We’re used to associating prioritization with product backlogs. Prioritization is something that a product manager does to find the divine order of features their engineers must build. And the other departments must be working as usual—in turmoil.
And what about marketing? There are many marketing frameworks and funnels to help you plan, strategize, and map goals. Which is essential. But none of them actually suggests how to filter the tasks and in what order you need to approach them.
We’ve been prioritizing our marketing initiatives for more than half a year, which has helped us become more productive and goal-oriented. So we decided to address some of the popular marketing models from a slightly different perspective to help you further-expand those and make the most out of them.
In this article, we want to compare two marketing frameworks, REAN and RACE, find the differences and similarities, and share our method of using them for marketing task prioritization.
REAN Model Definition
REAN is a four-factor framework for mapping and analyzing marketing activities, and goal setting. Stands for Reach, Engagement, Activation, and Nurture.
Originally developed by Xavier Blanc for mapping activities. Popularized by Steve Jackson in the Cult of Analytics as a way to analyze the activities’ effectiveness and develop KPIs.
Reach focuses on activities needed to raise brand awareness and attract people to the brand.
Answers question: How can we raise attention to the product and how effective are the measures?
Measured by: Impression metrics.
Engagement focuses on activities needed to improve audience interaction with the brand.
Answers question: How can we engage the audience we attract and how effective are the measures?
Measured by: Click depth, Time spent on the website.
Activation focuses on activities needed to increase the number of people taking action.
Answers question: How can we get more people to take action and how effective are the measures?
Measured by: Conversion metrics.
Nurture focuses on activities needed to retain and re-engage activated consumers.
Answers question: How can we encourage visitors to return and consume more content, and how effective are the measures?
Measured by: Effectiveness of re-marketing efforts.
RACE Planning Framework Definition
RACE Planning is a five-step framework for mapping and managing engagement activities. Developed by The Smart Insights. RACE stands for Reach, Act, Convert, and Engage. It also includes Plan—the initial phase of digital strategy creation and objective setting.
Reach focuses on activities that will drive traffic to your website and raise brand awareness.
Cover by: Organic and paid search, social media, PR, etc.
Measure by: Audience volume/quality/value/cost.
Act focuses on persuading site visitors to take action and encouraging interaction with your content.
Cover by: Relevant, useful, and engaging content.
Measure by: Lead conversion rate, time spent on site, number of subscribers/likes/shares.
Convert focuses on encouraging visitors to take the final step and their conversion into paying customers.
Cover by: Conversion rate optimization, marketing automation, and retargeting.
Measure by: Sales, Revenue/Profit, Conversion and Order Value.
Engage focuses on developing long-term relationships with customers to drive repeated sales and advocacy.
Cover by: A wide range of online and offline communications, customer loyalty drivers research.
Measure by: Repeat Purchase, Customer satisfaction, advocacy.
If we look closely at the criteria description we can notice some differences:
Engagement vs. Act
While REAN’s Engagement speaks only of the overall customer interaction with the brand and a way of understanding visitors’ interest, RACE’s Act wants you to think and focus on the first desired action as well. Thus the second stage can help you be more goal-oriented and gather more valuable data.
Nurture vs. Engage
REAN’s Nurture speaks of engaging the activated visitors to come back and consume more content. RACE’s Engage wants you to drive repeated sales and build a loyal audience through the re-engagement. Which again makes the RACE’s criterion more goal-oriented.
What’s the Same
If we take a step back and look at both frameworks from afar we’ll notice that generally, they focus on the same marketing efforts and customer lifecycle stages:
- Reach / Reach → Traffic acquisition → Awareness Stage.
- Engage / Act → Interaction engagement → Consideration Stage.
- Activate / Convert → Selling → Purchase Stage.
- Nurture / Engage → Retaining customers → Retention & Loyalty Stage.
So basically, there is no huge difference in which abbreviation you choose for yourself. The main point is how you use it for better performance. Both REAN and RACE models will help you map activities, measurements, goals, and channels.
Simply ask questions:
- How are we going to acquire/engage/sell/retain?
- What do we track to understand how effectively we acquire/engage/sell/retain?
- Will our goals help us acquire/engage/sell/retain?
- How will each of the channels help us acquire/engage/sell/retain?
Why Prioritize Marketing Tasks
Let’s imagine you’ve already created your marketing roadmap, and decided on goals and measurements. Each step you’re going to take will mostly consist of several options and dozens of tasks your team needs to accomplish. There’s no doubt that you’d want to gain value faster for fewer costs.
Aside from that, you need to equally develop each of the stages, because if your website attracts no visitors, it has no value. If you can’t engage those you reach, you’ll fail to convert them, and so on.
So, when all the plannings and mappings are done, don’t rush your team to randomly complete tasks, write texts, and create designs. Take the time to figure out which of them will influence your objectives more with less work done.
Prioritization shouldn’t take long in the first place. It must save you hours on doing unnecessary work and ensure you don’t jump in with a complex expensive solution when there is a cheaper one. But we won’t focus on how to prioritize fast in this article—we’ve already covered it here.
How to Prioritize with REAN / RACE
The best way to keep balance and highlight quick wins is by using weighted scorecard prioritization. This is when each idea is evaluated by criteria with prior determined significance. Transforming REAN, RACE, or any other marketing funnel into a weighted scorecard is simple. We’re going to use REAN for our examples below not to get confused. Here are the steps:
1. Transform Stages into Criteria.
Think of the stages as your goals. Each task must help you achieve these goals. So you can describe your criteria as such:
- Reach → Will this task help us attract more relevant traffic to the website?
- Engage → Will this task help us encourage visitors to interact with the website?
- Activate → Will this task increase the number of conversions?
- Nurture → Will this task help us encourage customers to return to the website?
These are example descriptions of the criteria we have in our REAN template in Ducalis. You can adjust them to fit your marketing objectives more.
2. Decide on the Score Scale.
Next, you need to decide on scores each task can get. To determine which activity will bring more value, you need to evaluate how strongly it impacts the objective.
First, choose numbers to assign. It might be a sequence like Fibonacci or Exponential. We prefer a range from 0 to 3 for simplicity.
But numbers are just a half of a step. If you leave them as they are, your teammates will perceive them very differently thus making the estimation vague. You need to specify what it means when a task impacts the Reach by 2, 3, or else.
The simplest way is to use the MoSCoW method. We prefer this one when it’s difficult to predict the outcome in numbers. So you can explain the scores like:
- 0 = Won’t impact.
- 1 = Could impact.
- 2 = Should impact.
- 3 = Must impact.
Alternatively, we can borrow estimations from RICE’s Impact:
- 0 = Doesn’t impact
- 1 = Low impact
- 2 = Medium impact
- 3 = High impact.
The best way to describe scores for marketing evaluation is to use the exact measurements you expect to track. For example:
Reach → Will this task help us attract more relevant traffic to the website?
- 0 = no traffic.
- 1 = less than 100 visits.
- 2 = 100 - 500 visits.
- 3 = 500 - 1000 or more.
Activate → Will this task increase the number of conversions?
- 0 = no conversions.
- 1 = few conversions.
- 2 = about a dozen conversions.
- 3 = more than a dozen conversions.
In Ducalis you can explain criteria and their scores in the language of your team, and won’t need to memorize them or constantly peep into the notes in a separate doc—everything you write in the description will appear in a pop-up each time you need to assess the criterion.
3. Decide on Weights
Most of the time, you need all four stages to develop equally, as we’ve already stated. So for the beginning, you may set the same weights to all the criteria, like +1.
But there will definitely be times when you’ll need to focus more on one of the four as it may show worse performance or require a boost. To increase the priority of the tasks that impact that stage more, add to the criterion weight making it more significant.
In Ducalis, you can change weights at any point in time. If the scores have already been assigned, varying weights will rearrange the task ranking on the Top Priorities screen. Increase Activation weight to +2, and activities impacting your conversion rate will skyrocket to the top.
4. Decide on Efforts
Prioritization makes no sense if you don’t take into account how much the activity will cost you. You want to work on the most valuable and cheapest solutions first. Thus you must calculate the expected expenses.
As we estimate Development Complexity for our product features, we evaluate Time and Price for the marketing.
Time → How long will it take for the team to complete?
- 0 = 0 - 2 hours.
- 1 = 3 - 6 hours.
- 2 = 7 - 10 hours.
- 3 = more than 10 hours.
Price→ How much will cost the promotion?
- 0 = for free.
- 1 = less than 100$/month.
- 2 = 100 - 500$/month.
- 3 = more than 500$/month.
These are our example criteria and scores descriptions. Create your custom efforts criteria and set them with negative weight. We set up -2 to both Time and Price, as there are more positive criteria than negative, and we want to find the cheapest opportunities.
Gather all your marketing tasks in a single place and evaluate them by the whole team. Collaborative prioritization has a whole load of advantages:
- You use the power of crowd wisdom. You collect all the diverse opinions and gather all the perspectives. Even if you know less, you add value as long as what you know is different. Thus, by averaging, you get the most accurate estimation you will ever be able to get.
- You break silos because everybody knows what the others are doing and what to expect in the nearest future.
- You avoid the HiPPO effect. Your product promotion won’t go wrong because of some emotional decisions.
- You motivate people because you empower them with decision making. You let them see their goals clearly and choose how they achieve them.
Create a marketing board in Ducalis and send invitations to all the teammates to collaborate. You can divide people into evaluation groups and give them team-specific criteria only they can estimate. But we highly recommend you make all the criteria common and evaluate them together even if it’s out of the person’s purview.
6. Find Gaps in Shared Understanding
Another valuable advantage of collaborative evaluation is the possibility to see where the team has disagreements and misunderstandings. Check your teammates’ scores scatter and discuss the most divergent. You may find that somebody doesn’t understand the task or a specific criterion, or vice versa has a unique point of view the whole team has missed out.
- The REAN model and RACE Planning framework don’t have considerable differences.
- Regardless of namings, you must ask questions to come up with clear goals.
- Marketing roadmap isn’t enough. You should also prioritize tasks and activities.
- You must take into account expenses to find cheap valuable solutions.
- You should prioritize by the whole team to build team alignment around the goals.
- You mustn’t spend too much time on prioritization, and it’s better to use tools for automation.
- You should try Ducalis for free for your team to grow faster with fewer efforts.
Sign up in Dicalis for free or book a demo in the upper menu to see it in action.