success isn't a magic trick.
It isn’t a secret recipe, or a lottery either: it’s a carefully choreographed dance we perform every day.
Of course, even the most practiced dancers, athletes, and performers make mistakes. Sometimes even the most carefully, the most thoughtfully crafted strategy goes awry. Or, as Mike Tyson famously put it, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
But what if you had a plan that anticipated that punch? What if your plan could account for the reality that plans tend to be imperfect? What if you had a plan that was designed to be adaptive to the reactions of others?
We built our methodology around those ideas exactly: the necessity of adaptation and the need to interact WITH your market, not onto it.
Developed in conjunction with our affiliated nonprofit, The Orbiter Project, The Orbiter Marketing Cycle (OMC) is the culmination of everything our co-principals have learned in nearly four decades of combined marketing experience. The six stages of the OMC outline the steps to develop and execute a strategy, how to spend money, when, and for what purpose, the need to experiment and revise based on customer response, and how to handle the unexpected.
© The Orbiter Project, estound, Erik Wolf, and Greg Bond, All Rights Reserved
Loop 1: WHere are we GOING?
- Designate roles/responsibilities
- Align the marketing process to the business and align the business to the market
- Gather internal and external data for insight and validation
- Develop personas for target buyers and users of your product/service
- Define success, set Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)
- Use a clearly defined process to establish and allocate budget
- Get cross-functional buy-in
Loop 2: What can we do next?
- Define your position in the marketplace
- Describe the steps in the buying process and how an optimal experience can be delivered at each stage
- Define key messages and a common language with your audience
- Conduct a gap analysis in your OKRs to determine which key results are the most achievable from your current position
- Identify quarterly goals
- Align goals with desired marketing outcomes
- Gather feedback and gut-check your quarterly plan with internal stakeholders
Loop 3: Drive the results
- Create connections between content, media, and the personas they are meant to target
- Create campaigns and experiments based on a digital first methodology
- Use the create/refine/drive process
- Choose and deploy the analytics packages you need to measure success
- Take a portfolio approach to marketing to diversify methods and flatten risk
- Understand when to iterate and when to pour fuel on the fire
- Take a proactive approach to reputation management
Most importantly though, the nature of the OMC as a “cycle” serves as a constant reminder that marketing is a process that never really ends. We do this dance over and over again, learning, improving, gaining efficiencies, and rolling with whatever unexpected punches come our way.
None of this implies perfection, no baseball player maintains a 1.000 batting average, no investor always picks the right stock, no courier delivers on-time every time. The purpose of having a consistent approach though — the reason we keep performing the dance — is not that we want to, or ever can guarantee success, but simply to increase the chances of success by minimizing the risk of failure.