It’s budget time again.
If you’re in the middle of building a 2017 marketing strategy that’s bigger and “badder” than ever, you’re going to need some ammunition to build your pitch for driving your marketing team to success. We all know that the digital side isn’t optional, so we’re giving you a paid-channel perspective that will help you “mic drop” your next budget negotiation.
Of course, there are a few layers to this conversation. With economic uncertainty looming in 2017, budgets are likely to change. That’s why it’s more important than ever to establish the value that digital channels bring so that you can maintain your core investments in even the trickiest of times.
In this paper, we’ll make sure you’re equipped with:
- The financial benefits of taking a holistic approach to your marketing channels
- The opportunity cost of not doing programmatic advertising, paid search, SEO, or social media advertising
- Sample paragraphs defending each of these channels to your C-Suite
- Cases for growing your digital marketing budget
We hope you’ll find this resource helpful as you head off to finalize your 2017 budgets!
Budget Impact of a Holistic Approach to Digital Marketing
Marketers can’t help but nod their heads in agreement when we start talking about holistic approaches to marketing. The holistic approach feels like a no-brainer for those of us who are in the trenches day after day. Disparate messaging and disjointed efforts by various marketing department functions is the definition of wasted time and money, and breaking down the marketing silos has been a hot topic this year. But let’s do a little math, shall we?
Multiple products & services teams + multiple campaign strategies + multiple marketing channels = wasted time & money
Consolidating Product Teams
Consolidating product marketing efforts seems like a self-evident strategy for more efficiently saturating a market with your message. It can, however, be challenging to get everyone onboard. Your digital marketing plan can catalyze this effort. We’ve seen the tangible benefits that consolidation can produce with a number of Point It’s clients. For example, paid search clients who have integrated their product teams have been able to end unintentional competition among paid search teams that drives up costs and cannibalizes critical marketing budgets. This strategy is particularly important for organizations that manage multiple brands.
Companies that don’t holistically manage their multi-brand and multi-channel efforts run the risk of cannibalizing their critical marketing budget.
Consolidating Marketing Approaches
Even with the strongest marketing strategy, if you have marketing generalists running your marketing channels, you’re likely not getting the innovation and proactivity you need to make those channels truly perform. Getting rid of generalists may seem counter-intuitive to the idea of removing silos, but companies need to find a balance between depth of knowledge and breadth of workload. If your organization relies on generalists to make your marketing world go ‘round, then consider finding outside specialists to add the necessary depth to stay ahead of the digital marketing game.
One of our clients kept an in-house team to run traditional media, but hired Point It to manage paid search, SEO, and social media advertising. This gave them the ability to keep doing what worked for them, while widening their funnel with new and integrated digital efforts. Feel free to pop over to the PEMCO case study if you’d like more information on that approach.
Not giving our marketing organization the space to either become or hire specialists puts our organization at the back of digital marketing pack. Emerging technologies like programmatic advertising are changing every 30 days. Specialists can track and apply shifts to marketing strategies in real time to ensure maximum profitability.
Opportunity Cost of Not Doing Digital Marketing
What happens if you don’t do digital marketing? Bad things, certainly. But what’s almost as likely is that your organization will ask to you remove or reduce one of your channels. So, let’s talk through, channel by channel, the ramifications of this scenario.
What if you cut programmatic advertising in 2017?
You might have seen the benefits of programmatic advertising this year, but the potentially high costs might be causing your stakeholders to balk. If that’s the case, here are a few reasons that cutting this particular channel will hurt your marketing performance. First, programmatic advertising is one of the most customizable advertising options out there. Worthwhile platforms give you (the advertiser) the ability to fine tune your programmatic campaigns to achieve organizational objectives. Whether the goal is to drive site traffic or increase conversions, programmatic advertising has your back. As programmatic grows, you’ll find that even more of the latest ad inventory types will become available, which will further increase the value. This will give you an edge when you’re looking to strategically widen your funnel.
As you experiment with different customized audiences, efficiencies gained will reduce your costs. So will working with demand-side platforms that deliver remnant ads from high quality sites and the intelligence that the platforms use to automatically optimize your campaigns for goal-related success. The highly measurable impact this channel brings to ROI ensures that there is no downside. But don’t take our word for it! Read Click Z’s article: “Why programmatic ad buying is more important than you think”.
Best-in-class companies looking to build smart strategies into their marketing mix are using programmatic advertising to both maximize their lead generation and gain key learnings about their highest-converting audiences. This information can be used to fine tune personas and can be transferred to other advertising outlets, like social media marketing.
What if you cut paid search in 2017?
If you are doing paid search right now, it’s likely for a good reason. The Internet Advertising Revenue Report states that overall search ads (desktop and mobile) represent 50% of total digital marketing revenue. The top-spending advertising category is retail, followed closely by financial services. When intelligently deployed and managed, paid search is a major revenue generator for businesses.
Something else to consider is that your competitors are still doing paid search, especially if you’re a big brand retailer or insurance agency. Luxury brands alone spent $22 million on Google text ads in 2014, and you can bet this number is increasing, particularly when combined with spending on other channels. When marketing organizations choose to pair paid search with SEO, their brands’ resulting visual mindshare coverage on search result pages is significant. Overall, paid search ad clicks are incremental when combined with SEO, and the resulting increase in SERP real estate is a major boost to ROI, as <a href=”http://searchengineland.com/seo-ppc-serp-real-estate-content-glue-roi-194073″>Search Engine Land explains.
If organizations stop doing paid search, their organic traffic will drop, and competitors will pull ahead in the market. Paid search is a critical piece of the digital marketing landscape, particularly when used in conjunction with other top performing channels.
What if you stop putting resources towards SEO in 2017?
If you’re getting pressure to stop investing in SEO, here are a few key reasons such a move would be detrimental to your organization. First, if you’re doing best practice SEO, you’re likely developing high-performing content that answers key questions users are asking search engines. Eliminating these programs will negatively impact your organization in more ways than just decreased traffic. The content you’re creating is likely key to your overall content marketing strategy. It fosters trust with users by providing them a critical gateway in their customer journey. If you create content without keeping SEO implications in mind, it’s like yelling into an empty cave. It might be loud and you might be saying the right thing, but no one will be listening.
Another thing worth considering is the usability aspect of SEO. Good SEO usually represents good usability, and Forbes agrees. Search engines send users to websites with the best experience, as determined through a series of weighted usability factors. So, not only does SEO give you a ranking boost, but it also helps drive conversion on your site. It’s a double whammy. Good usability means more traffic from search engines and a higher conversion rate for the traffic that comes. Oh, and don’t forget about the constant algorithm changes! Search engines change their factor weightings constantly to combat system gaming and imperfections. If you don’t have someone monitoring these changes, your site ranking could dip or dive in response.
Content marketing, site usability, and overall site conversions are all key to our brand’s success. Using SEO guidelines as part of our larger marketing strategy will help our brand to boost content consumption and drive higher conversions while providing a better customer experience.
What if you DON’t do social media advertising in 2017?
Anyone who doesn’t deal with social media advertising regularly can probably easily retrieve an article they read three years ago showing that it doesn’t work. Happily, we know that’s no longer the case. If you’re pressured to stop doing social media advertising, here are a few points that can help you make your case. Facebook’s deep data reserves have lent credibility to social media advertising as a whole. There’s no denying that access to self-identified interests and behavioral data is a huge boon to advertisers. It allows advertisers to deliver highly relevant and timely ads on the platforms where people choose to spend an incredible amount of time.
Now for the bandwagon approach: Your competitors are doing it. eMarketer reports that “advertisers worldwide will spend $23.68 billion on paid media to reach consumers on social networks this year.” With new platforms popping up each year and social media networks morphing and changing, chances extremely high that your demographic is at least dabbling in some sort of social activity.
Organizations lose out on getting ahead of key opportunities as new social media networks pop up and new paid options become available. Integrating this kind of marketing into our reputation management will bring our brand presence full circle.
Growing Versus Sustaining a Marketing Budget
Maybe your focus is on growing your budget, not just keeping it. A visual that our VP of Digital Strategy, Katy Tonkin, likes to paint for clients shows that when you grow your budget, you are widening your funnel. That means more leads in and more conversions.
Adding channels like programmatic advertising allows you to build custom audiences and apply the insights you glean to other channels, like social media advertising. Social media channels are great for targeting key audiences that spend an increasing amount of time on social platforms. Pew Research Center shares its insights into demographics for different platforms: Pinterest (women aged 18 to 49), Instagram (urban and suburban men and women aged 18 to 29), LinkedIn (men and women with college educations aged 30 to 64), and Twitter (men and women of various ethnicities with some college education aged 10 and 49). There’s opportunity for most advertisers in these audiences.
If you’re not marketing internationally, why not start now? Discover a whole new customer base and an entirely different set of opportunities by expanding your market outside the US. Paid search is a great place to start here, but make sure you’re being smart in the way you approach it. Enlist experts to help you roll out these programs in the best way possible.
Budget Bottom Line
My final word of advice is to go into your budget negotiations prepared. Give the basics and always be ready to drill down into the who, when, where, and why of each budget choice. The task is challenging, but if your staff can help you with the research, you can focus on driving home the value of digital marketing for your organization.