The Art of the Possible: Marketing Playbook Workshop

This month for Charlotte Zimbehl, we brought together a mix of experts to help the brand explore its best opportunities for marketing on a small budget. We opened with a discussion about what makes a good marketing experience, what engages us as marketers.

We took a look at two interesting campaigns in order to assess what worked about each, and why.
Airbnb and Chicago Institute – Van Gogh room

What was interesting about both of these ads was the knowledge of the audience – the right tone, subject and communication.

For Mountain Dew’s puppymonkeybaby campaign it was about the power of three – combining three great things to make something better. While seriously offputting to many viewers, the humour was exactly in tune with its target market and audience. It was very much a marmite moment – loved or hated.

With Airbnb and the Chicago Institute, it combined high art with instant accessibility, while still managing to retain an aspirational tone. There was a quirkiness to the concept which appealed across a broad audience and was both cheap and exclusive – a rare thing to achieve. While the room itself may only have cost $10 a night, it’s almost impossible to make a booking underlining the importance of the offer and made it an extremely limited edition.

• The difference between creative and data driven marketing
• What makes each campaign part of the communication between brand and audience
• Authenticity of voice remains critical to success
• A combination of unusual components makes a campaign stand out, and can cross different boundaries
• The importance of understanding the impact of the campaign – the Airbnb ad got $6m in unpaid marketing from press coverage. The campaign was instantly Instagramable and shareable. Although of course the sales impact would be more interesting.
• What matters is knowing your audience, their voice and interests – what will appeal to them, what language do they use?
• If you can use something controversial, or that will spark a conversation, then do so. Amplifiable controversy can spread your message widely – just make sure your audience agrees with your message.

Personas can be quite misunderstood. They are a chance for you to combine existing data and research to better understand your customer, how they want to be spoken to, how they undertake the customer journey and what triggers them to buy.
A good persona is one that helps you make good decisions about the content you create and manage for prospective buyers. It should include demographics, influencers and help define who you are selling to and why. You need to understand what commonalities do they share, and how we know they are the right audience. Simple questions to ask include: Who are we going to talk to? Why will they care? What are we going to say or do that’s relevant to them? Why would they be interested? What would make them buy? Every brand will have different purchasers to each other, but also different audiences within the brand.
Charlotte talked us through 3 different personas of purchasers of the Charlotte Zimbehl brand and we then used them to explore in more detail how this person could be addressed across a range of different channels.
Each persona, and each shopper, is different. There will however be similarities in grouping that will enable you to target them at different stages of the customer journey, in a way that appeals to their interests, needs, timing and preferences.
There are obviously a range of ways that any brand can target their audience. The following are a few of the ones that were raised during the event.
• Facebook
• Instagram
• Periscope
• Linkedin
• Twitter
• Radio
• TV
• Content
• Magazine
• Outdoor
• Newspapers
• Affiliates
• Email

What matters here is understanding how these channels of acquisition work, and how data can help funnel the customer through their acquisition journey.

The original plan was for each group to be given a different persona, a different budget and a few moments to brainstorm ideas for a couple of channels. As it turned out, there were so many ideas that were being thrown around the room that the group kept forming, breaking out, reforming and creating new ideas.

Not a traditional way to run a facilitation but one that emphasised the enormous amount of creative engagement that can be made with a group of interested parties from different backgrounds.

While we won’t go into the detail of the discussions here, as they’re specific to the Charlotte Zimbehl brand, there were takeaways that would work for any small brand looking to increase their footprint.

While you must be certain that you have something useful to offer a partner, the idea of a complementary partnership offers a unique approach to raising your profile.

If your brand is a lifestyle one, then curation can help position your brand with exactly the right audience. for example, has an email (The Daily Brief) that is read by many women when dropping off their kids at school – keeping them up to date with what’s going on, as well as reminding them to stay up to date on fashion, and things they might want to buy. That’s for themselves, their friends, or any other reasonable opportunity. It works because it speaks directly to their needs, their interests and most importantly, their lack of time.

Email is an important channel here – all the awareness it creates is creating a funnel through which the customer journey’s to the point of sale.

You must pay attention to the trigger points for your customer, as well as the sales cycle. Different personas will have different sales cycles, in part due to age, interests, lifestyle, disposable income and more. Many purchases both in and outside the fashion world are triggered by recommendations, so work out which recommendations will matter, and how you can access them. The term ‘social proof’ is likely to be increasingly important in any sales cycle.

When you decide on your persona and your preferred channel, put in place some KPI’s for your campaign, no matter what the budget. Even if small, keep track of social followers, signups and subscribers, changes in traffic and the like.

Once you gain momentum, you can decide on each action or campaign on a case by case basis. Are you looking for brand momentum or direct sales – and how do you differentiate and track these?

If you want to start the conversation, with a focus on partners and curation, then it’ll be a combination of brand building and future sales. Most importantly here, however, is that you’ve got to be the perfect fit. Find an anchor partner, design/create something for them alone, something that will allow them to stand out – and think cross industry. You want something that stands out, that says something. Get your voice heard but make sure that you have a common interest in the same audience, but for different reasons. Airbnb and Chicago Institute is the perfect example of this.

Of course the details of what we came up with for Charlotte Zimbehl will remain her secret for now. Over the next few months the brand will exploring specific ideas that we came up with and how well, or not, they worked.
And if you’re interested in running a marketing playbook for your own brand, then drop us a line at