1) Set aside budget to test unproven/emerging channels and tactics
Mobile technologies and location-based services (LBS) such as Foursquare might have been the hottest topics last year but they are still in their infancy and don’t reach a large audience. According to Forrester Research, only 4% of US online adults have ever used location-based services, with only 1% using them more than once a week. 17% of Americans own a smart phone and just 1% of mobile phone owners have used a QR (Quick Response) code scanner in the past three months (source: Forrester Research).
While you cannot expect to reach a critical mass with these unproven channels/technologies, now is a great time to experiment and integrate these technologies in your marketing plan. By doing so, you will gain a competitive advantage and reach an influential audience (LBS users are more likely to write/read reviews and share their opinions with others). I suggest that you allocate 10-15% of your marketing budget for testing to establish initial benchmark metrics and data. Furthermore, learnings from test campaigns will allow you to understand the value of these channels for your business and make your case for a larger budget for 2012 as the adoption of these technologies and products continues to grow significantly.
2) Refocus on proven channels to make them work harder
There is no question that proven tactics such as SEO, paid search and email marketing will continue to make up a big portion of your budget in 2011. Although the positive outlook for the economy and consumer spending patterns might have generated a larger digital marketing budget for some of you, “efficiency” will still be the key theme in 2011. Marketers can get more out of their budgets and achieve efficiencies by executing following tactics:
- Develop synergies among channels: Start with a few key channels to develop integrated, efficient digital marketing programs – e.g., integration of content across social media and email marketing, and the development of more targeted display ads based on search behavior data.
- Deploy testing scenarios to enhance the performance of your paid search and email marketing programs, which in turn will bring more leads and revenue. You will be surprised to find out that even small changes (e.g, changing the color or the text of a call-to-action button, testing different headlines on landing pages) can improve your key metrics considerably.
3) Decentralize social media across departments and measure beyond engagement metrics:
In the past few years, social media might have been mostly a function of your digital marketing and PR departments; however, almost all departments in your organization – from sales, customer service/support, event marketing and HR to product development, can leverage social media to support company objectives. As digital marketers are at the forefront of emerging and social media technologies, they can serve as the centralized resource to educate and support business units at companies. So with the support of your digital marketing team (and possibly PR team), empower employees across your organization to use social media.
In 2010, marketers continued to struggle to measure and show the ROI of social media. Because of lack of defined business objective/purpose, most companies are still not able to look beyond engagement metrics (number of followers, comments, fans, reviews etc.). In 2011, I encourage companies to review existing social media efforts/metrics to make sure they are aligned with business metrics. In order to evaluate benefits of your initiatives, use Forrester’s social media marketing balanced scorecard focusing on metrics from four perspectives; financial, brand, risk management and digital. Also, check my previous blog posts that outline social media analytics based on social media objectives.
4) Apply advanced strategies for smarter display advertising
2010 was an interesting year for display advertising. As an advertiser, you finally have opportunities to buy online media based on consumer behavior – from remarketing to audience targeting and real-time bidding. 2011 is the year to improve the performance of your display media buy by taking advantages of new technologies and available consumer data. Rethink and advance your media strategy by;
- focusing on buying specific audiences rather than buying sites;
- leveraging Ad Exchanges that bring advertisers transparency and efficiency in an auction-based model and deliver greater optimization opportunities by allowing you to cherry-pick impressions based on their value; and
- working with specialized demand side platforms (DSPs) such as Chango and Magnetic for search, Blue Akai for purchase-intent and 33Across and Media6degrees for social remarketing
I believe the above key strategies will help your company be wiser and more efficient in 2011. What are some key strategies you plan to execute in 2011?
I hope you will find this post helpful, and I welcome your feedback.