Sales-focused marketing is a natural part of most advertisers’ marketing strategies these days. Nevertheless, there are some questions regarding how the activities should be handled. Below I will provide four tips on how to be successful with your online sales in the long term.
- Establish agile work procedures
We are noticing a trend where advertisers choose to take their performance activities in-house but most advertisers are still working with an agency. However, traditional marketing procedures based on short campaigns are not applicable since performance marketing is best managed on an ongoing basis. Advertisers must make sure that there are internal and external procedures for how to handle their marketing in an agile manner. For example, this could be a way for the advertiser’s creative in-house team to quickly produce new material when needed, or that a media budget is not tied to specific months or channels. Agencies tend to be better prepared for agile work methods and used to sudden changes, for example when a media channel does not perform as expected. Invite to work meetings and dialogue about how you can achieve your goals together. Clear procedures will increase your mutual efficiency.
- Establish a KPI framework
The target for sales-focused activities is often a combination of costs and an acronym, for example, CPA or ROI. Cost efficiency is certainly important, but you rarely meet a marketing director who does not have aggressive growth targets to achieve. Unless you are working with a subscription product, the number of new customers should be the overall target when it comes to marketing activities. However, since different media channels and purchasing methods can affect consumers throughout the entire sales cycle, a KPI framework should be established. Make sure that there is a primary KPI for:
- Brand-building activities
- Targeting consumers who are in the market for the product you are selling
- Consumers who are close to making a buying decision
These KPIs must be clearly linked to business goals and transparently established in one’s own organization and with external parties. Finally; make them measurable and decide how to follow up on them.
- Do not underestimate broad marketing
Digital performance and its natural measurability make it an attractive investment.
However, based on what we have seen, advertisers who over-invest in sales-focused activities may risk not growing their business in the long term. Broad marketing is less measurable but has been proven to have a positive influence on growth. A combination of broad brand-building marketing and performance activities is the recipe for increased growth. The fact that splitting the marketing budget into 60% brand building and 40% sales focus still works can be learned from, for example, IPA Databank’s newly released «Media in focus» (http://www.ipa.co.uk/media-in-focus-book.
- Think long-term
Performance activities generate proven short-term effects, which might reach the given marketing targets for that quarter. In addition, if you target consumers who are close to making a purchase decision, for example through retargeting or brand searches, the results from the marketing will look overwhelming. However, research and our own experience show that targeted advertising to existing customers or consumers who are very close to a buying decision does not increase business in the long term. Do not be tempted by the fact that advertising technology these days can enrich ad impressions with CRM data, or the fact that your brand keywords have a high ROAS. Instead, allocate a budget for consumers who are at an earlier stage of the sales cycle in order to find new customers. Current advertising technology provides excellent opportunities to find them based on behavioral signs.
And I cannot stress this enough; keep building your brand through reach media. Just because someone is not interested in your product today, that does not mean that they won’t be tomorrow. By then your brand needs to be a viable option, and it is only then that performance marketing really works properly.
/Johan Persson, Expert Consultant, Curamando AB