The Marketing Hot Seat: Kyle Flaherty

hotseatI met Kyle Flaherty prior to his Boston to Austin journey and knew early on that he was a thought leader in marketing.  As Director of Marketing and Communications for Breakingpoint, Kyle is passionate about applying new marketing techniques in the B2B arena.  Besides his passion for the Red Sox, he and I continue to share the belief that social media provides new tools and approaches to complement the marketer’s toolbox.  I had high expectations on Kyle’s entry for the Marketing Hot Seat – especially with his help to craft the idea – and he doesn’t disappoint. Read on.

  • You’re the CMO.  You have a marketing budget of $1M.  Your company is a consumer product company, relatively unknown / early stage.  Customers who know the product like it. CEO wants ROI within 12 months.  What do you do?

One million dollars goes a long way these days when it comes to marketing and I would make the most out of it by brining on resources and tools to then implement the necessary tactics. There will be four steps to take:

  1. Listen

    Kyle Flaherty

    Kyle (2nd from Left) along with the infamous Tim Walker, Bill Johnston and yours truly.

  2. Firstly we will want to understand how people perceive our product, the competition and how they find and digest information. To begin we will need to understand the community vernacular starting with how they search. Instituting a sophisticated SEO campaign and a detailed keyword landscape we will begin to understand what people are saying and more importantly what words they are using. Employing Hubspot we will create a detailed keyword landscape and with Google Analytics we will be able to correctly identify how our community finds our own company.

    Using this keyword landscape we now plug terms into a combination of Meltwater Buzz and simple RSS aggregation to find the people who are using these terms, where they are having these conversations and how they like to engage with other people and potentially brands. Doing this over a healthy period of time, I recommend 60 days, we can build a tighter messaging platform, proper web copy and launch our brand new website! The latter portion will be the most costly, but it would be a shame to not have your website reflect what you have learned during the listen phase.

    COST:$200,000 ($80,000 going to website design and development, $20,000 to tools and $100,000 to salary of staff and outside consultants)


  3. Participate
  4. Our brand new website has launched, properly communicating with our audience our product’s merits. Also, based on the above research in we determined the majority of our potential customers are using Twitter and that 78% of them have their own blog (come along with me, this is all fantasy). Understanding this information we have created a plan to integrate social media into our marketing campaigns. The campaigns will be centered on creative uses of our products and we will use social media, email, PPC and event marketing. An important note here: our company views social media as part of our communications DNA and not a separate entity.

    The marketing staff will combine to manage the campaigns, including social media, and be the defacto community managers since there is no need to have someone dedicated solely to that job if it is part of everyone’s job. Kicking it all off will be an exclusive invite to our kick-off party, hosted in New York City but broadcast live into rented out pubs throughout the world (open bar anyone?). After the kick-off we will be launching several PPC campaigns, an email push and dedicated conversations on Twitter and Facebook. The one central tenant to all of this will be the use of video and images taken by our users and aggregated throughout our platforms.

    COST: $300,000 (The event is going to take the majority, but we will also need to purchase video equipment for users, PPC, email tools and of course salary).

    TOTAL TIME ELAPSED: 180 days

  5. Nurture
  6. Customers are flowing into the website and purchases are through the roof, nice work! Now we have to nurture our base. Each day we are interacting with our community online, offering tips on how to better use our product, highlighting their photos/videos and creating our own online content for people to share. This is the pure work portion of our twelve months and will take a lot of time from the marketing staff. During this time we will also want to create our customer advisory council in order to gather more information about the use of the product (version 2 is slated for a Christmas launch), these people will also start to become our online ambassadors for the planned launch of our dedicated online forums.

    COST: $100,000 (Salary will be the majority, but some funds will be used to get the advisory council together)

  7. Measure
  8. This portion was started actually during the listening phase, but I didn’t want you to be confused. Our measurements will be directly related to our business goals and as a start-up these are on a quarterly basis. Using we have built a sophisticated sales and marketing dashboards and integrating that directly into our website we are measuring lead source details each day. This will include the use of SalesForce’s Twitter application, some personalized javascript development and integration of Act On for web analytics. Our web analytics will not be just numbers, but the actions folks take, based on personas built during phase 1.Everything we do will be measured down to the dollar and the impact of that dollar to our bottom line.

    COST: $100,000 (, Act On and customized development)

    TOTAL TIME: Although measurement will happen daily, we will really have a great feel for success at the one year mark.

    Now it’s time to plan for next year, and look at me, I have some money left over, I’m thinking bonuses for my staff.

Well done Kyle, thanks again for participating and inspiring this series.  What do you think of Kyle’s approach?  What would you do differently?

Photo credit: Aaron Strout via Flickr

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