Optimization Prime — Marketing Edition: Part 5 of 7
“Sometimes, even the wisest of men and machines can be in error.” — Optimus Prime
When it comes to marketing, I think it would be safe to say that we have all made mistakes; from overspending or not spending enough, to investing time into a platform, message, or creative that had no positive return on investment. When it comes to marketing, businesses expect these efforts will have a positive return on investment. In fact, the primary responsibility of marketing is to generate profitable revenue growth. So, what is the trick? Find the balance between improving investment and enhancing engagement across your channels.
Fifth up in our Optimization Prime series—marketing.
In principle, marketing is straightforward, agreed? Have the right product, with the right message, for the right price, in front of the right person, at the right time. Simple! In the real-world application, however, marketing is much more difficult. Your business’s competition is getting fiercer, and your audiences are becoming much savvier. The complexity of today’s marketing matrix is driving several new techniques within marketing analytics and decisions. You’re fully aware that you’ve got to keep up, but with what? And where do you start?
What is Marketing Optimization?
Marketing optimization is the process of improving marketing efforts to maximize desired business outcomes. Plainly stated, marketers collect data, pull insights from that data, and take the necessary actions across your marketing channels in order to increase ROI.
Optimization is performed on all individual tactics within your marketing strategy by reviewing the data and making decisions around which tactics to continue with, pause, or improve. This process requires a keen and dedicated insight into how your marketing strategy is performing overall, and specifically, where to make adjustments—not just to make adjustments for adjustment sake.
Optimization can uncover answers to some marketing questions, such as:
- What’s the best set of campaigns to reach my audience?
- How do I balance competing product priorities?
- How do different offers relate to one another?
When should I use Optimization?
There are really no best or worst times to optimize your marketing. Still, some good times include:
- When your business is considering a new CRM.
- When there is increased competition within your target audiences.
- When there is a merger or acquisition.
Alternatively, when you do decide to optimize, it could be to address specific business goals, including:
Prospecting — Optimization can help to determine whom to and what to market.
Cross-selling and upselling — Optimization can help decide which customers to target, with a specific offer, one what channels and when.
Retention and Reactivation — Optimization can help enhance your marketing to retain and reactivate users.
Improving traditional marketing approaches — Optimization can help craft marketing campaigns with the confidence of objective and mathematical factoring to find the best overall set of actions.
Why should I Optimize?
We cannot emphasize this enough in our optimization series, but any optimization you do can dramatically improve your results, as well as provide user-insights that educate your team going forward.
Specifically, with marketing optimization, businesses can:
Determine the best actions to maximize the return on investment.
Consider every dimension of a marketing campaign simultaneously, evaluating hundreds of potential decisions to determine the optimal mix of actions.
Implement a chosen campaign objective with the confidence of having fully evaluated the effects beforehand.
Personalize based on its audience, and not just segment.
Respect customer preferences over multiple products, services, and time.
Simulate multiple scenarios and better understand before committing resources and implementing tactics.
Ready to get started?
Optimization is a process—as we have said many times. That being the case, let’s look at a four-step marketing optimization process:
- Collecting data
- Analyze data for insights
- Take action within your marketing efforts
- Automate and Repeat (daily, weekly, monthly)
It’s important to note; marketing optimization relies on both data and technology! Tech and tools—Google Analytics, HubSpot, HotJar, etc.— are used and needed to gather data. This data is then consumed and analyzed to automate and optimize every touchpoint of your businesses digital marketing lifecycle. Now you have the data mining tools, but they first need to be utilized before marketing optimization, so you must ensure your channels have successfully integrated those data collecting tools, and you have a healthy amount of data actually collected to use. If you just installed analytics yesterday, don’t even think about optimization for a couple of months!
Step 1 — Collecting Data
With great data comes great business decisions.
The first stage of our optimization process is collecting data. Data is generated at all stages of the digital marketing lifecycle. Depending on the lifecycle you are in, there are specific data points that you need to collect when looking to optimize.
Attracting is the first phase of the digital marketing lifecycle. In this phase, businesses are drawing in customers in various ways, but typically, attracting through paid search ads and SEO. During this phase, the key data metrics include:
- Visitor Browser and Device
- Visitor Behavior and Browsing Path
- Campaign and Referring URL
- Cost per Visit
To turn users into customers is the second phase of the digital marketing lifecycle—also known as conversions. Every feature of your website affects conversion rates and typically happen through page layout elements such as calls-to-action and forms or when users land on campaign-specific landing pages. During this phase, the key data metrics include:
- Web Form Submitted
- Number Dialed
- Split Test Variation and Landing Page
- Cost per Lead
The final phase in the digital marketing lifecycle is when you close those leads and make a sale. This sales activity—and data you collect—can help to impact the number of new customers you attract by knowing customer insights. During this phase, the key data metrics include:
- Email Open Rates
- Time to First Contact
- Time Since Last Contact
- Salesperson Activity and Performance
- Time to Sale
- Revenue, Profit, and ROI
Step 2 — Analyzing the Data
When data is properly collected the majority of the time, then your marketing optimization decisions should appear clearly. Some will come in the form of low-hanging fruit; however, some may take a little more harvesting. Harvest this data using great tools such as Digital Marketing Tuner or OverGo Studio to dig through the details, and you can connect all of your marketing efforts to provide a clear picture of where you need to improve. Remember, when you are analyzing the data, look at how your data affects your businesses goals and objectives. Each of the three phases of the DML and the data you collect should align with your goals, and it will help also see which of them can be optimized.
Step 3 — Take Action Within Your Marketing Efforts
Once you have collected and analyzed your data, it is time to act within your marketing efforts. Step one and two should have highlighted where your marketing challenges are, what changes you should make, and what marketing efforts are yielding the best results. Refining your marketing should result in streamlined goals, communications, and responsibilities, so start by focusing on the changes that will make the most significant impact. During this phase, some of the biggest changes could be:
- Advertising Channels
- Landing Pages
- Marketing Copy
- Lead Nurturing Emails
- Lead Distribution
Step 4 — Automate and Repeat (Daily, Weekly, Monthly)
Optimization is not a one-and-done process. It is a process that you will need to execute continually. Once you have completed your first optimization, you can look back and see areas where you can easily automate the process and not only make your marketing better but save yourself time and resources. Finally, incorporate marketing optimization into your overall strategy and timeline of campaigns, or your yearly plan.
Become a Marketing Optimization Champion
Who wouldn’t want to be your business’s marketing optimization hero, where you not only save the company money but also make them more money! Below are some tips to turn yourself into a marketing optimization champion:
Get senior-level buy-in for testing: New programs or processes succeed or fail based on senior-level buy-in. Ensure you have support from management to implement marketing optimization.
Create a tangible opportunity: Get support for testing by creating an actual problem that testing solves.
Use expert support and insights: Bring in a conversion-optimization expert to tell decision-makers how your website needs to improve.
Conduct skunkworks tests: If you didn’t gain buy-in from the get-go, conduct tests under the radar to support the need for marketing optimization.
Involve other departments: Make it a party and bring in other areas of your organization (more buy-in and also shared learnings).
Tie results to revenue: As noted, we should align to business goals, but one good one is to tie this to your businesses revenue.
Join us next week, Tuesday, July 22, on CMSC Media for our part six edition of Optimization Prime series—Social Media Edition.
Catch up with our Optimization Prime series: