Important Digital Marketing Metrics for CEO’s

Before the advent of big data, marketing functions were largely focused on creating brand awareness through mass-market promotional efforts. Usually, these campaigns would be directed by gut instinct rather than any sort of quantitative analysis. As a result, it was often impossible to derive any insight into the sales growth they brought to the business. Understandably, the lack of clear value offered by these campaigns would often leave CEOs wary about investing in any further marketing.

Over the past decade, however, the landscape has undergone a seismic shift. Gone are the days when scattershot advertising and vague measurements could produce a successful marketing campaign. The introduction of multiple new digital touchpoints in the customer journey has created a far more complex sales cycle and brought a massive influx of data into the enterprise alongside.

In order to make sense of the sheer volume and variety of information now available, CEOs must pay close attention to the marketing metrics which make a real impact on the profitability and competitiveness of their organizations. Here some key digital marketing indicators that every CEO should be keeping an eye on.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

As the name suggests, this metric denotes the average cost of acquiring a new customer. It is calculated by dividing the total marketing and advertising costs (including salary) incurred over a specific time period, by the number of customers acquired over the same period. The ability to directly relate the number of customers acquired to a specific marketing investment has only become possible very recently with the arrival of user tracking tools that can follow a prospect from lead to revenue.

For CEOs, this metric provides the most effective measurement of investment against return, showcasing the actual revenue created by the company’s marketing efforts. If the amount of value generated by promotions and advertising isn’t in line with expenditures, then the campaign will need to be either optimized to create greater sales, or scrapped altogether.

Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)

According to research group Gartner, a mere 20% of repeat customers account for over 80% of business profits, which just goes to show how important long-term customer relationships can be for any organization. In today’s hypercompetitive business marketplace, organizations are forced to dedicate more and more resources towards customer service and retention programs. The efficacy of these investments is clearly shown through lifetime value metric.

The easiest way to calculate the LTV is by taking a sample of customers, and recording their average spending over a set period of time, minus the gross margin. Divide this figure by your retention rate over the period (subtract the number of customers at the end of the period, from the number of customers acquired during the period, and divide by customers at the start of the period). Divide the resulting LTV figure with your CAC, and you can compare the value created by the customers over the period, versus the cost incurred to acquire them.

A value greater than three generally indicates a high ROI on customer investments, but anything over this figure may point towards unfulfilled opportunities for further growth.

Website Traffic

On their own, website traffic figures reveal little about the success of your marketing efforts, after all, without context, a click will not tell you anything about the purchasing intent of the user. However, if you’re able to track your visitors based on traffic sources, then you will be able to develop a much clearer image of which investments are yielding the greatest return.

By identifying whether prospects came to your site via an organic search engine result, a paid advertisement, a social media link, an email referral or a Youtube video you can work to optimize your clearest path to creating conversions.

Conversion Rate

For digital campaigns, a conversion rate measurement based on the number of sales created through referral links will give you directly attributable information about the ongoing success of the campaign. To keep track of this figure, simply divide the number of website visitors gained from the marketing effort, by the number of sales conversions created through the CTAs on your landing page.

Social Media Engagement

Unless you run a massive multinational corporation, and employ every analytics tool known to man, it can be extremely difficult to track conversions directly to social media marketing efforts. According to new research from eMarketer, less than 20% of B2B marketers are able to measure the ROI of their social media campaigns. Simply put, the analytics data provided by these platforms is insufficient to foster any real understanding of the revenue generated by social media marketing.

Yet, any organization would be foolish to overlook the importance of social media in interacting and communicating with established and prospective customers. So how can you derive any insights into the value of your social media presence? Through the only clear metric, you do have available, that is social engagement.

By keeping track of the likes, shares, retweets, and subscriptions generated by your content, you can gauge how successful your online engagement strategies have been in transforming customers into full-on brand advocates.

How Challenger Brands are Succeeding in Marketing

There’s something about an underdog that we all love. Whether rooting for the fictional Rocky Balboa or real-life brick-and-mortar store that’s battling against a big-dog corporation, we often throw our allegiance behind an unexpected victor. It’s psychological. And that’s what challenger brands have found when trying to win over a consumer’s heart.

Challengers take pride in marketing themselves as innovators, hoping to bring change to a highly competitive field while reaching customers who may be loyal to an established corporate giant. Think about the arrival of Uber when taxis were the primary mode of transportation — or how grocery delivery apps now are pitted against standard grocery shopping. While originality is one of the major qualities challengers bring to the table, it’s data-based ads, relatability to consumers, and social media that all act together to garner the attention of the right consumer who will buy a product or service.

Marketing a Product That is New and Innovative

The best challenger brands offer products or services that customers may not already have. Marketing these products as something that consumers truly need to improve an existing experience is one way challengers can convert.

When Uber was founded in 2009, it successfully marketed itself as a better alternative to taxis. Uber offered a new form of transportation that was presented as more convenient and affordable. With a few taps on a phone, users were personally connected with a driver who would pick them up within minutes for a rate that was not dependent on the amount of traffic that might be encountered on a route to a specific destination. Uber found huge success in providing a service that customers didn’t know they needed — until they had it.

Zenni Optical provides a new way to get prescription glasses. If users want to ‘try on’ glasses before purchasing, the Zenni Frame Fit allows users to upload a photo of themselves and virtually try on different frames from a wide selection. From there, shoppers can get glasses delivered to their doorstep without ever having to step foot in a brick-and-mortar store. This challenger in the eyewear industry saw a gap and filled it with an innovative idea.

While Airbnb could be considered a challenger brand when comparing it to the traditional hotel industry, the widely renowned brand that offers stays in people’s homes and apartments now has challengers of its own. Onefinestay insists that it is steadily helping to rectify a possible flaw in Airbnb’s business model by having its staff personally visit a home or villa before it is available for a consumer to rent. The company also advertises itself as a luxury and destination service, helping it stand out in a field where the competition feels endless.

“Challenger brands need to be true to themselves and play to their strengths,” according to Spencer Aull, Senior Paid Search Manager at Wpromote, our marketing agency with the tagline The Challenger Agency. “If your edge is being local, then be local. If your product selection has better depth than it has breadth compared to competitors, then dominate that specific product line. Whatever differentiates the challenger business is what should be differentiated in their ads.”

Relating to Customers on a Personal Level

Large corporations often have a hurdle to overcome when trying to connect with consumers due to the sheer vastness of their audience and brand. That’s where challengers can gain an upper hand. They can succeed in relating to their customer on a more personal level by utilizing a specific generation’s culture, social movement and values.

“By honing in on small, niche, target audiences, challenger brands can leverage highly personalized content in their ads without worrying about pre-existing perceptions of their brand,” says Simon Poulton, Director of Digital Intelligence at Wpromote. “Although larger brands will have a greater awareness across the population, this is a double-edged sword. Larger brands have a stronger degree of ingrained brand perception, making it harder to pivot and launch new initiatives without investing more to re-educate the population.”

Glossier, a skincare and beauty brand that represents itself as “inspired by real life,” has been successful with its personalized ads. In a campaign released on the company’s website and social media channels in September of 2017, Glossier depicted five woman of varied body types to promote its new Body Hero products. By showcasing a more diverse set of physical forms that are not usually presented in the beauty industry, Glossier was able to relate to the self-love and body acceptance counter-culture. This “personalization” in the brand’s online presence was positively received by customers and publications alike.

Within the fashion sphere, influencers including Emma Watson and ethical fashion documentaries such as “The True Cost” have helped spread awareness when it comes to ethical production of clothing. Many challenger brands have responded, including Everlane. This somewhat unknown brand preached transparency by featuring a page on its website detailing information on each of its factories where clothing is made. The company also showcases photos of the working conditions alongside details on how it sources materials. This transparency has helped Everlane stand out among the competition and effectively garner greater attention from consumers by joining forces with a social movement.

In addition to relating with specific movements and ideals, many challengers seek to connect with their targeted generation as a whole. In February of 2016, PayPal released a video ad comparing “New Money,” or its online money transfer service, to “Old Money,” or traditional banking. The ad gained nearly 2 million views and smartly created an identity for a brand that relates to an up-and-coming generation of consumers.

Utilizing Data-Based Targeted Ads

Personalization of ads can also occur on a more technical level. While tools such as cookie tracking exist, challenger brands are taking advantage of additional and traditional marketing techniques including search engine optimization. SEO uses people’s search history as a basis for their online search results and can tailor recommendations for sites a consumer might see.

Digital marketing agencies such as Wpromote can also help challenger companies track people’s online purchase data to target ads at potential customers who have bought similar products or services. This data-based targeting capitalizes on a person’s interests and can help connect brands to customers who are truly interested in their products and services.

“Personalization is not just an advantage, but a necessity for challenger brands,” Aull says. “Understanding how users made it to their site or app — and what products or services they may be particularly interested in — will help challenger brands determine the right ads to highlight for each potential customer. The better that challenger brands are at meeting people at the right time with the right message, the more useful the information is to potential customers.”

When it comes to providing ads at the right time, location-based ads can do the trick. This tracking system presents ads for businesses in a particular radius, encouraging a customer to visit that business in real life. Location-based ads can be greatly beneficial to a variety of challenger brands — from brick-and-mortar retail stores to restaurants and lesser-known hotels.

Implementing Interactive Marketing through Social Media

As influential as social media can be for larger brand names, it is even more influential for challenger brands. While many corporations can feel stagnant and impersonal in their social media postings, challengers have truly stepped up their game when it comes to Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter.

The women’s jewelry and accessories retailer Charming Charlie has done exceedingly well in connecting with its customers through interactivity. Their website features a #CCSTYLE page where customers can upload photos of their Charming Charlie purchases — be it jewelry, handbags, eyewear, scarves or shoes — and show off their personal styles. The retailer also encourages shoppers to post photos with the same hashtag on their Instagram accounts for the chance to be featured on the Charming Charlie Instagram.

Z Gallerie, the furniture and home décor brand, has also stood out on social media with 1 million followers on its Instagram account, challenging many big-name competitors. Not only does Z Gallerie offer an overall sophisticated tone with its photos, but the brand also features giveaways and posts from followers. These simple methods help attract a larger social media following and customer audience.

Marketing a product that is new and original, relating to customers on a cultural level, using data to customize an ad experience and providing an interactive edge in social media are just a few of the techniques challenger brands can employ to compete with larger companies.

5 Key Trends to Inform Your 2018 Digital Marketing Strategy

The new year is fast approaching, and marketers are already looking ahead to determine the direction of their digital marketing campaigns when we enter 2018.

As the digital world is constantly changing, many marketers are wondering if their best move is to stay on their 2017 trajectory, or chart a different path forward.

To help you out, here are five key trends you should consider when developing your 2018 strategy.

Micro-Moments

What are “micro-moments” you ask?

A strikingly familiar action with a less-known moniker. Google defines this term as something “that happens when people reflexively take out a device.” Basically, it’s when you pick up your phone, real quick, acting on this compulsion to learn or discover something. It’s that need to figure out just where you know that actor from, whether a spider is poisonous, and so on.

It has proved that mobile gadgets are major influence in customer engagement and interaction with brands. Countless micro-moments stimulate the impulse to reach out for our mobile phone, from looking up how you might achieve your goal of purchasing a home, to finding out if your local market carries a specific item.

Most of us do this regularly, but research has shown that most people quickly Google information they aren’t sure about. In fact, about 96% use their smartphones to quickly learn new facts or discover key pieces of information.

By providing the right information at the right time to customers in need, successful brands can accurately pinpoint when a micro-moment might occur. The thought here is, that anticipating these needs, no matter how small, can have a lasting impact on customer relationships.

Influencer Marketing

Okay, before you roll your eyes and say, “influencer marketing was huge in 2017, how is this a trend?” Hear us out. Yes, influencer marketing was extremely popular in 2017. For the uninitiated, this term refers to the use of Instagram (and others) influencers to expand the reach of a brand’s messaging.

Capitalizing on the power of word-of-mouth marketing has led to positive results for brands, According to Collective Bias, 70% of millennial consumers are influenced by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions. The same survey found that 30% consumers are more likely to buy a product recommended by a non-celebrity blogger.

Some industry pundits feel that influencer marketing is losing its luster, in part due to the prevalence of fraud or fake followers. The large payment required by some influencers exacerbates the effect of this. That said, advancements in artificial intelligence are helping to identify fake accounts and, as these techniques scale, influencer marketing should continue to gain momentum.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is getting a lot of buzz and won’t be ignored by marketing. According to the Content Marketing Institute, we’ll be seeing AI creep into a long list of marketing applications. As this area continues to mature, here some ways we’ll see an impact sooner rather than later.

Here are a few examples:

  • Email

Email marketing is changing, too. With AI on our side, marketers will be able to do a better job with things like email-personalization, A/B testing, and more. While we’ve been able to pull names and data for a while, AI will soon take our efforts a step further, potentially helping us figure out which messaging is working, and which can be improved upon.

  • Website Personalization

Website personalization takes it a step further, by examining users’ history in your website. From there, it can provide them with relevant content, for wherever they are in the buyer’s journey.

Brands should start experimenting and need to look at AI solutions for marketing right now.

  • Your Digital Assistant

Artificial intelligence can be used to enhance sales, marketing, and customer support.

Brands who adopt early may find AI provides capabilities for cutting costs, accelerating growth, or making things just run more smoothly. Long story short, better to jump onto this next wave in innovation before your competitors

The New SEO

SEO is changing all the time–with the one constant here being change. While new optimization trends are on the horizon, as usual Google’s latest algorithm updates will shake things up for marketers.

Keywords, for example, will require a greater emphasis on natural, long-tail key phrases, optimized for the increasing popularity of voice search—which, as you might imagine, works more like how we actually talk.

Think, “what are the key digital marketing trends coming in 2018?” Versus, “marketing trends 2018.”

Technology is shifting from voice recognition to voice understanding as voice search becomes less frustrating and much more user-friendly. SEO elements like search history, keyword research, location data, and more, will all be affected by this change.

Additionally, search engines are getting a lot better at figuring out what people are looking for when they enter a query into the Google search box.

More users type full queries into search engines, so data and heuristics are collected, giving more targeted results. This year, it’ll be far more important to get into the head of your target audience. Figure out what questions people are asking, and going after those questions with your SEO strategy.

Ad Blocking

Because something like 63% of millennials use ad blockers, marketers must be prepared to allocate their budgets to working around ad-blocking technology.

Because ad blockers are, you know, blocking ads, marketers will need to gain more intel on their customers’ ad viewing habits. A way to kick-start this would be to conduct research with customers to learn whether or not existing ad strategies are effective.

Workarounds include things like social media and influencer marketing—mentioned above, as well as inbound. Embracing inbound practices may be your best bet in getting around ad-blockers altogether.

Advertising with networks like Facebook, Google, Twitter, and even LinkedIn, is a must. All of these platforms are “doing some of the best advertising at the moment” according to HubSpot.

HubSpot notes “each time you index a new page is a new opportunity for search engines to find you,” so blog posts and articles still work to improve the SEO of a website.

Marketers will find that success if possible, despite the popularity of ad blockers. Google has already been filtering out ads they deem annoying to web users—and marketers must do an audit to learn which efforts are no getting through to their audience.

Customer relationships are likely to improve as annoying ads are phased out in favor of better content marketing and engagement, getting rid of disruptive ads that hinder our online experiences.

Closing Thoughts

The scope for different brands and businesses to interact and engage with their target market is as boundless as ever, with digital technology like AI raising its profile. The five key trends outlined above show that much of what lies ahead builds upon existing trends—getting savvier about ad blocking, leveraging influencer profiles, and more.

Digital Marketing Platforms Entrepreneurs Love

In the modern digital marketing landscape, there are countless tech tools and platforms you can use to reach your advertising goals. It’s not always easy to choose the best ones, so we asked eight entrepreneurs to weigh in on the following question:

What is your favorite digital platform for advertising and why?

1. Facebook

As a digital marketing expert, I have been using Facebook advertising for my clients’ businesses for several years. I always go back to Facebook because the platform has very granular targeting to find your ideal target market. No other marketing platform allows for such in-depth capabilities as Facebook. Plus, Facebook is constantly making improvements to have a better user experience.

2. LinkedIn

I like Linkedin for B2B advertising because you can customize the ad and make it highly targeted to a buyer persona. What makes Linkedin unique is that you can target the ad to people’s profession instead of simply what they like on Facebook. This helps B2B companies stay top of mind to the executives they are aiming to target.

3. Quora

We have received a high volume of qualified leads through Quora as they tend to be great, top-of-the-funnel leads at a great price. When combined with remarketing through Facebook and Google, it’s a great way to fill the top of the funnel with inexpensive leads, and then push them down the funnel through remarketing.

4. Google AdWords

Google AdWords is ubiquitous. There’s no way to get serious about digital advertising without going through Google AdWords and many of the lessons you learn from running a tight AdWords campaign will serve you well on other digital advertising platforms.

5. The Google Ecosystem

The reporting and attribution integrations make Google’s advertising products second to none. Many platforms don’t play well together for attribution. Google has unified audience targeting across their stack of products from search display to video so you can understand every customer touch-point and apply the different tactics within the platform.

6. ShareASale

Creating an affiliate program on the ShareASale platform has been one of my favorite ways of advertising. Bloggers and content creators can then make a commission from the sale of my products, motivating them to write about my products and recommend them to their readers.

7. Instagram

Instagram has made its way to be the best advertising platform for sales. It’s all about influence and marketing. If you know who your audience is and there is a product/market fit, then Instagram will help you target that audience and increase your engagement, unlike any other platform. The other platforms require huge ad budgets and give you very little in return.

8. Our Blog

Content marketing has a slow, slow burn. Over time though, it can become the most valuable lead gen source out of any of your marketing mix. All of your content pieces from case studies to white papers build up into a snowball of traffic and leads that continues to perform week over week, month over month, year over year. Good content is at every level of a well-crafted marketing funnel.