Has success in online advertising been over-promised? Our digital marketing expert Brandon Tidd explains why it’s time to level-set digital marketing expectations and why customer experience matters now more than ever.
For generations, if you wanted to get your message to the masses you had just a few options: print, radio, TV, outdoor and, of course, the ever-popular word of mouth. Then, about twenty years ago, something happened: the Internet paved a new frontier for advertising. Analysts foresaw a seismic shift in the way brands would engage with customers. They were right… but they were also wrong.
While both the volume and the velocity of advertising have increased exponentially over the past two decades, the neurological path to purchase remains strikingly stagnant. To buy a product, a consumer still needs to be informed about it and to do that, he or she must have a problem that needs to be solved. The great equalizer among all advertising, agnostic of platform, remains: awareness; interest; desire; action.
Online advertising, in its many forms, definitely delivers in these four areas. From impression-based awareness advertising venues such as display networks, to micro-moment triggered paid search queries, the industry’s stumbling blocks do not stem from a lack of opportunity. The challenge comes in setting the right expectations with your local affiliate on what these online platforms can actually accomplish (and where their limitations lie).
Much like one radio ad broadcast at 3 a.m. on a Wednesday won’t affect change, an under-budgeted online campaign runs the risk of getting marooned on an impression island. Combined with the general inability of the industry to provide a proof of performance beyond a colorful PDF layered with jargon, it should come as no surprise that many local businesses are hesitant to go all-in with online marketing.
Today’s local affiliate will be best served by a partner that is willing to have a real conversation with them about the impact a campaign will (or will not) have, rather than overwhelming them with data. For example, your local affiliate could see that their click through rate for a Facebook ad is only 2% and think it was a massive waste of money. The right partner will explain why it’s actually above the industry average and how it has positively impacted their business. It all comes back to accurately setting those expectations.
Partnering with a company that can harness the power of technology to purchase more efficient and relevant advertising placements can yield better online results, but not without first defining what those results can and should look like. Now more than ever, it’s vital to the success of corporate marketers and their local affiliates to understand the needs of the consumer and take the necessary steps to engage them throughout their path to purchase. Thanks to digital, we are living in a time of unprecedented access into the consumer’s world where insights and intent are replacing demographic and psychographic speculation. Brands must connect with the consumer with the same mindset that they did years ago: providing a solution to their problem.
Online advertising may have fundamentally changed the game, but many of the rules that govern the customer experience and expectations remain the same. With attention spans and local marketing budgets both becoming more fragmented, the responsibility is on the industry to do a better job at not only aligning local affiliate expectations with reality, but also providing consumers with the best online experience possible. The brands that show the most agility in pivoting their thinking towards the future without foregoing the planning and strategy that brought them to where they are today will be those best positioned to succeed in the future.
Brands have a choice in with whom they trust to invest their marketing dollars. Smart brands will partner with a company that can take them beyond the click and truly demonstrate a return on their investment from start to finish.
About The Author
Brandon is passionate about the success of small business. As a Digital Strategist, Brandon's ultimate goal is to help local businesses by first seeking to understand their needs and then making recommendations that will help them grow & thrive. Want to learn more about digital marketing? Pick up a copy of Brandon's book "Simply Digital" today! Available on Amazon.com and for your Kindle. Connect with Brandon here.
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