July 15, 2021
Welcome to the first of our Weekly Update series of blog posts where we detail our full journey in strategizing and executing our 2017 Marketing Plan.
In this series, I’ll be going through our thought process, daily activities, big wins, and embarrassing mistakes. We’re not holding back here — our goal is to be as transparent as possible.
This series will read a lot like a stream of consciousness. That’s on purpose. I’m writing these posts as we run new marketing experiments, create new ads, run CRO tests, etc… So this is going to be less polished and more meant to show the thought process we go through each week.
With that in mind, let’s start with Week 1 of 52: January Strategy.
If you want to follow along each week for the next 52 weeks as we execute our 2017 Marketing Plan, sign up now:
The first week of every month is dedicated to strategy. What are the 12 tactics we’re going to run this month? This is how we run strategy for all our clients at Ladder, so it only makes sense that we eat our own medicine.
Strategizing for month 1 of our marketing plan has to come from somewhere — we don’t do guesswork at Ladder. Instead we focus on data-driven strategy to pull the right growth levers for both ourselves and for our clients.
Luckily, we did a bunch of really useful marketing audits for Ladder in the run-up to kicking off our marketing plan, so we have a lot of data to work with.
You can read those audits here:
Our audits let us do a deep idea brainstorm in December 2016, where we came up with over 100 different tactics we could execute.
So my first step was to go through this idea backlog and add it to the Ladder Planner in the Icebox section.
From there, I listed out the 12 tactics that I considered to have the most potential impact for Ladder in January.
Why 12? Well, after a lot of testing at Ladder we’ve found a sweet spot at the 12 tactic mark. For some of our larger customers, we might test more than 12 tactics, and for some of our smaller ones focusing on one channel, we test fewer, but 12 gets the best results regardless of size or industry.
I wrote down the logic for choosing each tactic and presented this list to Ladder co-founder Michael Taylor.
Michael, who put together Ladder’s marketing plan, reviewed the 12 tactics I chose and made some quick suggestions and changes along the way. We had a quick meeting where he gave me his review of my one-month strategy and asked me to make a few small changes.
In particular, he wanted to run an AdWords keyword test (B2B Marketing), which I had not included, and a few SEO tactics, which I had considered too long-term in impact considering this was the first month of testing for the year.
For that, he also asked that we hold off on a few tactics (backlinks, exit intent design) that would not be as easy or valuable to execute for the first month.
I took Michael’s advice and ran with it to provide a newly updated list of 12 tactics for January.
Here are the 12 tactics we finally decided on, along with a quick explanation/hypothesis for each:
Everything was in the Planner and ready to go.
From here, my job becomes actually executing the above tactics. So I went into the Ladder Planner, where we’re managing our entire marketing plan workflow, and added in the tactics to our January plan.
I put a hypothesis, budget, and scheduled start + end time for each tactic so I could easily keep track of what it is I’m testing, when, and for what reasons.
My next step is to actually go ahead and implement each tactic over the course of the month.
The nice thing about managing this entire process with our internal tool, the Planner, is that I can track all performance based on different audiences, creatives, and tests entirely in one dashboard. And that lets me focus more of my time on strategy and execution and less of my time fiddling with different analytics platforms to find the right data.
Because each test I run is specially designed to have uploadable creative and audience assets, and that lets me see exactly which ads or copy I’m running at any give time.
So from here, it’s all about going into Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and running ads. It’s all about doing some clever SEO work. It’s all about building landing pages and promoting content.
But much more on that next week — Week 2 of the Ladder Marketing Plan. Stay tuned.
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