takes place on a CRM.

A few thoughts on all this:

  • Product hasn’t been addressed but with engagement tactics like free trials and freemium versions, product is an integral player throughout the entire process.
  • Most marketing platforms I’ve taken a look at seem to focus primarily on the engagement & action stages but neglect the first stage – awareness.  In other words, they are pretty good at moving prospects through the cycle but tend to not be great at getting prospects into the cycle.
  • No one really talks about it but spam is still pretty effective.  I created “e-mail” as a category above but that references “e-mail marketing” to the actual list that you obtained in accordance with best practices.  Spam would be more focused around the “awareness” phase.
  • I’m still trying to wrap my head around the landing pages functionality that most marketing ASPs offer.  Are these really any better than just creating pages through your own CMS?
  • One of the main challenges that all of these marketing suites face, is control of the Website.  I still haven’t seen any killer approaches to helping clients improve the marketing capabilities of their own Websites.  I’m all ears if anyone has any suggestions.  I do think there is probably a pretty significant marketing opportunity for a service that can link content management systems pretty seamlessly – a meta CRM, so to speak.
  • I have a feeling that as you get further on down the wheel, your data and operations get a lot more co-mingled with the platform you are using.  This probably lowers churn rates considerably (and also decreases close rates I would imagine).