When it comes to wish fulfillment, there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all – and this is especially true when it comes to finding a marketing agency that works with your business. What works exceptionally well for you may not work at all for someone else; after all, strategies, processes, and goals differ not only from one company to the next but from one project or campaign to another.

 In this sense, hiring a big agency sounds like a great idea – streamlining your identity and messaging across platforms, sometimes even bolstering your brand reputation simply by being associated with theirs. It’s true that bigger agencies mean a bigger workforce and more resources at your disposal, but it also comes with an excessive amount of process roadblocks, drawing out what should be quick, actionable moments into days, if not weeks, of maneuvering.

 Which just doesn’t cut it in the digital age, where every action has an instant effect – and this is exactly where boutique marketing agencies gain their appeal.

 

​​Specialization

 

Boutique agencies build their names by focusing on their niche and being very, very good at it, fine-tuning their services to deliver optimal results for their clients. Big agencies, on the other hand, are often rooted in broadstroke strategies and routine in order to keep their bottom line. With digital being the name of the game (not to mention something that larger, therefore more traditional agencies still struggle with), a boutique agency may be better-suited to creating a customized plan that works for your business, optimized to achieve the goals you want.

 

Talent & Teamwork

 

One of the biggest disadvantages with working with a big agency is exactly that: their scale. Multiple teams also means multiple higher-ups that often police creativity and slow down your process. With boutique agencies built to work efficiently and effectively, their hiring process is more selective, resulting in small teams of top-tier talent that work exceptionally well together. In this aspect, a more tight-knit team is a blessing rather than a curse, streamlining your touchpoints to give you clear lines of communication.

 

Flexibility

 

In the ever-changing era of digital, working with a boutique agency works to an even higher advantage for a business, regardless of its size. Working with a specialized, albeit comparatively smaller, team of talented people doing what they do best means that they learn and adapt to change faster, adjusting to micro-changes and reacting quickly and accordingly to meet your KPIs. This flexibility and responsiveness leads to the seamless execution of an intelligently-plotted, personalized plan according to meticulously-made processes, guaranteeing favorable results and growth for your business.

 

Find out how Army8 can tailor-fit their expertise to your business today. Think Bigger, Build to Scale, and Execute More at army8.com, or send an email to sales@army8.com.

Josh McKelvey’s energy is unparalleled. His desire to help clients think bigger while providing strategies to help them build to scale and execute more is evident in everything he does and his “LET’S GO!” attitude inspires clients to focus on their vision daily. Josh says, “It’s all about the big picture, it’s all about developing strategy, and having a clear vision of where you want to be. We always tell our clients to keep focused on their vision and we will take care of all the small details to get them there.” 

It is this same energy that has allowed Josh to thrive in the industry early on in his career. While completing his degree in Advertising Communications from St. John’s University, Josh developed digital marketing tactics for one of the largest meat distributors in the MidWest. Soon after he developed an impressive portfolio of clients before joining forces with Nate and Mike to form army8. For Josh, the vision for army8 was simple: to make big agency strategies readily available to small business owners, “What gets me so excited is hearing about people’s big ideas and thinking of ways to make it a reality for them. Entrepreneurs often do not have the support they need, marketing wise, to turn their vision into reality and that’s where we want to come in.”

As the Chief Development Officer, Josh is responsible for adding new products, clients, processes, and more to aid army8 and it’s valued customers. He also introduces new trends to clients that help support their core message and overall digital strategy, “It’s such a fast paced industry and it’s important to stay on top of these trends at all times.”

Helping him do this is army8’s global network of vetted vendors, “Our large network is composed of the world’s best specialists and it’s their talent that help us know what’s new, what we should watch out for, and what we should avoid .This is especially important in the constantly changing world of digital.”

Speaking of army8’s global network, Josh’s current vision is to develop a platform that further supports these vendors, “The world of work today is definitely different from the way that it was five or ten years ago and in the same way that we desire for our clients to think bigger, we want our vendors to do the same with their own skills and talent. At army8, both are equally important and we can’t wait to share the ways we will empower them further so they too can build to scale and execute more.”

“Successful businesses have three things in common,” according to Nate McKelvey, “Strategy, Process, and Execution. More often than not, however, business fails when these three aren’t in sync. Typically, you’ll hire an entrepreneurship coach or consultant to help with Strategy, outsource your Process to a technology provider, and hire a marketing agency to handle Execution, leading to limited, if any, communication between the three.”

army8 takes it one step further to Think Bigger, Build to Scale, and Execute More for its clients.

​​With over two decades of experience in online marketing and web and application development, Nate’s career is proof positive that this approach works. His luxury private jet charter company, launched in 1999, has won multiple awards including reaching #66 on Inc. ‘s 500 list of fastest-growing private companies in the US, the Dell Excellence in Customer Service Award, as well as Deloitte and Touche Rising Star and Fast 50 awards. For his efforts in combating click fraud, Nate has also been featured on the front page of the 2005 Wall Street Journal.

All of which is possible because he applied his extensive experience in digital optimization, web development, SEO, and online branding to his ventures. With army8, Nate takes his tried-and-tested approach to the market by offering business solutions that encourage clients to Think Bigger by crafting data-driven strategies based on customized platforms; to Build to Scale using free or low-cost, off-the-shelf and open-source CRM software in order to boost productivity and maximize profit opportunities; and to Execute More through brand development, web design, and digital marketing tactics based on analytics from the Strategy and Process phases. 

From being an entrepreneur with a start-up, running a business going through growing pains, or handling companies with more sophisticated or specific project needs, Nate has done it all. Through army8, his firsthand experience lends itself to the manifold businesses that the consultancy handles, putting in the meticulous, intelligent work necessary for their success.

Think Bigger, Build to Scale, and Execute More today. Find out how Army8 can tailor-fit their expertise to your needs at army8.com, or send an email to sales@army8.com.

Webinars are valuable tools that your company can leverage to drive leads, engage with customers, and help reinforce your business as a thought leader. Webinars can be great sales enablement tools that provide your sales team with an actionable reason to reach out to their prospects. At Army8, we’re breaking down the best practices for creating and launching webinars that will enhance your company’s standing in your industry in four simple steps.

Step 1: Planning

When you choose a topic, make sure that it is broad enough to provide strategic information for people without sounding too much like a sales pitch. We recommend covering topics that are currently trending in your industry. Don’t feel too much pressure to be the leading expert in the subject, but you need to present reliable information to assist others.

From there, you’ll need to pick a headline. You’ll want something short, catchy, and to the point. Explain what a client will get out of your webinar with as few words as possible. Then, you can move on to developing the presentation. Start with actionable suggestions, so your audience can finish the webinar feeling like they can move forward and begin applying the information you gave them today.

Remember, it’s all about how you can help your clients and prospective clients, not about selling your product. That’s just a bonus. At the same time, try to avoid dry, information-laden presentations without any levity. You need to entertain too.

With that in mind, you’ll need to pick a platform for your webinar and set up email automation with calendar entries to ensure everyone knows when and where the webinar is being held.

Step 2: Pre-Launch

Before launching your webinar, you’ll need to take steps to advertise it as widely as possible. Use all of your marketing and sales channels to promote the landing page for the event. Utilize your email newsletter, social media posts, and paid ads through YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Try contacting people you haven’t spoken to in a while and ask for their advice on the upcoming webinar, such as which topics they’d like you to focus on more.

You should also set up automated emails to send out reminders leading up to the event after someone has registered to attend to stay at the forefront of peoples’ minds.

Step 3: Launch

Don’t forget to record your event! Others may want to watch but are unable to attend when it’s first aired live. At the end of the presentation, remind everyone that you will be sending them the recording in a follow-up email. Finally, finish things off with a call-to-action like a free consultation to answer any questions they might have after the presentation with a link to your calendar where they can book an appointment and get started.

Step 4: Post Launch

Follow up and follow through. Make sure to follow up via LinkedIn or email with everyone who registered for your webinar to see if they have any follow-up questions and offer your calendar link. Send everyone the webinar video, too, thank them for their participation, and invite them to schedule some time with you. You can also post the video on your social media accounts, so people in other time zones or with outside commitments can still enjoy your content.

Webinars are actionable tools that, when used strategically, can provide great information to your clientele and help take your business to the next level.

Social media is the lifeline of most companies to their clients. The ability to connect with your audience personally can help a business rate its key performance indicators and dial into what people really want. One of the newest apps to join the social media greats is called Clubhouse, and believe us when we say that it has gone viral.

What is Clubhouse?

This free social networking app is audio-only, so no one has to deal with bad camera angles and looking up other people’s noses during a video chat. With Clubhouse, people are assigned to rooms where they can talk about a specific topic. The benefits of Clubhouse are significant: namely that people can respond off-the-cuff and the conversation can flow freely. You can learn a lot about someone or have a brilliant brainstorming session when everyone can freely and spontaneously speak their minds. The downside is that everyone is talking freely and, since it’s audio-only, there is no way to tell when someone else is about to speak.

Zoom calls are often lagging and annoying to some, but you can usually tell by a person’s facial expression or intake of breath when they’re about to start talking and avoid cutting them off. With Clubhouse, it is indeed every person for themselves, and the amount of crosstalk is significant.

How Does It Work?

Clubhouse works a bit differently than other social media apps because you need an invitation to join. The mystique of exclusivity is a powerful draw for businesses and customers alike. Currently, it is only available for iOS. In addition to the need for an invite, it can occasionally be a challenge to know who is speaking since you have to recognize their voice. There is definitely also a learning curve in not talking over other people.

Some of the popular rooms, or chats that lots of people attend, mainly consist of one or two people presenting on the topic at a time. Everyone else in the room mutes themselves so as not to provide any kind of distraction. It might sometimes feel more like listening to a podcast or an audiobook than participating in a conversation. Still, they usually open up the room to questions or other presenters when the initial presentation has finished. Moderators can speak freely at all times, but they can also call on people designated as audience members to speak. It is a very fluid conversational app that is gaining momentum for businesses all across the country.

What This New Platform Can Do For Your Business

Brainstorming can often be challenging when you can’t physically be face-to-face. Even then, some people might be intimidated to speak up about their ideas when they know that everyone will be looking at them. Clubhouse is an excellent way for companies to encourage employees to speak freely and participate in productive brainstorming sessions. There is no pressure to talk if you have nothing to contribute and no worry that people will give you a weird look if your idea falls flat. In fact, by the time someone realizes that their idea doesn’t fit, about five other people will be throwing out their ideas, and the conversation will continue.

Clubhouse may be the free form brainstorming avenue your business needs to generate your next big idea for new products, protocols, or implementation measures.  

It is also a great way to network, introduce thought leaders from your space, and create more awareness for your brand.

Ready to get started on Clubhouse, get in touch with us today.

 

Did you know that 71% of customers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to talk about the brand with their friends and family? It’s true: your social media strategy needs to be in top form if you want to see your company succeed. Social media isn’t just for teenagers anymore. Businesses everywhere use it to create awareness in their target market, increase engagement, and generate quality leads. So, how can you utilize the tools of social media to benefit your company?

When people recognize your brand, you know you are doing something right. Voluntary shoutouts on social media and having influencers share your posts are great ways to engage with your target audience and promote growth. The higher your brand recognition, the more credible you will appear to potential investors and partners. The best way to connect with your audience is to remind them that you’re only human, like them. Instead of seeming like a machine, you want your business to be relatable and trustworthy for the consumer.

Speaking of being relatable, Accenture found that 63% of global consumers want to support companies that stand for a purpose that reflects their own values and beliefs. One powerful way that leading companies build an emotional connection with their audience is by standing up for causes that are dear to them.

Key Performance Indicators

For Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, your KPIs will revolve around awareness and advocacy. Awareness comprises how many people see your posts and how many have been exposed to your content. Advocacy dives a little deeper to see the number of people commenting, liking, or resharing your content. Clicks per post is a powerful method of measuring the number of times users have clicked on your link to see if your headline was effective.

Execution

Choose your pillar content, meaning a single valuable piece of content, like an informative blog post, a detailed infographic, or a YouTube video packed with great tips. Then break it down into smaller pieces, like taking 30-second clips from a longer video. Those are more accessible for people who might not have more time to spend watching the entire video. Those shareable clips are perfect for social media. While the snippets provide some information, they should mainly whet your audience’s appetite for the pillar content and link them back to it.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn

Each platform requires a slightly different approach, based on the consumers utilizing it. LinkedIn is the preferred social media website for businesses because it allows you instantly build targeted lists and grow your network by directly messaging and connecting with people. The highest performing type of content on LinkedIn is PDFs, although you can also share polls, articles, and customer content.

Facebook is the second most popular social media platform after LinkedIn and is one of the best places to share videos. In fact, social videos generate 12 times the shares than text and images combined.

As You Grow

Pulling back the curtain a little is a great way to humanize your brand and connect with a younger consumer base. They want to see the faces behind your products or services, not just some cold business brand. Investing your time in a solid social media strategy is sure to be an investment worthy of your time.

Why LinkedIn?

To say that the digital landscape changed dramatically in 2020 would be the understatement of the year. In fact, if we were to be extremely honest, it would be safe to say that digital is the way to go if you wish to scale and grow your business during these unprecedented times. 

LinkedIn is not only a great way to boost your network and reputation as a thought leader but is also a good tool for lead generation especially for those in the B2B space. Not only are conversion rates higher and cost of lead essentially lower but there are also opportunities for both free and paid strategies. 

Why It Works

LinkedIn Has The Users You Want and They’re Engaged

LinkedIn boasts of over 500 million total users with over half of them (260 million) actively using the platform every month.  Out of its active 260 million users, 44% of them engage with the platform daily. 

The platform’s own study shows that 80% of leads generated through social media come from LinkedIn. This is not surprising since half of its most active users are made up of key decision makers from various industries 

LinkedIn Gives You More for Less

LinkedIn gives its users the opportunity to generate leads through free and paid strategies. However taking advantage of paid strategies still gives you a bigger return and while LinkedIn Sponsored Content have higher cost-per-click than Google Ads, they do have double the conversion rate.

LinkedIn’s target audiences are tailor-made for B2B Lead Generation

 

LinkedIn gives you the option to be as specific as you want by giving you many targeting options. What makes it different from other platforms is that LinkedIn is used primarily for workplace networking therefore increasing your chances of targeting the right audience. 

Not only that, LinkedIn is just the natural choice for 94% of B2B Marketers giving you a greater advantage to correct with the right people in a more efficient way. 

How to Make It Work For You

 

Check In Daily

Sometimes taking five minutes to log in daily makes the biggest difference. Five minutes of your day could mean accepting a new connection request or coming across content that will be useful for your day. 

Engage, Engage, and Engage Some More 

There are many ways to make your presence known on LinkedIn. One of which is joining significant groups where you can meet like minded individuals who are in the same industry. 

Treat it the way you would any professional relationship you are trying to develop, in the world of social media, getting to know people on the platform can be done by liking their posts, sharing your (kind & polite) opinions on their posts, and even asking questions. These daily interactions often lead to a solid professional relationship that goes deeper in time.

Don’t Be Afraid to Share Your Thoughts

In the same light, do not be afraid to share your thoughts and updates on your own professional life. The great thing about LinkedIn is the fact that you can take control of your ‘professional narrative’ and through LinkedIn’s many tools that support content creation, you have the opportunity to be seen as a thought leader in your specific industry. Don’t forget to add your current clients as well since this is a good way for them to get to know you even when you’re not physically together or able to meet physically. 

These are just some of the ways, for even more specific strategies, you can get in touch with your army8 team and we would be more than happy to help.

Take Advantage of Sales Navigator 

LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator empowers sales representatives by providing them with ways to prospect key leads and accounts by giving them the ability to monitor activities and look for similar contacts to reach out to. Part of its membership option, LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator is a revolutionary way to reach out to new prospects and land 

The Sales Navigator can help you gain targeted leads by allowing reps to focus on certain territories for their specific business. As an example, your targeting can be as specific as CEOs in the Financial Industry in the East Coast of the United States with a company size greater than 100 people. You can also filter through job title, function, or even school. Once you find the right prospects, you can also send them messages through InMail.

Optimize Your Profile 

Lastly, your LinkedIn profile is not just a representation of your personal career but also a representation of your organization. 

Optimize your profile through the following ways:

  • Logo 
    • Make sure people in your LinkedIn network immediately know where you work. Using your company logo also gives you stronger credibility when it comes to reaching out to other people.  When using your personal LinkedIn Profile (and not the company’s LinkedIn), you can be creative and incorporate a visual of what you do and your logo.
  • Headline
    • Whether it is a company profile or your personal LinkedIn profile, the headline is where you put information about your company (a short slogan about what you do), the location, and service related keywords. 
  • Specialties 
    • If you are a manager handling the company LinkedIn profile, increase your searchability by using specific keywords that are specific to your industry. The more relevant keywords you put, the higher the chances of you being found not just on LinkedIn but Google as well.
  • People
    • Managers who are in charge of the company LinkedIn profile should encourage their team members to add their positions onto their personal profiles in order to not just provide credibility but also show the strength and size of your company.

Do you want to see how best to use LinkedIn to your advantage? Contact us today and we can help get you started.

(And why you need a team to support you)

There are many articles and resources that tell you about the wonderful things that come with being an entrepreneur, however, what most of these articles don’t tell you is the fact that being an entrepreneur is not without challenges. army8 was founded by seasoned entrepreneurs who have experienced it all and who are quick to share the realities of running and growing your business.

The Rolodex Cycle. Every entrepreneur begins their journey using their own network or “rolodex” however one’s rolodex can easily be exhausted as well as the rolodex of the next star sales person you hire. Exhausted rolodexes lead to hitting a wall simply because rolodexes are not enough to scale your business.

You can’t do it all.  Entrepreneurs are known for doing it all at the beginning stages of their business. However, this no longer becomes possible once the business grows. In as much as the entrepreneur would like to be involved in everything from operations to marketing, doing so might hamper growth rather than support it.

Letting go isn’t easy.  Despite the reality mentioned above, most entrepreneurs find it hard to let go and understandably so, they single handedly turned their  vision into a reality but delegating tasks to people they trust is key to taking their business to greater heights. 

Routines can get you stuck.  Routine is great for getting things done on a daily basis but any entrepreneur would be the first to tell you that getting out of that routine is beneficial to growing the business and finding new opportunities. Finding the balance between ‘tending to the crops’ vs ‘ planting new seeds’ can be tricky because the days go by so fast. Your internal team can also get stuck in the same pattern and lose the creativity to think outside of the box. 

But as much as these challenges can be overwhelming, there are solutions that can help you transform these challenges into opportunities. It often begins by asking for help, whether by seeking the help of a trusted mentor or hiring a consultant for a specific area of your business. Once these experts are on your side, they can help bring you and your business to the next level.

Consultants give you expert advice for specific areas.  Smart entrepreneurs know that it’s not about knowing it all but hiring consultants who are well experienced in their fields. This not only saves you time but also gives you valuable advice  in specific industries that is otherwise not easily available, consultants often come in with years of experience, all of which are valuable in business growth. 

Expert consultants provide new perspectives, new trends, and help you to ultimately break through the proverbial wall. Consultants are always a step ahead when it comes to new trends, new perspectives, and new strategies that are beneficial to any entrepreneur who is wishing to scale their business. Consultants have resources that help you discover new opportunities for your company therefore allowing you to grow and scale.

If you want to see some real – world examples of what we’ve done for our clients, click here.

Before you begin any marketing campaign you should first have a strategy and plan which will map out the specific tactics you will deploy with clear and measurable business goals attached to each. Make sure you have developed customer persona’s and your brand identity to craft your messaging, targeting and identify the best marketing channels.

That being said, here are some of the most common tactics B2B businesses use since they are effective in most cases.

  1. Blogging – I’m sure you’ve heard before that a blog would be a good idea for your business, but you may be missing the “why” people start writing a blog. First, it will help you communicate your message with your internal team who are the most likely initial readers of your blog. It will give them a clear path to communicating key issues with clients. It keeps everyone on the same page as far as what the company’s response is to industry trends, competition and new technology which may affect your business. It gives them a first-hand feel of your brand voice and sets the stage where you can begin to scale what you do best which is communicate your brand message. It will also deliver valuable content to your social channels and give social media users a measurable engagement when they click through to your website where you can better track them.
  2. Social Media – This is how you scale your relationship building. Think of what you have done to take a casual relationship through to a sale. How many times did you engage with that person, what did you do to build trust over time and where did you first meet? Social media allows you to scale this process and reach tens of thousands or millions of people in one conversation thread. Do the same things you did in the non-virtual world to build these relationships. Use your blog articles as content for your posts and encourage them to engage with the content so you can track them from your website.
  3. Event marketing – It’s hard to beat face-to-face meetings when it comes to closing new business. Event marketing allows you to scale in a similar way to social media. Choose a topic which is hot and trending in your industry, grab an industry expert or two, add free cocktails and use your social media and traditional channels to market the event. Have someone ready to film the event which you can use later for your blog posts, social media content and ads.
  4. Webinars – If you don’t have the time or resources to host an in-person event try a webinar. Webinar software pricing has come down considerably over the past few years and setting one up has gotten a lot easier. Choose a hot, trending industry topic and promote a re-registration from your website, social channels and digital ads. Record the Webinar and use the content for additional blog posts, social media posts and ads.
  5. Email newsletter – Email marketing has a bad wrap from the early days of marketing when spam consumed most inboxes and customers stopped paying attention to them. Times have changed as Gmail and other email hosting services have added great spam detection and avoidance algorithms to eliminate most of the garbage. You still need valid emails and high quality content to send to clients to make it worth their while to open them. If you keep up with your blogging, it can provide great content for the email newsletter which may also include invitations to events and Webinars.
  6. Team engagement – Getting your staff on the same page is critical to the success of any growth plan. Employees should not only know their particular job function but also its context to broader organizational goals and objectives. They should understand the brand identity and voice and be able to pitch what the company can do for clients. Enlist the staff to help spread the word by sharing company events, webinars and social media content to expand your reach. This is usually the lowest cost, highest return on investment you can make which will have large, ongoing tangible and intangible benefits to the organization.
  7. Consolidation of prospect lists into one central CRM – More often than not, I see companies who still do not have a CRM installed and utilized on a daily basis. It’s the foundation of any strong sales and marketing team. It provides structure throughout the sales and marketing journey of each customer to ensure consistent messaging and follow ups to avoid any missed opportunities. Set KPI’s for point along the marketing and sales funnels to show sales people a clear path to building a successful client base. How many prospects does a sales person have assigned to them? How many qualify for your product or service? How many have provided their email address and contact information? How many showed up to an event? Have you presented a proposal to them? Who are the competitors for particular accounts? All of this can be answered if you have a CRM and process in place.
  8. Business Development – When you have assets such as a great prospect list, newsletter subscriptions and social media presence, you can leverage it to connect with businesses who market to the same audience. This one requires that you follow all the tactics above for a year or more to build your lists, followers and credibility, but once you do you will most likely have potential marketing partners calling you. If you are an accounting firm, find a law firm that markets to the same audience and host an event together where you can cross sell each other’s services, share content on each other’s social media channels or include an article in your blog and/or newsletter.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, each tactic leverages content to be used in another. If you are able to achieve success in one, the second becomes easier and so on. A good quality strategy session will identify all of these tactics and integrate them to make the most efficient use of resources with the broadest possible distribution.

Nearly all high growth companies look a certain way- they have the right people, process and reporting capabilities that make it run like a well-oiled, unstoppable machine. Most are either venture-backed or well-funded due to the human resources required to setup all of the processes and internal communication to technically piece together all of the data points to track KPI’s.

Each person in the organization knows which KPI’s they are held accountable to and the process to improve them. Communication runs freely through real-time reporting which allows the organization to identify hurdles in its path and pivot accordingly on the fly. New customers all have a similar, consistent experience since processes flow from contract signing through to product or service delivery. Since every task in selling and servicing a client is well documented, including training manuals, staffing is less expensive and not reliant on any one individual. This is what allows the organization to scale and grow quickly.

You are building a machine, much like building out a computer program to perform specific tasks. Think of the logic it takes to sell and service an order, all the steps required to move someone from a prospective customer to a customer to a referral source. Since most companies vary greatly in the product delivery, I’m going to focus this article on the marketing aspect of the machine starting with the skill set you will ultimately need to effectively execute. If you were building a piece of IKEA furniture, this would be the list of required tools you will need to get started.

  1. Strategy – This is where you start by building out your customer persona’s, core values, brand voice and tactics to reach them. It’s the most important piece of the puzzle and if executed properly should tell you what differentiates you from your competitors, how to best communicate it with your prospective customers and the channels or not venues where you are most likely to engage potential customers. You can certainly find plenty online to help with all of the exercises above or you can hire a consultant with experience in the above. This piece is also covered in the army8 premium plan.
  2. Process – This task is typically handled by a COO, someone who is always looking for a way to make the existing process more efficient or to deliver a higher quality experience for your customers. There should be documentation and training manuals for every position in the company with clear KPI’s to measure the effectiveness of whoever is in charge of said task. This will require a data repository such as Google Data Studio where you can consolidate information from multiple platforms into one dashboard for real-time reporting of each piece of the larger puzzle.
  3. Execution – Here I’ve identified 8 skill sets to help you execute the plan and process.
    1. Brand development – someone who can, at a high level understand how customers currently perceive your brand, which perception best positions the company and how to change it most efficiently.
    2. Web development – Your Website is the central point for communication to your customers and staff. You will need a strong CMS (Content Management System) such as WordPress where you can easily add new content, adjust your messaging on the fly and have technical capabilities to attract existing and prospective customers to the site and track them.
    3. Digital advertising – Advertising channels are changing at an exponential rate. New features, search algorithms, targeting options, etc. are all different on each platform. Knowing how to deliver the desired message at the right time takes knowledge and experience.
    4. CRM & marketing automation – Without a strong CRM to track the progress of a customer through marketing and sales funnels is critical to the success of any organization. You need to know which messages resonate, which do not and where the funnels are falling short. Marketing automation will help you make sure no prospective lead falls through the cracks. It will help you minimize marketing budget waste, tell you how well your sales staff are performing and stay in touch with existing customers so you are top of mind for their next order.
    5. Programming & technical support –Technology is also changing exponentially. New workflow applications are developed daily to improve some aspect of your business, streamline an existing process or collect data from a new source. Having someone on your team who knows the latest trends will save you countless dollars in staffing or give you a competitive advantage.
    6. Writing – Having a good writer, someone who knows your industry is key to communicating with customers and internal staff. Everyone needs to be on the same page and most entrepreneurs don’t have the time to do it consistently. If you aren’t writing a new article each week, you are probably not doing enough to optimize your growth.
    7. Social media – Some tactics work well on one social channel but fall flat on another. Having a good social media manager who understands your brand voice and the message you are attempting to deliver is critical in the success of your growth plan. This tactic is typically included in the top, middle and bottom of the marketing funnel making it one of the most important team members.
    8. Reporting and data analytics – This is the person who can collect data from various sources such as your accounting system, CRM, website analytics, digital marketing campaigns or customer service modules and interpret them into meaningful actions the COO or CEO can take to improve process to deliver a desired outcome.

As you can see, the variance between the skill sets is wide. Someone who may be good at writing and social media may not have the technical expertise for the reporting and analytics or the technical person may not have the design capabilities, etc. Most companies tend to hire one person for a specific tactic such as social media and try to get them to perform tasks that are clearly not in their wheelhouse. This is exactly why we started army8. It’s a one-stop shop for everything you need to setup, install and execute a growth plan for less than it would cost for that one person.