1bridgingIn the recently published e-book „The Integrated Marketing Playbook“ by Filip Lauweres of IgnitionOne talks about the trends which will be key for bridging gaps in integrated marketing. He says that „going from the Internet to your website and from there to conversion is about bridging gaps. Every step of the way, people are dropping out of the funnel and “great marketing” will convince them to stay. The next step in bridging gaps is ensuring that websites deliver concrete performance. Digital marketing strategies must convey relevant content and facilitate dialogue with customers pro-actively without increasing spent. The trends personalization and interaction will be key.“

Enjoy the summary of this part of the 82-page e-book:

Active personalization through behavioral targeting is the first key element

Because of the near-infinite variety of content available online, customer engagement becomes increasingly important. Providing “sticky” content is not enough anymore; matching this sticky content to the individual website visitor is becoming a necessity.

The right content, delivered at the right moment and to the right audience, will be one of the leitmotifs of the e-future. More and more websites are adopting their content not only in line with the declared interest of web visitors but also based on their un-declared or “behavioral” input. This is done by analyzing the history of the online behaviors of an individual or a group of people and by observing their behavior in real-time. Using this data, websites today can pre-determine the true, undeclared interests of the website visitors.

If used in a proper way – in line with privacy laws – this approach is highly beneficially for the online audience. Behavioral targeting can be used to show the right audience a specific white paper, product information or video. But behavioral targeting does not end there. It’s also used to assist with analyzing the vast amount of data generated with social, search and display advertising campaigns.

This analysis is called “engagement optimization” and is based on a combination of conversion and engagement metrics of a visitor (behavioral analysis), created to empower marketers to move beyond last-click attribution. This encourages key decision makers to gain true insights on how to attribute the correct credit across search, display, Facebook, email and affiliate visits before making decisions.

The result of active personalization – when used in advertising or site optimization – is generating a much better user experience and more repeat visits to companies’ websites. In other words, the results are higher customer engagement and more conversions.

Cross-channel interaction

Though people do increasingly more things online, it is the blend of the digital marketing with the offline marketing – ‘the clicks and the mortar’ – that really helps companies get the most out of their websites. Keeping this in mind, and combining it with technologies such as behavioral targeting, will be the core of successful business websites in the future. New and smart technologies, such as behavioral targeting, can be used to blend online interactions with real-world, human interactions.

By connecting digital to the right “real life” interaction channel, like a paper brochure, an instant messaging chat or a phone call, websites will become what they should be - a business tool that brings return on investment.

Get more, do more, learn more optimization

In „The Integrated Marketing Playbook“, Eric Carlyle, Chief Knowledge Architect at IgnitionOne also writes about optimization, and we didn‘t want to keep the following from you. Eric writes that the first step to reach success is to get more out of the current situation before spending more money. To do this there must be a reduction in waste. For example, if someone sees four ads and they buy, but would have bought after seeing just two, then you wasted two ads. The second way to reduce waste is to spend less on ads. In addition to publishing two ads instead of four, is it possible to buy a retargeted display ad cheaper than a homepage takeover? The third is aligning the message in the channel with the message on the website to drive conversion increase and streamline the conversion funnel.

The last and most critical goal is based on responsiveness to move budgets in response to change. Fluidity is vital for integrated marketing success. This means that marketers have to eliminate pride and turf wars around budget size. Bigger is not always better by any means in this case. Team members should be awarded for finding opportunities to give their budget to others. It’s a reversal in traditional thought of greater success equals more budget. For integrated marketing success, the more budget that can be reallocated to a central pot to be used as best suited in other channels shows a reduction in waste and inefficiency. Through incentives, marketing leaders can get their teams excited to change their mentality. And in many cases it may be necessary to eliminate channel owners all together to drive this change.

Here are three best practices in aligning a marketing organization:

  • Reduce waste: Bigger budgets are nothing to be proud of; reduction and elimination of wasted media should win the highest accolade on the team.
  • Reward the best role for media: There is one exposure that will end up converting the visitor. If all the different types of media try to score, their attempts may block each other from getting the goal. Focus on the most likely converting combinations of media and strive to increase its occurrence.
  • Recycle ideas of messaging: The customer’s position in the conversion funnel will determine how strong the call to action is, but the creative, tone and voice need to be consistent to build the brand. Integrated markets include both data and art. Reward consistency in advertising that is appropriate for the position in the purchase funnel.

Where to begin with optimization

Once marketers have established their goals, determined their targeting, created their marketing assets, and implemented their measurement and attribution profile, the process of optimization can begin. Optimization is the tactical process of matching the returns of a marketer’s assets to the cost of those assets, so as to achieve the stated goals. Optimization brings goals to reality.

Obvious to all practitioners is the fact that at the end of the day, no matter how fantastic your strategy, creative and targeting efforts have been, if you have not paid the correct amount for your exposures, you will not reach your goals. And, optimization is tactical. Despite the tens of millions of dollars invested by ad tech companies in developing their sophisticated systems and the thousands of media analysts and managers dedicated to optimization, it is fundamentally a routine process. Match your returns to your costs, rinse and repeat.

At its core, optimization is the “blocking and tackling” of your marketing campaign and is the raw manipulation of the levers provided by your media sources. The line separating good and poor optimization processes is most often delineated by two factors:

  1. how effective the process is to finding and extracting value from a set of assets (is the campaign performing the best it can be?); and
  2. how much time and effort does it take to maintain the process (how complicated is the system?).

Optimizing in silos

Unfortunately, within siloed (or non-integrated) campaigns, the tactical process of optimization can be deteriorated across both of these factors. Muddled or conflicting goals, poor measurement and attribution, or channel ‘tunnel’ vision, can result in inefficient optimizations, which sub optimally allocate dollars between and within media channels. Likewise, the process of optimization can become time consuming, prone to channel “turf wars” and frustrating; ultimately robbing marketers of the bandwidth for more strategic and high-value initiatives.

Tearing down the silos

Integrated marketing campaigns, though, are much less fraught with these deficiencies. Within an integrated marketing campaign, optimization can be effectively simplified and easily coordinated by focusing on Marginal Return Analysis - the process of identifying the benefits and costs of different alternatives by examining the incremental effect on total revenue and total cost caused by a very small (just one unit) change in the output or input of each alternative.

Marginal Return Analysis supports decision-making based on marginal or incremental changes to resources instead of one based on totals or averages.

Marginal Return Analysis seeks to answer two basic questions:

  1. What was the marginal return of the last unit of cost spent?
  2. Where should one invest the next unit of marginal spend that will lead to the highest marginal return?

Asking these two simple questions, optimization can be performed against any media channel and even between channels.

The point is not to prefer conversion optimization above trafficking, but to take a holistic view as a marketer. Putting media and conversion optimization in silos will lead to a sub-optimal allocation of marketing budget. To start with, there should be one budget, one responsibility and one integrated technology. Each company will discover which starting point works best, whether it is on the media side or conversion side.

Bridging the Gap- Advertising, Conversion Optimization and Marketing Automation: IgnitionOne Webinar

By MediaBUZZ