An OTTERly Effective Step-by-Step Marketing Process

June 2, 2021
by Charlie
OTTER - Step by Step B2B Marketing Process

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:

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

For context and if you're not aware I don't come from a marketing background, my career in sales and marketing happened by accident and for years I felt like I was winging it and making it up as I went along. One day I got really frustrated because I was working with yet another marketing agency that wasn't delivering any results. Enough time had passed and realised I needed to break the cycle and figure out a plan that delivered. 

The OTTER Framework is a result of drawing on my experience in engineering, being a rowing coach, being coached as a rower and Olympic Weightlifter and reviewing the various marketing injuries I'd picked up over the years. As the captain of the Shiny Object Syndrome Association I also knew I needed a process that helped me manage my urge to always move onto the next new thing. 

There are 3 key ways you can use The OTTER Framework to help you focus your efforts and increase your marketing ROI.

        • When creating your overall marketing strategy and plan
        • When planning a specific marketing campaign 
        • When assessing a new marketing tool (such as LinkedIn) or tactic (such as running a webinar for example)

You can also use the OTTER for various other projects and ambitions however for the purpose of this article I'm going to focus on the marketing benefits!

How to use The OTTER Framework to create a B2B Marketing Strategy 

Have you ever wondered why a lot of marketers tend to overcomplicate things and have a tendancy to overwhelm you with options? Over the years I've realised where the overwhelm comes from - I'm still yet to figure out why it's made to be complicated because I've found the simplest marketing strategies to be the most effective. If you ever find the answer to this please let me know! 

The overwhelm comes from the fact that marketing is a lot of fun when you get into it and there literally are thousands of options available to you. When marketing is all you do it's easy to get really excited about all the options available to you -whether you know how to use them or not. 

This is where the O in OTTER comes in handy, OBJECTIVES. 

When you focus on your overall business objectives and then set marketing objectives that support them you are much more likely to achieve your ambitions. 

Unfortunately too many marketing proposals don't put enough focus on Objectives and if they do they aren't SMART enough (SMART is an acronym for Strategic, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant and Timely) 

Objectives are the key to help you focus on doing the right things that will help you move from where you are now to where you want to go - in the time that you want to take to get there. 

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    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 indpendent marketing review couldadd 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

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