It does not take a big budget, large team, or advanced degree to be a smart marketer. So, what does it take to outsmart your larger, seemingly more well-funded competition?

While I talk often about deeply understanding your buyer personas (and still believe that it is priority #1 for marketing executives), marketers can also get a lot of mileage from listening to other marketers. Not a day goes by where I don’t learn something or find inspiration from one of the 100+ feeds in my Google Reader marketing feed or my Twitter stream.

Using Marketing to Test Marketing

It does not take much for an idea to spark new life into your marketing operation. For instance, buried deep in a  recent HubSpot article, I came across some sage, yet common sense, tips for adding intelligence into a company’s marketing plan.

Even if you fall in the 50% of marketers who don’t use PPC for lead generation or driving web site traffic, Jeanne Hopkins at Hubspot reminds us of how testing permeates everything that marketers do and of the opportunity to use PPC to refine your message and tactics:

  • Test email campaign subject lines or concepts in PCC ads to see which get traction.
  • When naming an eBook or a kit used in inbound marketing, test the titles in PPC campaigns. 
  • Test keywords to refine organic search by tracking the conversation rate of PPC click-throughs.
  • Bonus from me: Test internal ad language and concepts using PPC to gain insight into what is going to get prospects to click on the offer or new product you are pushing on your company’s home page.

There are a multitude of ways to systematically work testing into your marketing strategy by combining PPC, email, social media, surveys, and other online marketing tactics.

Though this idea is neither new nor revolutionary to experienced marketing teams, tight deadlines and days spent executing in the trenches cause many marketers to lose sight of simple tactics than can impact their customer acquisition KPIs. Without consistently checking in with what other marketers are saying through rss feeds, LinkedIn groups, and Twitter monitoring, you are likely to miss jewels to make your organization’s marketing measurably smarter.

How have you used PCC or other marketing tactics to test messages or product ideas?