Add3 – Digital Marketing Agency with offices in Seattle & Portland

Marketing is always evolving, but in the past decade, digital marketing has taken that evolution and increased the options exponentially. The digital realm changes on an almost daily basis, offering new platforms and new tools to take advantage of those platforms as well as new audiences and new ways to understand, segment, and target those audiences. Developing digital marketing campaigns is a process that requires not only attentiveness, but understanding when and how to adapt. It can become all too easy to chase after the latest marketing trend for simple virtue of the fact that it’s new or considered cool, or conversely, to try too hard to weather changes by being a stalwart of the way things have always been done. Avoiding either mistake (along with many others) requires asking the right questions of yourself and your team. Brands must understand their goals in depth in order to craft the right kind of strategy for their business.

Planning a marketing budget is no different. It’s important to not only keep your bottom-of-the-funnel goals in mind but to have a plan that also keeps your funnel full. This is where top-of-the-funnel campaigns come into play. You need to be consistently building awareness and interest, while also focusing on driving bottom-of-the-funnel actions like direct sales. The truth is that top-of-the-funnel campaigns oftentimes get ignored because it’s easy for brands to become short-sighted in measuring only immediate, tangible results that bottom-of-the-funnel campaigns drive. An effective marketing plan will allocate dollars to address short and long term goals, ensuring immediate and future success.  

The five questions below are designed to spur a conversation about digital marketing strategy and create forward-thinking about key moments in the decision-making process. These questions will not only help you determine your creative and placement strategies, but will also help you allocate budget to each effort. Finally, these questions should lead to meaningful conversations with your marketing partners, too. At Add3, we use these discussions to develop holistic campaigns that are effective and results-driven for our clients.

1. What will SUCCESS look like?

On the surface, this question might sound obvious or oversimplified. The truth is, many marketers will set goals without considering what campaign success means for them or other stakeholders, which is actually quite backward. Brands should first define success for each campaign in terms of big picture goals. What matters to the leaders of your organization? What kind of results are needed to answer those needs?

How to use this information:

Take the time to get input from everyone who’s involved in measuring the success of the campaign or who will need to be convinced that the campaign as a whole or in part did or didn’t work. This will allow you to define goals and KPIs that are aligned with this idea of success, and in turn, to spend your marketing budget only on tactics and channels aligned with driving that success.

2. Are we focusing on the right goals and KPIs, and are they aligned with how we’ll measure success subjectively and objectively?

There are so many kinds of goals and metrics attached to them that it can be easy to lose sight of everything that’s necessary. The emphasis is on objective, measurable goals at the cost of subjective ones. For example, many companies focus on metrics like the acquisition cost of new customers or profit per unit. It’s not that these particular metrics aren’t a vital consideration, but rather, companies focusing on this forget to concentrate on awareness and building brand trust, too.

How to use this information:

This is an extension of our last point, so remember to keep the big picture in mind as you develop individual tactics for individual goals that drive overall success. This can be used to develop creative, especially with regards to finding the right CTAs (calls-to-action) to generate consumer response. Don’t hyper focus on just one aspect, either.

Be careful not to conflate your KPIs (key performance indicators) especially when they sound similar but aren’t actually the same. For example, the CPA (cost per acquisition) for a paid search campaign should never be compared to the CPA  for a banner campaign; the banner campaign could be three times as high (and will almost certainly always be much higher) than the paid search campaign. The paid search CPA is a metric that informs an objective measure of success, so the metrics alone would seem to indicate that a banner campaign isn’t useful. However, when isolated those metrics also fail to take attribution into account, because banner ads build toward awareness, i.e., the subjective aspect of success that actually plays a significant role leading up to the paid search CPA, or other metrics, such as organic search.

3. Do our budget and timeline allow enough time for different tactics to deliver results?

The desire for immediate satisfaction can be strong, but if brands don’t give campaigns the right amount of time to run, they can undermine or limit the effectiveness of that campaign. Essentially, by cutting off the campaign too soon, the company is actually halting the campaign before it’s really come to fruition. This can be difficult, especially if the campaign’s stakeholders feel they’re wasting money, but the results you see today might not actually be indicative of the results you’ll see down the road, especially with regards to intangible results, like awareness and brand perception.

How to use this information:

When drafting digital marketing budgets for new campaigns, try to take a variety of factors into account to determine how to allocate dollars for longer campaigns to thrive. Perhaps the most straightforward ones are the length of sales cycle and how well known the brand already is within a corner of the market. Brands should also consider the timeliness of their products, services, and offers, as well as how much frequency is needed to make an impact.

4. Are we taking our customer’s lifetime value (CLV) into consideration for this campaign?

The importance of CLV can’t be understated, and neither can its effect on your marketing. This can be seen in two different ways. The first is knowing how and when to maximize marketing to that customer to drive a strong margin on their value into the future. The second is avoiding wasting marketing dollars on a customer whose CLV is minimal to nothing.

How to use this information:

When it comes to nurturing customer relationships and growing their CLV, savvy decision-makers are willing to take the kind of measured risk that can temporarily put their company into the red when they’re sure the volume and scale of a campaign will more than make up for it because of that value.

5. Is this going to reach customers at the right levels of the decision-making funnel to achieve my objectives?

The path to purchase might have changed pretty drastically, but that doesn’t mean the core concepts behind the marketing funnel don’t still apply. Brands need to keep their funnel full and reach customers at each stage. If you focus on action at the expense of awareness, interest, and intent, the campaign could still be nominally successful. But it will be quite limited, and its reach and ability to grow will be severely hampered.

How to use this information:

If you don’t allocate your budget correctly across the entire funnel, you’ll weaken critical parts of the process and potentially lose customers to competitors that do reach them at those stages. For example, a brand that’s convinced it can drive customers through paid search alone, and thus only budgets for paid search, isn’t putting any ad spend toward generating awareness of or interest in their products and services. Ultimately this will hurt your bottom line.

By answering these questions as a part of developing digital marketing campaigns, brands can begin planning a marketing budget that puts their ad spend in all the right places. The answers should develop meaningful conversations that can inform the decision-making process to build a strategy that also sees the best long-term ROI for brands’ digital marketing budgets. Don’t forget that no matter what agency you are working with, these are the types of conversations you should be having and expecting.

Tim Wisner

About Tim Wisner

Tim is a co-founder and COO of Add3. With over 15 years of experience, he's watched as the industry has changed colors numerous times. Outside of Add3, Tim's passions include auto racing, ping pong, traveling, and very tasty FOOD.

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