Why Marketing Is Important
Those who ask themselves why marketing is important. Lets first start with Big Data. Big Data and its enhanced usefulness through advancing predictive analytics has changed the marketing game forever, and with technology evolving and expanding consistently, the tools available for measuring and escalating sales, understanding and bettering customer engagement, and recognizing and meeting product and service expectations are surpassing even the most eager marketer’s desires.
Martech, the inevitable amalgamation of marketing and technology, involves the management of all digital marketing including, but not limited to, automated email marketing, social media campaigning, website content administration, and growth hacking. Today’s marketers have a lot of different platforms and services to exploit and keeping up with the latest advances, while knowing which tools best fit a brand, marketing objective, or specific campaign, requires much research, time, and experience. However, surveys and studies of chief marketing officers find that most show a strong dedication to advanced martech strategies and implementations, recognizing that sophisticated customer knowledge, engagement, and communication are key to brand building, product development, and increased revenues.
Predictive Analytics and What It Has to Do With Martech
(Infographic Source: Econsultancy)
Employing statistical algorithms with quality data makes it possible for us to predict future trends and probabilities, and for digital marketers, this can mean the difference between a routine campaign and a highly engaging one. Understanding how customers think and behave can be extraordinarily challenging, but thanks to the vast amount of data we now gather as a matter of course, and some highly meticulous analytics of this data, we have far more accurate insights that can be used to inform marketing operations. In retail, for example, predictive analytics is often used to predict future purchasing behaviour, providing a focal point for marketers to target; the entertainment arena makes strategic decisions based on predictive analytics, distributing vendor locations in high activity locations; and insurers have been benefiting from predictive analytics for some time now, not only for the measurement of premiums based on potential claiming, but also helping uncover fraud.
For any business that collects data, and today that’s just about all of them, predictive analytics is a foundational tool in the marketer’s bag. Taking a well-maintained customer database, complete with purchasing behaviors, product and service ratings, and personal information, marketers are able to create tailored shopping experience, targeted sales campaigns, and promotions that often leave customers feeling as if a brand knows what they need before they even know it themselves. This is a powerful form of marketing that undoubtedly builds brand loyalty and promises revenue and overall business growth.
The Benefits of Martech
Aside from the obvious benefits of traditional marketing, digital marketing helps companies attain a global reach without hefty investment, and through well-planned and accurately targeted campaigns is able to lower marketing costs via more accurate hit rates. Digital marketing is also more easily tracked and measured through web analytics which means campaign efficacy can be determined, allowing for tweaking where necessary and expansion as required. Thanks again to all of the data we’re collecting, personalisation is a primary feature of digital marketing, and customers can be provided with targeted offers they’re less likely to click away from as well as upselling promotions that are highly relevant to the individual and the transaction in question. Overall, digital marketing improves conversion rates through seamless and immediate sales techniques and helps build customer bases with savvy social media campaigns that have satisfied customers doing your marketing for you in a more personal and direct way than you could easily manage yourself. Effectively implementing online activities for the building and maintaining of customer relationships ensures progressive customer engagement and communication for powerful product and brand stimulation.
Creating a Digital Marketing Strategy with Tools
Clearly of value to businesses in all categories, digital marketing offers us tools ranging from simple to complex, and free to highly expensive. Choosing the right tools depends not only on a business’s marketing budget but on the marketing strategy implemented and objectives decided upon.
Creating a Digital Marketing Strategy
Building an effective digital marketing strategy begins with a set of objectives relevant either to the brand as a whole or a particular campaign being launched. Once the objectives have been decided upon it’s a matter of gathering the tools most likely to achieve the required results. In the constantly evolving technological landscape, a digital marketing strategy is sometimes as much about what not to do as what you do, bearing in mind that some of the ‘tricks’ have been overplayed and certain target markets will shy away from, or entirely overlook, certain devices.
Thankfully, exploiting our troves of customer data and employing some illuminating analytics can tell us a lot about our target markets and pave the way to an effective and relevant digital marketing strategy that suits both the customer and the business objectives. Demographic information including customer location, income, and age is a good starting point, often the basis of a customer database. But with the added psychographic information of hobbies and interests, current priorities and life stages, and goals and challenges faced, a more compelling picture of the market can be drawn.
The marketing objectives should relate directly to primary business goals, be they overarching brand marketing objectives, or objectives in place for the promotion of a particular product and service. Once these have been decided upon, it’s necessary to appraise current digital marketing resources including social media, email database, and digital marketing platforms available. It’s always easier to begin a campaign with tools already in play, but don’t let that prevent you from taking up others if they too fit your strategy.
Growth hacking is an informal, and often inexpensive, form of digital marketing that typically involves experimentation across digital channels until an effective and efficient growth tactic is found. It can be employed in both the development of brand awareness and the distribution of product knowledge and appeal to customers. The categories of tools include email marketing, social media promotion, marketing automation, and a few other behavioral wiles such as endorsement through exclusivity and word of mouth marketing influenced by price reductions and special offers.
Some of the simplest tools have been employed very effectively in the past, including ‘share’ buttons that make it easy for customers to post product content directly to their social media feeds, and exclusivity campaigns that force prospective customers to wait for an invitation while the lucky ‘few’ enjoy early access. Of course, there are also far more sophisticated tools that provide the means of content marketing automation, email and web advertising analytics, and information gathering that puts marketers in touch with journalists and publishers who may be amenable to sponsored articles.
Popular ‘Commercial’ Martech Tools
There are also many commercial martech tools available, and though they tend to be more expensive than growth hacks, they also come with the advantages of refined dashboards and greater integration. All of the social media platforms offer their own models, and some ingenious applications bring these together in one dashboard for more simplified utilization. And then the tech giants get involved with heavy-duty digital marketing platforms, the likes of SAP Hybris Marketing, Adobe Digital Marketing, Oracle Commerce, and Google Analytics 360 Suite. Each offers a broad range of applications and functions, with the marketer needing only to match budget and device specifics to the final decision.
Martech tools and platforms are evolving and developing so quickly it’s impossible to choose a favorite tool, but instead, each campaign will have a best fit. No matter the objectives, a matching platform or set of tools awaits.
Traffic & Engagement Metrics Effectiveness
With a solid foundation in place, the correct strategy and tools utilized, a strong marketing campaign can mean brand proliferation and product success. But it’s just as important to measure the effectiveness of a campaign and provide real evidence of accomplishment as it is to implement the most appropriate campaign in the first place.
What Doesn’t Matter?
All metrics are valuable, but there are a few that speak more to pride than real marketing accomplishment, and perhaps cause us to pull focus from more significant measurements. For example, the number of YouTube views and Facebook likes achieved are frequently admired, but although they may provide some insight into the reach of a campaign, they typically provide little real understanding of improved brand loyalty, product sales, or company revenues. Metrics analyzing and influencing income generation and organization growth, however, are key.
Traffic & Engagement Metrics
Providing a view of the reach and stimulation a digital marketing campaign is able to generate, traffic and engagement metrics are the first figures to come in and should grow steadily over time. Measurements of site visits are important, as well as details of channel visits that help identify which are performing well and which might require changed tactics. A further consideration is the number of new visitors versus return visitors, with returning visitors pointing to compelling content that’s able to hold attention and keep your product or brand top of mind. Metrics around return visitors can also be related to the amount of time visitors spend on site; not only do longer stays suggest efficacious content, tracking where visitors spend their time helps optimize content to best control customer attention.
It’s also important to be aware of ‘negative metrics’ such as the number of people who click away before engaging meaningfully, or particular site points that tend to show higher exit rates. Recognizing such actions, and then attempting to understand why they’re happening, enables the necessary tweaking to close any gaps and retain visitors in the future.
The next step in the measurement of an effective campaign relates to conversion. How many visitors are turning into actual or potential customers? To begin with, any anonymous visitors who provide enough personal information to become a digital record in your marketing database amount to a conversion. Although visitors making purchases are the most sought-after conversion, those only subscribing to a mailing list offer value too. And for greater insight into campaign effectiveness, it’s necessary to measure conversions per campaign; recognizing which areas are most often seeing conversions, as opposed to those not, allows for greater perception of what is and isn’t working.
The funnel can be a highly complex measurement of conversion, but well worth the time and effort. This measures how many potential customers make it past each step of any conversion process and analyzes which behaviors and channels drive or halt the process.
And finally, the aim of marketing and the objective of business, revenue metrics analyze earnings. Though this might seem the easiest to track and understand, revenue metrics don’t only translate to dollars and cents. Visit value can measure the total spend per visit, but it’s also important to recognize the value of positive reviews or product shares which may result in further sales. Cost per acquisition is another revenue metric of significance, but instead of measuring the value of individual visits, it provides marketers with the average cost of marketing required to make a sale; the more sales achieved through spend on one campaign, the lower your cost per acquisition, the greater your marketing success. And finally, return on investment must be measured, testing that outlays in marketing technologies are resulting in profits; any marketing campaign that costs more than it earns will quickly be labeled a dud, and unless providing significant value in other non-monetary spheres, scrapped.
Just as the marketing strategy and tools employed must be carefully selected, so too should the metrics used to analyzed effectiveness be prudently chosen. Value metrics provide not only insights into areas for improvement and tools that have performed particularly well, but hard evidence of a successful digital marketing campaign often results in the desired budgets and attitudes for future digital marketing operations.
By Jennifer Klostermann