12 Aug How to Get Buy-in to Go Digital
Many companies are looking to do more digital marketing but not everyone is ready to jump on board. Sometimes, leadership is wary of adopting new marketing strategies. They may be uncertain about demonstrable ROI, unwilling to experiment with an already-tight budget, or out of their depth when it comes to navigating the diverse offerings in the digital realm. How do we as marketers provide leadership with the information they need to make good informed decisions? What do we recommend and what do we report on to help them see the value? Local experts say there is no magic formula, and that when it comes to leading a company in a new direction, it comes down to strategy and communication.
How much digital is right?
Tight marketing budgets demand careful planning, and unfortunately, there’s no golden rule about the proper ratio of print and digital advertising.“There’s room for both, and the nature of your business will identify what the best marketing mix is for you,” says Lisa Barone, Chief Marketing Officer for Overit in Albany. Barone says they have clients at Overit who are mostly traditional with a small digital footprint, and they also have clients who are primarily digital with very little traditional at all. “It would depend on the type of business, their comfort with digital and the goals they’re looking to reach,” she says.
Bryan O’Malley, Head of Interactive at Fingerpaint in Saratoga Springs, says it all come back to the client’s goals. “Our primary focus is to find solutions for our clients,” O’Malley explains. “You need to identify the target audience and where they spend their time. Whereas companies looking to get their clothing or films in front of teens need to focus on getting on their iPhones, a drug company may need to focus on both mobile and traditional magazine ads that get views in doctors’ office waiting rooms. The client’s market position may also dictate the strategy,” he says. “If they are the market leader, then we analyze the market trends and keep an eye out for what the up-and-comers are doing. If they are new to the market, then we figure out how to differentiate them from the crowd.“There isn’t a set ratio that we recommend for traditional and digital advertising for campaigns,” says Linda Mather, Director of Marketing for Rueckert Advertising & Public Relations in Albany. “We tailor each campaign so it’s most effective based on the goals, target audience and budget. Digital is another way to reach the target audience,” she says. “Of course, it’s becoming a bigger part everyday. People are online on a regular basis, so it’s a great way to reach them, but they are also still in their cars, watching TV, riding buses, etc. so if we can reach them in both the digital and traditional arenas, there is a better chance for successful marketing results.”
When it comes to digital advertising, apprehensions are rampant. “The idea that you’re going to put a lot of your money into something you can’t touch is a little bit scary,” says O’Malley.
People also have this sense that digital advertising is harder to track and measure results with. “I hear that a lot with clients who are just entering the world of digital advertising. Because they are less familiar with how it works and it all sounds so magical (algorithms and tracking user behavior and pixels), it seems very “soft.” To us, of course, it’s the exact opposite,” says Barone. In fact, the ability to track, target, report on, and adjust spends in real-time is what makes digital marketing such an effective medium, she says.People used to advertising in newspapers and more traditional media feel like those mediums are safer and more reliable, says O’Malley. They point to circulation as an indicator of success. In truth, it’s easier to measure success in digital advertising. We can see how many times the ad was viewed, how many clicked on it, and track those clicks to purchases or calls. Digital advertising also allows you to target audiences better. “In the same way it’s easier to measure the results of your work, it’s also much easier to find the right audience for your product.”
Of course, you have to know who your market is first.
“Clients sometimes think their target audience isn’t online. I’m sure there are a few exceptions, but research shows that most people are online. The marketing messages just need to be properly targeted to reach the particular audience,” says Mather.
Think of the sales funnel. A successful marketing campaign engages every point along that funnel, with messages targeted at each of those particular audiences – from the uninformed to the loyalist, says O’Malley.
The right reporting
How do you know if it’s working? Knowing what proves value and how to communicate that success is crucial to any marketing strategy. In the old days, we took a scattershot approach, and if sales went up, we assumed what we did, worked. With the advent of digital, we are inundated with data, and it can be challenging to sort out what’s important. Clicks? Impressions? Unique visitors? Pageviews? Time on page? Engagement?
What you report on goes back to what your goals for the campaign are.
“The metrics reported on should tie to business growth,” says Barone. “This is the case for all marketing – whether that is via traditional marketing, digital marketing or a hybrid.” She says that marketers start with identifying business goals, and then turning those into measurable actions. For example, business goals might be: reduce the cost of acquiring a new customer, increase revenue coming from repeat customers, or improve the volume and sentiment of brand searches. At the conclusion of a campaign, you report on the stats that measure how well you reached your individual goals.
If you were looking to raise brand awareness, point to impressions. This is the top of the funnel, and indicates how often you are getting in front of potential customers. If a client is really trying to sell more product, impressions alone aren’t enough. Then you may want to focus more on clicks and conversion rates, says O’Malley.
Clicks are the indicator of interest in your company or product, the willingness to take the next step.
Click-through-rate is the percentage of people who see your ad, who actually click on it (clicks divided by impressions) and can be a good indicator of whether the ad itself is working. High click-through-rates indicate that you’ve found the right audience, and the right message.
Costs per click will help you determine the relative value of the clicks you’re getting to your site.
Once they get over to your site, report on the metrics that show how they’re interacting with your product. This is the middle part of the sales funnel. What matters most is whether they make a purchase. If you don’t have a product to sell, identify other conversion points, including newsletter sign-ups, social sharing, download of offers, or request for more information, and track your conversion rate.
Pages per session indicates the average number of pages they view while on your site, and is a good reporting metric when it comes to measuring curiosity about your company, or the quality of your content.
Cost per click will speak to the cost of bringing customers to your site, whereas cost per sale calculates the cost of making a sale, and can help you determine whether that campaign is feasible moving forward.
“Metrics will differ by business type, however, it is always about trying a business objective to something measurable,” says Barone.
Molly Belmont is AMA New York Capital Region's VP of News. She is a marketing professional with over 10 years experience in writing, editing, public relations, project management, community outreach and business development. Find out more about Molly on LinkedIn.