The online marketing world moves fast, and sometimes it can be too easy to maintain the status quo in your strategy and analysis techniques. Here are five common ways that companies aren’t up-to-date on the best practices in online marketing:
1. You’re not integrated between platforms. Paid search advertising is your demand-capturing all-star. Display advertising and public relations are your demand creation specialists. Facebook and Twitter are your demand re-engagers. Online marketing platforms take many forms, and each can be very effective (or very ineffective) at their given goal. But aside from their success rate, the real mistake can be leaving each in a silo. Instead, evaluate and understand your online marketing platforms as a team. Can integrating bring out your core message? Can looking at all of your online marketing strategies make it easier to make decisions about which ones are really doing their job (and which ones are lagging)? Understanding the interplay between your platforms should be a necessity in your marketing analysis.
2. You’re only looking at a “last click” level of analytics. Or, for that matter, a “first click” level of analytics. It can be tricky deciding what marketing platform (or platform subset) gets credit for a conversion. Was it that first click that your new business lead made, their last click, or something in the middle? If you’re putting 100 percent of the conversion weight on one action, you might not be understanding the full story, which could erroneously impact where you assign your marketing efforts and dollars. For example, paid search may have driven the conversion, but what role did that interstitial ad play beforehand to get them primed? Get comfortable with executing a full-funnel analysis of your conversions – it’s a near-guaranteed way to boost efficiency and effectiveness.
3. You don’t always have SEO on the mind. Search engine optimization is not just the words you’ve put on your website. Rather, SEO is tied to everything you publish (or that’s published about you). That press release on a new hire, that YouTube video with your company’s holiday greeting, those tweets to followers, that article about your company in Forbes – all of those can affect your search engine placement. And each – as much as you can – should be strategically optimized around your core keywords, much in the same way you’re probably already doing for your website.
4. Your social media strategy has no pre-determined ROI. Back in those early days of 2007, companies threw up some tweets and Facebook posts and hoped they were somehow, in some way, helping their business. In 2012, many companies are doing pretty much the same thing, only with fancier analytical graphs. Your social media strategy probably has a pre-determined budget or expectation of publishing (such as “We must tweet three times every day!”). But does it have a pre-determined ROI goal? Something where you can say – yay or nay – whether it’s worth your investment? Social media can be an admittedly murky beast (e.g., what’s the real value of a retweet, or a “like”?), but it’s still important to have a clear vision for what constitutes a successful campaign. Coming into a social media campaign knowing what you want to get out of it will save you head scratching (and perhaps dollars) later on.
5. Your marketing budget doesn’t budge. Online marketing budgets continue to be too fixed and too impervious to a campaign’s results, whether those results are successes or failures. When I began work at Google, I quickly learned the sales pitch of AdWords: it’s a self-funding model where as long as a company is hitting their break-even point in ROI, they should reinvest and ratchet up the spend. Because, if something’s working, why not make it work on a bigger scale? That’s how a business grows. Unlike traditional marketing and advertising, you can slice and dice your ROI metrics in the digital word with much better accuracy. Don’t be afraid of changing your marketing budget more often – the constant refining can greatly enhance your ROI.
Did I miss any signs of an outdated marketing strategy? Let me know in the comments.