Paul Roetzer started PR 20/20 in November 2005 after seven years at a traditional PR and marketing firm. He is the author of The Marketing Agency Blueprint (2012) and The Marketing Performance Blueprint (2014).
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I invited Paul to Marketing Smarts to discuss his latest book, The Marketing Performance Blueprint: Strategies and Technologies to Build and Measure Business Success, and how modern marketers need to reorganize their teams, reassess their metrics, and realign their goals in order to prove the value of marketing within their organizations.
Here are just a few highlights from our conversation:
If your company won’t embrace modern marketing, leave (14:23): “Chapter 2 of the book is all about committing to digital transformation. In that chapter is where we face some of these core challenges that marketers face in terms of their organization evolving as needed to do what’s possible… A lack of urgency or complacency with leadership is an enormous challenge that has to be overcome…. I get asked this question all the time. ‘I’m in an organization and we can’t convince leadership to change… What do you think I should do?’ My answer has been…’leave.’ It’s not the popular answer, but it’s kind of like [being] a professional athlete. You have [just] so many years when you’re at your peak. You can’t spend the prime of that time in an organization that doesn’t appreciate your capabilities and isn’t willing to do what’s possible in marketing. Hopefully…you can be the change agent that gets them to evolve and you have the ear of the leadership team internally to do that, but if you don’t and you know it’s not going anywhere, at some point [leaving] is the alternative you have to consider.”
You don’t have to integrate your entire organization at once: start small (21:39): “You have to pick something where you can get early wins, especially if you’re at an organization where you are trying to truly transform the way things have been done, you have to continually get buy-in. For us, even when we take on new clients, we always talk about performance metrics, and the impact of what we do and how it impacts the bottom line. But the reality is when you start with something new, a lot of times you have to evaluate the marketing technology stack that’s in place. You may have to do a new website. You may need some new collateral. You may have to do some brand identity stuff, and all of these things are critical to the foundation of a marketing program, but none of them have an immediate effect on lead generation, conversions, customer loyalty—the things that actually affect bottom line.”
To achieve integrated marketing success, align expectations and potential (22:26): “I think within each organization, you just have to understand what are the goals of the business overall? What is important to the C-Suite? Do they understand the process of making this change over time? Basically, do you have the runway to do it? Because if you get into this and you sell them on change, and they expect that after three months they’re going to start seeing a 50% increase in lead volume…it’s just not the reality. The real starting point is to align expectations and potential, to understand where you are as an organization, how much building work needs to be done, what the goals are, are they realistic with the resources that are in place. And until you know where those are, it’s really hard to get expectations aligned, but it’s probably the most important part.”
Writing is the most important skill to consider when hiring (26:31): “I’ve always believed that [writing is the most important skill]. I think a good testament is that…the makers of Basecamp software had a book called Rework, and in that [book] (these are developers), they say that writing is the most important skill set…. Their thinking is that if you can convince somebody, if you can articulate a message, whether it’s an email, a proposal, a project update, a social update, whatever it may be, however you’re writing, we’re constantly trying to connect with people, engage them, tell a story, and convince them in some way to take an action…. If you’re a solid writer, it shows your ability to put thoughts together. It shows your ability to prioritize items, to connect with people. It just demonstrates that you can think at a higher level. Oftentimes, you can take that capability and know that it’ll translate to other areas of the business. If someone’s a really strong writer, that’s a very hard thing to teach post-grad. If you’re out of school and you’re not a good writer yet, it’s really hard to make you a good writer. But if you come out of school and you are a good writer, we know that we can teach you SEO, we can teach you the ins and outs of blogging, we can teach you content marketing strategy, we can teach you all these other things, but we can’t be the one that teaches you how to write. It shows a level of intelligence, a level of strategy, an ability to be analytical. I think writing’s just critical.”
Paul and I talked about much more, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!
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Music credit: Noam Weinstein.