Three Steps to Total Marketing Integration

In 2017, we all want balance.

Work–life balance. Kale–ice cream balance. Email marketing–social media marketing balance.

This elusive state is so appealing (and often deemed unachievable) because it negates any form of sacrifice. But what if you really could have your cake and eat it too? What if you could build a smart marketing plan that sometimes favored Facebook but other times email?

Now you can—with integrated marketing.

This marketing approach, as discussed in the 2017 Digital Trends Report, seamlessly combines all forms of brand communication to create a fluid experience for your audience. Warning: This is not too good to be true. Start shifting away from multi-channel messaging and move toward integrated digital marketing with these three actions:

Draw Up a Smart Game Plan

Do you think Tom Brady went into the final possession of the Super Bowl without a strategy? (Well, maybe… but we can’t all be Tom Brady.) Successful marketing integration requires thoughtful planning upfront. When you sit down with your team to hash out the details, address these five points:

Who – Who are you targeting? This is not a time for generalization or vague demographics—your audience will influence the entire campaign strategy.

How – How will you reach this audience? A thorough analysis will help you hone in on the specific channel(s) your audience frequents. Prioritize them accordingly.

What – What will you say? Determine the tone of your content (or even write it all out) so you have a strong grasp of campaign messaging. Note: Be flexible in your execution. Content will always need to be adjusted based on extraneous circumstances, like that hilarious new meme.

Goals – Want to increase awareness by 15%? Increase CTR by 20%? Put those goals in writing.

Budget – How much will this campaign cost? Remember to include room for unforeseen circumstances.

If you want your campaign to succeed, don’t hit the ground running too soon. That onset planning will help you knock those goals out of the park.

Put Your Channels to the Test

From email and digital advertising to social media and mobile marketing—no one channel fits all campaigns. Now that you’ve determined your overall plan, it’s time to track how those individual channels are performing. Make sure you install proper analytics so you can understand the hows and whys behind your outcomes. Then, take note of these KPIs:

Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA) – Which channels generate the highest ROI? CPA measures both the cost to acquire a customer and the revenue impact. By installing a pixel to track customer behavior, CPA answers the question “how much do I need to spend to get a paying customer?”

Click-through-rate (CTR) – Which channels had the highest percentage of people click on a link or advertisement? CTR determines how appealing your ad is to the public. If there is a large discrepancy between CTR and overall conversions, your ad may be misleading, attracting the wrong customers or (most likely) there’s something hindering the checkout process.

Cost-Per-Click (CPC) – Which channels result in the lowest cost per click? When it’s not possible to track conversions (i.e. your customers are making offline purchases, or you can’t set up the pixel to track them), CPC is your slightly less-informative stand-in for CPA.

Customer Qualification – Which channels generate the most qualified leads? This is your chance to ensure your efforts are attracting the right customers (hint: abandoned shopping carts are not a good sign). Note: It’s helpful to dive deeper into data and create a solid lead scoring and grading process.

Lead Time – Which channels have the shortest sales process? Minimal lag time within the conversion process means that channel is an efficient means of communication.

After your channels go head to head, adjust your strategy accordingly to maximizing your ROI.

Perfect Your Messaging

Content is still king. Regardless of campaign logistics, your messaging should be consistent across all channels. Although long-form blog posts are a go-to method for conveying information, if your goal is to stay relevant and consistent in the social media landscape, start creating and promoting micro-content.

Micro-content is just that—shorter, smaller, pieces of content like memes, videos, tweets and anything consumed in under 10 seconds. Micro-content facilitates discussion and increases awareness of your other content (or services), so you can maintain a strong digital presence with less effort than in-depth content. Still, this strategy requires creative designs and clever copywriting to effectively convey your message. Make the most of your micro-content by following these tips per channel:

Facebook – One or two sentences maximum. According to Buffer, Facebook posts with less than 70 characters receive more engagement than lengthier posts. Also, because the general public doesn’t comes to Facebook for text updates anymore (you know it’s true), invest some time designing the visual support. In return, you can see an 87% engagement rate.  

Twitter – Include an image link—or better a GIF. Tweets with images receive double the engagement as those without them. Taco Bell consistently tweets and re-tweets both images and GIFs and, let’s be honest, we love them for it.

Instagram – Post people-centric content. Don’t create a static feed of product images. Rather, show your product in action and humanize your brand. Please, add some emotion (or even the smirking face emoji) to your captions!

Video – Use custom thumbnails. Unfortunately, people still judge books (and videos) by their covers. In order to entice your audience to view your dynamic content, use a compelling image for a thumbnail. If you need another incentive: 90% of the best-performing YouTube videos have a custom thumbnail.

Remember: Less is more. Pack a punch with your headlines, seal the deal with your captions and save the long essay for your website.

You can—and will—have the best of both worlds in 2017. Break away from the omnichannel approach and blend your efforts to create one unstoppable, yet always adaptable, marketing force.

Three Ways to Leverage Deep Data in 2017

In 2017, there’s no excuse for generalizing your audience. Today, advanced technologies allow marketers to gather intimate customer details, making broad demographics a thing of the past. Surface-level personas? That’s so 2016.

As noted in Sparxoo’s 2017 Digital Trends Report, deep data is a hot industry trend for good reason. Unlike big data, going ‘deep’ refers to collecting high-quality information—not necessarily collecting a large quantity of it. By focusing on the smaller information-dense data streams that are applicable to your campaign, you can save time and money while gaining valuable insight into your audience. Win, win and win.

Ready to join the modern-day marketing world? Here are three ways to leverage deep data this year.

Cozy Up with Attribution Modeling Methods

You may know what the attribution model does, but do you know how it works? Didn’t think so. To recap, this model identifies which touch points lead a customer to purchase. From there, it assigns value to each channel and calculates your ROI. Sounds easy — but unfortunately no particular model reigns supreme. So what’s a busy marketer to do with all these options? If working with a marketing automation agency isn’t in the cards for you, start by learning the different models:

Last-Click or Last Interaction Model – gives 100% credit to the last source before conversion.

First-Click Model – gives 100% credit to the first channel within a search session.

Linear Model – credits each channel within the conversion path equally.

Time Decay Model – gives more credit to the channels closest in time to the conversion, but assigns some credit to every stage.

Position Based or Custom Model – allows marketers to split the credit between the Last- and First-Click Models.

There’s a lot of data out there, but not all of it leads to the big bucks. This year, focus on the models that have proven to be successful and reinvest accordingly. Just think of all the time you’ll save analyzing irrelevant (big) data. *Cue the celebration.*

Make Lead Scoring & Grading Work for YOU

In a dream world, everyone would be a target customer. In reality, it’s a waste of time trying to appeal to the masses. Remember: more isn’t always merrier. Your ideal customer is specific. For example, your ideal customer may be a female who’s 25-40 years old, has a college degree, and is in a human resources position at a mid-market company. The next step is to set and assign point values that classify her (and those similar) as sales team-worthy. Let’s dive into lead scoring and grading:

Lead scoring is the process of assigning value to a lead based on their activity as it relates to your brand. In three words: engagement, engagement, engagement. Every move a prospect makes carries a numerical value. The larger the interaction, the higher the number. For example, opening an email about your product might be five points while starting a free trial might be 50 points. To determine what actions are worth, analyze how your previous leads converted to customers. A proper lead scoring model can accurately separate the prospects that are just visiting or researching from the ones that actually want to do business with you.

Lead grading is the process of assigning value to a lead based on demographics, firmographics and psychographics. It’s one thing to be interested in a brand, but it’s another to be qualified to purchase. Lead grading is your chance to rate a prospect. After all, this is a two-way relationship. All leads begin with a low letter grade, such as a D, D-letter grade but can work up to an A+ based on individual markers such as position, authority and location. Those markers indicate a perfect fit for your product or service; the closer the fit, the higher the grade.   

A successful marketing automation strategy will combine both metrics and determine the ideal time and place for the sales team to take over — but only if you’ve mastered the art of a customer profile. Have a chat with your sales team and hash out the details. That way, you can combine past results with current trends to create your perfect prospect persona.  

Embrace the Predictive Modeling Method

Much to your disappointment, the predictive modeling method does not predict the future. We can read your horoscope, though, if that helps. However, when used correctly, it can predict customer buying behavior. By identifying existing patterns in current data, the predictive model provides insight into purchasing patterns. This enables marketers to develop an effective strategy for upsell, cross-sell and next-sell options.   

The predictive model is your secret weapon for growing existing customer relationships and bringing home the bacon. The statistical process gathers previous data and forecasts customer trends so you can predict how much they’ll spend and when they’ll spend it. From there, let your strategy gurus go to work. The results from predictive models can be used to create a customer-centric marketing plan that includes recommending additional (or superior) products at checkout or after purchase — all based on the individual’s behaviors and interests.

The data you want and need is much closer than you think — you just have to swim over to the deep end of the (marketing) pool. The treasure chest is yours for the taking.