Defending Your Budget and Black Friday Results

Fine Point Grey

Defending Your Budget and Black Friday Results

(22-minute podcast)

Building a case for more digital marketing dollars in this year’s budget? Will Goldfarb, Director of Client Services joins Maureen Jann, Director of Marketing to look at the best digital opportunities for 2017, attribution, & making your marketing spend more effective. Also this week, we look at what worked for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the growth of Cyber week fueled by international adoption, finding the right time & message for each point in the customer journey, and Snapchat’s video ads.

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Featured Experts:

Will Goldfarb, Director of Client Services, Point It Digital Marketing

Guests and Experts


Will Goldfarb, Director of Client Services, Point It Digital Marketing

Bio: Will has over a decade of experience creating, managing, and optimizing multi-channel, multi-market SEM campaigns. With experience in both B2B and B2C, he brings his digital marketing expertise to clients across a wide range of verticals, from online to brick and mortar helping them build award-winning campaigns that deliver real results.


Maureen Jann, Director of Marketing, Point It Digital Marketing

Bio: Maureen Jann is a veteran B2B marketer whose career in Digital Media has grown up with the Internet. A self-described jill-of-all-trades, Maureen has elevated creative problem solving to an art form and enjoys the daily challenges of driving business results in unexpected ways. Her skills as an entrepreneur, content marketer, creative director and passionate people manager set her apart from the pack. Maureen has worked in every corner of marketing making her a skilled tactical resource as well as a strategic partner.  Recently, she was the captain of the marketing ship for an award-winning professional services firm and is currently creating a content marketing strategy for Point It, a digital marketing agency.


Maureen Jann: Welcome to ‘Fine Point,’ a weekly digest of digital marketing updates. Each week, we’ll feature industry experts and guests to talk through what’s happening in digital marketing. I’m Maureen Jann, the Director of Marketing at Point It, a digital marketing agency in Seattle, Washington. I’ll be your host. Let’s get going.


Today, we’ll be talking through a few headlines I ran across this morning in the news. I’ll be introducing you to Will Goldfarb, our Director of Client Services here at Point It. He is full of excellent knowledge. Will and I will be talking about marketing budgets this time, but hopefully we’ll have him back to talk about some of the other awesome things that he knows. Welcome, Will.


Will Goldfarb: Thanks Maureen, glad to be here.


Maureen Jann: Super. Okay, so let’s dive into the headlines. I have a couple of things that I’m talking about today. I saw a interesting article about customer experience. It kind of went in another direction, and I’m going to just pick out the parts that I think are interesting. We’re also talking about Cyber Monday and then also, Snapchat video ads. That’s new. It’s shiny. It’s very fancy. More politics for you topics, which makes me very happy.


The first article we’re going to talk about is the ‘Five Ways to Harness Insight and Creativity to Better Deliver Customer Experiences.’ This is by It’s an interesting article and it has a lot of great resources. Really what peaked my interest was the whole idea around using the customer journey to help craft your ads, and then deliver that end experience, which is something that we deal with a lot here at Point It. Especially right now, when you’re having that whole Black Friday fancy holiday business, where you make a promise in an ad and you want to make sure that you deliver on that promise. Since Will manages several of our accounts here, I figured he would have an interesting perspective. How do you take care of that for our clients?


Will Goldfarb: Yeah, it’s a great question. I think the first thing that I look at when I’m trying to figure out a customer journey is the vertical and the product.


Maureen Jann: Sure.


Will Goldfarb: If we’re looking at, let’s say, a lead gen client for moving or storage. We know there that the sales cycle is going to be very short. Generally, people are going to be searching and make the decision on who they go with in under two weeks. Generally, it’s going to be even under a week. We see the conversion, the actual someone submitting a lead, is usually handled within 24 hours.


When we’re looking at a cycle like that, we’re going to act differently than say, a B-to-B product that might cost upwards of a couple hundred thousand dollars. Where we know the first step might be a white paper download, and then that’s handed off to someone higher in the company. They do more research, come back to the website. We can expect maybe a six month sales cycle there. We know that the cost at the end is going to pay off. For me, it’s trying to figure out what’s the product? How long is it going to take? How many touches am I going to need to make with this client before they purchase?


Maureen Jann: Sure.


Will Goldfarb: Then, trying to design the campaign around that.


Maureen Jann: Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. It’s always interesting when you’re using customer journey as a guideline for the experience that you’re offering them; and especially in a … It’s something that it’s almost abstract because sometimes you think about an agency, like what we do, is like a cog in the larger machine. What really comes out of it is that using the diversity of our experience to help inform the conversations and the way we approach that whole user experience is pretty valuable and pretty interesting. Anyway, not to be sales-y; I just thought it was an interesting point.


Will Goldfarb: Yeah, definitely. I think one of the cool things that we have the ability to do; this is not a super new topic, but it’s remarketing.


Maureen Jann: Yeah.


Will Goldfarb: Remarketing was the older way. RLSA’s the new way. Remarketing lists allow you to hit the person at the right spot in their journey in the sales cycle.


Maureen Jann: Right.


Will Goldfarb: For example, let’s say you’ve got … Let’s go back to lead gen as an example. Let’s say there are two steps in the lead gen process before a purchase is potentially made. What you’d want to do is create a list that captures each person along the way in the process, and then deliver to them a message that speaks to that. If they hit the site, and let’s say didn’t submit anything. You deliver to those people, ‘Hey, you still looking to move? Come check out our deals.’ Let’s say they hit this site, and they got their price but didn’t go on to the next step and they want to purchase. You know those people saw the price, but didn’t buy. Maybe for them, you remarket with a 10% off ad. You’re hitting them with the right message at the right time. You’re going to be able to get that conversion.


Now that Google has released RLSA for search, it allows you to combine those remarketing audiences that were once restricted to display campaigns only and now allows you to bid on them for a search. There’s a couple ways you can use that. For one of my clients-


Maureen Jann: [crosstalk 00:04:20] Fancy.


Will Goldfarb: It’s great. For one, we’ve got … let’s just say it’s an insurance vertical. From there, we know that anyone who’s currently a customer of this insurance company, we don’t want them clicking on our prospecting ads. There’s no reason why we want to generate leads for these people. With the cost of insurance clicks, which are up there in the range of 20 to 50 dollars, excluding one or two of these people is a big savings. Now with RLSA for search, we’re able to capture the list of all current members based on a page that’s only accessible to members. Anyone on that list is automatically negative 100%, meaning they don’t see any of our ads. That’s another way you can use it not just to target the right people, but to exclude the wrong people. When you combine both of those and come together, that’s what really boosts and raises your efficiency, and allows the customer to feel nurtured throughout each step of the process.


Maureen Jann: I love it, that’s so much fun. Awesome. Let’s take that space and move on to the next headline that I found, which was all about Black Friday. Which, I’m sure you’re using all these tactics on Black Friday deals, and companies, and customers. Let’s talk through that.


Will Goldfarb: Yup.


Maureen Jann: This headline is ‘E-Commerce Tops 5 Billion Over the Weekend and Mobile Beats 1 Billion on Black Friday.’ We’re seeing a big spike in mobile this Black Friday, which is exciting. Then, our e-Commerce is just off the charts crazy. Let’s talk through. It looks like Adobe reported that Thanksgiving and Black Friday, the online retail sales exceeded five billion, so that’s pretty significant. Then, we’re also looking at consumers who are focused on bargains and convenience, which was really interesting.


What I liked about that, which caught my attention, was that they didn’t care when they were buying. That’s not what they’re focused on is they’re doing it when it makes sense for them, and when you have the best price. It’s shifted gears for retailers. We’re no longer specifically bound to these days around ‘Cyber Week,’ or Cyber Monday, or Black Friday. They’re just doing it when it’s right for them. How is this shifted from your perspective, because I know that we were, … For a long time, it was very specifically on these particular days.


Will Goldfarb: Yeah, that’s good question. I think that a lot of retailers started to notice that any time you’re going to put yourself into a box and say, “These are the two days we’re going to have this sale, and that’s it.”


Maureen Jann: Yeah.


Will Goldfarb: You’re giving … You’re losing that opportunity. Obviously there’s going to be a point there, you don’t want it too small, you don’t want it too large. You’re starting to see retailers like Amazon and Best Buy move from Black Friday to Black Friday/Cyber Monday, to Deals Week. At some point, I’m sure it’s going to become ‘Deals Month,’ and ‘Deals Quarter.’ Right now, they’re taking advantage of an opportunity. The biggest opportunity that I see for my clients on Black Friday.


Let me start over, they come to me and say, “Hey, Black Friday/Cyber Monday is coming up. What can I do to increase my sales?”


Maureen Jann: Yeah.


Will Goldfarb: There’s two things you can do. There’s two ways you should look at it. Number one, increasing your sales. It is a great time to drive more gross revenue. You might not be making a huge profit on it, but the thing that I ask my clients to focus on for these deals weeks, Black Friday/Cyber Monday, is to attract new customers and to get them into your books. Getting these people on your mailing list, getting them onto your remarketing list, on your RLSA list. All of these things, so later on you can start remarketing to them and selling them additional products.


The truth of the matter is, on Black Friday, if you’re running your ads without having any some of promotion or deal, whether it be free shipping or a steep discount, people will not respond well to it. People expect and will only buy when they see a good promotion on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.


Maureen Jann: Sure.


Will Goldfarb: You’re competing with people out there who are offering big discounts. If you can see this is a time to potentially even lose money or break even by selling a lot and getting these people into your books.


Maureen Jann: Yeah.


Will Goldfarb: In my mind, that’s the most important thing because then they’ll come back in the next couple weeks, in the next couple years, assuming you’ve got products and services that you can offer to them that they’re interested in.


Maureen Jann: Sure. Loss leaders, class of concept, it’s willing to make the sacrifice. At that point, aren’t you just paying for leads? It’s kind of interesting, because if you’re breaking even, then you’re at the point where you’re just paying for a list that’s self-qualifying, they’re self-selecting about what type of products they’re interested in.


Will Goldfarb: Yup.


Maureen Jann: If they’ve bought a product, you could sell them a host of accessories that go with it. That’s pretty interesting.


Will Goldfarb: Yup. I always ask my clients to calculate what the LTV of a customer is. Then, figure out, even if you’re losing a dollar or two on this sale, what’s that value that’s going to back in the next three to six months, or next year?


Maureen Jann: Yeah, and the other interesting … the thing that I actually picked up from Evan, our Director of Displays here. He used to say, “If you’re a smaller company and you can’t compete on Black Friday, you shouldn’t. You should make your own free shipping Wednesday. That way, you’re not burning cash when it comes competition,” which I thought was a really smart concept as well.


Will Goldfarb: Definitely. Another question you just reminded me that I get often from my clients is ‘Do I want to bid on terms like Black Friday deals, like Cyber Monday deals?’ The answer, nine times out of ten, is absolutely not. Bid on whatever keywords or products that you have and maybe add on the words deals or promotion; but there’s no need to bid on these generic terms. They often do not work out and you’ll find that the search volume is so high, you’ll blow through your budget without any sales on those.


Maureen Jann: Yeah, great point. Awesome, so the last article that I found, which I thought was interesting and relevant was a ‘Snapchat Video Ads Average Less Than a Three Second View.’ This is at Ad Age. They reported on this, which is interesting, because I don’t think we have really dug into Snapchat as an advertising platform yet; but I’m sure that’s just a matter of time. What’s interesting is that this three second view, Snapchat is talking about it being far more effective than your average Facebook ad. Twice as effective is what they’re claiming, which I thought was fascinating. Then the eye tracking technology from that Snapchat ads commanded more attention than Instagram and YouTube as well. It will be interesting to see.


For me, we’re too early in the Snapchat ads effectiveness scale. Right now, it’s just too soon to tell; but it will be interesting to see how that comes up against … because Google’s been really pushing their YouTube advertising. That’s been a big push for them. It will just be interesting to see how that stands up. Also, the whole idea about Facebook having as much data as they have and how that’s … I’m not sure Snapchat is not … They don’t collect nearly as much information, so I don’t think that that’s even an apples to apples comparison.


Will Goldfarb: Yeah, it’s interesting that Snapchat … and I haven’t read the full article, so I’m interested to see what reason they give for saying that their ads are more interesting or people pay attention twice as much. My experience with video ads so far, and you’re absolutely correct in that Google has been pushing the heck out of the video ads for the past two years. It’s kind of the new mobile. I do believe that there’s value to it, but what I found in my experience running video ads is that they’re very good for brand awareness, and for remarketing, and for getting people knowledgeable about something.


Maureen Jann: Yes.


Will Goldfarb: They’re very bad for conversions.


Maureen Jann: Yeah.


Will Goldfarb: That’s it. Most companies, if they come to me and they’ve got a limited marketing budget.


Maureen Jann: Yeah.


Will Goldfarb: I’m generally going to say, “If your focus is [inaudible 00:11:41] and return, you want to go for search and display. You can bucket maybe 5% to keep that branding up, but you really shouldn’t expect a major return from those.” Again, with snap judgment about Snapchat, I haven’t dived into it. I would expect the same thing. I wouldn’t expect a massive return on those, but I would think that they’re a novel way to promote your brand.


Maureen Jann: Sure.


Will Goldfarb: Especially when it’s a new ad format, we see often for the first, let’s say, six months, when a new ad format comes out, increased click-through rates. Since this is a novel thing people haven’t seen before.


Maureen Jann: Sure.


Will Goldfarb: They pay attention more than often. Then of course, you become fatigued and you start trying to find the skip button as fast as you can.


Maureen Jann: I am notorious for that. I think the one big difference between this one is that those Snapchat ads play with the sound on right away, versus Facebook generally has the muted ads. Anyway, I just thought that was interesting.


Okay, well let’s talk budget. Will is joining us to talk about our recent blog series release, ‘Defending Your Budget.’ We’ll be releasing a coordinating eBook later this week, so that will be a lot of fun. We’ve been releasing the series over the Thanksgiving holiday, talking about the different perspectives around defending your budget. We’re really trying to just help people plan their conversations on not only … I know you’re probably well into getting your budget approved if you’re in marketing at this point, but allocating that budget, defending that allocation. What does that look like? How can we help? This is a conversation we run into with our clients, and so that’s why I brought Will in because I know that he has these conversations with his clients. He’s heard it all and with a focus on great results, this is just a perfect intersection; so thanks for coming and talking to me. Yay.


Will Goldfarb: For sure.


Maureen Jann: How often do you hear, “They’re trying to cut my budget” from clients?


Will Goldfarb: I can say thankfully that this has become less of an issue than it was in the past. In the past couple years, obviously search continues to grow. More often than not, nowadays, I find that search is among the top, if not the top driving channel for leads or revenue, or whatever it may be. There’s definitely certain cases where you’ve got a CMO or a CEO who doesn’t quite understand digital. That’s okay. It’s the job of the agency and it’s also the job of the client that you’re working with to defend their budget.


Maureen Jann: Right.


Will Goldfarb: The first thing, if someone came to me and said, “Hey, they’re trying to take my budget from me. What can I do to stop it?”


Maureen Jann: Right.


Will Goldfarb: For me, it’s data. There’s nothing better than being able to hand a very nice big font piece of paper and saying, “These are all the revenue that we got in. This is the proof of where it came from. This is how much we spent and this is our return.” The first thing I would do is go and try to look up attribution.


Maureen Jann: Sure.


Will Goldfarb: Whether you’ve got pixels placed, or Google Analytics, or a third party solution, you want to look at all your attribution models; whether it be first click, last click, time decay. Figure out a model that makes sense for your business, and then bring it together, simplify the data, and use that data to present to your CMO, or whoever it is, for your budget.


Now, obviously if you’re working with Point It, this is something we’re going to do for you. We’re going to be able to pull those figures, hand them to you, you can then hand them to your boss and say, “This is what Point It pulled for us.”


Maureen Jann: Right.


Will Goldfarb: Any time you go into a situation defending with raw data, you’re in a better spot going to associations saying like, “Hey, our ads were on there and then a week later, our revenue went up.”


Maureen Jann: Yeah.


Will Goldfarb: It needs to be concrete. Of course, if you don’t have the attribution in place before all this starts, you’re going to be in a tough spot. Hopefully, if you’ve got that nailed down, you can almost always find in a way in your data to structure it in a way that’s conducive to getting more budget.


Maureen Jann: Yup. Attribution is a flag I like to wave. I’m waving my imaginary flag right now. It’s very pretty. Awesome. Yeah, the conversation that I’ve been digging into is let’s look at the worst case scenarios.


Say they push you harder, and they say, “Nope. Like, you need to cut it out.” What does that worst scenario look like?


Will Goldfarb: Yeah. I hear it a lot because you get some clients who say, “Hey, let’s cut our brand campaign. There’s no reason to be advertising to people who already know about us.”


Maureen Jann: Yeah.


Will Goldfarb: On the surface, it’s a very good argument. You’re like, “Right, why would you spend extra money?” Something that you don’t consider is that due to the way Google matches, you’ve got two things going on. You’ve got either your competitor is directly bidding on your own term. For example, if someone searches for ‘Walmart,’ you see an ad for Target, which is totally legal. Even if competitors aren’t bidding on your terms, Google likes to broad match. You’ll find, for example, if someone searches for … let’s say something that Walmart carries that Target also carries, guess what? Target’s ad is going to show above Walmart’s. You’ll find that even if people aren’t bidding on you directly, competitors are now going to be on the top of the Google page when someone searches for your term. I can almost guarantee you that if you were to hand a print-out of that, or show it to a CEO, that someone searches for Walmart and Target’s ad is on the top of Google, they’re not going to be happy; and rightfully so.


Maureen Jann: True.


Will Goldfarb: That’s an amazing opportunity for competitors to jump in and start stealing traffic. Even if someone is coming, searches for your site, sees the competitor’s ad, knows they don’t want to go to the competitor; but now that competitor’s in their mind. What’s the harm in just checking them out? If that competitor’s got a better rate, you’re not only losing potential customers that you could have gotten. You’re losing customers that you already had by not running your ad. At a bare minimum, you should cover your butt on your brand terms. Going completely dry, or completely dark, is never a good idea. Always reduce, keep a base level running.


Maureen Jann: Yeah.


Will Goldfarb: Any time you cut off, you’re handing all of your leads, both potential and current, to your competitors on a platter.


Maureen Jann: Yeah, and then there’s also the cross channel challenges that you run into. There are statistics around when paid search and SEO are used together, both of the click rates go up.


Will Goldfarb: Yeah.


Maureen Jann: You’re not just impacting your paid search campaigns. You’re impacting your digital marketing channels across the board. It’s an interesting conversation, and hopefully our clients, our people aren’t hearing that. Hopefully, they’re not having to make this argument, but if they do, then they can come to the table with at least a few good helpful experiences from professionals saying, like you. Can you tell us a few quick tips that you could offer that in the thick of their marketing planning, from a digital marketing perspective, tell us more.


Will Goldfarb: Sure. I’ve been in digital marketing for almost ten years now. I’ve been running ad words for nine years. Something that continues to surprise me is that I work with people who are very intelligent. When I write my ads, I often come with a viewpoint that everyone is like me. They want a full analysis on everything before you make the purchase. You want to look up every review out there, and learn all the details about the company.


Maureen Jann: Sure.


Will Goldfarb: But, it’s not the truth. A lot of people, especially when they just want to lead, want the very basic; and most importantly, they want the easiest way to do it. People on the internet are lazy. There’s nothing wrong with that.


Maureen Jann: No.


Will Goldfarb: I’ll give a very small example of something that had a major impact. I was doing a landing page testing for a client. We had two different versions of the page. They looked very similar. One of them, it was a zip code form so you pop in your zip, you hit a button. One of them, the text above it was simply ‘Save cash,’ then it had the name of the company. The other one was like, ‘Company, in the Northwest since this date.’ All the great things about this company is helping out the community, and the environment, and a beautiful background that people in this state would know. Guess what? The first one destroyed the second one.


Maureen Jann: Oh my gosh.


Will Goldfarb: I mean the most basic messaging possible. That’s one.


Number two, and another example of how people are lazy; anyone uses an iPhone might know. Sometimes when you tap into a field to type something in … If you’re tapping into a zip code field, you would expect when you tap into it that the keyboard with only the numbers comes up, right?


Maureen Jann: [crosstalk 00:19:36] That would be so nice.


Will Goldfarb: Sometimes, you tap in and the full keyboard comes up, and you have to hit the number button and hit the little numbers, type in your zip. When we switched from the text keyboard to the just number keyboard, we saw a conversation rate increase, meaning people are abandoning the page just because they have to keyboard button.


Maureen Jann: I 100% believe that. I do that. It’s annoying. It’s so annoying.


Will Goldfarb: Right? It’s extremely annoying, and you need to consider any time in your conversion process, you have a gate, meaning people are going to have to do even the slightest amount of activity to get through it, you’re going to lose sales.


Maureen Jann: Sure.


Will Goldfarb: Figure out the easiest way, simplest way. Generally, that’s going to be the best way to get a conversion. Trying to over-educate folks along the funnel about why your product is amazing is not, it’s not the best way to do it. Short, simple, sweet. Try to get what you can. Don’t overdo it.


Maureen Jann: To take that and put it in a budgeting perspective, I imagine where you can do at this point, if you’re still in the process of defending and allocating your budget, you can try some of these things.


Watch, see if you see a spike, and say, “Hey, we still have room to grow.”


Will Goldfarb: Yeah.


Maureen Jann: That could be an interesting conversation to be having with your stakeholders.


Will Goldfarb: Yeah, absolutely. Again, I think if you’re defending your budget, and you are at a loss for how to defend it, go into your GA, go into your Omniture, and start looking for trends and start looking for data based off of things you do, and then use that to defend it. There’s, I think, very few companies in the states right now, or even internationally, who I would ever say it’s okay not to have a digital budget. That goes for brick and mortar, all the way up. There’s no reason not to be advertising online.


Maureen Jann: Yup, absolutely; especially in retail and especially this time of year. You can really collect some serious data, even if you didn’t have that bridge attribution model. Do it now. Do it right now.


Will Goldfarb: Yeah.


Maureen Jann: Take the rest of this, the year, to collect your data and get a baseline for yourself, and understand what works and what doesn’t so that way you can go into 2017 being better. Let’s get better. That’s exciting. Awesome. Well, it’s been a pleasure to have you here with us at the Point It Studios, AKA the conference room. Thank you guys for joining us here at Point It Digital Marketing for Fine Point, a weekly digest of digital marketing updates. Next week, we hope to chatting with Mr. Mike, Mike F, Mike Ruins Digital Marketing. He’s going to be great. We’re going to have a talk all about his last blog article. We’re looking forward to having him here, too. Thanks so much and for now, stay on point.


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