Be Smarter, Not Louder: Choose brains over brawn for both impact and persuasion Posted by Larry Garfield May 16 2017 All Not every brand has huge marketing budgets. And, even if your brand does have a substantial budget, no one wants to invest more than you need to. One of the most essential ways to improve strategy, targeting, and overall marketing performance today is by mastering digital marketing — media of course, but also all of the touchpoints that contribute to the buyer’s journey and the most effective brand experience. In today’s data-driven, digitally led world, marketing organizations are spending more on their websites, digital commerce and digital advertising more than any other categories. These top three categories of 2016 illustrate that, according to Gartner, while digital has become integral to all marketing activities, pure digital marketing investments remain a top priority. Factors contributing to the digital advertising increase include a continuing and consistent shift of offline media spending to digital advertising, decline of organic social in favor of paid social and the rising importance of video, which is more expensive than other digital techniques. According to Forrester, “US digital marketing spend will near $120 billion by 2021. Investment in paid search, display advertising, social media advertising, online video advertising and email marketing will pace to 46% of all advertising in five years.” Some valuable facts on the movement toward Smart vs. Loud. Working budgets are giving ground to non-working ones. Marketers are more mature now with capable measurement practices. Meaning there’s less experimentation, and a focus on just what works for their goals. One key: Millennials – consumers between 18 and 35 years old – have settled into a high-spending life stage as they establish careers, homes and families. This is now the largest living generation; it spends collectively $600 billion a year. Brands will need to grow their digital investment in order to connect with these digital natives. Online video will see the most upward mobility. Big and small advertisers alike love the reach and targetability of online video. Spend on online video is up 114% since 2014. Brand advertisers like that online video extends their TV and web reach with marginal incremental costs. Mom and Pop shops feel it gives them a TV-like advertising presence but more affordably than traditional television ads. Consider the entire brand experience: every touch point, from what’s found in a Google search, to initial impressions on the website, to what happens when a form is completed, to social media posts — it’s all accessible, and all contributes to ideas that are formed about your brand. Data can be captured at every stage of this experience, and shared with both humans (primarily sales and service), and ongoing digital interactions to personalize the conversation and make it more relevant. Here are a few other best practices that can maximize the impact of your budget: Make sure your website is optimized for organic search terms. This is a low-cost strategy that will make you much easier to find, and often overlooked by many marketers because it requires specialized skills to identify key terms and build them into the site. Find ways to add “long tail” narrowly-focused search terms — these are usually much lower cost pay-per- click and, if chosen carefully, can pre-qualify your audience. Be somewhat controversial to attract attention: playing it safe in a “sea of sameness” gives your marketing zero chance of standing out from the pack. Take a calculated risk that gets a reaction. Data management and targeting: if you’re focused on a small, well-targeted universe of prospects, make sure your data quality and ability to target are in place. This will allow you to reach more high-quality prospects more easily, leading to qualified leads and higher close rates. Smart leads to Brand Action for our Clients. CloudPay, a leader in global payroll solutions, focused on producing thought leadership and industry insight pieces to help elevate their place and awareness within the global payroll provider industry. With topics ranging from “What the Tumultuous International Landscape Means for Global Payroll” to Understanding Payroll in Israel: What Global Companies Need to Know About Israel’s Payroll System,” CloudPay was able to generate interest and drive Marketing Qualified Leads from key industry personas. Vertex, the tax technology leader needed to reach Global CFOs — a target that’s extremely busy, inundated with marketing messages across all media channels and often are protected by gatekeepers. Breaking through with big brand messages can be time consuming and costly. Working with an industry partner and client CRM data, we delivered a high impact print placement cover wrap on Fortune Magazine, delivered directly to top subscriber matches from the Vertex CRM database. Smarter is out there. We’re always working to find it. When working with our clients, we’ve always favored brains over brawn. Here are some of the things we try to build into every strategy, and every plan. Most efficient paths and choices; can be reviewed in terms of measurability and ways to continue to optimize the spend. Making the complex simple: relevance to the audience means higher engagement and efficiency. Consistency: with smaller budgets, consistency is key — some studies say that it takes exposure to a message eight (8) times before it registers and can be recalled. What are you doing to get smarter? We’re always interested in what you’re doing and ways we can learn and improve.