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Spray & Pray Doesn’t Pay

By July 20, 2021August 12th, 2021No Comments

Digital Disentanglement – Part 3

 “Marketers and their media agencies are addicted to the large quantities and low prices of digital ads. They are buying programmatic ads as if they were shopping at Costco. But what works for toilet paper doesn’t work well for digital ads — that is, if you care about business outcomes and saving money.”

Dr. Augustine Fou, a CMO Network Digital Marketing Researcher

33% of marketers are stuck in the spray-and-pray trap with campaigns heavily focused on Facebook, Google and Amazon ads. And the number of running campaigns they’re managing daily due to A/B/C/D/E/F & G testing causes inefficient spending of marketing dollars. This makes it harder and harder to generate any significant ROI. 

Bottom line: There’s little merit in a spray-and-pray digital media approach. So why are so many marketers falling into this trap?

Why is this happening?

The ‘why’ is very simple. There is an obvious lack of focus on developing a holistic digital strategy. When we’re asked to evaluate a brand’s digital marketing efforts, the first thing we ask them and/or their vendors is to share their current strategy. Sadly, that request is often followed by blank stares or a cookie-cutter approach to a specific channel, promotion overkill and pricing wars that devalue brands left and right. This is a direct reflection of digital marketing’s fragmentation, leaving businesses to accept mediocre results. 

This becomes even more alarming when you consider missed opportunities, like eCommerce accounting for 70% of retail sales in 2020 as a result of COVID-19. New research shows the pandemic has led to new consumer buying habits, and these will continue through 2021 and beyond. It predicts eComm sales will remain high, accounting for an anticipated average of at least 40% of sales (up from 15% pre-COVID).

Simply put, it’s time to rethink your digital marketing strategy.

The Solution

For businesses, strong digital marketing is a lot like case management in healthcare. If you don’t have one party responsible for connecting symptoms to determine a diagnosis and an individualized treatment plan, you’re left with multiple treatments, each focused on improving a single symptom without identifying the root cause. The greatest ROI from digital marketing starts with that same mentality. Take a look at the overall landscape and establish a single plan that prioritizes your greatest opportunity channels. 

With the increased volume of online sales over the last year — and the knowledge this trend will continue through 2021 and beyond — creating a holistic approach to digital is even more important as businesses depend on digital marketing to drive results across every stage of the consumer journey. 

Bottom line: To avoid the spray-and-pray approach, you must start with the development of a strategy and plan, then move into tactics. To ensure you’re developing the right strategy for your business, consider these three simple rules: 

Think Beyond the Consumer That’s Buying Today 

Think about a larger pool of customers: your target audience. A good digital strategy takes a customer-centric approach by connecting all touchpoints where consumers discover, evaluate and buy. Your strategy should consider the acquisition of new customers, retention of existing customers and engagement of inactive customers — coupled with providing the ideal online experience from awareness to purchase which will support customer retention and lead to word-of-mouth recommendations through personal networks. 

Reach MORE of the Right People 

Did you know that the average return on ad spend (ROAS) on Facebook and Google is 4:1 or 400% while the average ROAS on Pinterest is 10.5:1 or 1,050%? Yet Pinterest is often overlooked, because the automatic go-to is still Facebook and Google.  

Pinterest users are active purchasers. They’re on the platform looking for inspiration and brands that will fulfill that inspiration. And 33% of those users purchase a product from a brand they discovered directly on Pinterest. 

Wait! Don’t go running to Pinterest just yet. I’m just using Pinterest as one example of a platform often overlooked, because it’s rarely a top priority. But overlooking it could mean missing out on a great opportunity to connect with your consumer in a meaningful way. 

Develop a strategy that places an emphasis on analyzing more channels against your business goals, the product or service you offer, your customers’ media consumption habits by channel and the actions you’d like them to take. Ensure your strategy also prioritizes channels based on the resources you have, because it’s better to focus on managing 2-3 channels really well than spreading yourself and your budget too thin. 

Content Matters — Think Emotional, Not Logical

This is nothing new. Digital marketers have been telling you “content is king” for years, and this year is no different.  If your strategy spans the entire customer journey, from introducing yourself to new audiences to increasing sales and building loyalty, then your content should as well.

You must establish the right content strategy based on the channels you’ve selected. First,  take the time to identify the purpose each channel serves in supporting your strategy. Then connect that with how your customer is consuming content by channel and the action you’d like them to take. Start by answering these questions:    

  • Why are they on that channel?
  • What’s most important to them? Why do that visit that channel? What are they hoping to accomplish and/or what information are they hoping to gain? 
  • What type of content performs best on that channel (i.e. video, image carousels, inspirational quotes, news and education, etc)?

Finally, use that information to guide content development and tailor your creative so it drives the right actions at each stage. This helps to efficiently move customers from consideration to purchase. 

Want to learn more? We’re happy to help. In the meantime, stay tuned for Part 4: Competing and FOMO.

~Christian Jennings, EVP & Chief Digital Strategist

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