One of the major roles I play as my company's CEO is to act as an educator. It's one of the most satisfying things I do in my career - I see people both on the client side and agency side transform from marketing experts to online marketing engineers.
Becoming a marketing engineer is one of the real challenges people face in becoming or transforming themselves into genuine online marketing experts. You need to bring everything together to connect the dots. You cannot be an expert in just one thing because everything is interrelated. The success of one step is dependant on the success of the next step. You need to map the whole ROI path from impression through engagement, conversion to retention, and finally tracking and analysis. Of course, it doesn't stop there - you need to look at the whole cycle and say, "How do we improve?" And connecting all these parts requires knowledge of not just media and creative but the underlying technologies that drive people down the click and engagement path to success.
Now don't be alarmed or intimated. You don't have to be a coder to understand technology or be a marketing engineer; you simply have to understand what the technology does and be conversant in it. You have to know what different marketing technology applications and elements do. And to do this you simply have to a) surf the web and act like a consumer and take note of what happens, and b) Google industry terms that you hear people throwing out every day and read up on them. OK, there are some more complex technologies you should get your head around like cookies, web analytics, and marketing automation. But again, you don't need to be a coder - you just have to understand what this stuff does.
So to get you on your way, I'm going to give you the trick to becoming a real digital marketer and true marketing engineer. It all boils down to asking one simple question.
"And Then What?"
Now say it again. And again. Now one more time. Asking this question over and over will help you to connect the dots. It forces you to map the whole customer and ROI journey you're trying to encourage. It forces you to become a marketing engineer!
When you're looking at your media plan, search ad, or banner (or any part of your marketing program), keep asking "And then what?" until you hit the ultimate end. That end may be conversion but typically it should go beyond that to include retargeting, retention, and analytics.
Sample "And then what?" user flow (B2B):
You see what I'm getting at here? Whether you're doing B2B or B2C, it doesn't matter. If your goal is to make lasting connections with consumers and drive them into a retail environment, then map your way to that. The web (and the mobile web for that matter) has built in response and engagement potential that allows you to target, engage, convert, track, and in general escalate prospects to sale. It serves all phases of the customer lifecycle journey. Digital marketers understand the whole path and it starts by simply asking "And then what?"
Meet Your Favorite ClickZ Contributors
Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
As founder and CEO of Overdrive, Harry Gold is the architect and conductor behind the company's ROI-driven programs. His primary mission is to create innovative marketing programs based on real-world success and to ensure the marketing and technology practices that drive those successes are continually institutionalized into the culture and methods of the agency. What excites him is the knowledge that Overdrive's collaborative environment has created a company of online media, SEM, and online behavioral experts who drive success for the clients and companies they serve. Overdrive serves a diverse base of B2B and B2C clients that demand a high level of accountability and ROI from their online programs and campaigns.
Harry started his career in 1995 when he founded online marketing firm Interactive Promotions, serving such clients as Microsoft, "The Financial Times," the Hard Rock Cafe, and the City of Boston. Since then, he has been at the forefront of online branding and channel creation, developing successful Web and search engine-based marketing programs for various agencies and Fortune 500 companies.
Harry is a frequent lecturer on SEM and online media for The New England Direct Marketing Association; Ad Club; the University of Massachusetts, Boston; Harvard University; and Boston University.
March 19, 2014