Trends in marketing, as with fashion, are changing year-to-year. I thought I’d update you on where we and our clients are spending their marketing budget. Strong digital marketers believe, as a rule, that they get more return on investment when every dollar spent is tracked and evaluated.
Driving informed ROI is data analytics. Analytics is at the core of digital marketing and forms the basis for discovering more intuitive, data-driven decision making at all organizations, large and small, for profit and non-profit. We have even had discussions with diplomatic embassies who are seeking to spread their message to a cross-cultural audience. Data helps us to understand cultural differences better and create messaging that communicates more effectively to the desired audience.
In the past, speed and low-cost was a key advantage to using digital marketing services, including advertising. Now, many larger firms with enormous budgets can take those budgets and reach a broad audience due to their higher bid-rates for top advertising spots. It means that firms with lesser budgets must be smarter about how they spend their ad budget.
- Implement a solid list of metrics that will drive the digital marketing team. Is it just enough to measure hits to your website? Probably not. You want to know where people go on the website and when they leave. Knowing the funnel and the touch points is critical. For example, how many times might a buyer of your product view an ad, visit your website, or how many times might they read some of your newsletters before they begin the buying process? Once they start that process, how quickly do they complete it? Knowing the answers to these questions will be critical in 2017.
- Develop a suite of tools that you can reliably use. We counted around 20 tools that we use on a weekly basis. Some of them we like, and others we do not. What is clear is that there are always new tools coming to the market, so we have to spend a fair amount of time searching for them and testing them out. A few make it on our “favorites” list.
- Think internationally. If your firm only thinks about the people in your city, region, state, or country, think again. International audiences are easier to reach than ever, and are more willing to try foreign products and services than ever before. Now is the time to branch out!
- Bring in people who are knowledgeable as well as interested making your product better. Modern digital marketing tools require a great deal of expertise, and more importantly, for you to constantly learn new processes. None of the best tools have the same sub-set of tools from one year to the next. The product is constantly being developed, so hiring an agency or employee with the ability to adapt is critical. Additionally, you should assure that these people are motivated to represent your company. Just filling a chair doesn’t quite help you, even if they have the expertise. That’s because they will not go the extra mile to satisfy your customers. In 2017, customers expect a better experience than you have ever offered before. Do not forget that it has also been easier than ever for your customers to find someone who DOES provide better service.
Digital marketing borrows many concepts from traditional marketing, but it is clearly geared toward driving online conversions. Deciding when you need to use one or the other is a bit of an art. Increasingly, marketing firms are becoming more specialized on one of the two, and that is fine. For complicated projects, you want people who do their specific activity well, and can manage the complexities, which are growing and will continue to grow in 2018. Expect to spend more in 2018, but also get more in terms of reaching the right customers in the right moments.