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Customer engagement: big data or big ideas?

Customer engagement: big data or big ideas?

Today, marketing automation (MA), pay-per-click (PPC) and Programmatic Advertising (PA) campaigns, along with social advertising all generate huge quantities of performance data, barraging even experienced marketers with mountains of campaign information.

The reality is that while some of this data is extremely useful, a significant amount of it is extraneous to campaign performance and if used as a basis in strategic campaign development, may easily derail your marketing objectives, through distraction.

Derailed by data?

In the hands of inexperienced digital marketers, data seems to offer myriad insights into target market prospect and customer behaviour, thereby casting an almost magical light on strategic options in future marketing campaigns.

But campaign performance data is almost completely misleading and irrelevant unless it is highly focused, and has been specifically added to the performance metrics to deliver highly specific information.

Keeping it simple

For example, data needs to be drawn from, and laid against, precise campaign touch-points – such as the performance of a specific call-to-action touch-point along the buyer journey – and therefore allowing data to deliver specifically on one simple metric.

When these simple call-to-action metrics are examined sequentially against other touch-points in the buyer journey, data will form a clear picture of campaign development and hopefully indicate greater visitor engagement as prospects become increasingly engaged with the campaign.

Less is more

This simple example metric – increasing prospect and customer call-to-action engagement along the buyer journey – will be critical in the future development of the live campaign as it illustrates precise campaign impacts at highly specific points of contact.

What this process does is reduce the blizzard of information data delivers to a level where it provides manageable, meaningful information to enhance the performance of live campaigns, while providing information on which to develop a strategic framework to future campaigns.

Strategy through data analysis

This is where big data can start to build big ideas, allowing you to use what you know from selected, highly specific areas of data to create and continually enhance live and future campaign development as you analyse data in real time.

And what this means in live campaigns is that because you are now working with highly specific and simplified metrics on live campaigns, this can be done in real time, allowing for your communications to be shifted dynamically, keeping you ahead of your competitors.

Agility is key to success

What achieving success through data really means is the careful, pragmatic selection of precisely what you need to know from a campaign to make it resonate closely and engage more effectively with your target buyers.

This means data – or information – is restricted to precisely what is required to build and nurture prospect relationships and keep them moving through the sales funnel. In other words, stay focussed on your objectives, and don’t get blinded by the data blizzard.

In the hands of inexperienced digital marketers, data seems to offer myriad insights into target market prospect and customer behaviour, thereby casting an almost magical light on strategic options in future marketing campaigns.

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom

Five tips on digital marketing agency search and selection

Five tips on digital marketing agency search and selection

Digital communications (the transmission of marketing communications by digital means) covers a wide range of marketing platforms and a spectrum of channels and for client-side marketers, deciding on what is the best-fit for your enterprise is a complex equation.

And to compound this best-fit identification issue, actually seeing beyond the hot technology offers or the hype and such claims as ‘we’re the largest’ or the ‘only EU’ and so on, and to get a solid understanding of actual agency capabilities is a tough assignment for any marketer.

Platform or channel: what’s the difference?

Today, many digital marketing agencies will offer information on expertise such as marketing automation (MA) platform capabilities. Others will offer expertise in social media (SM) or pay-per-click (PPC) or online display advertising.

But while agency promotion of these platforms or channels is useful, what it is not telling you is what specific expertise they have in delivering marketing prospects or sales leads – the very thing you need to build your sales, profitability and long-term customer loyalty.

So, where does this leave you?

End-to-end approach

As can be seen, many of these communications elements are either delivery platforms or communications channels and while critical for targeted communication, they are certainly not the strategic marketing message in themselves.

So, cutting to the chase, working through all the platform and channel offers, to discriminate between pure platform or channel provision and those who offer platform or channel provision with truly solid strategic communication skill and associated marketing communication capabilities is a critical starting point in your search.

Conspicuous by its absence

Most of these digital marketing agencies will aim to provide content marketing as a part of their offer. This is key, but the quality of this content, its power to engage with your prospects and ability to deliver marketing qualified sales leads that actually buy from you is the ultimate criteria.

Remember, marketing platform and channel experience are key, but to achieve sustained growth and loyal customer acquisition, you critically need focused content marketing that drives these platforms and channels to success. Here are five points to consider in order of relevance.

Research and strategic market planning

Any long-term and sustainable marketing campaign will require careful strategic planning. This not only helps to optimise prospect engagement, but also to ensure that brand visibility is gained and maintained throughout the campaign.

Always explore a prospective agency’s strategic market planning capabilities when you open discussions. A good way for the prospect agency to demonstrate strategic planning capabilities is through the provision of current client case studies.

Integrated multi-channel digital communication specialisms

To develop successful digital marketing strategies, your agency will need to provide a multi-channel communications strategy, and this will require a number of integrated communications platforms, delivering communications across several marketing channels simultaneously.

This means you need to satisfy yourself that any potential agency has not only proven expertise in all required platforms and the marketing channels through which they will deliver, but can fully demonstrate how this will work in line with initial – pre-proposal – strategic plans.

Sector-specific marketing experience

Again, as with the points above, in order to identify precisely which marketing communications platform or channel is appropriate at which particular point in the marketing journey and at which point a channel will need to close the sale requires critical expertise.

To optimise communications performance in this marketing-to-sale journey, it is vitally important that the proposed agency has a deep understanding of your marketplace, target prospect behaviours and how to engage with them. In short, sector experience counts.

Content marketing and search optimisation expertise

In many respects, and like the point above, long-term experience and close market sector expertise are very important in achieving optimum prospect engagement through understanding and delivering what it is potential and existing customers want from your enterprise.

This means selecting an agency that has proven experience in your market sector. That is not to say you should exclude marketers from closely related sectors, but you need to be sure they can demonstrate a very clear understanding of your target audience, and their needs.

You will know your market, so make completely sure your agency does too, because if they talk your prospect’s language they will raise your brand and campaign profile and visibility through powerful search engine optimisation (SEO).

Performance analytics and management

The final piece is for you to understand the marketing return on investment (MROI) your agency is delivering across the campaigns you will be working on together.

You will already know what your required marketing performance metrics are, and you therefore need to ask your prospective agency to formulate and demonstrate performance analytics to closely mirror these requirements.

It has to be said, agency capabilities in the area of performance analytics is variable, but a good agency with a competent analytics team should be able to offer all of what you are likely to need.

Content expertise drives success

As can be seen, technology in the form of marketing platforms or communications channels, and the expertise in utilising these is a very important element in digital marketing communications.

But what really counts when selecting a new digital marketing agency is confidence in knowing that they not only understand marketing technology, but understand what emotional and aspirational marketing content to load into it to make it work successfully.

Remember, marketing platform and channel experience are key, but to achieve sustained growth and loyal customer acquisition, you critically need focused content marketing that drives these platforms and channels to success.

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom