SCALE – A New Framework For Digital Marketing

Over the past couple of years, I have worked with a number of different frameworks to help organise the digital marketing strategies I have put together for my clients. Smart Insights has the RACE framework, Google has the See, Think, Do, Care framework and there are many more out there.

First of all, both Google and Smart Insight’s frameworks have incredible benefits. I have used them both frameworks to execute marketing and won multiple pitches using these as the basis for the strategies I presented. There are, however, a couple of things that I felt they lacked.

Smart Insights Marketing Framework

RACE = Reach, Act, Covert, Engage.

This is the framework I used most often and had some great success with it as an organising idea. What it doesn’t really do is include a robust consideration stage. This is generally covered within the “Ask” segment of the framework but that doesn’t feel like a consideration stage. The lines between “Act” and “Convert” seem too blurred, like you are jumping into a conversion stage far too quickly.

My other issue with it is far less tangible and much more personal.

RACE is all about what the brand can do to their customers rather than how your customers experience your brand. I have been a big believer for a long time that a customer’s experience is a huge factor in marketing success and I just don’t think RACE achieves that as well as it could.

Google’s Marketing Framework

Google’s framework, See, Think, Do, Care is exactly the opposite of that. It is all about the customer experience. It talks exclusively from the perspective of the customer and encourages you to communicate with them in that way. In terms of actual output, it is not dissimilar to RACE but it feels more emotional and inclusive. It feels less like a manipulation of customers and more like you are creating something for them to experience.

I love this framework for exactly those reasons, but I still felt like there was something missing. I always imagined like there was a stage after “Care” that went above and beyond driving repeat purchases from your current customers and focussed on creating an experience for your customers that made them fall in love with and tell everyone about how amazing your brand, products and services are.

Developing A New Solution

If it’s not clear by now, I love with digital marketing (to be clear I love it, but I’m not in love with it). My friends and colleagues laugh at me because we could be having drinks on a night out, yet I would still be shouting over the music (pint in hand) about a campaign that a brand is running or a new platform that allows you to segment and interrogate data.

A normal human might simply accept that there are flaws with current frameworks and informally adapt them in order to get the best results for their clients. Other people may not see flaws at all and just plan their marketing within the structure of the framework.

I am, for better or worse, not a completely normal human (and grateful not to be).

When I encountered issues with the frameworks I was using, I decided I better create a new one that worked the way I wanted it to.

The idea really came about when I started writing my book “Digital Marketing Made Easy”. I got to the section where I wanted to talk about using a framework to organise your marketing and I realised I just didn’t fully believe in the frameworks I had been using for the reasons mentioned above. I also wanted to write about my own work rather than talking about frameworks developed by others. After all, if people are going to buy a book written by me, I wanted to give them as much value as I could, not just rewrite and regurgitate information that was already available with a simple google search.

At this point, I would love to be able to pitch myself as a digital marketing savant that knew exactly what the framework was going to be and it took only seconds for me to create. The reality of course is I spoke to colleagues and my mentor about what I was trying to create and got their input.

There were a couple of things I knew I wanted:

  1. To have a sensible acronym that read well and also described the effects of the framework
  2. To represent the marketing that I had already been doing and knew was effective
  3. To be more emotional but still have strategic value
  4. To focus on and include all aspects of the customer journey
  5. To encourage the creation of experiences rather than tactics
  6. To enable people to tell stories

With that in mind and with the help of industry experts, I arrived at SCALE. This is a framework that (I feel) encompasses all of the above and still allows you to create strategic, impactful digital marketing campaigns.

What Is SCALE?

SCALE Digital Marketing Framework Inforgraphic

Seek, Consider, Act, Love, Engage/Evangelise.

As you can see, I have taken elements from both of the frameworks I mentioned previously, I have adapted others and I have created some from the ground up.

There are deeper levels to this, but at its very core, it describes each element of the user journey.

The search for a solution, the comparison of those available, the act of purchasing or signing up (conversion), the experience of using the product or service and the act of becoming someone who had such a good experience that they just couldn’t stop telling people about it.

How Does SCALE Relate To Tactics?

Good question. A framework is useless unless you understand how the core tactics fit into the customer journey and how you can organise your marketing using it.

Well, luckily for you, here’s an infographic I made earlier.

SCALE Digital Marketing Tactics

This is of course very top level. You will see multiple tactics repeated throughout the framework, however, it doesn’t mean that you are treating the tactics in the same way. PPC, for example, appears in the Seek and Consider stages and it would probably also appear in the “Act” segment too. That doesn’t mean you are targeting the same people in the same way throughout. The messaging and targeting changes significantly depending on what segment of customers you are talking to.

I have found that most brands are focussing specifically on the “Act” segment of this framework. Everyone is looking for quick wins, sales and conversions immediately. Most people massively neglect the start and end of the user journey doing no work on awareness (Seek), little work on engagement (Love) and no work on creating Evangelists (Engage). If you were to think of this as a funnel, quick wins will only last a short amount of time if you are not introducing new users to your brand or creating evangelists who can periodically top up your funnel for you.

If you are Amazon, you probably don’t need to do all that much work in awareness because, well… you are Amazon and everyone knows who you are already. If you are not Amazon, you probably need some kind of presence in each segment of the user journey in order to create long-lasting success.

How Do We Measure Success?

The final thing to look at is what success looks like within the SCALE framework and ensuring you set yourself some SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound) goals that give you an idea of how your campaigns are performing and more importantly, are they helping you to achieve your business goals.

I know what you going to say… “We are just in the process of setting out business goals”. You wouldn’t believe how many big companies say this and how many of them are lying. Almost everyone who says they are “In the process” will never get round to setting their business goals which makes it almost impossible for you to set your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) or goals for your Marketing.

Create some business goals and then create a set of KPI’s or tactic specific goals to help you measure the success of your marketing in service of the overarching business goals.

Well, there you go. This framework has been used informally with some tier one clients and has seen many great successes. If you want to see how SCALE can apply to your business then check out my strategy service or get in touch today.

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