It is inevitable that I end up explaining the evolution of the web several times a week. Whether with clients, prospects, peers, family or friends, the web and social media have hit a point of intersection where advertisers and consumers are now in the same dialog. Even Googling and facebooking are terms my seven year old uses regularly.
In times past, the “mother-in-law test” as I called it (no offense, Grandma C.), was a litmus test to determine how simple an idea was. I would just ask, “Would your mother-in-law get that idea?” If the answer was “No.”, then the concept was either bad or overcomplicated. Well, here is my “mother-in-law test” for the state of marketing on the web today, so tell me if I have passed my own test.
Marketing reporting and performance tracking seems like it would be the foundation for any marketing program. But as we talked with clients, prospects, and attendees at many conferences this fall, we find that with all of the marketing options today, many people stand there like a deer in the headlights when asked how they are tracking results.
Not tracking marketing performance is like being on the PGA Tour and not keeping score. You just can’t compete and win without doing it.
Here is a list of six tools for your consideration. Let me preface by saying we define what tools we will use at the beginning of each campaign and these only represent a few that we leverage most often. Also, not everything is easily tracked in one solution, so we often take reports from various formats and pull up our old-school friend, Microsoft Excel, to build custom dashboards based on the client’s specific data views.
It seems that marketing budgets fall into two camps these days: I cut my budget because why throw good money after bad. Or, I am spending a lot less but I still getting no immediate results. It has been said that we create the worst of habits in the best of times and I think the “good ole’ days” of the early 2000’s have given us a microscope instead of a telescope. What I mean by this is marketing, like wise investing, should be done with the long-term in mind, not the short-term. Placing every marketing decision under a microscope when we know times are tough is like watching your 401k bounce around everyday. In the end, you create a lot of anxiety and are so short-term focused that we often begin to make emotional decisions because we need some instant gratification. And if the dollar did not move the needle in 30 days, then it was a dollar wasted.
I am not sure where the sources are for this but it is a great social media video I found posted on Facebook by Amy Wood (http://www.carolinascw.com/theribbit) that really begins to quantify the power of social media. We still talk to too many clients, friends, and even peers that question the longevity of the social media platform but I think this should make everyone realize it is here to stay. If you have any other great stats please share those as well, and their sources.
After 13 years of involvement with all aspects of marketing and web development, it seems the three-legged stool of Web development is getting a lot less wobbly and consumer habits, client needs and agency services seem to be far more in sync. Until the last 12-18 months, it always seemed that getting all three of these constituents aligned was difficult because everyone had competing agendas. Agencies wanted portfolio work, consumer habits were still segmented by demographics, and clients were confused. Enter social media.
Not that social media has fundamentally changed everything but it is a pink elephant in the room that got all three parties staring at the same thing. And if you look at what it has done, it has created two expectations from consumers that have forced the hands of clients and their agencies: transparency and real-time content.
So with the tighter budgets that most marketing managers are facing today, it seems that every call we get leads to a discussion on improving the user functionality, management capability, and ROI of their online efforts.
Here are 5 things that we are doing that clients seem to be responding great to these days.
It is far more economical to turn prospects into customers than it is to create new prospects, so your existing database should be a primary focus at all times. And while you’re at it, why not take the time to review your processes and make sure that your data has the utmost integrity and can be fully leveraged as things begin to turn. After all, we create the worst habits during the best of times, so now may be time to hunker down and really get your processes refined and your data cleaned up.
Regardless of the strength of your CRM system, it is critical to understand that the people involved in the process will be the key factor in the integrity and accuracy of the data the system provides. When I was a CRM Consultant, we asked our clients to make sure that all parties involved hold the integrity of the data to the highest priority. Without accurate data, the accuracy of your system is flawed.
So here are six easy buckets of information that you need to be collecting.
We just concluded an alumni awareness effort last week for Furman University called http://www.DoNotCallMeAtDinner.com that leveraged database marketing and social media to create a new approach to alumni relations. Although all of the results are not yet tallied, we had some insights that we wanted to go ahead and share.
The campaign was designed to create alumni awareness and increase participation with Furman University alumni while raising funds through online donations. Like most universities, Furman has a Spring Call-a-Thon that yields predictable results but is perceived as an annoyance to many donors. This year the approach was to attack that philosophy head-on and promise not to call alumni at dinner if they made an online gift by May 15, 2009. A parody of the famous Apple/PC television spots was used to help drive home this point.
The success of the campaign was measured on the increased participation from the 90s and 2000s classes of alumni that have historically had lower participation rates in traditional campaigns.
The only guarantee we have about marketing in today’s resort real estate climate is change. The market has changed. The buyer has changed. Will it ever change back and if so will we market the same way? I am not sure and do not intend to make any grand projections other than the pendulum swings in both directions and God is not making any more dirt. So my assumption is like most cycles, these tough times will change. And marketing has and will continue to change with it.
Daniel and Tresh Crosby are very dear friends of ours and have a child, Cullen, with special needs. On January 23, 2009 Tresh set up a Facebook Group called CULLY’S VOICE – Therapy Works for Special Needs Children and when I received the invitation that day over 200 people had already signed on. Her mission was to create awareness for a Tefra Medicaid cut that limited the access to physical, occupational and speech therapies for special needs children. In just 10 days over 1,250 people have joined on to show support
“Let us prove to the world,” wrote William Bernbach in his 1949 manifesto for the “creative revolution,” “that good taste, good art, good writing can be good selling.”
This is from an article on AdAge.com about the best ad campaigns of the century that I stumbled on when trying to find a little needed inspiration.
I think this is a timely reminder of where we came from. Before the days of google and SEO, or even Apple and Photoshop, we were a people of great ideas. An industry driven by a purpose. And that purpose was to sell. I can’t remember who said it but “No one makes a dime until someone sells something” has always rang true to me. Driven to work all day and stay up all night, kick and scream and fight over the good and bad, we have always been driven by the power of a simple idea. And most of the time, the simplest of ideas are the hardest to find.
These great ideas were not created without effort, or without