I used to think that I didn’t learn anything about marketing when studying for an engineering degree……The OTTER Framework was developed as a result of applying an engineering approach to a marketing problem and has been helping me and my clients reap the many benefits ever since.
The purpose of this article is to explain how you can use The OTTER Framework as a step-by-step B2B marketing process and guide to help you increase your marketing performance (and ROI).
Before we go into detail here’s a quick overview:
If you want to avoid being the best-kept secret in your industry then marketing and selling yourself effectively is the key to success.
A couple of months ago, I delivered a brand new keynote presentation all about Clearing the AIR to help consultants and business owners avoid marketing overwhelm and increase confidence. One topic that sparked numerous fascinating conversations is the concept of permission.
In my presentation I explored the main challenges a lot of people face when it comes to marketing themselves; managing fear and uncertainty and how a lack of self-belief can be a real spanner in the works when it comes to getting results from your marketing.
You do not need permission to believe or trust in yourself. More often than not, you already know what you need to do and if you don’t, you know that you will need to ask for help if you really want to move forwards.
As a business owner and consultant myself, I’ve experienced first-hand how crippling a lack of self-belief can be. I also know that if you want to build a thriving business, you need to find a way to channel your own self-belief and overcome the permission-seeking mindset.
So let’s explore 3 key things that happen with your marketing that might be showing up so you can break free and give yourself permission to move forwards.
Deep down, most of us already know what we need to do to market our businesses, yet we avoid doing these things - why?
It all comes down to appearances and how we think, or fear other people might see us.
Either we avoid putting ourselves out into the market to show how we add value and what we can offer. Or, we avoid asking for help, or in some cases, admitting we need help in the first place.
When you’re in business for yourself, you are your product and there’s an emotional attachment. The fear of being perceived as self-promotional or arrogant can hold a lot of people back from showing up as themselves.
I work with a lot of engineers and highly qualified professionals and the fear of making a mistake, being misunderstood or even getting it wrong can cause crippling consequences.
Appearances matter and this fear presents itself in the form of a long list of things you know you need to do but avoid doing them.
If you want to move forwards with your marketing, keep an ‘I’m avoiding this list’ and review it regularly. As you work through the items of your list, explore the reasons why you’re avoiding doing these things and discuss them with a friend, colleague or coach so that you can find a solution and make a plan to move forwards with each item. This simple exercise has been known to drive incredible results in a short period of time.
Ignorance - what are you ignoring?
There are a huge amount of emotions involved when our self belief is in question and we can sometimes rely on feelings and ignore the facts. This can affect our confidence which could repel clients instead of attract them.
One of the most common questions I ask my clients during coaching conversations is: ‘is this something you believe to be true, or know to be true?’
Always seek out the evidence for any emotion or feeling that you have that might be holding you back or stopping you from doing the marketing activity you know you need to work on.
Keep a ‘Feel Good Folder’ and make a note, screenshot or copy all of the positive evidence and feedback you see and hear from your clients that reminds you that you’re doing a good job. Refer back to this folder every time your self belief has a bit of a wobble.
I’ve also noticed that when people get stuck with their marketing they also fall into the trap of ignoring other things too such as:
- ignoring advice from other people
- ignoring your gut feelings when something doesn’t feel right
- ignoring signs and signals from your market that tell you to do more, do less or keep going
Get REALLY good at asking yourself questions and exploring the REAL reasons you’re ignoring these things. Don’t be afraid to follow your intuition and more often than not you will actually know more than most marketing experts you could work with.
Respond don’t React
How often do you find yourself reacting to things in the heat of the moment instead of proactively responding to things when the time is right?
When you start reacting more than responding this is usually a sign that you do not have a plan that will help you achieve your goals or your belief in your plan is in question.
Think of a marketing plan like a map with directions up a mountain towards your goals. The further you go off plan, the longer it will take you to get back and sometimes you might need to find a guide to help you find your way again. There are many routes up the mountain but the plan you’ve developed is the one you’ve chosen that will get you there using the tools and resources you have access to and are comfortable with.
If you don’t have a marketing plan then the first step would be to create one - specifically focussed around your goals and business model.
If you do have a marketing plan and someone or something is tempting you away from your route then try to understand what’s causing that temptation.
Be clear on what you’re expecting of yourself when it comes to how much time, energy and money you’re going to invest in your marketing activity and set boundaries. Schedule time instead of try to fit it in whenever you get a free moment and avoid doing your marketing in the evenings and weekends when you’d rather be doing other things.
Confidence and self belief can be infectious and it’s really easy to get distracted by other people’s energy when they are giving you marketing advice.
Instead, channel your own confidence and self belief into your own marketing. No one knows your business better than you do and the only way you’re going to attract more clients is by showing your market who you are and what you can do for them.
If you ever get stuck or feel overwhelmed, take a step back and Clear the AIR™, look at what you’re Avoiding, Ignoring and Reacting to so that you can move forwards with confidence and focus on the activities that will accelerate your business forwards.
If you need help Clearing the AIR™ please get in touch by emailing email@example.com for a confidential and no obligation call. Life is too short for you to be the best kept secret in your industry.
Marketing tools for everything
Once you’ve set your objectives (and I recommend you focus on no more than 4-5 at any one time) you can then make intelligent decisions around what marketing tools you need to invest your time, money and energy in to get there.
Be sure to consider the 3 types of marketing tools too and not just the latest tech tool or social media platform. Marketing tools include:
- Functional marketing tools (software and tech) – this is what most people think about first. There are thousands of options out there: marketing automation software (think email marketing like MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, HubSpot, Marketo…), social media apps (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook etc.), social media scheduling, customer relationship management software (CRMs), content creation, video editing, graphics, productivity apps… the list is endless.
- Valuable marketing tools (assets) – these are things you have created for yourself, your team and your business that can be used more than once and carry a lot of value. These could include your network and contacts list, your CRM data, white-papers, research documents, checklists, webinar content, a podcast, guest podcast interviews, articles featured in the media, keynote presentations and talks, videos, etc. If you have built a community, email list or dedicated group such as a private forum, Facebook or LinkedIn group, then these are also hugely valuable assets that can be leveraged. As are stories you and your team can tell in your marketing using the context of what you do.
- Resourceful marketing tools (resources) – use the people and partnerships you’ve got around you. Some of the best marketing I’ve done has been a result of working with others including clients, fellow employees from different in-house teams, prospects and partnerships. It’s easy to think that we have to do everything ourselves, and while I’m not suggesting you get others to do your work for you, I am encouraging you to consider how you could use the resources available to you.
The next step is to then look at the tools you need to help you achieve your objectives and consider your training needs. If you or a member of the team working on your marketing campaigns has a gap in their knowledge, skills, experience or confidence then it’s worthwhile considering what training you may need.
Having an outside perspective on your marketing activity can add a huge amount of value to your business. Someone that can look at what you’re working on both objectively and subjectively can increase your ROI considerably.
Explore how an independent marketing review could add ROI to your marketing campaign - Book a call here
The importance of aligning expectations
Now it’s time to look at your expectations and this is a really key step in the process if you want to avoid disappointment and/or frustration. I can confidently say that every marketing injury I’ve picked up over the years has been a result of a breakdown in expectations.
Expectations for yourself – have you allowed enough time, energy and budget to do what needs to be done?
Expectations of others – is everyone working with you on a particular campaign or project aware of your expectations of them? – this is particularly important when working with marketing agencies or different teams within the company.
Other people’s expectations of you – are you aware of what other people are expecting you do, by when and at what level/quality?
Always schedule time to review
This is the fifth and final step of The OTTER Framework but can also be used as the first step if you’ve never used OTTER before.
Don’t be a busy fool
It’s so easily done – you end up being too busy being busy and you constantly run out of time to take a step back and review and reflect on the activities you’re spending your time on.
Productivity and Leadership expert Michael Hyatt has a great quote which says:
What get’s scheduled, get’s done.
I love this quote not just because it’s true but because of how effective it is. When you schedule time in your diary to review and reflect on your marketing activities you can quickly identify areas to STOP working on, START working on, CONTINUE working on and also optimise.
It’s easier said than done however once you establish a good routine and you start seeing the benefits I recommend scheduling at least half a day per month and a full day every quarter to review and reflect on your marketing activity – as a minimum.
So that’s it – The OTTER Framework in a nutshell. You can dive deeper into each of the steps and I’ve included links to further reading as you go. My advice is to keep using this tool to help you focus, revisit it frequently to check in with yourself and make sure you are only working on marketing activities that actively serve you and help you realise your business ambitions.
If you had an ambition to summit Everest or run a marathon you’d put some specific objectives in place and a timeline of events so you know exactly what you need to do when and how often. You may also want to recruit a coach, guide or trainer to help you achieve your objectives. I did this when I used to row competitively, when I embarked on a trek to Everest Base Camp – I do this with my own marketing and encourage you to consider approaching your marketing in the same way.
It doesn’t matter if you DO or DELEGATE your marketing. Marketing is an ongoing activity if you want your business to Thrive and Grow – The OTTER Framework is a tool to help you succeed.
5-Step B2B Marketing Process otherwise known as The OTTER Framework
1. Objectives so that you know what to focus your time, energy and money on
2. toolsso you know exactly what you need to help you achieve your objectives
3. Trainingso you can address any gaps in your knowledge, skills, experience and confidence
4. expectationsso you can avoid disappointment
5. reviewso you understand what to stop doing, start doing, continue doing and optimise
If you’d like to discuss how to implement and use The OTTER Framework in your business you can arrange a free, no obligation call here