Digital Marketing Teams Led by Doctor Who

Being part of a large team that is tasked with creating complex digital marketing strategies can often be very challenging. One of the more challenging hurdles that will be faced is the process of group-brainstorming, especially when the group lacks an active leader. A great episode of Doctor Who displays the group-think theme quite well and portrays the trouble it may cause. The Doctor and some passengers are stuck aboard a ship being attacked by an ominous “presence”. The interesting part about this episode is that you never see what is attacking the ship; you hear it pounding on the outside, prying its’ way inside. At one point, this “presence” takes control of one passengers’ mind and turns her freakishly-evil. Through all of the panic, the passengers allow themselves to succumb to group-think, and all slowly decide it is necessary to kill the evil passenger. Without the leadership and clear-thinking of The Doctor, the passengers would have been doomed. But, as always, The Doctor’s open mind allowed him to weigh the pros and cons of all possible solutions before acting. Even in a hectic situation, he was able for figure out exactly how to solve the problem.

After bouncing around the internet from blog to blog, article to article, I read about the concept of the “two-Pizza team” as originated by Jeff Bezos. The idea behind it is that a team should be no larger than what two pizzas could feed. Realistically, one does not need to order two pizzas to figure out if a team is the right size. However, just know that if you don’t have enough to feed everyone, some may go hungry; and, the hungriest will seek out the most pizza, first. What I believe is most important here (and not mentioned by Jeff) is that that once everyone has figured out what flavor pizza they want, only one person places the order. The person ordering is typically driving all engagement to figure out exactly what everyone wants to eat.

How can we make sense of this way of thinking?  Marketing Managers should be mindful of how much impact organization structure has on supporting organization goals. Group work is great, but what seems to be the determining factor, is that having people with a “Doctor Who mind” can contribute greatly to the success of many reaching organization goals. Don’t let group-think determine the success of a project, take control and empower the whole group to think in the same fashion.


Pirates, Doctor Who and Digital Marketing

After recently watching a (not so great) episode of Doctor Who, I could not help but think of ways to make the episode even better. What better way than to let my mind drift and over-analyze simple life issues. This specific episode of Doctor Who involved a group of pirates on a trapped ship. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of pirates? Well, probably that they are always saying “AARRR!” (for some reason). Boom! My mind instantly made a connection to a concept in Marketing Analytics that I recently read about.

The AARRR analytics framework is a great way for companies to put customers first, while still caring about growing the business. This framework allows for companies to analyze 5 areas relating to the customer lifecycle and apply strategic metrics to help promote growth. These are the 5 areas that one must analyze while using the AARRR framework:

  1. Acquisition
  2. Activation
  3. Retention
  4. Referral
  5. Revenue

As you can see, all of these relate to how your customer affects business growth; and all of them are definitive of the various business actions usually taken. For example, you may acquire many website visitors, but only a few of them are actually activated into customers. So it is the process of activation that is to be further analyzed. Or, you could have great customer retention, but referral seems to be lacking. This may lead one to believe that their strong customer base needs a little “nudge” into becoming advocates of the brand, thus increasing referrals.

This framework allows you to easily layout a few metrics that apply directly to each of the 5 categories. For example, Channel Volume could be used to analyze how website visitors are best acquired. Churn rates can be used to understand retention.

This is an awesome way to think about how to grow your company using a simple and structurally sound framework. As any pirate would do, a confident marketer should take ownership of this framework and use it to capture all of that treasure!

Using Social Media Intelligence for Audience Research

Social Media Intelligence (SMI) is an interesting concept that will help shape the structure of marketing departments in the near future. Organizations that root itself in the importance of using social media combined with the concept of SMI will be ahead of the pack within their industry. According to Brandwatch, SMI is a combination of social listening, data management, advanced analytics and distribution, all of which are aimed at making socially informed brand decisions. What is intriguing about SMI is that it creates a great structure for introducing social media into organizations that want to implement social strategies. The Brandwatch Blog is full of interesting content; one blog that I stumbled across provided a great connection into how the BBC can capitalize on SMI to extend their understanding of the Doctor Who target audience.

Chelsea Varney’s blog post on the Brandwatch Blog offers up great support for the use of SMI across a well-known brand that has been around for 50 years, Doctor Who. As Chelsea points out, the use of SMI allows the writers of Doctor Who to get a deep look into the Doctor Who conversations that are happening simultaneously with the airing of new shows. With such a deep history, the Doctor Who audience spans such a diverse group of viewers. Even though not all viewers will are active in the digital-social universe, analytic tools would allow for great statistical insight into the Doctor Who target audience, and what they are saying about the show.

Concepts within SMI are great for performing industry research prior to the execution of marketing campaigns.  For example, marketers can benefit from prior SMI research in setting SMART Objectives, as well as putting together a digital strategy that hits the correct target audience with the best keywords and at the best time.  Let’s hope that Doctor Who writers had a team of research performing Social Media Intelligence activities to help rediscover some Whovian insights.





Whovian Customer Persona

In Marketing, the importance of appealing to a target audience(s) is inevitable. This is a concept that should be part of every marketing strategy: figuring out who will be buying your products and how to advertise to them. If you aren’t able to master this area of strategy, you will surely not be able to saturate that market by selling lots of product.  After all, you will be doing many things wrong, including selling the wrong product to the wrong people.

As written in an article by, John Plunkett, the ratings for the newest series of Doctor Who are surprisingly low compared to last year. Now, I am not here to speculate as to WHY the ratings have dropped, but rather, I would like to tame the “Whovian” crowd a little bit; as, it would seem that many people claiming to know about Doctor Who are throwing out claims that the series will be cancelled. Regardless of all the reasons, many took to Twitter recently to display hatred for some drastic changes that have taken place with the Doctor. As you can see below, this is the style transition that has taken place for the Doctor over the past two series. Clearly, the Doctor’s style has become, shall I say, very “Hip”.


The last picture shows the Doctor’s new Sonic Shades, what has become a replacement for his iconic Sonic Screwdriver. Many fans were outraged with at the loss of the Sonic Screwdriver.   These outraged fans, are most likely true Whovians, those whom have a deep rooted passion for the show and its’ history. Whovians want to be a part of the incredible stories in which the Doctor cares more about saving the universe than he does about being cool.

The show’s writers should realize that the loss of ratings is most likely from viewers who are not true Whovians, nor will ever become a true Whovian. If targeting the right audience has anything to do with the BBC winning back some ratings, they should look to write stories that will increase brand advocacy among existing Whovians, and bring back the writing style (that hooked me) that will acquire true Whovians.

The Doctor Goes Social

There are so many aspects of marketing that have evolved over time in ways that allow for companies to truly “own” their brand(s). The concept of Customer Experience Marketing is made more tangible by being able to actually measure customer journeys through the lifecycle. In the past, this may have only been accomplished through a few simple touch points. However, Social Media has made it possible for companies to engage with customers throughout every point on the customer lifecycle. The BBC has done a good job employing different social media channels to engage with Whovians across the world.

As for Doctor Who, and many any other television shows, new episodes only air for part of the year. This is why it is important for the BBC to continue the conversation through social media. During the rest of the year they are (hopefully) filming a new season, and engaging Whovians through all possible channels. It can be seen that the BBC owns many Doctor Who accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and even YouTube. Doctor Who’s broad fan base certainly warrants the need for BBC to be on many different social media channels.

As Ben Davis writes, the Doctor Who Tumblr does a good job engaging Whovians to create relevant and interesting content, of which, certain content may be re-blogged.   This theme of user generated branding is very popular with the BBC. In the most recent series of Doctor Who, a fan created the opening sequence of the show. This is such a great way to get, and keep, Whovians engaged with the Doctor Who brand, by making them feel like they could be a part of the show.

It is clear that the BBC is taking advantage of social media for its ability to engage with such a wide network of fans. Most importantly, nobody has to go the whole year without getting a much needed Doctor Who fix.

Follow your following with these Metrics

Within the genre of Science fiction exists many popular sub-genres (i.e. Space western, Comic Sci-Fi, scientific romance,…). One could easily find themselves particularly addicted to one specific genre or multiple related genres. For digital marketers in the science fiction industry, paying close attention to certain metrics will help to identify and follow these fans whether they exist en masse, or in tight niche circles. One good place to start when it comes to your appealing to your fan following would be in search engine optimization (SEO). According to Ayaz Nanji’s article on, the top five metrics to pay attention to when it comes to SEO performance are:

  1. Website visitor traffic
  2. Leads generated
  3. Visitor conversion rate
  4. Keyword search rankings
  5. Visit duration/engagement

All of these metrics can be extremely useful to any digital marketer, regardless of the type of content produced; one does not need to sell products to measure conversions. These metrics help to determine if fans are just as connected to your content as they are to the specific sci-fi medium that he/she follows. A good example would be a blogger of Doctor Who content; they could easily measure conversions as reading the newest blog, and might have a newsletter sign-up section to collect leads. The blogger could also measure how long fans stay on the site and engage in the content that is produced. As mentioned, these are great metrics to help gauge success and identify your following.

Interestingly enough, Ayaz Nanji’s article also discusses the most effective SEO tactics. The top five being:

  1. Relevant content creation
  2. Keyword/phrase research
  3. Frequent website updating
  4. Relevant link building
  5. Social media integration

When it comes to blogging, all of these tactics can easily be accomplished through regular blogging while utilizing best practices. The above metrics and SEO tactics can also be applied to other internet business models. However, in the science fiction industry, it is more engaging to be a part of a sci-fi community where you can discuss your favorite episodes, character’s, gizmos, and read blogs.

Ooh, this ad could be a little more sonic!

There are many things that The Doctor is known not to be without; the TARDIS, his companion, his adventurous wit, and not to forget – his sonic screwdriver. This beautiful screwdriver performs a number of valuable tasks, often times playing an important role in saving the universe. The sonic screwdriver is what a wand is to Harry Potter, a simple yet extraordinary gizmo.

Many companies’ sell toy, and real, replicas of the sonic screwdriver and Whovians can easily find them for sale online by performing a quick Google search. Using the keywords sonic screwdriver for sale, I was able to find a few Paid Search Ads for this product. One in particular caught my eye, mainly because it is from the BBC’s online shop.


This paid search ad has a few interesting components that certainly need to be analyzed. As one will notice, apparently has a 4.9 rating, such value proposition gives people the idea that this site is legitimate and highly rated. This ad also includes many ad extensions, providing links to other Hot Deals, BBC Exclusives, and Whovian Favorites; even more reason to click on this particular ad. Based on the keywords that were used in the search, this ad matched on part of the phrase used; leading one to believe that keyword research worked in this case. At this point, everything about this ad seems to be right on par; this paid search ad may just lead to a conversion.

When we examine the call to action, we will notice that the words “Shop for” are used. This CTA makes me think that once the ad is clicked, more “shopping” will need to be done before buying a sonic screwdriver. Because of this, the ad would be directed to customers in the research or select phases of the customer lifecycle. The landing page tied to this ad includes a variety of sonic screwdrivers for sale, which is exactly what one would expect when using such keywords. In addition, the “Free Shipping over $50” wording in the ad is carried over and can be seen at the top of the landing page.

All of the mentioned components of the paid search ad make for a pleasing shopping experience, in the senses that one would know exactly what to expect from the website based on the ad alone. Although most of the sonic screwdrivers for sale on this site were toys, the having one of your own would certainly provide endless excitement!

Doctor Who’s Companion: BBC One.

BBC’s Doctor Who website brings Whovians one step closer to traveling with The Doctor. For the time spent on the website, you truly feel like you are one of The Doctor’s companions. There have been many times that I have been 100% satisfied with the content provided.  This site provides me with a way to continue the journey for as long as I can.   Based on the 7 principles of conversion centered design, the Doctor Who BBC website can be analyzed to study why this site brings such a great Who fix.

Here are a few reasons why this site does a good job following these principles:

  1. The first graphics seen instantly grab the attention of the visitor. They inspire the visitor and immediately draw them into the world of Doctor Who. Most importantly, attention is consistently grabbed as one scroll down the page with videos and insider news.
  2. From start to finish, visitors will enjoy the whole experience, such that there are opportunities to vote on favorite episodes, be a part of exclusive sneak peaks, as well as behind the scenes type information. There is no confusion about what the visitor will experience, and this creates good clarity of what the website offers.
  3. Finally, this website is essentially to “go-to” place for all Who related details. If a story is going to break, it will stem from this BBC site. It is clear that this is what the website is all about, and that alone will keep fans coming back for more. This provides a great amount of credibility amongst visitors.

One thing that would be interesting for BBC to look into is decreasing the Attention Ratio across the first landing page of the website. At some times, it is hard to tell what the BBC really wants a visitor to look at on the site. Overall, this website provides a lot of good insider information at the fingertips of Whovians across the world.

Customer Designed Email Marketing

Redfin has a spectacular website user experience, even for those that are casual real estate listing viewers like myself. All of Redfin’s website content is legitimate, and you never feel like ads will be following your every move. Out of every real estate listing site out there, it is the only one I will find myself browsing.

I have noticed that ever since I created an account on Redfin, I will occasionally receive an email from them, providing me with information about current homes for sale that are comparable to those that I have viewed at some point in time while signed into their site.  Creating a Redfin account allows you to choose which homes are your favorite, as well as which ones you would like to “x-out”.   Redfin also allows you to adjust the alerts and email settings, so that you can choose what kind of emails you receive.  One category of email is based on the homes that you mark as favorite, and Redfin will send you alerts when anything changes with those listings. Another email category is for general listing updates and will provide details regarding neighborhoods you’re tracking.

I recently received an email from Redfin, showing me 8 homes in my “neighborhood” that I may be interested in.  Here are my shout outs and criticism regarding this email:

My shout outs

  • Provided a nice sized photo of each home
  • Gave a few essential stats about each home: address, price, sq. ft., #beds/#baths,
  • Listed out a few details about the listing agent
  • Indicated if there was an upcoming open house for any of the homes, and provided a date/time


  • Contained too much white space, left the email looking cheap/too basic
  • Recommended listings appeared to be based off of Zip Code only
  • It had an odd subject line: “Eight New Homes for You: 468 Poplar Dr, and more!”, I don’t know every street in my Zip Code, so including that part of the address does not help me make a connection.

Redfin is positioned well to track user engagement through custom profiles and home viewership (likes vs. dislikes), and they have the ability and push them through the CLC by connecting home buyers with “Redfin Agents” for those who want to take it to the next step and actually tour a home.  The Emails that I receive are most certainly crafted toward people in the Develop stage of the CLC, which leads me to believe that they simply want me to engage further with the website and dive deeper into the local real estate market.

During the most recent series of Doctor Who, there was a clear struggle that happened between Clara, the Doctor’s companion, and Her desire to maintain a regular life.  All the while, the Doctor wanted to maintain his fantastic adventures with Clara at his side.  Episode after episode, the Doctor would continue luring Clara back in the life of a companion, but overall, he still knew that there was some middle ground that needed to be met. Needless to say, Redin’s interesting take on email marketing reminds me of that relationship.  The emails are not aggressive, they give me the information that I want, and they allow me to continue being a casual real estate viewer, while providing a personalized touch at the same time.  Redfin understands that our relationship is important and is willing to develop it in the right ways.

Crafting a Marketing Funnel

After reading a HBR case recently, I started to wonder why most visualized marketing funnels often just end at the convert stage of the customer lifecycle. Marketing channels direct potential customers into the funnel, where they are cultivated while they spin down the funnel, and then they are just dumped out during the convert stage. Having such visualization is good for learning theory, but it seems like most funnels are missing one important thing, additional funnels that are used to create brand advocates. Converted customers fall into subsequent funnels to be refined into brand advocates. After all, it is through the continuation of targeted marketing efforts that a company begins to build its’ brand advocate customer base.

A basic Google search uncovered that this multi-funnel visualization is not a new one, and thinking in those terms seems to already be broadly accepted by many. However, after watching a great Ted talk video about marketing and physics, I realized that physics could also be connected to marketing funnels to further develop the concept.

Have you ever seen one of those coin funnels typically seen at some big box stores? When you drop a coin into the funnel, it spins on edge all the way down as mesmerized people watch in awe. These coin funnels are designed in such a way that any sized coin can be dropped in and it will spin on its’ edge the whole way to the bottom without falling. These coin funnels are very similar to a marketing funnel in many ways, a few for example:

  • Many different people will drop a coin into the funnel, and many different marketing channels will drop a customer into the funnel
  • The coins can be grouped into different types: Quarters, Pennies, etc., and customers can be grouped into different personas: Men, Women, etc.

The main difference being that the coin funnels are perfectly crafted, whereas marketing funnels don’t always follow the same concept. Companies should look to emulate the coin funnels, such that, regardless of the customer persona or marketing channel from which they came, having a perfectly crafted marketing funnel will allow each customer to spin all the way down to convert stage without falling over (churning).  And, not only does the purchase funnel have to be perfectly crafted, so does the retention funnel. Since, the customer’s journey does not end at the convert stage.

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