Many marketers are scrambling as the rise of ad blocking technology ever-increasingly threatens their status-quo marketing landscape. Worries will continue to mount as our ability to litter our target audiences’ online experiences with ads, but this is not the digital advertising apocalypse, in fact, this is a tremendous opportunity to press further down the road we’ve all been on for the perceivable past.
Information inundated users have made it clear to the marketing community that they want quality content that is going to help them in their moments of need. We’re all so excessively exposed to ads in our daily browsing activities that most of us are learning to tune out much of what is shoved into our faces. Users are naturally adapting and learning to tune out the noise.
Enter content marketing, a method by which brands can produce useful content that is going to foster a relationship between itself and it’s target audience. Unfortunately, quality content is much more laborious and requires a much deeper level of creativity than throwing up some display ads across various properties online, and it’s for that reason that many seem to be ignoring the inevitability of content marketing as being the new dominant marketing tactic that brands need to adopt.
Since the widespread adoption of YouTube as a primary resource for video content, we’ve witnessed another remarkable opportunity. Influencer marketing has provided YouTuber’s opportunity to earn some revenue from their channels and provided marketers an opportunity to have a third-party present their product or service in a positive light to their target audience(s). As our “easy” advertising options continue to disappear, we’ll see a major growth in adoption of influencer marketing as a high-quality means of marketing a brand’s message.
So worry not fellow marketers and businesses, although we’re witnessing the decline of a principal medium, we’re also seeing the boom of a couple of others. What’s great is that these other mediums provide exponentially more value to our target audience thus casting our brands in a much more positive light, so everybody wins.
Adapt or perish.
Thanks for reading. I’d love to get your thoughts on what I’ve written here. This post is entirely an opinion piece, so input is always welcome below in the comments section. Please remember to like & share our posts to interested parties.
What is your POEM?
Strategic understanding of your marketing POEM can give your business significant reach at a fraction of the cost of simply hammering one channel without any strategic direction. POEM is actually a marketing acronym which stands for Paid Owned and Earned Media. It is used to refer to a marketing framework which helps marketers to develop omni-channel / converged media marketing strategies.
What are Paid, Owned, and Earned Media?
Paid Media – a channel which you must pay to leverage (e.g. display advertising, search engine marketing, social media marketing, directories, etc.)
Owned Media – a channel which is freely leveraged by the entity that creates/controls it (e.g. website, blog, YouTube channel, social media profiles, etc.)
Earned Media – earned media is the voluntary buzz generated by your other channels (e.g. word of mouth, reviews, social media shares and mentions, etc.)
Each channel has its benefits and its drawbacks and how the channels are employed really comes down to the marketing goals and budget. Budget matters because no matter which channel is leveraged there is a cost whether it be time or money.
The omnichannel marketing strategy is beneficial because it allows us to leverage budget allocated towards one channel to grow another. For example, when launching a new web presence we’ll often allocate a greater portion of the budget towards paid media which will be leveraged to grow the earned and owned media channels. Over time, we will see our owned/earned media develop some critical mass which will create the option to wean our paid media budgets off slightly or completely depending on the marketing strategy and how aggressive we’re being.
You should always be working your POEM in one way or another to avoid losing ground and your reach waning. A sound digital strategy will take your POEM into account and offer creative strategies to adapt to POEM environmental changes and continually drive POEM growth.
Customer journey maps are a popular tool in Customer Experience (CX). Don’t let the acronym or the name fool you. These things are not the Cryptex from Davinci Code, but the insight they unlock will be equally as valuable.
The main goal of a customer journey map is to help a business understand what a customer currently does/thinks/feels while interacting with the business or what the business intends the customer to do/think/feel while interacting with it. Sometimes customer journey maps will be used to drive innovation by taking a wider look at a target audience’s activities inside and outside its interactions with a business. Or, they may be used to uncover pain points and/or identify which systems of people, processes, policies, and technologies are required to create a more enjoyable customer experience.[i]
On the digital front, customer journey maps are extremely useful when trying to diagnose conversion issues in your digital marketing funnel.
Mapping the Customer Journey
In order to begin mapping the customer journey, we’ll need a reasonable understanding of the phases customers enter while dealing with your business. The best way to determine these phases is through data (as it usually is). Begin by collecting data about the customer journey. Good places to start would be to look at your website analytics, search query data, review social media feedback, speak to your front-line staff, or run surveys.[ii] Wherever you choose to start, your goal should be to understand what your customer’s last interaction with your business was, whether the customer felt positive or negative about the interaction, and how that interaction affected the customer’s perception of your business as a whole. You might go as far as finding out what, specifically, the customer is thinking/feeling given their last interaction.
As your collection of data grows, you will notice patterns beginning to emerge. You’ll begin to see the different points at which customers are interacting with your company. You’ll be able to group these interactions into phases and visually map out customer sentiment throughout the journey.
Improving the Customer Journey
When you can see where the problems are, it opens the door for you to investigate why the problem exists. What systems of people, processes, policies, or technology contribute to the pain point? What can be changed? What cannot be changed? Is there a better way? What systems of people, processes, policies, and/or technology can we leverage to improve the customer experience at this pain point?
Creating customer journey maps is very unique to each business, and it is good to keep an evolving journey map updated to help all members of the organization understand the customer experience. A bad customer experience is a price some customers are not willing to pay. Continually striving to provide the best customer experience should be the mandate of any business wishing to scoop up more market share, and it’s for this reason that we employ these tools when we’re looking for areas to improve our clients’ digital marketing strategies.
So you’ve decided digital marketing is worth its salt. Where do you go now? Where do you start?
Beyond ensuring that your brand is rock-solid for the foreseeable future, figuring out an effective budget is something any good agency will be able to help you with. It all comes down to some simple statistics and mathematics, so let’s take a look at quick look at how we determine a budget leading into a work arrangement.
Forbes magazine suggests that you consider the age of your business, but more importantly, that you consider how effectively your business has established brand awareness and a profitable customer base. The recommendation is that well-established companies (five years or more) dedicate between six and 12 percent of gross revenue to marketing, while newer companies (five years or less) dedicate between 12 and 20 percent of gross revenue to marketing.[i]
Digital Marketing Budget
It is suggested that at least 30% go to digital marketing from the marketing budget.[ii] When the fruits of digital marketing are realized and businesses see their cost per acquisition (CPA) dropping and their return on investment (ROI) skyrocketing, they usually respond by allowing their digital budget to occupy a greater portion of their overall marketing budget.
When determining where to allocate the digital marketing funds, it really comes down to the strategy that is in place. Depending on the campaign creative direction and the strategy, there will often be more emphasis on one channel than another, supporting the need to apply a larger portion of the digital marketing budget towards that channel. Some websites and online calculators[iii] will give you benchmark budgets that look something like this:
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – 14%
- Display Advertising – 10%
- Social Media Marketing (SMM) – 2%
The problem with these template budgets is that they fail to account for the strategic/creative direction of any campaign’s plans.
When setting a budget, we will often consider fail-safe actions to determine at what point we’re going to kill a particular tool/channel based on its performance. If there is a channel that simply isn’t performing for your campaign after every attempt to make it work, why would you bother throwing any more money at it? Perhaps it can be revisited in a future campaign from a “lessons learned” perspective, but in order to maximize return on investment, it is often best to have some budget-kill ratios in place. For example, if we’re running some social media ads and find that we’ve spent over 75% of our Facebook ad budget but have accomplished less than 10% of our goal, this would certainly be a scenario where we would look at ending the Facebook ad campaign and diverting the remaining funds to a channel that is performing better.
Let’s run through an example of a digital marketing budget. Assume that your well-established business made gross revenues of $1,277,408 last year. After a stagnant year with minimal growth, your organization wants to make a major push to gain more market share. In this scenario, we would be looking at an aggressive marketing budget in the 10–12% of gross revenue range. Let’s split the difference and use 11% for the purpose of this example.
|Gross revenue||$ 1,277,408.00|
|Marketing budget – 11%||$ 140,514.88|
For the sake of brevity, we won’t include a campaign creative direction or strategy, we’ll just use the digital marketing budget template we presented previously:
|Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – 14%||$ 19,672.08|
|Display Advertising – 10%||$ 14,051.49|
|Social Media Marketing (SMM) – 2%||$ 2,810.30|
Monthly figures would be as follows:
Now you have the knowledge to determine what your digital marketing budget should look like before you meet with a digital marketing agency. Next you need a great strategy to employ your new digital marketing budget to develop an effective creative direction for your digital marketing campaign.
Born and raised in North Bay, Thomas Brown graduated from St. Joseph-Scollard Hall Catholic Secondary School before moving to Toronto to complete Seneca College’s Bachelor of Technology in Software Development. Thomas has since moved back and owns a home in downtown North Bay with his wife, Jennifer. In his leisure time, Thomas enjoys reading, playing guitar, fishing, and spending time with his dog Mara.
Thomas founded CurveFront Digital Marketing in 2013 and has been self-employed full time since taking the leap into entrepreneurship. CurveFront Digital Marketing provides expert guidance to businesses wishing to maximize their marketing return-on-investment, by helping to develop, launch, monitor, and optimize effective digital campaigns.
Thomas recently completed an expansion to CurveFront through The Business Centre’s Starter Company Program. He also recently sat on the Innovations In Ontario’s North Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy Day Roundtable with the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Research and Innovation, Daiene Vernile.
Thomas is currently volunteering for the North Bay Symphony Orchestra through the United Way Young Leaders on Board Program. He will also be joining the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Committee where he hopes to proactively represent the young professionals of North Bay and area.
Thomas would like to thank the great team at The Business Centre, The North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce, and our local business community for fostering a business environment where new start-ups can thrive.
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