How to Turn Your Marketing Strategy Into a Fun Science Experiment

By Erin Sherbert, Content Marketing Manager, Salesforce

Any small business will tell you that marketing is mostly an art, it’s about crafting just the right message that resonates with the right audience. But there actually is some science to all that creativity.

Bonnie Carter, president and CEO of Full Circle Insights, recently pinpointed some of the experimental things small business leaders can do to expand their marketing, and measure how those marketing efforts are affecting revenue.

Tell us about your business and the solution you offer customers?

We are Full Circle Insights and we are a SaaS-based marketing analytics company. We help customers accurately track and measure the impact of their marketing campaign on pipeline and revenue. We built the app on top of the Salesforce platform, and it’s 100 percent native. We’re a bunch of ex-Salesforce people — executives, product mangers, Salesforce consultants, and effectively we enhance Pardot and Salesforce with an advanced kind of reporting for marketers. For example, our weighted campaign influence and funnel metrics.

What are some of the challenges you have faced?

We are 20 people now and our business is more than doubling year over year, and obviously we need a lot of leads for our sales teams — and lot of good leads. As a growing company we identified target segments and profiles and needed to test new messaging for each segment. We first needed a good system to do A/B testing on our message variations to see which messaging resonated. Then we needed better web forms because we had repeat visitors who were filling out the same thing over and over again with the same information and that was getting tiresome for them. Finally we needed more specialized landing pages, particularly for new search engine marketing programs we were initiating. All of this was challenging for us, and we needed a good marketing system to help us generate those leads.

What are some misconceptions you hear about marketing automation?

Some people think about marketing automation as some sort of glorified email tool — it’s much more than that.

So if some businesses came to you for advice about expanding its marketing, what are 3 things you’d tell them?

First, work hard to identify targets and figure out what segments you are really going after. Part of that exercise is you want to profile the customer and find out exactly who it is you are going to be selling to. You want to try to figure out who to send that message to. The second point is very important: Measure the results. Not just how may leads generated, but what’s the impact of the leads on revenue. It doesn’t matter if you generate a lot of leads, it matters if you generate a lot of leads that will result in business. So measuring your marketing and measuring the business impact of your marketing is number two. The third thing is keep everything in Salesforce. We’re big proponents of having all your customer data in Salesforce as the single place you go to get information about customers — whether it be sales, marketing, customer service — all that information should be in Salesforce. It is much more efficient rather than trying to access different systems to get a complete picture of what every customer is doing.

A lot of small businesses say that Salesforce is hard to use or too complex. What would you say to those business?

Get smarter. You can do it. It’s not that hard. I would actually give them a hard time. I would say those people aren’t trying hard enough.

Can you talk about how marketing insights can be a real game-changer for small businesses?

It’s really critical if you want to get as efficient as possible in every dollar that you spend. So if you can figure out how your marketing is impacting your revenue and what programs to run and what not to run, that is huge. The way I think about marketing is the 80/20 rule — 80 percent of marketing should be operating pretty well; it’s generating leads and impacting business. Then 20 percent is an experiment — a new thing you need to try — because your customers are changing, your market is changing, your product is changing. A lot of things are changing, so it’s a science experiment with variables. You want to allocate part of your marketing budget just to experiment and try new things. Having the marketing insights can make a very material change in your business.

We have a customer that’s also a Salesforce customer, and they had a new marketing team and by understanding how their marketing works and how their marketing had an impact on their business, they doubled their marketing productivity from last year to this year. So their demand gen budget did not grow but they doubled the number of leads and the number of deals they closed which is really cool — that’s a total game changer for their business to be able to get those insights into the market because clearly they were wasting a lot of money before.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

We like to quote our customer Venkat at Palo Alto Networks, and he says, “If you’re not measuring, you’re not marketing.”

Just curious, what is your company’s superpower?

We’ve discussed this at length, and we decided it was X-ray vision, because you can get the visibility you need in all your marketing campaigns and all the data becomes transparent — everyone knows what’s going on.

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