Using Data To Drive Strong Marketing Decision Making

April

14

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There is so much data when it comes to marketing. How do you identify what to track? How can you make sense of it to drive strong decision-making with your marketing efforts? Our special guest today, Laurel Mintz with Elevate My Brand, owns an agency with a wealth of experience helping clients make data-driven decisions to increase marketing ROI. She’s going to share some of that experience with you today.

Join Tim Fitzpatrick and Laurel Mintz for this week’s episode of The Rialto Marketing Podcast!

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Using Data To Drive Strong Marketing Decision Making

Tim Fitzpatrick
There is an absolute mountain of data when it comes to marketing. How do you identify what to track? How can you make sense of all the data to make strong marketing decisions? Our special guest today owns an agency with a wealth of experience helping clients make data driven decisions to increase marketing ROI. She's going to share that experience with us today. Hi, I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing, where we believe marketing shouldn't be difficult and you must remove your revenue roadblocks to accelerate growth. Thank you so much for taking the time to tune in. Super excited to have with me, Laurel Mintz from Elevate My Brand. Laurel, welcome and thanks for taking the time.

Laurel Mintz
Oh, my gosh. Thank you so much for having me, Tim. I'm excited to be here.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes, I'm excited to dig into this. I think data... Gosh, it's so easy to get lost in the data of marketing, right? So hopefully we can give people clarity on that today. So I'm anxious to dig into it. Before we do, I want to ask you some rapid fire questions, help us get to know you. You ready to rock and roll?

Laurel Mintz
Let's do it. Rock and roll.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes. So when you're not working, how do you like to spend your time?

Laurel Mintz
I love to cook. We have two puppies that we love, love, love, and we love to travel. Anything food related or wine related, I am in.

Tim Fitzpatrick
What kind of dogs?

Laurel Mintz
We have a King Charles Spaniel, who is more of a cat than a dog. And then we got a big rescue that we took to the vet and literally asked the vet what dog she was. And the vet said jog. So she's a big mutter.

Tim Fitzpatrick
They have dog DNA test now. I'm not sure how accurate they are.

Laurel Mintz
Yeah. She's 12 % of literally every breed.

Tim Fitzpatrick
There you go.

Laurel Mintz
We could have saved our money. We could have saved our money.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I love it. So what's your hidden talent?

Laurel Mintz
My hidden talent is people. Well, I guess it's not my hidden talent. I have a stupid human talent that I don't share with too many people, which is that I can actually flip people off with my toe. I don't know if I've ever shared that live.

Tim Fitzpatrick
That's a really good one. Okay, so both of my daughters, they're like monkeys. They can snap their toes.

Laurel Mintz
Yeah. It's actually called being prehensile. It comes from the monkeys.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Okay, there you go. They can't flip off, but they can snap. What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Laurel Mintz
The best piece of advice I've ever gotten and I give constantly is that everyone is faking it, so don't let anyone intimidate you.

Tim Fitzpatrick
That is a great piece of advice. I saw this the other day. None of us have it all figured out. No matter we look at people and we're like, Oh, my gosh. They've got it all together. No, they don't. Nobody has it all figured out. Can you say that one more time?

Laurel Mintz
No, they don't. I mean, we'll fake it better than others, though, actually.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes. So everyone is faking it. And what was the last part?

Laurel Mintz
Everyone is faking it, so don't let anyone intimidate you. And I say this specifically and very intentionally when I'm in rooms with young kids. So I do a lot of coaching and teaching, and I sit on a lot of nonprofit boards, et cetera, in the entrepreneurial world. And that's my big take away because they're always like, You're so established. You have everything together. And I'm like, First of all, no, I don't. And second of all, everyone's faking it. So show up in every room with all the power and know-how that you have and just be there to listen. And again, don't let anyone intimidate you. Everyone's figuring out what their next step is because nobody has it all figured out.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, that's a great one. What's one thing about you that surprises people other than flipping people off their toes?

Laurel Mintz
I think people are surprised that I actually like being alone quite a bit because I'm such a people person. When the pandemic hit, everyone was like, Are you okay? All my friends called me because I was that girl that was out at 10 events a night, hopping, hopping, hopping, smoothing, smoothing, smoothing. And I think everyone thought that I was going to lose my you know what. But I actually found that I enjoyed the calm and peace quite a bit. And I didn't need the input from other people as much as people think I do.

Tim Fitzpatrick
What does success mean to you?

Laurel Mintz
Success is about being truly happy and finding peace and helping to empower and lift up others around you. So I'm working on all those things all the time. That's part of growth and evolution, but that's what it is to me. Happiness.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Where's your happy place?

Laurel Mintz
Coming on my couch with my husband, a great glass of wine, and my puppies, for sure.

Tim Fitzpatrick
What qualities do you value in the people you spend time with?

Laurel Mintz
Loyalty, play, and joy. I need someone that's going to be a good time. And intelligence. I just don't have patience or time for people that don't inspire and empower me.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Thank you. You're done. That's the rapid fire questions. Awesome job. So tell us a little bit more about what you're doing with Elevate, my brand.

Laurel Mintz
Yeah. Elevate has been around for 14 years. I can't even believe it. I would say hopefully only look 12. But we've been working with over 315 brands in the last 14 years, from baby startups all the way up to some of the biggest global brands like Meta, Verizon, PAW Patrol, GYCO, you name it, we've done it. And we are a digital and experiential marketing agency with 100 % diverse team, which is pretty exciting.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Very cool. Congratulations. 14 years. You're doing something right. You're still figuring it out, but you're doing something right.

Laurel Mintz
Or I'm still stupid. No, I love it.

The Most Exciting Trends for Marketing in 2023

Tim Fitzpatrick
It's hard to believe that as we shoot this, it's almost the end of March. What are some of the exciting trends that you see for marketing in 2023?

Laurel Mintz
Obviously, the big one is that numbers of AI conversation. ChatGPT is taking over. And I will tell you, my sister is going to be engaged soon. And I actually ChatGPT best engagement options for all of these nuances and things about her. And it was pretty spot on. So I think that that's going to continue to grow and be really exciting. And I know a lot of people are nervous about it because it means that it's going to oust some people from a menial job. But I think just like in the tech world, that just means they'll have to reinvent themselves and find new skill set. So I think that's a really exciting future state for marketing. And then the other piece that's been a constant conversation, I think, is the creator community. So really the evolution of the influencer and how that's going to impact content creation in the future.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, the ChatGPT conversation is an interesting one because it's so early right now. I think it's hard for us to really fully grasp how this is going to unfold. I'm starting to see people... I saw somebody on LinkedIn that was posting that they were a ChatGPT expert. I had to chuckle to myself. I mean, hey, I guess maybe you got a month on us, but gosh, I think it's exciting.

Laurel Mintz
It is exciting, but I think that's for sure BS. The same way that I feel like when someone says they're a Web 3 expert, I'm like, come on, this is just the future of Web. Who's an expert in that? It hasn't happened yet. It's still evolving. Again, it's like a lot of marketing jargon, which is why we're here to dispel a lot of those rumors. Right, Tim?

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes, absolutely. I also think that, yes, it may display certain jobs, but I also think it's going to create new ones. So I think there's going to be a ton of opportunity, and I'm excited about it from an efficiency standpoint. I think there's a lot of efficiencies to be gained. I think it's going to make a lot of... I know some of the things that I do from a marketing standpoint just more efficient. There's a lot of data that we can get very quickly. You still got to interpret it. You still got to...

Laurel Mintz
And you still got to bring the human element, for sure.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes. I mean, it's not perfect, but it allows you to get a lot of information very quickly that would otherwise take you a lot of time. I don't know, we'll see. I actually saw, apparently there's people, I can't remember what they call them. I think they're ChatGPT scripts. I downloaded a Chrome extension that is a script in ChatGPT, and there's people writing all kinds of scripts. So they're like pre written scripts. The one that I actually downloaded was to help create buyer personas. So you actually just put in what you do, where located, and it's pretty mind boggling, the data that automatically starts to pull in from this. So I don't know. It's going to be exciting to see how that works.

Laurel Mintz
Totally.

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Tips for Hiring In-house Marketing People

Tim Fitzpatrick
So what tips do you have? I know you've worked with all kinds of different companies, a lot of startups. A lot of the companies that I am working with are thinking about hiring inhouse. They've hired inhouse, small teams. What tips do you have? Because I see people making mistakes.

Laurel Mintz
Yeah, lots of big mistakes, and they can be really costly, especially for a startup when you don't have a lot of runway to play with. I would say one of the most important things that you can do is to figure out what your team's expertise actually is. So marketing is such a huge amorcus term, and it has so many pieces under the marketing umbrella. Nobody's good at all the things. Let's be totally honest. So we at Elevate have a process, we call it a digital mind map, where we actually help inhouse marketing teams understand how to budget their marketing spends, how to allocate those budgets, where their expertise is at, who on their team is good at what, and we develop a process to help them actually be impactful with their marketing if they're going to keep it in house. So I guess my big tip is figure out where those nuanced expertise lie and solve for the other pieces. But one of the best ways to do that is to have someone that can bring in that 30,000 foot view and can say, Okay, you're obviously really good at organic content, but you don't have as much expertise on the paid side. So here's what needs to happen in order for you to be really good and smart with your dollars on that side. Or you're really great at X, Y, and Z. But our job as an agency, if you're going to keep marketing in house, is to pinpoint the potential areas of risk and to solve for those. So again, the best way to do that is to work with the team. And I think the big misnomer is that it's expensive to do that. It's really not.

Tim Fitzpatrick
No, it's not. Well, especially when you think about how much it's going to cost you to hire people internally, it's really not. It's really. You need to identify your gaps and where your strong suits are. I think one of the other issues that I see is even prior to starting the team is who the heck is going to hire and qualify these people? A lot of the times, the owner is the one that's trying to hire these people, and it's no fault of their own. Like you said, marketing is so broad at this point. How are you actually going to know that the person you're hiring has the skills that you need and is going to be being a good fit, I think you can determine as an owner without understanding the marketing side of it, but you have to have some way of qualifying and knowing what you actually need. And I think that's really difficult when marketing is not your thing.

Laurel Mintz
Totally. Although I will say we were hiring at Elevate and Indeed is a great hiring platform and they actually have little expert quizzes and tests that they give to the people that are applying for those roles. So there are some ways to qualify for it. But even still, until that person's in that role, oftentimes you can't know if they're the right fit or not, unfortunately.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Well, and I think depending on where you're at and the type of position you're hiring for, it may make sense to bring somebody outside that can help with that process because, man, making a bad hiring decision costs a ton of money.

Laurel Mintz
And they're done that.


Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. So if you get spending a little bit of money upfront to try and do everything you can to ensure that it's a good hire, I think it's probably a really strong investment. One of the other things you touched on.

Laurel Mintz
One more thing, especially to your point that it's usually the CEO or the founding team that's making those hires. And the reason that they're hiring is because they themselves are not experts. So how would you ever expect that person to hire an expert if they themselves don't know what they're spotting for? Again, the best way, the best reason to work with an outside team to at least get that 30,000 foot view on what needs to happen, what your marketing goals specifically are. Where in the funnel are you needing to hire? Are you hiring a top of funnel person? Are you hiring a conversion person? Are you hiring a performance marketing person? Like you said, there's just so many nuances to marketing.

Tim Fitzpatrick
The other thing, too, I think it's easy for people to fall into the trap of, Hey, I'm going to hire a marketing manager or a coordinator, and they expect that person to be a unicorn. Yeah, we're going to hire a marketing manager, and you need to know how to do social, email, paid ads, SEO. And it's like, guys, it's too broad. Too broad. Nobody is going to be great at all those things. That's why it's so important, as you pointed out, to really hone in on what do we need? What specifically are we hiring this person to do? Because you can't hire somebody and expect them to do four or five different marketing things. It's just not going to work.

Laurel Mintz
No, but that is the expectation. It's wild. To your point, they think they're going to hire this marketing manager or marketing director, and they're going to solve all the marketing problems in the world.

Tim Fitzpatrick
It's hilarious.

Laurel Mintz
It's not realistic. This didn't really work out. Can you help us? We're like, Yeah, we told you.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. So one of the things you touched on, Laurel, was about budget, which comes up all the time. How much money should I be spending? What are some of the ways that you guys approach budgeting that might help folks hone in? Because obviously as marketers, you can spend as much money as you got.

Laurel Mintz
One million dollars. All the money. Now, this is absolutely the most important starting question because the truth is, if you are going out and starting to market and you don't know what your budget is, you're not ready to market yet because you... I always say it's like taking a road trip and you're trying to get from LA to New York, but you don't know the roads, highways, rest stops, gas stations, hotels. If you don't have a plan of action, the likelihood of you getting from LA to New York without any plan is 0.0000001 %. So creating that marketing budget is the starting point for that road trip plan or that gap plan from where you are in your marketing currently to where you want to be. Generally, we have some approaches that we call it our marketing math. So these are just some general numbers for brands that are looking to pick up brand new market share and markets that don't know, like, or trust them yet. They should be looking to spend anywhere from 12 % to 25 % plus % of their projected growth on marketing services. And think about it, because they're trying to create visibility and awareness, and there's no know, like, or trust factor built in there yet. So it's going to cost you a lot more money upfront to get those eyeballs to convert to whatever your specific KPI is for that campaign, etc. Now, that number goes in half for more established brand. So those are brands that are looking to launch a new product category or launch a new market, but they are very established, meaning they're 5 plus to 10 years old and they really have captured market share. They should be spending between 6 and 12 % of their projected growth. Again, that's growth. And again, this is a huge generalization on both sides because I don't know what your industry is. I don't know if you're national, local, global, etc. But generally, that's a good starting point. And at the very baseline, let's call it 10 %. That should be an easy enough number for everyone to hit. If you're not spending at least 10 % of your projected growth, then you're probably missing the mark. And then, of course, there are tools that we use to help you understand, is that the right number or not?

Tim Fitzpatrick
Like you said, you can take these as general numbers, general guidelines, which is a great place to start. One of the other things that I always consider, like you said, hey, it's new markets, right? It's going to take more money. How fast do you want your grow?

Laurel Mintz
Your consumer or service? Like what? Exactly speed to those end goals, 100 %.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Speed to the end goals. What your end goal is, do you want a 2 X? Do you want a 10 X? The other thing is how profitable are you? More profitable companies can obviously afford to spend a hell of a lot more money. Take those general guidelines that Laurel shared because I think they're really good ones. But then also keep in mind where you at, how profitable are you, what are your goals? All of those things are going to impact what you really should be spending on your market.

Laurel Mintz
One more thing I would mention is what are your competitors doing in that space as well? So if you're spending 10,000 a month on Google ads, but your competitors are spending 30 to 50, then you're not catching up so quickly on that, Tim. So there are a million platforms out there that can help you. Spy Foods, one that we really like that helps you understand what your competitors are spending in the same channel that you're looking to go into. There's nothing worse than having conversations with the executive team and they're like, Well, we don't know how much our budget is and we don't know what our competitors are doing. And how do you expect an agency or an internal team, for that matter, to be successful if you don't have goals, if you don't have competitive analysis, if you don't have budgets aligned? This is like table stakes when it comes to developing a smart and conversion driven marketing plan.

The Fundamental Elements of Martech

Tim Fitzpatrick
I love it. So let's talk about Martech. First off, we should probably define what is Martech? And then what are some of the fundamental elements that people should be thinking about or focusing on?

Laurel Mintz
Yeah, Martech is just marketing technology. It's just that cool like NorthCal version of mushing two words together. Although we do have it's not that cool. It'd be like murder. It's just marketing technology. So what are the technologies that different companies use to make their marketing processes easier, better, trackable, etc. They already mentioned one that we use, which is SpiceFu, which helps track ad spend. There's another one that we love called SemRush. They've got all these ones I'm mentioning have premium models that you can use today. Obviously, you don't get as much bang for your buck with that model, and you don't get the expertise of a marketing team that says, All right, here's what those data points are telling us. This is what that means, and here's the go forward plan. So that's really how we use Martech. And then, of course, there's the baseline Martech scheduling tools and things like that that just make your day to day things like social scheduling a lot easier. Then, of course, there are far more complex versions of that, but not sure for your audience if that's how deep you want to go.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, I would not say super deep. You need to focus on where you need help and then find the right tools to invest in, right?

Laurel Mintz
Totally.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Because look, the marketing tools can add up very quickly.

Laurel Mintz
Oh, yeah. They are very expensive.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Now, not all of them are expensive, but some of them are pretty expensive. So I think you definitely need to figure out, hey, does this make sense? As you mentioned, Laurel, when you're hiring or outsourcing to an agency, a lot of times the agency is going to have those tools, and that's not something that you necessarily need to worry about, which I think is a big benefit in doing that. But you touched on this. I've got the tools, but I've got all this data. And if you can't interpret the data, it's like reading a foreign language. I'm trying to read Spanish and I don't know Spanish. It's not going to mean a damn thing to me.

Laurel Mintz
You can phonetically read it, but it has no meaning to you.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Right. It has no meaning. So one of the things that I see a lot of companies struggling with when we talk about data is just, man, what data do I actually need to focus on? What's important? What's not? I always default. I love keeping things as simple as possible. There's so many people tracking vanity metrics when it comes to marketing. How many people are on my email list? How many fans do I have on Facebook? Who cares if you're not generating leads to turn into customers? But what are some of the things that you guys focus on when working with clients? How are you identifying what metrics you're going to track for particular clients? What are your thoughts there?

Laurel Mintz
Yeah, super fair question. I would actually say that we have to back up one step. And one of the first things we do is define marketing goals. What is your actual goal? And we actually have that digital mind map that I mentioned where we go through what those goals are with our clients and their teams. So it's important, first of all, that everyone's on the same page. And oftentimes in that exercise, we find that either they're not on the same page at all. Like someone's marketing goals are completely different from someone else who's on the team, maybe leading marketing or maybe C suite or an underling. It doesn't really matter. If your goals aren't aligned with everyone on your team, the likelihood of you hitting them is slim to none. And then the other thing we see a lot, Tim, is that people's goals are actually sales goals, which are not marketing goals. So a lot of times we have to back them up and say, that's at the bottom of your funnel. We haven't even defined what all these stages are on the top of your funnel, and you're a brand new brand. You're not going to go from zero to conversion. That's not how this works. So a lot of what we do as an agency is education and letting them know. And again, the data points from the Martech platforms we use really help with that because there's so much of the I think I feel. And our job as an agency is to take the subjectivity out of that creative process and to datafy the whole thing so we can say, okay, here's what you said your three to five marketing specific goals were. Here are the three to five KPIs or key performance indicators that we are on the right track to succeed in those goals. Here are your baseline metrics within each of those goals and channels. Here's what your competitors are doing in those channels and what their budgets are. And then it's about creating a gap analysis to get you from point A to point B based on what your budget constraints are and channel constraints are. So there's a lot of different layers that happen within that. But I would say there are very generic KPIs that you track for channel. Those don't really change. It's a matter of how those levers and spigots change as you turn them based on budgets, time, etc. All the things we were talking about before.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I love that distinction about goals because if you don't understand what your goals are, the goals are what's dictating what you're going to track.

Laurel Mintz
Totally.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I remember somebody said... I can't remember where I heard this, but they were talking about, I'm going to do email marketing or I'm going to do social. You have to understand what your goals are for whatever activity.

Laurel Mintz
RIght. What's your why?

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, what's your why? Because one person may be doing it to build brand awareness. Another one might be doing it to generate leads, to keep this simple. Well, those are two totally different goals. What you're going to track.

Laurel Mintz
That's totally different for those. The stage and the age of your company differs and how you approach that, how big your lists are. There's, again, so many infinite factors that go into doing any of that successfully, for sure.

Tim Fitzpatrick
One of my mentors said the most important question in business is why? Yeah, it always comes back to that. So without going into the weeds on metrics, my big take away from what you shared is understand why you're doing certain things, identify those goals, and that's going to help dictate what you're going to track.

Laurel Mintz
Absolutely. I'll take it one step further. I talked to you about the digital mind map. We do a second version of that that's creatively focused. It's more about the mission, the vision, the values, the messaging for a brand. And so one of the activities we do there with our clients is actually going through a who, what, where, when, why, how exercise. And the answers to those, again, really differ from everyone on the team. And it's important to get everyone on the same page so that when you're messaging in those different channels that we talked about, that there's alignment there. Not only is there alignment in terms of how you message to your audience, but then we do another step further and we personify those targets. We make sure that the messaging speaks clearly to the individual audiences at the right time. So again, a lot of nuance there. But yes, the bottom line is like Simon Seneck, if you don't follow him, I absolutely suggest everyone do. I love, love, love everything he has to say. But he said, start with your why, because everything else follows from that.

Conclusion: Using Data To Drive Strong Marketing Decision Making

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, I love it. This has been a great conversation, Laurel. I appreciate you taking the time. Any last minute thoughts, words of wisdom you want to shower us with before we close things out today?

Laurel Mintz
I mean, marketing can be as complicated or as simple as you want it to be. The challenge is to educate and empower yourself to understand where in the marketing journey you are, what you need to be successful, and align your entire teams internally and externally on what those goals are and how you're going to hit them. And that's when you'll see marketing success.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Awesome. Where can people learn more about you?

Laurel Mintz
ElevateMyBrand.com. We have amazing webinars and tons of content on there. And of course, on all of the channels, Elevate My Brand LA on IG, LinkedIn, etc. You know where to find us.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Awesome. If you liked what Laurel had to say, which I sure hope you did because she shared a ton of great insights. Go check out ElevateMyBrand.com. Laurel, thank you again for taking the time. I really appreciate it. Those of you that are watching, listening, I appreciate you as well. We've been talking a lot about marketing metrics today, which is one of the nine revenue roadblocks we help clients remove so they can accelerate growth. If you want to find out which of the nine roadblocks are slowing down your growth, you can do that over at revenueroadblockscorecard.com. You can also connect with us over at rialtomarketing.com. Thanks for tuning in. Until next time. Take care.


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About the author, Tim Fitzpatrick

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