Advertising has always been a numbers game. It’s about return on investment – how much new sales are generated from an advertising campaign, and how does that affect the bottom line. We recently took a closer look at why there’s been such a major shift in marketing dollars towards online since advertising on the web became mainstream. Some will likely argue that the huge increase in online advertising has to do with the public become more and more comfortable with online purchases, but we feel that the answer is fundamentally simpler than that. Online advertising is gaining so much ground because it allows you to be a better marketer.
That’s it. From customer awareness, to customer retention, there is no offline medium that can match the effectiveness, and targeting that online advertising provides. Here’s why:
When we look at the buying cycle, and attribute traditional advertising mediums to the part of the cycle that they are mostly sitting in you’ll see a trend. Traditional advertising focus almost entirely on the top of the scale – it covers Awareness and Interest, but when it comes to further down the cycle, it’s surprisingly inept. Even more surprising is when you take a look at the costs involved in a majority of the Awareness advertising platforms. Television, Radio, Billboards are some of the most expensive avenues marketers can go for, but when compared to the online alternative, Display ads are some of the cheapest ads available online. Why is it that a platform like billboards, a medium that has incredibly little to offer marketers in targeting, carries the highest price? Even better yet, why are marketing companies still forking out billions a year on billboards?
The short answer is, they think it works. The right answer is that money could be put to better use to better ads that are actually targeted.
Let’s look at an example – a national ad campaign for running shoes.
Okay, we’ll first off we’d likely target billboards in a number of communities where healthy lifestyles are encouraged, we would also want ads on television and possibly radio in these areas (Awareness). Next we’d want to sponsor some role-model worthy athletes to wear our logo, and shoes, and likely get them to do some ads for us endorsing our product (Awareness). We’d do some product testing, and show up at running conventions, and running events and allow customers to provide feedback (Interest, Consideration). We’d have our shoes available for sale in major shoe retailers, amongst a whole bunch of other shoes, and may purchase specific retail space for our shoes (Interest, Consideration). We may offer a money back guarantee, or shoe points to customers who sign-up, but this is not as important as the other stuff.
First, we’d talk to some influential bloggers and forums in the area of our product, and send them samples of our product to test and mention on their site. We’d build our own website with information on our products, videos that also sit on youtube, and full social media profiles (Awareness, Interest). We’d start running display ad and videos campaigns across the web and mobile devices by targeting keywords in website content, and categories like ‘fitness’ (Awareness, Interest). We’d get analytics on our website and enable comments/reviews to see what content people are viewing the most, what they like, what they don’t, and facilitate getting feedback on how to improve (Consideration, Retention). We’d run remarketing campaigns to visitors of our site that are designed to encourage them to make a purchase based on their previous on site behaviour (Interest, Purchase). We’d develop keyword search campaigns around our product to help people not only find information/reviews/ratings, but find out where to purchase them(Consideration, Purchase). We’d actively engage with customers for product issues and feedback on future improvements (Retention). We’d develop e-mail lists and segment them by if they have made a purchase or not and gear messaging to them through this (Interest, Consideration, Retention). We’d run follow-up campaigns to garner repeat sales and feedback (Retention). We would develop a loyalty program (Loyalty).
You can easily see how the web offers you a much broader variety of marketing mediums to choose from for hitting customers on all aspects of the buying cycle.
This is truly smart marketing, and it’s why we’re in the business of online marketing. Still wasting dollars on ad campaigns that you’re not sure are even working? We can help take you a new level.