The purpose of Marketing is to address client needs in a profitable way, by exchanging products for revenue and loyalty. Less fortunate people often do not have the means to provide for vital basic needs. Therefore, Philip van den Berg sees it as a social duty to highlight selective humanitarian projects on his marketing blog. This concerns projects to which he has a special relation and knows the responsible people personally.
The COVID-19 outbreak during the first half of 2020 made us all more aware of two things: what it is to live with uncertainty and limitations and how those who became seriously ill, suffer and struggle to survive. Many have been severely impacted by the lockdown of the economy, as the sick have been affected by ‘lockdown ‘of the body.
When it strikes you
Earlier this month was ME/CFS Awareness day. I only knew this concerned ‘disease’ but didn’t realize how severe it was, until a friend diagnosed with ME/CFS posted her moving story on Facebook. It stands for: Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Patients experience continual and long-term fatigue that worsens after physical or mental activity. Millions of people suffer from it but only 1 out of 5 are correctly diagnosed. When ME/CRF patients rest or sleep, they are not refreshed. They have problems with thinking and concentrating. They experience structural pain and dizziness. One can only imagine how hard this is must for them both physically and mentally. Also in COVID-19 times, as research suggests that the immune system is involved in ME/CFS and as it can weaken the immune system.
Worldwide ME/CFS Awareness day
May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who founded modern nursing, was Worldwide ME/CFS Awareness Day. Its purpose was ‘to highlight how you can support the millions of people who suffer from ME/CFS’. Action days are great for the moment, but the need continues. Therefore regularly support the ME/CFS cause, as for patients the lockdown is permanent.
How can you help?
Every now and then, turn your day into ME/CFS Awareness Day. Impacting the worlds starts with yourself. Educate yourself and make your environment aware, donate for medical research support, and just be there for those affected. Read the CDC-page on how to help and especially the below testimony of my friend Lisa (I took the liberty to adjust her title a bit).
Some useful links
2 minute clips: What is ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) – How does it feel to live with ME/CFS? Patients describe what it’s like – About ME/CFS (CDC website) – Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (wikipedia) – ME/CFS Awareness Day
TODAY EVERY DAY IS ME/CFS AWARENESS DAY!
LISA BICKELMAYER • TUESDAY, MAY 12, 2020 • 4 MINUTES
[tl;dr: ME is a *itch. Support the fight against this freaking illness. The people in charge don’t.]
I can’t believe we still have to say this: ME/CFS is real, people.
It can knock down anyone. Anytime.
And once it does there’s no getting up again no matter how positively thinking or strong-willed you are.
As of now, there’s no cure. Nor any approved treatment.
This illness will destroy your nervous system, your immune system, your energy metabolism, your hormone system; you’ll be a broken battery that can only be charged to 5 or 10 percent, depending on your ME stage.
Every activity — talking to a friend, brushing your teeth, or even just thinking — will cost you. And the cost is called CRASH (or PENE, post-exertional neuro-immune exhaustion),
and yes, it is what it sounds like.
You’ll also develop weird intolerances to all sensory input — light, sounds, smells, movement — and find your brain in a thick and scary fog.
A bed or couch in a dark, quiet place devoid of people: your new habitat.
You won’t be able to stop shaking your head when realizing a never-known diversity of pain and an ever-growing symptoms list.
5, 15, 30, 50, 70… Are you even alive anymore?
ME will probably not let you die (just yet), but it sure will make you lose your life.
You’ll even lose the person you used to be.
And while you are waiting and searching for a diagnosis for years or even decades, no one will believe you.
Most people will ignore you.
Others will say you’re just lazy, or quite the opposite, that you’re just overworked, that you’re exaggerating, that you want attention, that you must be suffering from a psychological trauma or depression; they’ll tell you it’s all in your head — even family members, friends, colleagues, and most of all your doctors, and you’ll see a ridiculously large number of them, because you’re desperately trying to find out what’s wrong, as you know, YOU know:
you’re NOT lazy,
you’re NOT just overworked,
you’re NOT AT ALL exaggerating,
the LEAST thing you want is attention,
you DON’T have a psychological trauma,
you NEVER had a depression,
and IT CERTAINLY IS NOT IN YOUR HEAD, DAMMIT!
Then, if you’re lucky, you’ll get the diagnosis. Finally! Right?
Not really: there will be no social, financial, medical, or emotional support.
Just a stigma.
And just like that you’ll become one of the #MillionsMissing.
Because research isn’t there, yet.
The amazing ME experts, and there are few around the globe, know what a devastating disease this is and have gathered lots of evidence of organic dysfunctions in ME patients (like we have killer blood that destroys healthy cells (and not just our own) — crazy stuff).
But they don’t fully understand the cause, yet.
They are fighting time.
And they call out for governmental funding for their life saving research.
But while millions go missing, politics have remained silent.
So instead of getting much needed recognition, a secure livelihood and medical care, we have to fight on all fronts.
Although many of us can’t even get up anymore.
We cannot wait for politics to come around. So here’s what everyone can do to help:
• This might seem simple but: if you meet someone with ME — believe them. You might not fully understand their suffering, but don’t just dismiss them.
• Help sufferers close to you with daily stuff or much needed research, because everything (getting info on your disease, finding medical explanations, educating the public, preparing for grueling lawsuits after applying for disability) lies completely on the ME people’s already broken shoulders.
• Support the PR by spreading the message about the severeness of ME.
• Keep your eyes open for further info (and, if need be, confirm that info with ME sufferers. There are too many misconceptions about the illness floating around).
• If you are close with any doctors or nurses or are one yourself, educate them/yourself how (NOT!) to treat ME people. Incredibly much damage has been done in the health sector.
• You can also donate to any of the following great organizations:
for Germany: Lost Voices, Fatigatio, Deutsche Gesellschaft für ME/CFS
international teams: OMF (esp. MayMomentum)
There are many more.
YOU really are a game changer. You can ultimately save lives by changing the conception of ME.
From our blue hearts to yours— THANK YOU. 💙
During the last years, Philip van den Berg had the privilege to set up the marketing function at a number of startups with a similar challenge: Building a marketing machine that ‘produces’ from the beginning and brings growth. He used the LIST Marketing Framework, which addresses, how Lean, Insights and Scrum can make your marketing Thrive. At every case on which he worked, it took roughly 25 working days to agree on the marketing strategy, write the plan and start the first implementation. This article describes how LIST got the job done.
The List Marketing Framework uses three building blocks: the ‘Build-Measure-Learn‘ continuous loop from Eric Ries’ well known Lean Startup methodology, the Insights-Based Marketing Method I developed and the Scrum Principles of transparency, inspection, & adaptation applied to marketing. This article discusses each in more detail with the use case of Apilio in Q1 2020.
Apilio is an international Startup in Home/Home Office Automation, that deploys an innovative SaaS solution. The product allows customers to set rules with their phone, tablet, or pc, to control smart devices for lighting, heating, home entertainment, etc., using both external sources (weather information, sunset/sunrise information, etc.) and internal sources, including people’s mobility data. See www.apilio.com.
read more about Lean Marketing
read more about Insights-Based Marketing
read more about Scrum in Marketing
LIST and the 25-day marketing plan
Apilio had a simple request: within three months, provide us with a plan to boost subscribers and start implementation, with a focus on Online & Social Media. Applying the LIST Marketing Framework enabled me to write a first Marketing MVP in 15 days and have it signed off in 25 days, while being completely new to the industry.
In order to determine the marketing strategy and write the marketing plan, I needed more insights about the market, about customers and about digital marketing. I was positively surprised about the amount of syndicated research that was available for free, both publicly and through a collaboration with an Educational Institute (the ZHAW). I could enrich this with free general social media reports (such as Google Trends) and tools (such as Neil Patel) as well as metrics on Apilio Social Media (Google Analytics, Google Search Console, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter metrics) and customer messaging (Intercom).
Marketing Strategy & Marketing Plan
The danger of any strategy is, that it is remote or even disconnected from ‘real-life’ implementation. Therefore I included the full marketing strategy in the marketing plan and made sure strategy parts had ‘building blocks’ part like personas, customer journeys and messaging that could be implemented immediately. Based on new insights that emerged both during the planning phase and during the first campaigns we run afterward, these parts were regularly updated and fine-tuned.
Part 1 – Marketing Strategy 2020 and beyond: Mission, Offering & Positioning; Business Objective & Marketing Goals; Market Opportunity: Definition, Market Size, Competitive Analysis, Target Segments; End-User Personas: Key Personas, General Persona Characteristics, Customer Journeys; Communication Strategy incl. Tactics, Mix, Demand Generation Framework, Messaging, Themes; Metrics; Risks; Glossary
Part 2 – Marketing Plan 2020: Timeline; Campaigns, Programs & Projects; Campaign Template; Budget
Using the collected market and customer insights, combined with knowledge from the team, the following components of Part 1 of the marketing plan were defined:
- Target Segments: Acquisition Customers, Retention Customers & Advocacy Customers + Influencers (journalists, bloggers, forum posters and analysts) + Partners (Smart solution providers)
- End-User Personas: End-users mapped using four dimensions and four use case related personas were defined for four customer journeys
- Strategy: Inbound marketing, low cost, focus on social media marketing and knowledge sharing, around theme-based campaigns, and the three-stage customer journey
- Inbound marketing framework: a visualization of the customer journey through the external digital media and the Apilio digital media to the landing page
- Tactics: theme-based modular text and video messaging with landing pages, quarterly virtual events, multi-channel communication
- Demand generation framework: marketing channels and activities per stage of the RACE-funnel model + communication matrix with media and communication type per target audience segment and three campaign types: full campaign, mini-campaign, communication
- Themes: five themes
- Messaging: Strategic behavioral message, Customer Need messaging (why) incl. Sound Bites, Functional messaging (What) incl. Sound Bites, using Sven Hughes’ Verbalisation methodology
- Metrics: per stage of the RACE funnel
The RACE Framework
The SmartInsights RACE framework divides the funnel into four parts or stages: Reach, Act, Convert, Engage. Each of these steps represents a different level of customer intimacy and therefore represents different marketing activities and often even different messaging. It is comparable to the XoFu-framework with ToFu/MoFu/BoFu to which I added a fourth state for customer up-sell, cross-sell and advocacy, that I call WoFu = Widening of the Funnel. This listed in the below table, to which I add the marriage analogy for ‘visualization’ reasons.
In Part 2 of the plan, a first list of Campaigns, Programs & Projects was made, including a high level planning by quarter. As first Digital Projects were defined a SEO/Keyword plan and the website makeover. Part 2 was completed by sections on the budget, the risk and a glossary to make everyone speak the same language.
Implementation readiness: Templates & Influencer List
The other things I did to make the plan ready for implementation were to deliver templates and an influencer list.
To ensure consistent, fast and full execution of marketing demand generation campaigns, I wanted a simple, one-page template. I took an existing one from SmartInsights with a checklist, that I slightly improved, a.o. by adding a ‘campaign metrics and learnings’ section. The value of the Marketing campaign template immediately paid off during the first campaigns we ran. Adding the results and conclusions not only forced us to analyze the campaign impact, learn from it and fine-tune the marketing plan, but also to document and make it available to the whole team.
To smoothen the execution of digital projects, like ‘SEO/Keyword research and plan’ and ‘Website Makeover’, I adopted and adapted another simple SmartInsights template.
In today’s connected digital economy, influencers are more important than ever. For Apilio this includes Journalists, Bloggers, Analysts and their websites, forums, pages and channels, as well as end-user forums, communities, groups, pages and channels on social media, and smart solution partners. From my first to my last week at Apilio, I built and maintained an influencer list with any person, portal or page I came across, including the number of views and subscribers, and contact details like personal LinkedIn profiles. Rather than leaving Apilio with just a direction to focus on influencers, this gave the company something to act on immediately.
Influencers: Customer Advocates; Press, Analysts, Bloggers; Portals, Magazines, Blogs; Software Review Sites
Partners: Smart Device & Connectivity Vendors; Resellers; Consultants
End Users: General Forums; Smart Home Communities & Forums; Facebook, Google, Linkedin YouTube etc. Groups, Pages, Channels
One of the good things at Apilio was that, besides allowing me to collect insights and write the marketing plan, the team involved me from day one in the operational execution of the existing communication. This way I got to know the marketing tools and could soon conduct first communication activities. Soon after ‘day 25’, I could run the first campaign, followed by new campaigns every one to two weeks. As already mentioned, the learnings from that implementation were immediately shared and integrated into the marketing plan. Developing a campaign always started with a draft that matured during the sprint.
At the start of the marketing project, Apilio had a great product and several useful marketing components. There were a website, social media pages, a customer messaging platform and good but partly fragmented content. Several components for the marketing machine were there, while others were not yet in place.
The LIST Marketing Framework brought Apilio the following benefits:
- Structure in the marketing planning, marketing project and marketing campaign execution
- Direction, content and completeness in the marketing messaging, activities and metric
- Visibility on the market opportunities, the market segments and the marketing personas
- Operational building blocks that could be implemented immediately
Besides that two marketing projects could be completed, the first marketing campaigns could be executed and initial learnings could already be incorporated. Apilio got an MVP of the marketing machine in place, can now move its demand generation into a higher gear and is set-up to accelerate sales.
How about big companies?
Some years ago at a grill-evening, I asked a friend about his job. ‘I am a Scrum Master!’ he replied with a big smile. The rest of the evening he told me all about Scrum roles and rules, as well as being agile and lean, sprints and adaptation.
I recognized a lot of what he mentioned from my own work approach, and I realized that being agile and lean works everywhere. Having worked many years at large ICT corporations, I was always able to build a marketing or sales practice, based on transparency, inspection and adaptation and using the LIST Marketing Framework. This resulted into objectives being met or exceeded, as well as into high adoption and appreciation among stakeholders and management.
In a VUCA environment, one of the key challenges for larger organizations is to be lean. On top of a solid foundation, it should develop flexible capabilities in, among others, insights, marketing, sales and customer service.
By defining the sprints and small enough incremental steps, also in big company, this is possible. And maybe even a 25-day marketing plan can be successfully written and implementation started.
About Philip van den Berg
Philip van den Berg is a Dutch international growth marketing and customer insights enthusiast living in Zurich, Switzerland. He has a Market Strategy Master from the University of Amsterdam and is Certified in Lean Management and Scrum. His expertise includes international and local marketing roles in corporations, SMB’s, and start-ups in IT and other industries.
By building successful marketing practices, he supports entrepreneurship in effectively targeting customers, building client relationships & partnerships, creating advocates and making revenue.
While many Start-ups have a first idea of the market and of the marketing direction – a website and social media channels are easy to set up -, they might struggle to establish effective demand generation. Focus on product development, financing, building a company, delivering results and dealing with the unforeseen, prevent that time and budget are set aside for acquiring insights and building a real marketing machine.
A good way to cope with these circumstances and restrictions might be to to hire a ‘neutral’ marketing consultant, who kick-starts marketing by appliying Lean and Scrum principles and implementing a modern, business result focused, customer centric, data driven marketing framework, such as the LIST Marketing Framework. Once done, the consultant can move out to only return for (semi)annual reviews.
For the marketing strategy and plan, being Lean means building a first Marketing MVP or Minimal Viable Plan and start implementing it immediately, while measuring the effects and learning from it on a daily basis. ‘Lean’ means that the MVP is made in a scientific yet pragmatic way and with the assumption, that everybody in the organization is an Entrepreneur with a view on the product and the market that matters. At Apilio this approach proved to be fruitfull from the beginning.
Blog about a practical implementation of the LIST Marketing Framework:
Insights Based Marketing or ‘IBM’ stands for the four cogwheels of the marketing machine that should be turning together from the beginning without interruption: meaningful Insights, an agreed upon high-level Strategy, a signed-off Plan, and full Execution. IBM is part of the LIST Marketing Framework, so I could test it in depth at Apilio.
The value of market, customer and own company Insights is not only to learn and enable validated decision-making, but also to make everybody in the company’s ecosystem ‘move’ in the same direction. As today’s world is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA), insights needs to be generated continuously rather than once in a while.
A good marketing strategy not only uses those insights, but also represents inputs of every functional department and has their buy-in. An open dialogue between the marketer and the rest of the organization during the marketing strategy process, ensures marketing principles get a sanity check and are embedded into the organization.
The marketing plan is operational (it deals with the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of execution) and, depending on the length of the sales cycle, it has a shorter or a longer horizon. While its goals are to be derived from the business plan and from the marketing strategy, and should not change, the plan itself has to flexible, so that adoptions in the marketing measures, messaging and materials can be made during execution.
In order to succeed, execution not only has to be lean, but also be connected continuously to the other three cogwheels. A good consultant, strategist or planner has to understand both how the marketing execution works and what the feedback of customers, partners and colleagues on that execution is. To gain insights on these two aspects, daily metrics have to be built in and shared from the beginning.
Blog about a practical implementation of the LIST Marketing Framework:
The Scrum principles add an agile framework, that provides the conditions for an organization to implement ‘Lean Marketing‘ and Insights Based Marketing. They include Inspection, Transparency, Adaptation, and having Iterative and Incremental processes and practices. The below sections review how Scrum fits in the LIST Marketing Framework as I applied it at Apilio and other companies. An advantage was, that Apilio was already well set up with regards to Lean and Scrum, which gave me a head start with implementing LIST.
A definition of Scrum
The goal of Scrum is to to have teams address complex adaptive problems and delivering products of the highest possible value in a productive and creative way. Scrum is based on the theory of empirical process control, which relies on transparency, inspection, & adaptation and is both iterative and incremental. Sources: https://www.scrumalliance.org/about-scrum/definition and https://www.scrumalliance.org/about-scrum/theory.
Scrum in action
Transparency: ‘To make decisions, people need visibility into the process and the current state of the product.‘ Transparency is a principle to be supported and worked on by all. For every team member, it works both ways: toward the others and from the others. At Apilio the daily short stand-up meeting and the intranet availability of all company information created an excellent basis for that.
The Apilio team was very open about the product strengths and weaknesses, as well as the market opportunities and threats. We frequently used informal meetings and coffee/lunch breaks to exchange questions and answers. From my side I gave regular updates on the work I was doing and made my marketing deliverables accessible from two angles. Not only did I store my plans, documents and deliverables under the marketing and project sections of the internal collaboration tool (Apilio uses Atlassian Confluence), I also grouped everything on a personal page that all could access.
Inspection: ‘To prevent deviation from the desired process or end product, people need to inspect what is being created, and how, at regular intervals.’ To allow inspection of the marketing plan and of the marketing project and campaigns, we used a couple of tools.
Apilio has one Backlog board with the status of all tasks and sub-tasks, which is visible to all and is maintained by all. The tasks were organized by themes that often consisted of one or more sprints. Marketing examples include the Marketing Plan, the SEO/Keyword project, the Website Makeover project, and the individual Marketing Campaigns. A good online (cloud) collaboration platform like Confluence, that allows to cross-link, review, comment, share and see (proposed) changes, or to lookup older version of a document, is another great asset for transparency and inspection. At Apilio this resulted in a better and more balanced use of email (mainly for automated review messages with links instead of attachments) and chat (mainly to consult and inform each other).
Adaptation -‘When deviations occur, the process or product should be adjusted as soon as possible.’ To succeed in 2020, the ability to adapt immediately is crucial. Even if business and marketing objectives are carved in stone, the road to achieve them should be flexible.
Therefore the marketing process has to be Iterative. This includes experimenting and A/B testing, and leads to growing experience and expertise which bring better decision making and better results. As an organisation and as a team member, one needs to be aware of the value of experience and to be set-up accordingly. Experience has four dimensions to take into account: it needs to have a minimal critical mass, it needs to be gained fast, it needs to be built continuously and it needs to grow over time.
This leads to another imporant aspect of Scrum in Marketing. The marketing process and the company culture also have to be Incremental. Therefore the time horizon of the marketing plan needs to flexible. Where the business objectives and certain marketing goals and tactics justify a longer horizon, the marketing plan is best split up into subplans that can be easily adjusted, for example quarterly plans.
Another consequence is that every team member has to work insights based and is able to refresh those insights through accurate and actual metrics. At Apilio I spent relatively much time on finding internal and external intelligence, that could bring me those insights. I also set-up a number simple of business dashboards, and did regular deep dives into the results, to understand metrics and the immediate impact of marketing activities.
Cultural implications of Scrum
Being transparent, open to inspection and adaptive, requires, that one is not strict about a certain set-up, formulation or way of doing things, but is lead by the evolving insights from data sources and from team members. Both inside the organization and in the partner ecosystem, a culture that encourages to be vulnerable, to trust each other, and to with the Scrum principles, will bring optimal collaboration.
Blog about a practical implementation of the LIST Marketing Framework:
When water is bad for your health
Health blogs, health coaches and health authorities recommend us to drink two liters of water per day. Still 50% of the world population does not have access to clean drinking water  and annually close to 1 million people die from water, sanitation and hygiene-related diseases. The lack of basic water and sanitation is estimated to cost $260 billion globally every year. 
When clean drinking water is not affordable
In West Papua, due to the high poverty, access to clean water is very low. In remote areas, like Oksibil in the Bintang mountain range, importing clean drinking water is not affordable, as its population of around 4000 people can only be reached by air. From 1970, five years after the area was opened to outsiders, to 1995, the dutch missionary Kees van Dijk worked in the area. He learned one of the six local languages, managed to earn the love and trust of the locals and started to represent them. This continued after he was asked to be based in the capital, Jakarta, in 1995. Still he regularly travels the almost 4000 km to Obsikil to help the locals.
Water, a gift from heaven
Fr. Kees is now trying to give what the people in Oksibil need the most: clean water. The country’s inspection agency Sucofindo (‘PT Superintending Company of Indonesia’) has declared the water in Oksibil unsafe for drinking. Geological samples in 2016 indicated that even at 90 m deep, only clay and dirt is found. Drilling this deep or even further is economically not feasible. As Oksibil on average has 400-500 mm monthly rainfall, collecting or ‘catching’ rainwater was the next option. A first Rainwater Harvesting (RWH) system with water storage in the ground was built, but this wasn’t resistant to earthquakes. Since 2017 three new earthquake-proof RWH systems with elevated water tanks have been implemented, but they are far from complete. And to serve the regional population minimally, two more will need to be added. After these RWH systems have been completed, the project can be expanded to other areas in West Papua.
To create local ownership and avoid operational dependency on sponsors, Fr. Kees, for building and maintaining the RWH System, insists on the “gotong royong” spirit of local community involvement. The locals help gather materials such as sands and gravel. Other materials like cement, pipes, filters, and storage tanks, have to be air-flown from the capital of West Papua, Jayapura, and especially from Jakarta. Due to the transportation, a sack of cement is 20 times more expensive in Oksibil than in Jakarta.
Helping the people of Oksibil
To build one RWH system, it takes 46 sacks of cement at a cost of US$ 4,000, pipes worth US$ 4,100 and a filter with a price of US$ 1,900. This sums up to US$ 10,000, excluding the cost of large capacity water storage tanks. To give the people of Oksibil clean drinking water, five RWH systems are needed. Dear blogreaders, tell your friends about this great project; all promotion and financial support are highly appreciated.
Contact and transfer information
Donations can be made by bank transfer only to: English-Speaking Catholic Mission, Neptunstrasse 6, 8032 Zürich, Switzerland; IBAN: CH 47 0020 6206 3632 1001 B, BIC: UBSWCHZH80A. Please mention as purpose “Donation Water for Papua / Fr. Kees van Dijk OFM“.
or to: Account Name: Van Dijk Cornelis G M; Bank name: Bank Mandiri; Bank Address: Kramat Raya, Jakarta; Account no.: 1230004105690; Country: Indonesia; Swift Code : BMRIIDJA
More information about the project can be obtained at www.facebook.com/waterforpapua and email@example.com.