Creating a genius marketing strategy
actually requires no genius on your part. As long as you take the right
approach you can create a genius strategy of your own. You just have to know
it’s possible and understand the process.
Remember when Coca Cola came up with the
idea of putting people’s names on bottles? Remember how Dropbox became one of
the fastest growing companies to $90m, or better still how Uber reached $1bn in
revenues seemingly overnight?
I’m going to show you, how you can create a marketing strategy
like that for your own business. (It’s much easier and simpler than you think)
Creating a genius marketing strategy is
what gets people talking, it’s what gives you the edge over your competitors,
it’s what helps you stand out as a company. And when you realise that it’s all
about the process, i.e. the approach that you take, you can stop wasting time
and money on what you think might
work, and spend that on what you know
We’re working with a company right now, and
as we’ve been going through the process – even the person on the team working
with me – who has little to no previous marketing strategy experience or
qualifications has already been able to come up with a solid strategy on his
As a result, it now means that where the company was spending in excess of £100
to acquire each new customer, they’re likely to spend less than £20, which
means the same budget will get them 5x more customers. But not only that,
they’ve also realised how to increase their revenue from their existing
customer base. Good news all round.
All of this is achieved by using data to
drive your strategy, i.e. a data-driven marketing strategy. Some call it growth
hacking, others call it Business Intelligence. I prefer to use the term Business
Intelligence as it’s more accurate and more holistic.
What’s common in all 3 companies above
(Dropbox, Coca Cola, Uber) is that they heavily relied on data to drive their
marketing strategies. The good news – however, is that you don’t have to be a
Math PhD to be able to use data to drive your strategy. You also don’t need a
big team or expensive tech, nor do you need to be a tech wizard.
Here’s how you can use data i.e Business
Intelligence to drive your strategy. I’ll show you how to put it all together
at the end.
- Understand that data is all about telling
- Capture all your data
- Measure everything
- Visualise your data
1) Understand That
Data Is All About Telling a Story
When you check your watch in the morning and
the time says 7.50am, and you know you have to get dressed and get to work by
8.00am, the watch is telling you a story, i.e. you’re going to be late to work,
since it’s going to take you 5 mins to get dressed, and more than 15 mins to
When you get in the car and the fuel gauge
shows 20% fuel, it’s telling you a story. I.e. you need to fill up.
This is the point of data. It’s there to
tell you a story so that you can make a decision. This is what you have to do
in your own business. Get your data to tell you stories about your business
that you didn’t already know. It doesn’t matter what the story is, just as long
as it can tell you one. Then off the back of that, you can derive decisions
As we’ve been working with our latest Business Intelligence client, as we put
the data together it became really obvious what needed to be done. We could see
that they were spending way too much on acquiring customers and that certain
marketing channels were performing better than they thought, while others were
performing worse than they had realised. We could also see that 80% of their
customers were not “active” which means the product needs further development
before they go and spend all their budget on marketing. As soon as the data came
in and was ready, the story was apparent immediately.
2) Capture All Your Data
In order to get the data to tell you a
story, you first have to make sure you’re recording everything. And by
everything, I mean EVERY THING. It
doesn’t have to be a manual process, nor does it have to be a difficult one.
Chances are that most of your business is being run on software tools or
services of one type or another which is already capturing all the data you
Let’s say you run a taxi firm, your booking
system is already capturing a lot of data. It’s capturing bookings for the
week, your taxi drivers, the fares and so on. Your phone system is probably
capturing all the calls, the time of calls and so on. Your bank account is
capturing your payments, incoming revenue, outgoing expenses and so on. There’s
a lot of data just in these 3 places and it’s already sat in your database. You
just need to access it, download it and start analysing it. (More on that in a
3) Measure Everything
Now that you have all the data from the various places, now you want to measure
as many things as you can. All the questions that you’ve always wanted to know,
you should start measuring those things. So you first want to create a list of
all the things you want to measure. So if I was running a taxi firm for
example, I would want know:
How many taxi bookings do we
get a week?
Out of all the calls we get,
how many of those turn into paying customers?
Which of my staff members is
performing best for those sales?
What destinations are most
popular amongst our customers?
What kind of requests do we get
These are just a sample of questions you’d
want to ask of your business. But the more you can ask, the better.
At this stage, all you need to do is,
literally, just list the questions. Just be clear about what you want to ask.
There are some standard questions that all businesses should be asking as well.
These are things like your Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) which measures how
much does one customer spend with you over the lifetime of their custom with
you. Your Cost Per Acquisition (CPA). This is how much does it actually cost
you to acquire each paying customer. You should also take a look at how each
stage of your customer journey is performing. I.e. how many customers go from
one stage of the customer journey to the next (in terms of your marketing
But you shouldn’t just focus on marketing
related data. You should also focus on how your product is used. Look at how
often people make repeat purchases; or let’s say your product is a subscription
product, look at how often people log in to your system to use it (known as
active users), when was the last time (on average) when people last logged in,
and so on.
Don’t worry about how this is going to be measured at this stage, just focus on what
it is that you want -- and -- should know.
This is the bit, where the data is actually
going to start telling you a story. If you want to see who are the top
performing salesmen in your team, it’s far easier to see that on a chart (a visual), then it is in an excel spreadsheet. Pictures speak a thousand words.
Now you might want to use a data analyst to do this bit for you, but it doesn’t
need to cost you an arm and a leg. This is a lot cheaper than it used to be
because the tools and the tech have gotten easier. So if you’re not feeling
confident yourself, you’d want to hire someone that can create the visuals for
you. (Ask us for advice on this)
You want your analyst to use their business
intelligence tool of choice to visualise all the data, i.e. the answers to all
the questions you wanted to ask of your data. Now here’s the most important
bit. When you see each visual, if it doesn’t immediately tell you a story, i.e.
if you’re not immediately able to understand a pattern that’s going on in your
business, then your data analyst isn’t doing their job properly. It’s not your
job to try and understand a visual. It’s their job to make sure that when you
see the chart, what it is telling you is a complete no-brainer.
Once you have about 5-10 visuals, you’ll
start to get a really good “big picture” understanding of your business and
from there , it will be easy to derive insight and for you to use that to drive
your decision making.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER – How Dropbox Et al. did it.
This was the exact process that companies
like Dropbox used. Dropbox captured all their product usage data and once they
visualised their data they learned a very important thing. That what their
users cared about the most was how much storage space they got and that they
were willing to jump through a few hoops to get more data. So Dropbox decided
to offer their users a carrot, in that, they would give their users extra
storage space if they would refer their friends. By looking at their data, and
running a series of tests, Dropbox was able to determine the sweet spot of
storage space and how many “friends” someone was willing to refer to get the
extra storage space. That sweet spot (from what we know) was 2GB of free
storage and 5 friends.
So, each user that signed up had to refer 5
friends if they wanted to break the 2GB storage threshold. And by implementing
this strategy Dropbox used their existing customers to drive more customers
into their funnel. A viral marketing
Uber has analytics built into its app, they
can track every booking, payment, every button press within the app. This
allows them to capture and measure every dimension of their app usage. From
this it allows them to derive further insights. By doing this, what Uber
learned was that the more frictionless the user experience. I.e. the less steps
it takes to book a taxi, the more likely someone is to book one. So Uber went
about doing whatever they could to make the taxi booking process as simple and
as fast as possible, combined that with a referral mechanism similar to
Dropbox, and Hey Presto, they started taking over the world.
Now, you can actually take this a step
further, as with the case of Coca Cola. Coca Cola got hold of data that was
publicly available and combined it with their own data and learned their most
potent demographic was spending most of their time on places like Facebook.
They also learned that this demographic was all about the selfie. So, they had
to find a way to give this demographic an excuse to take a selfie with their
product, hence the named bottle idea. When they launched that idea, everyone
was sharing pictures on FB. In hindsight, it seems pretty genius to you and me,
but in reality is quite simplistic and almost obvious when you realise the
process behind it.
So now you can come up with a genius strategy
for your business too. One that will seem really obvious to you but will wow
your customers and worry your competitors. We’ve already helped one business
improve their profitability by approx. 60% this way and another that we’re
working with at the moment have got some really good insight on their hands.
They’ve realised where they can now better spend their money. Everyone is super
Remember, you don’t have to be a tech
wizard or a math genius to pull this off. Let your data analyst worry about
that. It also doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, but it’s one of the best
investments you can make for your business this year.
to seeing what insights you derive from your data.
Now go and be a