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The Digital Media Buyer’s Report Card – Does Yours Make the Grade?

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Mar 24, 2015 @ 08:58 AM

Gartner recently surveyed 315 CMOs about their digital marketing budgets and learned budgets are expected to increase by 8% in 2015. In its worldwide survey of CMOs, IBM found CEOs are increasingly calling upon their CMOs to offer strategic input. The survey further illustrated that the role of CMO comes second only to the CFO in terms of influence they have on the CEO.

IBM’s survey also uncovered some surprising (and not so great) news, which is very few CMOs have made any headway in building a robust digital marketing strategy. For example, according to the survey, only 20% of participants had even set up social media accounts, and an even smaller percentage had implemented methods to integrate company interactions with clients across different channels or installed analytical tools to mine customer data. An overwhelming 82% of CMOs said they felt completely underprepared to deal with the ongoing explosion of data.

All of this is to say in today’s increasingly complex digital marketing landscape, a digital media buyer can be a CMO’s greatest ally. But not all digital media buyers are created equal. Use the following three considerations to determine whether or not your digital media buyer is making the grade.

Are They Asking the Right Questions?The Digital Media Buyer’s Report Card – Does Yours Make the Grade?

By the time you begin working with a media buyer you’ve already had countless discussions with numerous internal team members about everything from strategy to creative to legal issues; however, your media buyer has not been a part of these communications. But, in order for them to get your campaigns up and running, they need to get up to speed and understand the big picture.

In order to do this they should be asking some basic questions such as what is your biggest concern and what technologies are you particularly interested in trying? What methods or channels have you tried in the past that worked and what methods or channels didn’t work?

In other words, your media buyer shouldn’t just write down your ideas and concerns, they should ask what led you to those ideas and concerns. Only by asking rigorous questions and getting the big picture can your media buyer know your true business objectives and help you reach them.

Are They Consistently Testing Across Multiple Marketing Channels?

The digital media landscape is becoming increasingly diverse and consumers have a choice between various communication channels, devices and touchpoints. Because of this fracturing, your digital media buyer should focus on two important things:

1. Continuously testing new opportunities and channels while…

2. Developing multi-channel marketing strategies that create an ever-present brand experience.

Before beginning any project, your media buyer should sit down with you and discuss the importance of having a flexible testing budget in addition to the budget that will fuel the channels and strategies that are already working. If your media buyer isn’t bringing you new ideas and opportunities to explore, they may not be in tune with the complex digital advertising landscape. You may think you’re happy staying put with what has been working for you, but casting a wide net and creating a testing budget are incredibly important to your ROI.

The Digital Media Buyer’s Report Card – Does Yours Make the Grade?Are They Doing Their Homework?

The digital advertising landscape is flooded with the aggressive sales pitches of ad networks that all promise unique targeting capabilities and proprietary data at a minimal cost. Good media buyers see through these potentially-empty promises and do their homework before spending $1 of your advertising budget with any potential partner.

Your media buyer should ask prospective advertising partners what types of businesses they generally work with and what goals they’ve been able to help these companies achieve. They should inquire as to the metrics the partner uses to gauge success, who are their biggest repeat clients, and do they have any sources of historical data available. Your media buyer should do their due diligence to make sure any advertising partner is transparent and equally passionate about helping their clients reach their goals.

Many in the industry predict that CMOs will begin to wear even more hats in 2015 and oversee the entire landscape of brand engagement, increase the quality of creative output, and improve the perceived value of digital interactions with clients and prospects. If you are a CMO and feel you could use the guidance and experience of a digital media buyer, contact us today.

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Image credit: Sebastiaan ter Burg from Utrecht

Topics: digital advertising, media buying

4 Things Every Advertiser Should Know about Programmatic Buying

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Mar 17, 2015 @ 09:10 AM

If you’re reading this blog post it’s most likely because you’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about programmatic buying, but you don’t have a clue what it actually is. Don’t worry – you’re not alone. In fact, many of the people in your office who are throwing the term around most likely don’t have a firm grasp on the practice or technology involved. Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, who attended ABC's upfront presentation last year, joked that “programmatic buying” is the “gluten-free” of advertising because everyone is talking about it but not many people really understand it.4 Things Every Advertiser Should Know about Programmatic Buying

What Is It Exactly?

Programmatic buying refers to a wide range of technologies that have begun to automate the entire process of buying, placing, and optimizing advertising, eliminating the need for a human component. Essentially, through programmatic technologies, advertisers can shop for ads much like they shop for shoes or washcloths on Amazon.

If you would like us to get technical, which you probably don’t but we’re going to anyway, programmatic buying can be described as a method of placing media buys automatically through digital platforms such as trading desks, exchanges, and demand-side platforms (DSPs), thereby eliminating the need for the traditional use of manual RFPs, negotiations, and insertion orders to purchase ads.

Now that you know what it is, here are four specifics of programmatic buying every advertiser should know:

1. It’s Not the Same as Real-Time Bidding (RTB)

Once people get a basic handle on programmatic they assume it’s the same as RTB, but it’s not. Although real-time bidding is a form of programmatic ad buying, it isn’t the only one. RTB also specifically refers to the practice of buying ads through real-time auctions whereas programmatic offers advertisers many more options for purchasing ads.

2. The Hype is Fairly Warranted

As we already discussed, the entire world is talking about programmatic buying, but is the hype warranted? We believe for the most part it is and for a couple of reasons. First, it makes buying and placing ads much quicker and more efficient, and puts the advertiser in the driver’s seat. It’s a bit like 4 Things Every Advertiser Should Know about Programmatic Buyingwhen, in the olden days, people wanted to book a plane ticket and hotel room and they had to – GASP – pick up the phone and speak with either a travel agent or reservation agent at the airlines and hotel. But now we can all just go online and name our own price and get the job done. Second, many advertisers feel this method of buying and managing ads will also help them more effectively engage with consumers, especially on mobile devices.

3. Robots Are NOT Taking Over the Advertising World

For some reason, people in the industry seem to be getting their feathers ruffled over the fact that technology will be replacing humans in many aspects. But what they should be focusing on is automated technologies will be taking over the data-heavy tasks allowing humans to focus on what they do best, which is be creative.

4. Is Programmatic Buying the Future?

In short, yes most likely. Although it’s hard to determine exactly what portion of advertising is currently traded programmatically, indicators point to the fact that the practice is on the rise. As this technology advances, an advertiser’s approach to this method of buying will become even more sophisticated and we will most likely see advanced ecosystems form and larger agencies build in-house platforms. It’s also most likely that, in time, programmatic buying will have a dominant market share of online display buying.

Right now it is primarily display ads that are being traded programmatically, but media agencies are looking at ways to buy and sell traditional media such as TV spots and out-of-home (OOH) ads in the same way.

The bottom line of this buzzworthy topic is programmatic buying offers optimal value to both buyers and sellers, and at the rate it is evolving, programmatic will no doubt become widely adopted as the growth of the digital economy quickens.

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Topics: programmatic buying

7 Ways to Measure the Success of Your Digital Ad Campaigns

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Mar 10, 2015 @ 08:57 AM

When we ask our prospects to tell us the number one thing that frustrates them about their digital ad campaigns, they usually say how unpredictable their return on investment is. They never know if their campaigns are going to be successes or duds that do little more than waste their time and money. Then we ask them which metrics they’re using to track their campaigns and they sheepishly look around the room and finally admit they’re not using metrics to track their campaigns. And then we watch as the light bulb goes off above their heads.

Online marketing doesn’t have to be a crap shoot. Here are seven metrics you can and should be using to measure the success of your digital ad campaigns.

1. Point of Origin Traffic7 Ways to Measure the Success of Your Digital Ad Campaigns - Point of Origin Traffic

Sometimes “total visits” don’t give you an indication of which channels are performing well and which aren’t. Located in the “Acquisition” section of your Google Analytics dashboard, this metric will give you an overview of the four main channels you need to pay attention to: direct traffic (direct visits to your site), referral traffic (from external links on other sites), organic traffic (traffic coming from search), and social traffic (those visitors who found your site through social media pages).

2. Cost Per Lead

This is a very specific metric because it is dependent on the strategies you use for each channel. To determine your cost per lead you’ll want to consider the average monthly cost of your campaign and compare it to the total number of leads each channel generated for you. For instance, if you spent a total of $300 on a pay-per-click campaign and it generated 10 leads for you, each lead cost you $30.

3. Overall Traffic

Your overall traffic, or “total traffic,” is a metric that will give you a broader, bird’s eye view of your campaign. The main target for your traffic should be your primary website, but you can also measure total visits to any of your digital assets such as specific landing pages. Pay attention to this number, and if you see it drop over time, you’ll want to figure out which channel is damaged and stop the bleeding. A healthy campaign should see a slow and steady increase of traffic over time.

7 Ways to Measure the Success of Your Digital Ad Campaigns - Bounce Rate4. Bounce Rate

It sounds like a fun metric, who doesn’t love bouncing? But you want your bounce rate to be low because a low rate means visitors who land on your website stick around, they don’t “bounce” on up out of there. You want visitors to spend as much time as possible on your site because the longer they stay and explore, the more likely they are to convert.

5. Total Conversions

This is perhaps the most important metric for measuring your campaign’s success because it will show you the profitability of your overall marketing efforts. There are a variety of possible conversions: you could have someone fill out a form, subscribe to your newsletter or complete a checkout. A conversion is simply any action you want your visitors to take. If your conversion rate is low, you’ll want to take a look at a variety of factors such as messaging, website design, and poor offers.

6. New Sessions

Another metric found in your Google Analytics dashboard, this measurement tells you how many site visitors are new and how many are recurring. Pay attention to this one because you want a website that is “sticky” enough to get repeat visits. This is especially significant when you see a drop in recurring visits after you change the design or copy on your website.

7. Projected ROI

Ah, the Holy Grail metric of any marketing campaign, your ROI reflects your campaign’s profitability. Go through all your digital channels and calculate your ROI for each one, then compare these numbers and make budgeting choices accordingly. The channels that aren’t performing for you don’t deserve your budget. It’s better to give that money to the channels that are boosting ROI.

If you take the time to regularly check these metrics you’ll maintain a steady sense of the health of your digital ad campaigns. This will help you to refine your strategies and tactics over time which will, in turn, help you generate more leads and revenue.

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Topics: digital advertising campaign

How Do I Know My Online Ads Are Actually Being Seen?

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Mar 03, 2015 @ 07:28 AM

We get this question a lot from clients and it’s a good one. If you’re spending money on certain campaigns and strategies, you need to know whether or not you’re getting a return on that investment. Sadly, many advertisers are spending and getting little in return from their digital campaigns.

According to ComScore research, between May and February of 2012, a whopping 54% of online display ads were never seen by a human being. And to be clear, “never seen” doesn’t mean they were displayed but ignored by people, never seen means actually never seen due to technical glitches, user habits or fraud.

How Do I Know My Online Ads Are Actually Being Seen?eMarketer estimates that last year alone, $14 billion was spent on online display advertising. When you combine this fact with the fact that 54% of online ads are never seen by anyone, you suddenly realize billions of advertising dollars are going down the drain every year.

Technical Snafus and Fiendish Factors

As we mentioned, sometimes ads are not seen because of technical issues, like when ads are displayed on the part of a browser that’s not open on the user’s computer screen (say for instance when the ad is displayed on the bottom of the screen but the surfer never scrolls down). Other times ads may load so slowly that the surfer clicks off of the page before the ad ever has a chance to be seen.

And then there are the nefarious factors such as outright fraud by publishers. Oftentimes advertisers pay for “impressions” that are completely based on fake traffic. This happens when malicious software gives the impression a person is actually on a page and then ads are served up to fake visitors. In other scenarios, online display ads will show on several web pages, but those pages are hidden behind a window on a particular website that is the size of a pencil point.

What Can Marketers Do?

As with any form of advertising, there are no guarantees your online campaigns will be seen or drive traffic. This is why marketers must take a proactive approach in how they buy and monitor online ad campaigns so they have the best shot at significantly improving the percentage of impressions their ads receive.

Here are some ways you can help get your online ads seen:

Consider a Different PositionHow Do I Know My Online Ads Are Actually Being Seen?

For many years, advertisers were under the impression (thank you) the best placement for their ads was the very top of the page. But, according to Google, the most viewable position for display ads is just “above the fold.” Above the fold is the part on the web page just at the break where part of the page is out of sight and requires scrolling.

This being said, be prepared to experiment with your ad placement because it is not the be-all-end-all indicator of your campaign’s success. Average viewability of above the fold ads is around 68%, whereas below the fold is 40%. Depending on your particular budget and if you are lucky enough to get a discount, you may find even below the fold your cost per exposure is good.

Choose the Right Size Ad

Google’s study also suggests vertical ads are on screen longer than horizontal ads and a 120x240 ad had the highest rate of viewability at 55.6%. So don’t put too much attention on grabbing up the most real estate. Ads that were 120x600 (bigger so you’d think better performing) had only a 52.5% viewability rate and a 468x60 had only a 48.2% rate.

How Do I Know My Online Ads Are Actually Being Seen?Create and Maintain a “Block” List

When you’re buying ads through ad exchanges, it’s really important to create and maintain a block list that includes websites with known viewability issues. The sites on this list are then excluded from all future ad buys. You may find a universal block list online that is maintained by other ad buyers to help industry peers avoid fraudulent transactions.

Employ Verification Partners

Verification partners offer “active avoidance,” meaning they monitor and help you avoid unsafe and unviewable environments. Partners report viewability metrics and brand safety metrics down to the site level, and any sites with active issues are dealt with accordingly.

Good Ol’ Human Involvement

Tying all these viewability solutions together is the human marketer with expertise who can deploy, monitor, and oversee campaign setup, block lists, and verification partners. There are many technologies that can help online campaigns traverse the shaky digital landscape, but none of these will ever outperform the individual’s ability to improve their odds of ad viewability.

As an advertiser, you should definitely want to know whether or not your online ads are being seen. The key to increasing your campaign’s viewability is to experiment with ad placement and size, maintain a block list, work with verification partners, and stay involved and on top of your own campaigns, or hire someone to do it for you.

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Image credit: Joel NilssonLoveteamin

Topics: digital advertising, online advertising

Real-Time Bidding 101: Everything You Need to Know

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Feb 24, 2015 @ 08:19 AM

If you’ve moved any of your marketing campaigns online, you’ve most likely learned display advertising has become inefficient because, up until recently, publishers have had no way of measuring the value of the website visitor to which the banner ad is displayed. This has created a situation where advertisers see little ROI on their display marketing budgets because a majority of impressions are delivered to website visitors who are not their target demographic. Enter real-time bidding (RTB), a process that finally allows advertisers to value an impression first and then bid on it in real time.

It’s Like the Stock Market for Display Ads

Through a reputable media marketplace, publishers and advertisers can make exchanges that make financial sense to both parties. Much like the stock market, where market shares become available and buyers quickly compete for them (the highest bidder winning the shares), impressions become available Real-Time Bidding 101: Everything You Need to Knowand advertisers then may bid on them, with the highest bidder winning that advertising space. Because it uses real-time user data to measure the ‘going value’ of impressions, RTB allows publishers and advertisers to make adjustments to their ‘bids and asks’ as the market fluctuates.

How is all this possible? Once an ad impression loads into a visitor’s Web browser, data about that particular page is forwarded to the ad exchange marketplace where the ad space is auctioned off to the highest bidder. The winning bidder’s ad is then almost instantly loaded into the webpage. It’s not called “real-time” for nothing.

The Benefits of Real-Time Bidding to Advertisers

We’ve already mentioned the fact that real-time bidding is a much more efficient process of buying display ads, but let’s take a look at a few more reasons why RTB greatly benefits today’s advertisers.

Better Testing Equals Improved Response Rates

When dealing with batch-oriented data, which can take hours or even days to access and analyze, advertisers find it next to impossible to make crucial adjustments to their tactics and campaigns. But with RTB’s real-time feedback, advertisers can quickly and easily evaluate multiple strategies, switch ads based on audience engagement, and greatly improve response rates.

Real-Time Bidding 101: Everything You Need to KnowIdentify Garbage Inventory

According to one troubling stat by ComScore, 31 percent of ad impressions cannot be viewed by users. Shady web publishers are also responsible for online ad fraud that totals about $400 million per year, according to Adweek’s Mike Shields. Basically advertisers are spending on impressions that often end up on ghost sites or buried under other pop-up ads. Then there are the really dishonest publishers who stack ads below the fold so no one ever sees them.

Another benefit of real-time bidding are the analytic tools that help spot fraudulent behavior by showing ads that have either very low click-through rates, indicating no one is seeing them, or extremely high click-through rates, which are generally a result of the publisher using bots to pad impressions.

More Transaction Transparency

Because buyers and sellers negotiate directly with one another via these media exchanges, market forces then become the only drivers of price so advertisers can’t be overcharged. Also, the fact that individual ad impressions are auctioned off leads to a fragmentation of the market, which leads to equilibrium prices. That’s a win for both advertisers and publishers.

Better Inventory

Through these media auctions, advertisers have access to better, more efficient inventory. Better inventory means a higher return on investment, and a higher ROI means a bigger bottom line.

With all these tremendous benefits it’s no surprise RTB growth is on the rise. The digital landscape has become increasingly crowded and competitive. More ads are being shown to Internet users than ever before and these users have a small attention span when it comes to being marketed to. Advertisers who leverage the real-time analytics delivered by RTB will remain ahead of the pack.

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Topics: real-time bidding

Newspaper Inserts vs. ROP Ads: Which Offer More Benefits?

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Feb 17, 2015 @ 09:17 AM

According to Nielsen’s 2013 National Cross-Media Engagement Study, newspapers took top honor when participants were asked their opinions about the most effective advertising channels, scoring higher than TV, radio, and yes, even the Internet. The study also revealed newspapers generate the most engagement with consumers compared to other media.

Digital advertising gets all the hype, yet a recent engagement survey by Harris Interactive on behalf of Goo Technologies2 revealed almost 75% of consumers totally ignore banner ads, 62% ignore social media ads, and 59% ignore search engine ads. That’s a whole lot of ignoring going on. By contrast, the study found only 35% of consumers ignore newspaper ads.

What do these figures tell us? Advertising in newspapers continues to be a highly effective way of engaging consumers, creating brand awareness and generating leads and sales, which of course is something we’ve always known. But now the question is what types of newspaper ads offer the greatest efficacy?

Newspaper Inserts vs. ROP Ads

Newspaper Inserts vs. ROP Ads: Which Offer More Benefits?First, let’s discuss exactly what Run of Press (ROP) ads and free standing inserts (FSIs) are before we delve into any advantages/disadvantages.

Run of Press ads are those placed in the actual pages of the newspaper, but the advertiser gives the publisher full choice of where they run. Basically, wherever space allows. Advertisers can request their preference of position, and many publishers will try and accommodate, but nothing is guaranteed. The main benefit of ROP ads is they can cost quite a bit less than other print ads. The disadvantage, of course, is not being in control of where your ad is placed. If you’re selling sporting equipment, getting your ad placed near wedding announcements may not give you a return on your investment, even if your investment was comparatively low.

Free standing inserts, or FSIs for short, are the bundle of colorful brochures stuck in the middle of the paper. FSIs often contain coupons, specials and information about sales for all kinds of consumer goods. Big national brands like Walmart and Target have been advertising with FSIs for many, many years because they have experienced firsthand their ability to drive budget-conscious traffic and generate sales.

Does One Channel Deliver More Benefits?

In a word, yes. While both FSIs and ROP can be an important channel in your overall campaign, in a head-to-head matchup, FSIs offer more advantages. Here are a few:

FSIs Give Consumers Exactly What They Want

At some point in your life you’ve probably sat down in front of a thick Sunday paper and immediately reached for the inserts to help you plan your weekly shopping trip. You’re not alone; many newspaper readers look forward to thumbing through the FSIs on Sundays as well as during the week because it gives them a chance to window shop and to do their weekly budgeting. In other words, advertising with FSIs means you get your offer in front of the people who are looking for it.

Highly Targeted

When placing many other types of ads, both print and digital, the only thing generally taken into account is consumer demographics. But effective ad placement must also take into account geographical data as well. When we conduct an insert buy for a client we are able to use geospatial intelligence mapping and input a single ZIP code, entire city, market or region for the most precise targeting. This allows us reach just the right consumers for our clients.

Impressive FlexibilityNewspaper Inserts vs. ROP Ads: Which Offer More Benefits?

The more flexibility advertisers have with their ads, the more able they are to deliver a highly impactful message. FSIs let advertisers choose between single sheets, catalogs or cards and also whether ads should be distributed in large or small formats, on heavy or light stock, and on whatever day of the week will best reach their target audience.

Inserts Are an Action Medium

Meaning they get consumers to take action, and that’s the whole point of any kind of advertising, isn’t it? According to the NAA’s How America Shops and Spends Survey, 44% of respondents said they brought inserts into the stores with them, and 44% also said they used inserts to make unplanned purchases.

The Bridge between Print and Digital

Like peanut butter and chocolate, print often goes better with digital, and with the emergence of QR codes and personalized URLs, there’s never been a better time to connect your print campaigns to your digital assets. FSIs are a great way to create a bridge to your online landing pages where you can further engage your audience.

There’s no question print advertising in general offers small businesses a highly effective way to reach their local market. FSIs, in particular, have the ability to drive traffic and create brand awareness while targeting a highly-focused demographic that is ready to buy.

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Topics: newspaper advertising, newspaper inserts

The Death of Print Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Feb 10, 2015 @ 07:29 AM

Say it with me: Print is dead. Now let us both go wash our mouths out with soap at uttering such vulgarity and outright untruthfulness. Will meet you back here once mouth has been thoroughly scrubbed…

The Death of Print Has Been Greatly Exaggerated Okay, now that that’s out of the way, don't ever talk about the death of print again. But it’s funny (not really) how “those in the know” are still making this bold statement when it couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, it is because of the emergence of so many digital channels that print is experiencing a rebirth. Instead of killing print, the Internet, through QR codes and promo codes, is giving print advertisers other avenues in which to engage their audience.

According to FedEx Office’s Fourth Annual Signs of the Times Small Business Survey, though many small business owners reach customers and prospects via online channels such as social media, more than half surveyed (53 percent) said they planned on using more traditional channels such as newsletters and direct mail.

Also, research conducted by RP Data revealed property professionals who used a combination of print and digital channels were able to move their inventory for a higher price and with less time on the market.

Benefits of Combining Print and Digital Channels

Connect with Consumers on Their Terms

Consumers will no longer come to you; you’ve got to go to them, wherever they may be. By using a combination of traditional and digital channels, you can be sure to reach your audience at just the right time and in just the right place.

Easier ConversionsThe Death of Print Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

In some ways consumers are like squirrels; they scare easy and need to be patiently wooed before they’ll take that nut out of your hand. Print campaigns are a great way to begin wooing your audience, especially since print is still the most trusted form of advertising. From your print ads you can then send readers to your online assets where they can truly engage and interact with you.

More Metrics at Your Disposal

When you use an integrated marketing approach, you have more metrics at your disposal that can help you determine what’s working and what isn’t.

Extend Your Reach

Some consumers, like Millennials, tend to spend more time online while others, like Baby Boomers, still prefer to get their information from printed sources like newspapers. By using a combination of channels, you have a much better chance at reaching a larger audience.

The Death of Print Has Been Greatly ExaggeratedThings to Consider When Mixing Print with Digital

A recent study by Nielsen research revealed consumers are interacting with brands through more touchpoints than ever before. Yet more proof that combining print and digital is an effective way at engaging consumers where they already are. But how do you develop the right mix of media that will reach your overall campaign objectives? Through some good ol’ fashioned research and planning that will uncover data you may use to develop your strategy. Look at things like:

Your Ideal Customer’s Online Habits

How long do visitors generally stay on your website? Where does most of your traffic come from? Which of your site’s pages get the most attention? Where else do consumers hang out online the most?

Spending Habits

Is your product or service a repeat necessity or a one-time purchase? Does your audience compare prices before buying? Are they on a budget?

What Is Their Emotional Life?

What are your customers’ needs, wants, likes, dislikes, desires, problems, worries, etc.? What makes them tick? What scares them?

What’s the Easiest Way to Reach Them?

Are your customers an older crowd that would rather have a conversation start in an ad in their favorite magazine before that conversation moves online to your Facebook page? How often do they check their email? Are they active on social media? Once you understand your audience better you’ll have a firmer grasp on what combination of channels to use and where your advertising dollars need to go.

As you can see, the death of print has been greatly exaggerated. Small businesses have a habit of looking at print advertising and digital advertising as separate entities, but the truth is they work best when combined in an integrated, holistic marketing strategy. 

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Topics: print advertising

8 Best Practices for Multi-Channel Marketing Sure to Increase Your ROI

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Feb 03, 2015 @ 07:59 AM

Today’s consumers are overloaded with hundreds (if not, in some cases, thousands) of marketing messages a day. Because of this advertisers are finding it necessary to develop tactics that allow their campaigns to cut through the noise and make an impact on their target demographic. This is where multi-channel marketing comes in.

By using a combination of channels like print publications, radio, email marketing and banner ads, marketers are able to:8 Best Practices for Multi-Channel Marketing Sure to Increase Your ROI

  • Generate more qualified leads while driving down the cost per lead.
  • Create a nurturing environment where these qualified leads can engage, interact and eventually convert.
  • Collect data to ensure relevant campaigns that shorten the sales cycle.
  • Grow relationships with current customers and increase profits.
  • Build brand loyalty through consistent communication.
  • Better align marketing goals with sales processes.

With these numerous benefits in mind, here are eight best practices for multi-channel marketing that will increase your ROI.

1. Keep It Simple at First

You’re ready to jump on the multi-channel marketing bandwagon and that’s great, but don’t try to do too much too soon. At the outset, avoid complex campaigns and keep things simple, especially if your company has no history of creating and launching multi-channel campaigns. For instance, you may want to start out with a free standing insert campaign that directs your audience to a special URL landing page where they can interact more with your brand.

2. Don’t Obsess with One Particular Channel

Before you go and throw your entire budget at one or two channels, make sure you have a cohesive strategy in place first. Your strategy will tell you how your audience will interact with all available touchpoints and whether that particular interaction will support or undermine your campaign’s objective. Once you know your strategy and objective, the right channels should become obvious.

8 Best Practices for Multi-Channel Marketing Sure to Increase Your ROI3. Define Your Ideal Prospect

Never waste time or money attracting the wrong prospects. Your target audience must consist of people who are a perfect fit for your offer. So before you even begin to think about “which” channels, think about what characteristics, behavior and needs make up your idea customer and which media they prefer.

4. Don’t Sell – Demonstrate Value

Multi-media marketing requires you get involved in your prospect’s world long before they have identified their problems, issues or needs. Integrated marketers know their consumers intimately and can easily demonstrate the value of their offering.

5. Lead Prospects through the Sales Funnel

Today’s marketers have been confronted with a new dilemma: How do you lead a prospect through a sales funnel that has no straightforward path? It’s no longer enough to simply use campaigns to create demand and then convert; today’s campaigns must guide the buying journey by creating awareness, educating and building trust.

6. Always Be Relevant

Whether it’s an ad you’re running in a local paper or the blog posts you’re uploading three times a week, your information always has to be relevant to your prospect or you’ll lose their attention in lightning speed. Remember, it’s not about what you have to offer, it’s about what they need.

7. Make Connections8 Best Practices for Multi-Channel Marketing Sure to Increase Your ROI

Back in the day the phrase all marketers knew was “ABC – always be closing,” as in closing a sale. But today’s marketers would be better off following a new mantra “ABC – always be connecting,” connecting problems with solutions, connecting stakeholders and opportunities, etc. The beauty is that burgeoning technology and new channels makes connecting easier.

8. Never Stop Testing

You should also “ABT – always be testing” your campaigns. Put successful campaigns under a microscope to determine what worked and why. Use this data to make stronger campaigns in the future, and test those as well. Test headlines, email subject lines, images, days of the week newspaper ads run, ink colors used in your FSI – test everything and never stop.

The bottom line is, because the very act of buying has changed significantly, the act of selling has also changed significantly. Those marketers who don’t adapt their tactics and embrace a multi-media approach will be left in the dust.

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Topics: multi-channel marketing

What Multi-Channel Marketing Is and Why You Need It

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jan 27, 2015 @ 09:16 AM

Multi-channel marketing isn’t necessarily a new concept, but it’s one many CMOs have yet to discover or employ in their campaigns. In a nutshell this approach to marketing combines different tactics and channels to deliver one cohesive strategy and brand message that builds awareness and trust among a targeted demographic.

What Multi-Channel Marketing Is and Why You Need ItTo be clear, multi-channel marketing isn’t a strategy or THE strategy – it’s simply a tactical delivery of whatever your core strategy is, and that’s an important distinction. It’s not enough to say, “We’re going to do multi-media marketing for this campaign” and then simply use more tools and channels. Because if you don’t know what your overall strategy is, the various tools and channels you use may not play nicely with each other and may hamper your campaign’s ability to reach its objective.

With this understanding and an appreciation for the basic principles of an integrated marketing approach, and with the right combination of online and offline tools and tactics based around a single marketing strategy, businesses can blow past the competition.

Is Multi-Media Marketing Really Necessary?

The technological revolution has forever changed the way we do just about everything. Today’s consumers expect to be able to interact with businesses whenever, wherever and however they choose. Marketers who ignore this modern fact do so at their bottom line’s expense. Your prospects can be anywhere, and your business needs to be anywhere as well to connect, engage and convert. As the number of marketing channels grows, it will become even more important to embrace this integrated marketing approach.

The Numerous Benefits of Multi-Channel Marketing

There are many benefits of multi-media marketing, and not just in terms of increasing your bottom line but also growing your entire business.

A Wider Reach

Using an array of channels gives you a much wider reach and puts your business in front of new potential customers.

More Analytical Tools at Your DisposalWhat Multi-Channel Marketing Is and Why You Need It

More channels means more access to analytical tools that offer data from which you can gauge your campaign’s impact. Robust data means your campaigns can become increasingly more intelligent and informed, targeting the right groups at the right time using a combination of channels.

Cost-effective Campaigns

When used long-term, multi-media marketing becomes very cost-effective. Campaigns that are highly targeted and easily measured mean you can be sure your ad dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible so your operational costs are at a minimum.

Brand Loyalty

Multi-media marketing allows businesses to engage and interact with audiences frequently. This interaction has the potential to not only reinforce a brand’s message but also put a personal face on the company which leads to increased brand loyalty.

Customers Appreciate Having a ChoiceWhat Multi-Channel Marketing Is and Why You Need It

When you let customers interact with you via the channel of their choice, it makes them happy, and this in turn leads to more completed conversions, which will make you happy.

More Touchpoints

The more touchpoints you have along your sales funnel, the more information you’ll collect about your audience and the better able you’ll be to craft future campaigns that will be relevant and more persuasive.

Consistent Branding

By using multiple channels your brand message and image stays consistent across all media which allows for more recognition and trust.

In today’s highly competitive and fragmented marketing landscape one channel is no longer enough. If you want to stay competitive and grow your business you will have to integrate your tactics and tools to reach the masses on their terms and media of choice.

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5 Local Digital Advertising Myths that May Hurt Your Bottom Line

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jan 20, 2015 @ 08:44 AM

As a local business owner you may be late to the digital party because you’ve been under the assumption that brick and mortar establishments don’t require an online presence. And now it’s finally hit you that in order to keep a competitive edge in your local market you need to be online, and so you’re scrambling to get yourself set up and bringing in leads and sales.

There is danger, though, in trying to rush in and claim your online space, and that danger is, as an offline business owner, you’re not up to speed on all things digital and you may buy into some bad information. Even savvy online marketers have a hard time keeping up with the frenetic pace of change that is the digital marketing landscape.

With this in mind, and in an effort to ensure you don’t waste time with online marketing tactics and theories that are antiquated and just downright wrong, here are five local digital advertising myths that may hurt your bottom line.

5 Local Digital Advertising Myths that May Hurt Your Bottom LineMYTH #1: If I Don’t Sell Digitally, Then I Don’t Need to Advertise Digitally

Just in case you’re one of the very few business owners on the planet who hasn’t fully embraced the fact that he needs an online presence regardless of whether he sells online or not, let us put this myth to bed once and for all. It doesn’t matter if you sell pizza on Main Street in your town or if you’re the local plumber, your local market is searching online for what you have and if they don’t find you they’ll find your competition and give them the business instead. In today’s day and age, if you don’t have a web presence you’re simply not going to be taken seriously by consumers – period.

MYTH #2: All I Need is a Pretty Website and I’m Good to Go

Hmmm, like saying I have a brand-spanking-new SUV with top of the line bells and whistles and that’s all I need to get me from Point A to Point B. Well, that car won’t get me very far if I don’t fill it with gas repeatedly and maintain it so it doesn’t break down.

If you have a great looking website with helpful content, how will people find it? Unless your local customers already know you and purposefully type in your business name, you can’t assume your website will automatically be returned in the results. You need to have a strategy to get visitors to your site. This can be SEO, claiming your local listings on sites like Google Places and Yelp, or using social media to drive traffic.

And speaking of social media…

MYTH #3: I Don’t Need Social Media for My Type of Business

Although we won’t deny that certain types of businesses have an easier time interacting with customers on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, having a social media presence is still a good idea for a couple different reasons. One, these platforms help you monitor your business’ reputation, and two, social media can help you outrank your local competition who still may not have embraced it.

MYTH #4: I Don’t Need to Optimize for Mobile

And you still think this, why? Trust us, the thousands of marketing experts exclaiming the importance of optimizing your website for mobile haven’t been doing so because they have nothing better to do. They’ve 5 Local Digital Advertising Myths that May Hurt Your Bottom Linebeen doing it because cold hard data has shown mobile usage is through the roofs. According to Pew research, as of January 2014, 58% of Americans have a smartphone, and we can assume that number has increased in the past year based on historical patterns of smartphone adoption by consumers. In June of last year, Comscore offered this piece of data: “Mobile platforms – smartphones and tablets – combined to account for 60% of total digital media time spent, up from 50% a year ago.”

We don’t know how to make it any clearer – the entire world (okay, a slight exaggeration but it’s only a matter of time) is migrating their online activities to their mobile devices. If the entire world cannot interact with your website because it’s not optimized for mobile, then who on earth is going to do business with you?

MYTH #5: I Need a Huge Budget to Market Online

If you’ve had a professional marketer call you or knock on your door claiming they can help you gain traction online and it will only cost you X thousands of dollars every month, run for the hills. The truth is local digital advertising does not have to cost much at all. The key is to spend a little bit of time up front to figure out your specific goals and focus on one method or channel of marketing at a time.

Hopefully now that some of these myths have been dispelled you will embrace local digital advertising and put it to work for you.

Download  The Smart Marketer's Guide to Local Digital Advertising

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