Why are marketers still breaking the first rule of marketing?

Source: MarketingTech

Now that the end of the year is in sight, many marketers will look back and review the flurry of activity that was 2018. GDPR. Fighting for budget. New platforms. Avoiding potential crises. Metrics. More metrics. 

It’s been a busy year – and for that reason, it’s arguably forgivable that the majority of digital marketers today are still breaking the very first rule of marketing: build the brand.

Digital marketing gives us access to a vast plethora of tools for communication, but many organisations are still getting it wrong and annoying customers and prospects, advertising products that consumers already own, or the same product, repeatedly, across different platforms. This unambiguously and actively damages the brand. Often, this is because digital marketing tools, which usually provide what are believed to be good metrics, drive marketers towards conversion when they should be nurturing.

Of course, the mid-funnel is the mountain stage of the tour de marketing; it’s tough. It’s easy with a new prospect because you don’t know much about them, and it’s easier when they convert because they’ve just bought something, which gives you something really tangible to work with. The middle stage, where a buyer has expressed an interest, visited the site, put something in their trolley and then moved on, is ambiguous and difficult.

This is further complicated by the fact that most marketers still can’t do one-to-one marketing. They work with segments, email addresses and cookies. None of these are real, individual people – or in fact, often they’re the same person across multiple devices. As such, this makes it much more difficult to build a relationship with the people you’re aiming to target. Furthermore, it makes it difficult to justify yourself at the other end as well, because you can’t trust your metrics. In a perfect world, all advertising should generate a measurable, incremental return above and beyond your average brand performance, and should be personalised to a genuine individual, building brand value. But how do we do this?


I’m not a number, I’m a free man!  

In today’s post-GDPR world, we can’t track comprehensively against people’s names – and respecting consumer privacy is, rightfully of the utmost importance. However, we can maintain privacy by tracking against pseudonymised IDs, which allows us to create individual profiles that contain an understanding of what that person is interested in, their age group, their life events, how much they might earn and so on.

Once you’ve got this in place, you then need a healthy dose of human intelligence and – perhaps more surprisingly – manners. My mother always told me, ‘you’ve got two ears and one mouth. Listen for twice as long as you speak!’ Digital marketing is exactly the same – if you can refrain from shovelling product down a consumer’s throat, you’d be surprised by how well they react. In fact, our own research has shown that 56% of consumers click on an ad to find out, yet only 2% click to make a purchase.

Moreover, it’s important to build up this information over time: if your best friend forgets the name of your child, you’ll likely be a bit offended and it will have damaged the relationship. If they remember your wedding anniversary, that’s bonus points. In marketing terms, it builds incremental value.

So, what does this mean for marketing campaigns? It means that we need to use the intelligence we have. For example, if someone buys a sale item at a particular discount, we should advertise follow-up items within a similar sale bracket. If they belong to the VIP club, don’t advertise discounted products to them – instead, promote the benefits of the VIP club and more brand-led communications, reinforcing the prestige of the brand.

Technically, this does require some legwork; if you use different DMP and DSP technology, for example, then it’s really hard to unify the data and make sure that everything is working together. It’s much easier to use one platform that can ‘talk amongst itself’ and leverage the data collected in other parts of the same system.

What does a 1,400-year-old Zen proverb have to do with digital marketing?  

Similarly, there are a few other considerations that marketers need to take into account. Whenever you’re experimenting with new approaches, you need to do ‘test and control’, but not everyone does this right. For example, it’s important to:

  • Have clean samples; you can’t do test and control if one (or more) of your samples is actually the same person on different devices
  • Continue testing over a long period of time. Any one test can be unreliable because of seasonality changes, sales patterns, new technology and more. Good marketers watch trends and don’t generalise from anecdotes
  • Use machines to randomise the samples. Humans are intrinsically biased towards success, whereas machines can help to make sure the test is valid

As the Zen proverb says “if you wish to see the truth, then hold no opinions” – and this is exactly what test and control does. It will show up very quickly if you’re serving ads to the wrong group or to fraudulent accounts – and similarly, if you do it right, and you serve the right ads to the right people, then you will see a return. One case we have seen – the well-known retailer Dune – showed an improvement in customer value of +64% over a fifteen-month period, and drove up conversion rates by 33%, allowing the marketing team to show a real benefit to the ecommerce team.

So, when you’re wrapping up 2019 and setting your New Year’s Resolutions, make it a priority not to break the first rule of marketing.  By communicating in a smart fashion, using the tools at your fingertips, you can finally be objective and constantly build on your knowledge because you’ll know it’s rooted in fact, not guesswork and segments. Furthermore, you’ll know that you’re improving the brand, because you’re building long-term relationships – and even better, that you’re building long-term revenue too.

11 Agency Payment Models That Make Sense In The Modern Marketing Landscape

Source: Forbes.com

Determining pricing structure is often one of the most difficult tasks for a service-based business. Product-based businesses can easily quantify the cost of making, storing, displaying and shipping goods, but the intangible nature of creative agency work often means that campaign metrics determine your firm’s value and worth to a client.

There are several different viable billing methods, including hourly rates, retainer fees and results-based payments. But which makes the most sense in the current industry landscape? We asked members of the Forbes Agency Council what they think is the most logical payment model for modern agencies. Their best answers are below.

1. Creative Payment Models Based On Campaign-Specific Metrics Different campaigns have different objectives, and based on these objectives, marketers measure success differently. Be objective and transparent while understanding your place in the market. If the campaign’s objective is to increase awareness, then impressions are a great way to measure success. However, if you are marketing to existing customers, success metrics differ. –Ahmad KarehTwistlab Marketing 2. Multi-Channel Attribution Last-click attribution models are obsolete. If you are providing value, you need to have a multi-channel approach and attribution model. Marketers should be paid for the quality of the execution of their services. If the results are there, you will retain their services. If they aren’t, you won’t. – Adam Stone, Octane Marketing 3. Cost Per Transaction (CPT) Tracking marketing dollars to sales dollars is the advertiser’s definite right. Phony metrics like CPM, PPC, CTR and CPA are wasting $37 billion a year, which, according to Proxima, equals 60% of annual digital marketing spend. We should leverage technologies that enable CPT. Last click destroys the top of the marketing funnel. –Susan Akbarpour, Mavatar Technologies, Inc. 4. Flat Rate For Defined Deliverables We charge customers based on a set of deliverables. Paying for results or by the hour would be outrageous for the client. We’re marketers, not contractors. A set of deliverables lays out the scope of work an agency is willing to do and what results should be expected. Any other payment system would see agencies completing work outside of their contract. –Kristopher JonesLSEO.com 5. Flat Fee Based On Media Spend And Engagement At Wpromote, we want to be held accountable to the core metrics that drive the business that we can affect. We have found it simplest to be paid based on the size, scope and complexity of the client’s marketing efforts. This boils down to a fee based on the amount of spend in paid media, and flat engagement fees for earned and owned media. –Michael MothnerWpromote 6. Revenue Generated I would argue there’s only one metric for determining a marketing campaign’s success: revenue generated. The notion or expectation that all or even half of marketing campaigns will be successful is ludicrous. Behind every great marketing team, there are hundreds of campaigns that fell flat. There’s just as much value in learning what doesn’t work as what does. – Kyle Kramer, Huify 7. Flat Rate Plus Bonus Payments For Campaign Results Even the best campaign will not yield the desired results if there’s friction when a potential customer engages with a representative, or if there’s an unpredictable event that causes the market to shift. At the same time, not all revenue growth can be attributed to a single campaign. Ideally, clients should pay a bonus if a substantial lift in revenue can be directly attributed to the campaign. –Jessica GonzalezInCharged 8. Cost Per Lead At Best Company, we specialize in sending qualified leads to companies, and have found that a cost-per-lead model typically results in a win for both parties. We agree to target certain acquisition costs for clients, which also creates an incentive for them to convert because they’re paying us earlier in the funnel. –Jeff GroverBestCompany.com 9. A Model That Works Backwards From Your ‘North Star’ Metric Pricing should be the last item to be reviewed. Define the campaign goals and North Star metric. When a goal is clearly defined (i.e., qualified leads, reach, links, etc.), work backward. Find costs involved with hitting that metric (i.e., landing page creation, paid content placement, coding). Determine what margins are necessary to be profitable as an agency. –Andrew MillerWisePrime 10. Pricing Based On Full-Funnel Results It’s important to focus on the entire funnel: The bottom is short-term success and the top is long-term value. Focusing too much on direct response doesn’t give you the full picture, but ignoring conversion rates entirely is not the answer either. You want to find an agency that applies the right balance and determine a pricing structure from there. –Eric DahanOpen Influence 11. Service-Based Payment Most agencies should be paid for the time that it takes to service a client account. Variances related to the value of the outcome derived from the service, or the skill sets associated with the service itself, should trigger a performance incentive or impact the rate associated with the time. –Mike SkeehanSalted Stone, Inc.