In the last post I talked about the problems with marketing and about how it has ruined almost every communication media ever invented. I also discussed how it’s horribly siloed and inefficient for numerous reasons. Go back and read this post if you haven’t already; it’s a rant most of my friends and co-workers have heard me go off on the past few years.
To fix this problem 47Harmonic has re-thought marketing from the ground up. Instead of building marketing around a media vehicle or the creative, we instead focus on consumers and their interactions with brands. What do they want from your brand, how do they want to be treated and how do they want to interact with your brand? When looking at those questions, we realized the traditional marketing funnel companies use isn’t based on the consumers’ journeys with a brand, but instead is based on what the brand wants their journey to be.
So, we threw the sales/marketing funnel out and started over.
We re-evaluated this journey from the consumer’s perspective and have developed the Harmonic Cycle to reflect their preferred journey. As opposed to a marketing funnel, this cycle follows the complete consumer journey. It starts with getting consumers to notice a brand and goes all the way through post-sale, figuring out how to turn customers into evangelist for the brand. We don’t simply use this cycle to understand the customer journey, we use it to develop a complete integrated marketing plan, or as we like to call it a Harmonic Marketing Plan.
So instead of simply grabbing some number out of the air to determine how much money we put at digital, social, traditional, etc. we determine our clients’ marketing plans based on what it is going to take to achieve the needed results for each stage of this cycle to create sales and evangelist for your brand.
To do this we follow the following steps: research, set goals, brainstorm and plan. Because customers are at the center of everything we do, we first do customer research that involves social data, focus groups and interviews to determine what it is consumers want and are doing at each stage of the cycle.
Once we have this research, we develop specific goals for each stage of the Harmonic Cycle. For the notice section, the goal might be the ideal level of unaided awareness; for desire it might be time on site or interest being expressed on social channels. We do this for each stage first before actually starting the idea development process.
Once the research is done and the goals are set we go into the brainstorming process. Here we bring in some of the best in the industry to help us come up with ideas. Not just 47Harmonic employees, but specific industry experts that may be creative talent from other companies and other industry contacts. Our goal at this stage is to bring in the best people for the specific brands we are working with so we are able to come up with the best solutions to that brand’s marketing problems.
In these brainstorms we develop the initial tactics for each stage of the cycle both on the creative and media side. For the creative, we develop a few big overarching ideas and then go stage-by-stage developing out specific creative executions for each. For media, we dive right in and look at each stage and determine the best media vehicle(s) to achieve the stated goal for the given budget. To ensure we don’t miss a possible media vehicle, we have a system that ranks each media type by its effectiveness at each stage of the cycle and its effectiveness at different budget levels.
After we have conducted our brainstorms we take both the creative and media ideas and merge them to create the initial high-level integrated plan ideas. These initial brainstormed ideas are the framework for the development of the Harmonic Cycle Marketing Playbook. This playbook gives the brand both a media and creative plan for each stage of the cycle that includes the following: budget levels, goals and creative tactics to be implemented and tracked. Because 47Harmonic is overseeing the full process, the plan is completely integrated and focused around the consumer’s journey and needs, eliminating the waste seen in most marketing budgets.
By focusing marketing around the Harmonic Cycle and having defined goals and budgets for each step, you can better optimize your programs and stop the waste of marketing in silos. With the Harmonic Cycle, budgets and media are determined by goals and objectives, not the latest shiny creative idea or what media the client has the best tickets to the game.
The Harmonic Cycle is a full-service integrated plan that takes the guesswork out of marketing planning.