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How to Become a Marketing Strategy Expert (Starting from Scratch)

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Kevan Lee

VP of Marketing, Buffer

In this episode, you will learn how to set up a one-year strategic marketing plan and lead your team to success. My guest today is Kevan Lee, the Director of Marketing at Buffer.

Tune in to hear us discuss your big picture gameplan, how to lead a team effectively, and Kevan’s personal career path. He reveals insight into the transition from content writing to strategy and what happened when he tried to take marketing shortcuts in the past.

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We covered:

  • The difference between your company vision vs. strategy
  • How Kevan created Buffer’s one-year strategic marketing plan
  • Why step one of a marketing strategy starts with your purpose
  • The powerful vision framework exercise for creating goals
  • Which marketing channel is the number one driver for new signups
  • How to determine which projects are your first priority
  • Why marketers today should become multiskilled generalists

Full Transcript:

Louis: Bonjour, bonjour! Welcome to another episode of EveryoneHatesMarketers.com, the marketing podcast for marketers, founders, and tech people who are just sick of shady, aggressive marketing. I’m your host, Louis Grenier. In today’s episode, you will learn how to set up a one-year strategic marketing plan, so you can get shit done with your team and lead your team effectively as well. We are not necessarily only going to talk about a one-year strategic marketing plan. We’ll also talk about marketing strategy in general and how to lead a team with this.

My guest today comes from a company I really deeply admire. I don’t say that lightly. Buffer, which is the social scheduling platform who are very well-known for their transparency. They are the reason why I actually started a remote consulting company a few years ago that failed–but that’s for another story–and why I’m working remotely right now actually with Hotjar. That’s when I discovered that companies like Buffer were working remotely.

My guest started as a content writer and have worn many hats since then, product marketer, partnerships, social copywriter, and manager. He’s now the director of marketing for Buffer, managing a team of 10 people. Buffer is a company receiving more than a million visits a month on their blog which is quite an impressive feat.

Kevan Lee, welcome aboard.

Kevan: Thank you, Louis, great to be here.

Louis: Everyone talks about strategy. I read it almost on every single blog post, or blog I visit. People talk about this one strategy you should use to growth hack your success, or three strategies you should use tomorrow to do X, Y, and Z.

Without giving too much about my opinion about the word strategy, and what it actually means, I’d like to hear from you. What does it mean to you, strategy?

Kevan: Yeah, one of my teammates put it quite succinctly for me once in this analogy. We were trying to decide the difference between vision and strategy and tactics, because, oftentimes, we use these words interchangeably, or people assume one thing and someone else does another.

The analogy she used is that the vision is where you’re going. The strategy is how you’re going to get there, and the tactics are the turn-by-turn directions. That was very clarifying for me. I’m able to now filter those words into a nice, tidy box.

Strategy for me is: If you’ve already figured out where you’re going to go, strategy is how you’re going to get there. As part of my role, I both need to figure out where we’re going, and how we’re getting there. Then, I like to pass along the tactics, the what to the team itself.

Yeah, strategy’s the car we’re driving or the route we’re taking to get to our destination.

Louis: It’s as much as where you’re going, it’s also where you’re not going, and what you’re not going to do, right?

Kevan: Exactly. Yes, exactly.

Louis: When we think of marketing strategies, you summarize it quite well and quite simply. Vision is where you’re planning to go. Strategy is how you’re going to get there.

Kevan: Correct.

Louis: Tactics are, repeat, so that’s–

Kevan: The turn-by-turn directions, yes.

Louis: The turn-by-turn directions, exactly. When we think about it, it’s an empty word to a lot of people. It’s like, why is it needed? Why do we even need to set up a marketing strategy? Why do we need a marketing team or a strategy when you lead a business? Why is it important for you in your role to have a marketing strategy?

Kevan: Yeah, that’s a good one. I came up through the tactics. I started as a writer for a blog. I was very much in the day-to-day details. Having been in that world for many years, and how easy it is to get tunnel vision and just to be very consumed by the work and not be able to pick your head up and see, o

Next: check out the 500+ marketing resources mentioned on the podcast over the years (sorted by the number of mentions and format).

Become a confident marketer that gets real results (without treating people like garbage)

Bonjour bonjour! I’m Louis Grenier I’m a no-fluff marketer living in Dublin, Ireland (but yeah, I’m French).

Sign up to receive my no-fluff, 7-lesson email course based on what I’ve learned over the last 10 years as a marketer (+ more than 150 hours of interviews with no-bullshit marketers like Seth Godin, Mark Ritson, or Joanna Wiebe).

I believe you can treat people the way you’d like to be treated and still generate results without using sleazy, aggressive, hack-y marketing. This is why I’ve started Everyone Hates Marketers – a no-fluff, actionable marketing podcast – as a side project in 2017.

Since then, EHM has been downloaded more than 500,000 times and got praises from many from industry leaders as a marketing podcast you can learn stuff from (crazy, right?!).

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