Tag Archives: marketing

The B-Word: Budget

There is one thing I have learned during my time as a marketer – we love spending money. Come Q4 we get out our excel sheets, analyze yearly ROI, and put together our best proposal to have an increased budget for next year. Oftentimes, our hopes fall short and we must find creative ways to do more with less; an experience that is quite common across all industries, verticals, and companies. With an increased expectation for success and a limited budget, we must put together a solid business case as to why our marketing department deserves the budget to match the high demands of the company.

While at the Gartner Digital Marketing Conference I attended a session by Laura McLellan, VP of Marketing Strategy at Gartner, who spoke about ways to fund and justify incremental marketing budgets. The main gist of this presentation is that marketers need to take a closer look at their budget to see what functions they are supporting, how it aligns with yearly goals and what needs to be changed for success. Here are some top takeaways from this session:

Marketing Budgets Must Align with Corporate Goals: From one year to the next it is not uncommon for company goals to change significantly. With buyouts, mergers, acquisitions, new executive management and better internal alignment, the expectations of the marketing department can evolve rapidly. With changing goals, you need a budget to match. If you request a 25% increase in budget from last year, make it known exactly why it is needed to achieve the goals asked of you. Defend your budget.

Share Budgets with Other Departments: As you look at your budget in detail, note how many items marketing shares with other departments. A great example here is the company website as it is instrumental in helping other departments meet their goals, such as sales, customer service, IT, business/brand units, etc. Instead of taking all of the costs for design, implementation, execution, hosting, and necessary integrations/updates, make a case as to why this needs to be shared with other departments. This applies to all types of services, software, and platforms that may be currently paid for by marketing, but should be more fairly split across the board.

Prove Your Worth: According to the session, three items are needed for marketing to be effective. First, the success measurements must align with the c-suite. Make sure you understand exactly what is being asked of marketing and that you are reporting in a way that is easily understood by your executive team. Second, the marketing itself needs to be effective. The numbers and statistics do not lie. If a campaign is not providing you with value, drop it. Finally, scrutinize over the final level of detail. For example, do you have the ability to barter or partner with a company? Is it better to buy the service you need, or build it?

Just as marketers are guardians of the brand, we are defenders of the budget. I was always taught that you can have anything you want in life, you just have to clarify what you need, make a plan, and ask. While it may be difficult to begin the process of understanding the state of your budget, it is the first step down the path of securing the funds you need to achieve your goals.

My Royal Summer Comes to an End

In my last week at the IgnitionOne UK office, I have found myself full of emotion. Working in England this summer, I was enriched with the culture, diversity, personality, and strange wit of the British. They humored and spoiled me. They were among the most wonderful people I have ever met. As I sit in the office, I look around at the people, not just as employees, but as best mates.

My experience at IgnitionOne has taught me so much about digital marketing and media in the UK and abroad. I was fortunate enough to work with our marketing teams around the globe (the UK, US, Brazil, Belgium, France and Germany). The people have strong personalities and ambitions to get the job done in the most efficient way possible. In such a difficult job with so many tasks to complete each day, never have I met so many people who put their whole hearts into their work and devote themselves to making sure the company succeeds.

During my time here, I compiled case studies and onesheets, learned InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Excel, wrote blog posts each week for IgnitionOne’s Digital Marketing Suite, edited multiple PowerPoint decks, contributed to the Quarterly Newsletter, prepared and entered various award entries, assigned leads on Salesforce, and organized and held Marketing meetings. It was rewarding to see my efforts pay off (for instance, IgnitionOne recently received news on being shortlisted for the Digital Entrepreneur Awards, which I helped submit).

My favorite part of my internship experience was working with the team to rebrand IgnitionOne and implement a new look and feel to all of our collateral, websites, etc. It was fascinating to see the progression from the old to new and I am proud to have contributed to the shift.

In my time spent in England, I have learned to understand various forms of the British accent (some I still struggle with more than others). I have managed to cope with the bi-polar weather, or rather, I just carry an umbrella and thick sweater on me at all times. I will always remember my weekend adventures, not only in London, but all around England. I travelled to Bath, Avebury,  Brighton, and Oxford. In London, I visited all the markets, saw all the major buildings, and walked in the most beautiful parks I have ever seen in a city. The people I have met on this journey are those I will never forget. They now own an extremely large part of my heart.

As my internship ends, I will leave England with so much professional growth and personal development from a summer ventured alone in London. I feel more prepared for the professional world than ever before, thanks to the internship and the constructive feedback gained from my coworkers. I may have come here on my own, but I am leaving with over thirty friends for a lifetime. Summer 2014 was filled with new skills learned and memories that will last forever.

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Weekly News Roundup

IgnitionOne Redesigns DMS Analytics With Focus On Heat Maps, Speed

IgnitionOne announced an update to the Analytics solution within the Digital Marketing Suite this Thursday. The tool will help marketers improve their workflow and increase reporting speeds. DMS Analytics will add to IgnitionOne’s platform of simplification in the online marketing and advertising industry.

Good Advertising is Good Storytelling

Every successful brand has good storytelling. Where to place the stories is a hard task, in addition to deciding where to spend money. Telling the story on all the platforms they can afford is the ideal situation. “The essence of that story should be a point of difference that is effectively dramatised.” This article notes that it is where (read: digital channels) the stories are told that is critical.

Paid Search Pays Off in a Bigger Way for Online Retailers

Paid search continues to dominate the digital advertising world. The National Retail Federation and Forrester Research Inc. released a report that showed that 76% of e-retailers said the paid search drove up more sales than the year before. 99% of the respondents said that they allocated some of their budget to some sort of PPC advertisements. However, display was also a factor in many companies marketing strategies. 77% of respondents said they spent more on display this year than they did last year. It is exciting to see the growth of digital marketing and how greatly it has changed the marketing world.

Facebook’s Revenue Soars 61% On Mobile Ads

Mobile advertising took off for Facebook, so much that it increased their revenue up 61% since last year. That is $2.91 billion, where active mobile users grew 40%. The mobile industry has continued to make Facebook boom, as it holds the second highest spot after Google in mobile ad earnings. It is evident that Facebook holds itself high on the pedestil for gaining ad performance.

Mobile-Ad Spending Leaps, but Trails User Growth

Mobile ad spend is predicted to gain a much higher outcome and get more money from advertisers than ever before. The article claims that the spending on smartphones and tablets combined will reach 83% and $18 billion in 2014. On the contrast, Newspapers will generate $17 billion, bringing radio at $15.5 billion. industry experts are advocating for marketers to gear their ads towards the mobile world, and focus less on print sources. “As the measurement tools develop, industry experts say marketers will become increasingly comfortable with shifting more money to mobile.”

Mobile Marketing Trends Dominating First Half of 2014

The number of smartphone users is expected to reach 1.75 billion by the end of 2014. There have been some key trends in mobile marketing that came along with this increase of smartphone users. A few key trends have been geo-targeting, the use of micro-content, emails shifting towards mobile first and personalisation of mobile. Sooner, rather than later, mobile will be the number one platform on which companies advertise on.

Most Companies Expect CMO to Lead Digital Transformation

When going through a digital transformaiton, 54% of companies believe it is up to the Cheif Marketing Officer to get the job done efficiently. “The role of marketing is bigger than just awareness and discovery, it’s about the relationship,” said Brian Solis. Companies need to know how to implement their technology in a way that is easy to understand for the marketers.

Mobile Programmatic 101: The Potential (And Challenge) of Mobile

The programmatic ad market is set to grow from $12 million to $32 million in 2017. Adults in the United States are averaging spending two horus and fifty-one minutes each day on their mobile devices. One challenge that mobile poses is the tracking mechanism, seeing as there is no universal cookie that can be used in the mobile environment.

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Source: Shade of Info

The Beginning of My Royal Summer

I am best known in my group of friends for having the travel bug. My desire to work abroad started last summer with living and working in Tel Aviv, Israel. As incredible as the experience was for me, this summer, I wanted to work in a particular field that I believed was one that could be my future career. Upon attaining a position as a Marketing Intern at IgnitionOne, the idea was to get me overseas again to create another international experience. This time, I hoped to go to the brilliant and witty city of London. After receiving a large scholarship that would fund my internship in London, I immediately bought my plane ticket, booked my housing, and budgeted for my food and other personal expenses. It was truly a dream come true. I could not have asked for a better opportunity to get me into the world of international business. I spent two weeks living at home and working at IgnitionOne’s New York City headquarters, receiving training from the Marketing Director, Joseph LaSala, and learning about the product. I then took what I call a “short (six hour) flight” to the UK (I have only ever done eleven hours to Israel).

I arrived on a Sunday and started my first day at the London office on Monday. I had never experienced jet lag as bad as I did my first week here. The office was consumed by large country flags from around the world hung up against the windows. Vibrant music was playing in the background and employees were laughing over their cups of tea. The atmosphere was relaxed and I felt very comfortable as I got accustomed. It is a much smaller office than in NYC, but quite pleasant. I was introduced to each of the company’s divisions through multiple meetings. The company thrilled me. I was learning so much about IgnitionOne and all that their platform offers in the digital marketing world. In addition, the people in the office are probably the most wonderful employees I have ever worked with. The work culture is very different in the UK compared to the US, enhanced with a European attitude and casualness. There is so much enthusiasm in the work they do, but a seriousness of getting it all done properly. The London office is smaller than New York’s, which had two terraces that overlook beautiful Manhattan. There were so many people in the New York office that it was hard to get to know everyone in the short two weeks that I was there, but after the first week of my internship in the UK, I already knew everyone’s name. The smaller amount of people make for a more intimate working environment, which is very refreshing.

Overall, the London office has an extremely strong work ethic. Although everyone is very serious about the work they do, they also know how to stay engaged, laughing in their discussions, getting upset about England’s results in the World Cup, and continuously changing the playlist of music in the office to keep things interesting. It is the atmosphere which I have grown so fond of, finding myself able to work much more efficiently. The hours in the day go by and the work happily gets done.

As I adapt to the culture of London, I am finding there are things I will never master, such as the Tube. Talking to people who have lived here all their life, they are still not accustomed to how packed, hot, and crazy the underground system is. I am also still getting used to everything being packaged in plastic bags (including fruit), the eccentric pub life, and the wonderful accents. A couple of the phrases the English use have been quite confusing, but nothing I see myself getting too hung up on during my time here.

For now, I will say my experience so far has been bloody wonderful! Cheers!

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What Are You Doing with Attribution?

Attribution is a hot topic. Every digital marketer talks about it. But what are you doing with attribution? Cross-channel tracking solutions, like the IgnitionOne Digital Marketing Suite platform, collect data across various online advertising channels and attribute transactions according to a pre-determined, fully customizable model. But how can you use this analysis to optimize your digital presence? First, identify which data is valuable to your company. Next, interpret the data, and last, answer this question:  How is attribution actionable for my company or client?

 Use the exposure path for budget allocation.

Determine your campaigns’ primary KPI (key performance indicator) and determine how each channel contributes to your overall goals.

Idea 1: Maximize your investment in channels that drive conversions with a single exposure. This means the consumer sees a single ad, e-mail listing or organic result, clicks and converts. These channels should be fully funded until they reach diminishing returns. For example, 32% of single exposure transactions for an IgnitionOne hotel client are driven by paid search brand terms. Our analyst team has maximized investment in brand campaigns to ensure all of the potential single exposure transactions are captured.

Idea 2: Invest heavily in channels that appear often as the last exposure in the path to conversion. In multi-exposure conversion paths, each step is important, but the last exposure “closes the sale”. For the hotel client, the last exposure is a remarketing view in 23% of multi-exposure transactions, so our display team has maximized investment in display remarketing to ensure display remarketing is not limited by budget.

Idea 3: Evaluate assist value when allocating your remaining budget. Not every channel will drive single exposure conversions or show up as the last exposure in a multi-exposure conversion path. Some channels provide value as upper-funnel tactics. For the hotel client, display prospecting is used to build awareness for promotions and events. After the awareness builds, the demand is captured through channels that drive direct conversions, like paid search brand and organic search. Allocate a portion of your budget to channels that assist conversions and build awareness.

Use latency to drive your paid search bidding strategy.

Chances are you already consider inventory and availability constraints for retail, travel and other clients, but are you factoring latency into your bidding strategy?

The first exposure usually determines the latency to conversion you can expect in a particular conversion path. When the first exposure on a conversion path is a display prospecting view, the conversion path will be longer than when the first exposure is an organic or paid search brand click.

Example: The average booking window for the hotel client is forty days, which means the average consumer books his hotel room forty days before he plans to travel. Our analysts consider the hotel’s vacancy when bidding on paid media and planning display campaigns, to limit unnecessary spend forty days before dates when the hotel is completely booked. Additionally, the team uses latency trends to further optimize. The average latency to conversion for a single exposure path is less than two days, while the average latency to conversion for a multi-exposure path is eight days. Serving display prospecting ads, which generally have a longer path to conversion, would be most effective around forty-eight days prior to high vacancy dates (forty day booking window + eight day expected latency to conversion.) Paid search brand ads often drive single exposure conversions, so bids are maximized around forty-two days prior to high vacancy dates (forty-day booking window + two day expected latency to conversion.)

Use A/B testing to optimize your media mix model.

You have probably run advertising campaigns on paid search brand and non-brand, display prospecting and remarketing, e-mail, organic and social channels. Are all of these channels right for you?

A/B testing is risky, but the payoff is worth it. The goal of A/B testing based on attribution is to reroute traffic from a less efficient channel to a more efficient channel. The risk lies in temporarily cutting off or limiting spend on a particular channel. If your hypothesis that traffic can be routed to a more efficient channel proves to be true, you should consider altering your media mix to improve overall performance.

Example: The hotel client has recently optimized their organic presence. The cost of optimizing organic is far less than the variable cost of running a robust e-mail marketing campaign. The proposed test is to stop sending e-mails for a period of time and to analyze subsequent traffic and conversion trends. If the traffic is rerouted successfully to the more efficient channel (organic search in this case), then e-mail spend will be limited in the future.

Use attribution analysis to drive actionable results. As a starting point, use exposure paths to allocate your budget, analyze latency to add another layer to your bidding strategy and do not shy away from A/B testing. The possible applications of attribution analysis are unlimited, but the real value is when you start converting big data into big results.

Centralizing Data to Optimize your Marketing

Yesterday, Dave Ragals, SVP Client Services at IgnitionOne, hosted the final in a series of integrated marketing webinars. “Centralizing Data to Optimize your Marketing” helps marketers by illustrating the steps needed to be taken to look past big data to truly actionable insights. In the webinar, Ragals asserts that by centralizing data, a single repository for all of a marketer’s information allows them to actually obtain a clear picture of their users, how they interact with marketing efforts, conclude what is successful and then automate optimizations accordingly.

In the session, marketers learn how disparate data sets created by un-integrated point solutions cause overlapping and contradictory insights and how centralized data and cross-channel attribution are the final piece in optimizing media and using user-level data to deliver the right message at the right time.