“Real-Time Marketing” Author Shares Six-Step Planning Approach

Published: July 26, 2010

DemandGen Report recently caught up with Reece to find out what the PRAISE acronym means for marketers, how to effectively leverage research in planning and how marketers can tap the mobile phone for campaign optimization.

DemandGen Report: “Real Time Marketing for Business Growth” introduces PRAISE, a six-step marketing process that presents a new way of planning for marketers.  Can you briefly describe these steps for the DemandGen Report audience?

Monique Reece: The six steps are Purpose, Research, Analyze, Implement, Strategize, and Evaluate/Execute. This process helps people think holistically about their business and develop a marketing plan that is comprehensive, yet flexible so strategy is updated in real-time to changing market and competitive conditions.  Many research studies prove that business and marketing planning is the key to businesses growth, yet the old school method of annual planning just doesn’t work anymore. This process helps businesses learn how to develop a real-time operational marketing plan that guides day-to-day decision-making. Here is a brief summary of each step:

Purpose defines the mission, vision, values and goals for the business, which establishes the foundation. Purpose is important because it is the soul of a business.  It defines the culture, strategic direction, and the DNA of the brand, both internal and external. If a business wants to have a powerful external brand, it must have a strong internal brand first.

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Research is what separates the businesses that are using gut experience to “wing it” and those who dig deeper to understand the real issues impacting their markets, customers, competitors, and other critical issues affecting their business. Market segmentation and primary research are the best methods for businesses to understand and define who their ideal target customer is, and why they buy.  They need to ask questions like, “What do customers value and how well do we deliver it to them? Is it better than the competition?”  Questions like this can only be answered through research.

As businesses Analyze the results of research they make better decisions about how they should price their products and services, discover new sales channels to reach buyers, improve customer experience, and understand what customer want and value. Research and analysis is also one of the most important aspects of social media because it helps businesses discover where to reach their target audience, listen to what is important to them, and respond by engaging them in a conversation.

When the first three steps in the process are completed, a business is better prepared to develop Strategies for growth. When strategies are created that are based on knowledge and facts instead of assumptions, it helps businesses make well-calculated decisions as they grow their business, while also reducing risk.

Implement is the tactical section of the plan that of course follows strategy, but the “I” in the acronym PRAISE comes before “S” to prove a point. Most businesses want to jump into implementation to generate demand, but as your audience knows, demand generation is far more targeted and effective when the previous steps are completed.  Now a tactical plan can be developed to effectively drive more leads, increase sales, and improve ROI.

The “E” stands for Execute and Evaluate. Businesses identify critical metrics track and evaluate throughout each step of the PRAISE Process. They learn how to use the ROI Optimizer to measure, improve, and even predict the results of marketing and sales programs across the entire demand chain. They also learn how to integrate marketing and sales with operations and how to apply 10 principles that will improve their company culture and ability to execute.

DGR: Chapter 7 emphasizes “Defining Core Values.” Can you elaborate on how this drives decision-making?

Reece: Core values are the most important component of a business’ purpose and culture because they drive behavior and the way people work together. Values are more than words on a piece of paper; people need to understand what they mean and why they are important. One of the most effective ways this happens is when the leadership team models this through their daily interaction with people and leading by example.  People hear and see how core values drive decision-making, which has a very direct impact on execution.  Another benefit of promoting core values is that they become ingrained into the culture, making the internal brand of a business stronger. This is important because a company’s external brand image is a mirror of its internal brand image.

DGR: In the book you emphasize that the biggest mistake that entrepreneurs make is not integrating research into the planning process. What are some of the reasons for this and what types of research should marketers specifically consider?

Reece: There are several reasons why businesses don’t do research or value it as much as they should. It might be that they don’t know how, or they may not be aware that there are processes to do it efficiently, or they might think they don’t have the time for research and analysis because they are too busy executing.  After all, it sounds a lot better to execute than research or plan, right?  But the problem with skipping this critical step in business planning, or not giving it enough attention, is this has a direct affect on the results of demand generation programs. It causes the targeted ROI to fall short of achieving the objectives because the target market is incorrect, or the messaging is not right, or a dozen other errors are made that can cost a business time, money and lost opportunity.  Ongoing research is critical because a business can’t possibly understand all the market drivers of their business without understanding their market, competitive environment, and most importantly, what their customers want and need. Everything is in a constant state of change and this is where real-time marketing is so helpful.  When businesses integrate a real-time planning process into their business, then research is built into daily operations in areas that range from social media to competitive intelligence. There are so many tools available to assist with real-time research making it easy to find relevant, timely information. Using these tools with a process for collecting and sharing information cross-functionally in a company not only helps a business to be more competitive, it increases organizational learning and significantly improves company culture at the same time.

DGR: As mentioned in Chapter 16, “Marketing: Treat Different Customers Differently,” customer loyalty plays a big part in the profitability of a business, as sales teams and marketers are using CRM programs to track customer information. How can marketers combat potentially negative buyer sentiment as a result of their personal shopping behavior on file?

Reece: If the information in a customer profile reveals that they are a low profit, low revenue customer, start by verifying the data to understand why. Perhaps there is a mismatch between the customer’s profile and the offer marketed to them. Or, there may be an opportunity to turn an unprofitable customer into a profitable customer by renegotiating the pricing or service terms. For example, if a specific service like consulting is free as part of an annual service contract and a customer attempts to take advantage of the service by using three to four times what other customers do, then you could charge the customer for this service on an ala carte basis.  Evaluate what changes can be made and talk with the customer about your proposed changes. Most customers will understand that businesses need to make a profit and will probably appreciate that you are making an effort to keep them as a customer and engage them in a conversation to find a resolution. If no agreement can be reached then it is reasonable to refer the customer to a competitor who can help him or her. This fair and kind approach can save the relationship, and who knows, the customer may even refer others to your business because they appreciate the way the situation was handled.

DGR: Businesses are using mobile phones as marketing tools to increase sales, connect with customers and advertise coupons, promotions or sales.  How important is it for marketers to get involved in mobile marketing in today’s tech- savvy society?

Reece: It is very important for marketers to get involved, or at least understand the opportunities in mobility marketing. Spending in mobile marketing is projected to be $561 million in 2010, which is still very small compared to others types of media, but it is one of the fastest growing areas of advertising and projected to grow 27% a year for the next five years.

The importance of mobile marketing to marketers will depend on the type of business and its customers. For example, if a business has multiple retail locations, it can target users who are close to their business with a promotional offer, which may give a customer just the incentive she needs to stop by the store. It’s a good way to catch customers when they might be the most open and receptive to a promotion. It really comes down to relevancy, which is important to any marketing activity, especially to mobile marketing. The last thing a mobile user wants is a spam message on their personal mobile device.


To buy a copy of “Real-Time Marketing for Business Growth,” click here.

Monique Reece is the founder of MarketSmarter, a management and marketing firm that helps companies develop effective strategies to achieve revenue, growth, and profitability goals. MarketSmarter specializes in creating marketing and business plans to help companies find new customers, increase revenues from current customers, and grow their business to the next level.

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