The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Hopefully, the boardroom food fights have calmed down and you have your 2013 budget. Now you're ready to dive into the specifics of your 2013 digital marketing plan.
You'll be tempted to think about activities and goals by channel (search, display, email, etc). It's OK to go there eventually, but here are 10 reminders that it's worth it to plan holistically and take advantage of the synergies between channels.
Holistic planning and co-optimization make all programs stronger.
First, the high-level…
1. More touch points than ever before. Your customer's journey has a greater number of touch points, and more types of touch points, than ever before to research, buy, and get service. According to the Google/ZMOT study, customers touch 10.4 channels on average before they convert. Further, these touch points overlap and influence each other in important ways.
The fundamentals of marketing still apply - be customer-centered and get the right message to the right person at the right time. So, think about optimizing the journey, not the touch points.
Now for some specific, tangible examples of cross-channel synergies…
2. SEO saving paid search dollars. Your SEO team can tell you which keywords you have high organic rankings for. You can then test reducing paid search spend on these keywords. You'll likely be able to reallocate those dollars to other paid search keywords or other channels.
3. Paid search focusing SEO efforts. Your paid search team can tell you which keywords are high-converting but expensive to buy clicks. You can then have your SEO team focus on improving organic ranking for these keywords.
4. Email learnings shared. You know that email is a great channel for controlled testing of messaging, offers, etc. for customers in various stages of the funnel. Use these insights to inform messaging at other touch points in other channels (make sure that the message lines up with the right stage of the customer journey).
5. Social media supporting SEO. Your social media strategy can support your SEO priorities dramatically. You should focus your social media activities on generating buzz (mentions) to increase your share of voice for specific campaigns and/or priority keywords and preferred landing pages (PLPs).
6. Social media supporting SEO (continued). Your social media activities can also support your SEO priorities by engaging in targeted outreach. Specifically, your social team should reach out to key bloggers, forums, review sites, etc. and ask them to link to your preferred landing pages. These links from third-party sources are one of the most powerful drivers of SEO performance.
7. Scoring drives content customization. Your marketing automation system, such as Marketo or Eloqua, generates engagement scores for prospects and customers. You can use these scores to tell a content customization tool such as test and target which content to present to a given visitor. For example, someone with a high engagement score could be shown a "click to chat" box to help close the sale.
8. Site behavior determines display ads. Your web analytics data regarding which content an individual has viewed on your site can determine which display ad to serve that person via dynamic retargeting. For example, if someone downloads a white paper on product A, show her an ad for product A the next time she's browsing the web.
9. Search customizes content. Your visitors coming from paid or organic search will be directed to a landing page that aligns with the general topic of their keywords. You can further tailor the content on that page based on the query modifiers. For example, if a visitor searched "laptop" you would send her to the general laptop page. But, if she searched "laptop 7 hour battery," you can serve a content module about battery performance on the general laptop page.
10. PPC media gives insight into market. You can reverse-engineer the economics of your category based on what your competitors are willing to pay per click (in paid search or display). You'll have a good sense of their conversion rates, budget targets, and revenue per order. You'll also understand how competitive the market is and get great insights into what keywords or topics are driving revenue.
As you get in full swing next year, you'll want to determine the health of your integrated marketing plan and the fruits of your co-optimization efforts. You can evaluate customer experience between channels as you'd evaluate user paths on a website. For example, are people on your internal email list interacting with your social properties? Are prospects previously exposed to display ads coming back to your site through paid or natural search? The customer journey is not linear, so you need to measure overall success by evaluating the level of interaction you have with customers at every touch point and phase of the decision-making process. Understanding and managing the transitions between channels and touch points is critical.
As always, data is the glue to a truly integrated and co-optimized strategy. The right cross-channel attribution model and reporting systems will tell you which touch points your customers are using as they move through the funnel (and that's the topic of my next post).
Rich has over 20 years of experience in planning, building, and managing cutting-edge integrated marketing for some of the smartest companies in the world. His career balances senior agency roles and senior client-side roles. On the agency side, while at BusinessOnline and Grey Interactive he works with world-class brands including HP, NetApp, Dell, Honeywell, and Workday. On the client side, he has been a CMO or VP marketing for big online brands such as CNET and ZipRealty and for start-ups like Zing, Callwave, and SendMe Mobile. This gives him the unique ability to deeply understand his clients' needs and to ensure that the agency delivers on meeting these needs.
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