Spend a dollar on ads, make a sale of $5, and voila - you’ve just made 5X return on ad spend. It was straightforward to get your CEO’s stamp of approval for higher media budgets.
Ah, simple times…
Now, ‘digital marketing’ has evolved, split and is measured across multiple channels - SEO, Paid Search, Paid Social, Email, Organic social, Influencer marketing, PR and more. This complexity has made it tricky to get your CEO to buy into your marketing strategy. Getting buy-in becomes more difficult when your CEO has little to no understanding of the technical aspects of what goes into running an online marketing campaign.
Here are three hard facts your CEO needs to know about digital marketing:
In most cases, a ‘dollar-in-dollar-out’ mentality is unrealistic, and if pursued, harmful to overall results when it comes to digital marketing. The buyer’s journey has become long-winded. Rarely do people learn about a product or service, jump on your site and make a purchase. There are multiple touch-points that now make attribution muddy.
Top of funnel brand awareness activity introduces brands to new audiences. A user may then jump on your site, jump off, go to a review site, talk to a friend or colleague, jump back on your site and download some content, receive your emails, check you out on social media and then maybe, go back to your website and make an enquiry. It was the first step that made the eventual conversion possible, but it was critically supported by future steps. Very little of this will appear in your reports at the end of the month.
Attribution is critical, but it’s important that you be mindful of the buyer journey and don’t obsess over ‘first-click’ vs ‘last-click’ attribution models.
For the purpose of this point, a ‘lead’ is someone from your target market who has made a genuine business enquiry to purchase your products or services. This does not include someone whose contact details you have purchased when you ‘bought a list’. It also doesn’t include anyone that has downloaded a top-of-funnel eBook from your website.
Some CEOs demand leads ‘immediately’, as soon as a campaign goes live. In many cases, especially in B2B scenarios, it’s not necessarily possible to flood salespeople with quality leads on-demand. Yes, you could launch bottom-of-funnel campaigns on Google ads, targeting audiences with relevant ‘search-intent’ to get some quick wins. However, even with those campaigns, it may take a few weeks to achieve a reasonable cost-per-acquisition.
The most successful marketing campaigns require multiple elements that drive lead generation. There are the ads and the ad copy, targeting, bidding strategy, landing page experience, website speed, the offer and then there is the product/service itself. Getting all these aspects right takes time and constant A/B testing and experimentation.
The takeaway here is that leads may not immediately pour in because you’ve hired one marketing professional or engaged one digital marketing agency. While many B2C businesses have a shorter buyer journey, many B2B businesses may generate a contact today that may take a few months or even years to convert into a genuine enquiry. Therefore, it’s important to understand the value of long-term marketing activities like brand awareness campaigns, PR, award-applications and the like. Like above-the-line channels, these may not show immediate results, but are essential to the success of bottom-of-funnel campaigns.
The sophistication of today’s analytics tools means that your CRM now holds more data about your contacts than ever before. Here are a few points to keep in mind when it comes to marketing data:
Educating your company’s C-Suite about digital marketing will go a long way in helping you get buy into your marketing strategy. There is merit in exposing budget controllers that challenges associated with attribution, data management and the complex buyer’s journey.
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