Large companies tend to have marketing budgets that match their size. However, this “extra padding” can lead marketers toward lazy thinking and anemic returns on investment. This is especially true if a marketer relies on the same old methods the company’s been using for decades.
If well-infused marketing departments acted more like scrappy startups, they could maximize their investments and enhance the value of every marketing effort. Specifically, digital marketing offers unparalleled targeting, customization, and analytical opportunities—often at a fraction of the cost of traditional campaigns.
Think Ahead: Performance-Based Programmatic Advertising
The reality of marketing any business is that you’re not going to get ahead without spending money somewhere. The trick is spending it wisely and in the right places. One of the newer developments in digital marketing’s outperformance of traditional tactics is programmatic advertising. At its core, this is tech-heavy marketing that uses big data to create an automated buying algorithm that targets the users most likely to convert.
This is an area where tech companies and lead generators are offering a type of accuracy that’s gaining momentum and attention through results. The basic idea is that users are able to buy high-value and time-specific ad space on high-volume websites that have relevant users passing through. The performance based model for advertisers means that you’re only paying for the clicks, calls, and leads generated by their ads.
Know Your Audience, Metrics, and Key Performance Indicators
It’s important to assess and study your targeted customers, business metrics, and KPIs. Tracking data is one of the least sexy tasks on paper, but it’s an absolutely critical practice for the development of your brand. If you don’t know who you’re talking to or how well you’re moving people through the sales pipeline, you can’t iterate and build on your overarching plans.
We’re living in an age of smart solutions backed by numbers. If you lose sight of your customers and fail to keep track of the steps it took to create that formula, recreating it will be difficult—sometimes impossible. Even if you manage to generate half-decent results on an aimless campaign, you won’t fully understand how to recreate the winning formula.
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Follow the Numbers
Before the rise of the Internet, marketers had to make do with “cross your fingers” campaigns. They’d put up a billboard or buy an ad in the Yellow Pages and have no other option but to wait for the phone to ring.
We no longer have to resort to this type of marketing. Technology-assisted marketing is trackable, scalable, and transparent in ways that traditional marketing efforts can’t achieve. Today, you can advertise on a dozen different websites using separate links and see exactly how many people clicked on each ad, and which ones led to a purchase. Add in the use of A/B testing, tailored landing pages, and free programs like Google Analytics, and you’ll be swimming in useful data.
Best of all, you don’t need a massive marketing budget to get traffic.
Take Advantage of Digital Marketing Opportunities
Now is the time to critically assess your current marketing plan and inject some digital opportunities into it. Here are five best practices.
1. Use multiple platforms to cross-promote. Each marketing platform you build can act as an echo chamber, increasing the visibility of your message. If you’re launching a national campaign, use your social media outlets to drive interest.
2. Use data to refine your publishing schedule. When you add tracking components to your campaign, you’ll be flooded with data. Wade in, using the numbers to create a publishing schedule that resonates with your audience members. Make sure they receive news and updates when they’re most engaged.
3. When something works, scale up. When you see that a particular message or image is working, increase its use in future campaigns. For example, use A/B testing on ads with slightly different images or headlines. You might be surprised at how well one setup works compared to another.
4. Don’t beat a dead horse. If a particular campaign isn’t resonating with your audience, cut it loose. Figure out what went wrong so you don’t repeat the mistake.
5. Be creative with resources. Just because you’re a big company doesn’t mean you have to follow a “big company” formula. Encourage your team to be creative and think like guerrilla marketers. At Underground Elephant, we recently created posters of our development team and used them to decorate the windows of our new office. These posters generated buzz around the area, and we’ve been able to repurpose them for a digital ad campaign. Plus, it was fun to incorporate our employees in our marketing strategy.
Traditional Marketing Isn’t Dead
The old methods still have their place in the world. As a marketer, however, you need to determine whether your traditional campaigns are generating results. If you have nothing to show for your investment, you won’t be able to make a very compelling case as to why your boss should keep you.
On the other hand, if you embrace cost-effective digital marketing, you’ll be able to do more and track the success of your efforts—dramatically boosting the power of each marketing dollar you spend.