Sunday, October 16, 2005

How to Start in a New Marketing Role – RAPIMMR

It’s not the most elegant of acronyms, but it is a solid approach to new marketing campaigns or roles. I was recently pointed to a report from Spencer Stuart titled “A Blueprint for Top Marketers’ First 100 Days.” It’s short and worth a read, but I was expecting more of a detailed roadmap. What their advice comes down to is: talk to lots of people in your new company, establish relationships, and get them on board with your plans. That advice is solid and useful, but hardly profound.

So, here’s the roadmap I would propose, based on the acronym RAPIMMR:

R: Research. Jumping in right away with a “master plan” based on your past experience, but with no input or buy-in from your new co-workers, is a recipe for disaster. Ask lots of questions, of lots of people. What’s been done in the past? What’s worked, and what hasn’t? What’s been considered, but not tried? Ask about marketing programs, key messages, competition, and objectives. Do this both to gain knowledge as well as establish relationships. Who has great ideas? Who is really knowledgeable about certain topics?

To quote Kelly Vizzini, CMO at application virtualization company DataSynapse, from Marketing Sherpa’s case study on the firm: “When marketers go to new jobs, some say `Here’s my plan I’m going to do all these things.’ That’s the kiss of death. Why would I presume to create a whiz bang plan when I haven’t sat down and talked to my own internal audience? You have to sit down and ask them where their pain is, what works, and where are you struggling?”

Also critical is to learn about the company’s systems in place. Suppose that you want to do a targeted email campaign to existing customers in a particular industry segment; has the company even done market segmentation? Can you easily pull the list you need? Do they have tools in place to track the results once the campaign is launched? If not, you’ll need to pursue other ideas (while also working to get adequate system capabilities in place).

A: Analyze. Armed with the raw data, discussion notes and other facts from your research, what does it mean? What conclusions can you draw? What tactics are even realistic in the short term? What should you avoid? Who needs to be involved? Why am I asking so many questions? Because this analysis will be a key part of the next step, which is…

P: Plan. Based on your research and analysis of the results, develop your marketing plans for the appropriate time frame (immediate, quarter, annual). Consider messaging, medium and of course, budget. Discuss this up and down the authority change, to get the right people on board (and of course budget approval). Tweak as necessary.

I: Implement. With your plan and budget approved, now is the time to take action. Fully develop your messages, obtain lists, contact publishers, make changes to your Web site, etc. – make it happen.

M: Monitor (and modify). Track your results in as close to real-time as possible, and make mid-course adjustments as necessary. How are keywords performing; did you bid too little or too much for certain words? Tweak your bids. Are certain messages pulling better than others? If you are asking for registration or direct purchase, how are conversions; does the landing page and/or registration form need changes?

M: Measure. At the appropriate point – end of the quarter or campaign – summarize your results. Which programs did well? How does your cost per lead or sale compare across different media or campaigns? Gather all of the key information and metrics for the last stage of this cycle, which is…

R: Review. With measurement data and analysis in hand, determine what worked well, what could be done better, and what if anything failed. Review this with the key people you identified back in the first “R” (Research) stage. Share your results and get their input. This final “R” now serves as the initial “R” for you next round of analysis, planning and implementation, so that over time, this acronym actually becomes RAPIMMRAPIMMRAPIMMR… Not melodic perhaps, but (hopefully) solidly methodic.


Terms: starting in a new marketing role, a marketers first 100 days, planning marketing campaigns, strategic planning for marketers, developing marketing plans

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