Observations and Insights

Digital Marketing Explained

Chuck Bankoff - Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It used to be about websites and search engine optimization. Now it’s about total web presence optimization. The digital landscape comprises of a mix of different channels such as social networks, websites, email; mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets; videos, widgets, kiosks, and gaming consoles. These mediums help marketers to build relationships with consumers, publicize their brands, and also sell their products or services.

Digital marketing arrived on the scene more than 15 years ago but has evolved rapidly in the last couple of years. Social media has significantly transformed consumer behavior. It has facilitated sharing of information with prospective buyers like never before through online advertisements, videos, blogs, tweets, and more. The digital space has clearly caught the fancy of savvy marketers thanks to factors such as its:

  • Huge impact on brand reputation
  • Potential to quickly launch online campaigns
  • Interesting mix of marketing technologies
  • Ability to engage prospects in dynamic exchanges that influence buying decisions
  • Measurability and cost-efficiency
  • Creative potential of platforms such as rich media, gaming, and mobile applications

Let’s take an in-depth look at how digital marketing has evolved over the years and how understanding it can help you influence consumer behavior.

The Evolution of Digital: A Convergence Story

Digital media has progressed rapidly due to the convergence of technology and easy availability of consumer technologies. This has paved the way for interactive mediums that engages the audience, something that traditional media did not provide.

It commenced with advancements in Internet technology that led to the launch of thousands of websites. This was still a passive communication medium since sites were not interactive. Then came email, the first dynamic medium that enabled direct communication between consumers and businesses in a cost-effective and meaningful manner. The revolution finally took off when ‘search’ became a part of the user experience. It was the arrival of social media, however, that made the digital landscape ‘interactive’ forever.

The success of social media sites such as Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter indicate how well connected today’s users are across multiple geographies. The digital experience has switched the role of users from a passive receiver to an active participant, circulating relevant, useful information and influencing buying decisions.

The convergence of mobile technologies with location-based services and smart devices has now made real-time interactions a reality. Consumers are spending more time and money on these devices for their personal and business consumption. This means an increased opportunity for sellers to create interesting mobile applications that engage users.

Marketers can now gain insight into the nature of information being accessed and shared. Since consumers are interacting through various digital channels, they play a critical role in building or demolishing a brand’s reputation. This makes it imperative to identify the most relevant consumers and understand their behavior in order to target the right audience and deliver the intended message.

The Reality of the New Digital Landscape

Digital media has emerged as a reality that is continuously challenging marketers. Adopting and promoting an apt digital strategy is easier said than done. It requires a shift in the way marketing functions approach digital media.

Here are some guidelines to help you successfully navigate the digital landscape:

  • Clearly define your business goal – is your focus brand building or lead generation or both?
  • Identify the channels that will help you achieve your goals
  • Define your target audience
  • Set the right expectations with stakeholders about what a digital strategy can achieve
  • Integrate your offline and online strategy
  • Provide engaging and consistently valuable content
  • Engage with the right agency that can tailor digital solutions to suit your customers’ needs—and it is okay to start small!
  • Implement the right analytics and automation tools to understand your target audience behavior
  • Review your plans over a defined period to measure progress and results
  • Have a backup plan: the biggest boon of digital media could be its biggest bane as well. On one hand your customers can be your brand ambassadors, but on the other they can damage it irreversibly. Ensure that you have a backup plan or team to respond to crisis situations.

Since the digital landscape is vast, success lies in having a consumer focused strategy and clear business goals. An effective integration of both with an overall marketing strategy can help organizations reap benefits and develop strong relationships with the consumers.

What Are Key Performance Indicators?

Chuck Bankoff - Monday, April 02, 2012

How well your Internet marketing campaign is performing is most indicative of your Key Performance Indicators (KPI). These are the big things that make a noticeable difference.

Your “Bounce Rate” (where visitors view your website, but never move past the home or landing page), for example, is a big indication that there is a problem with the relevance of your landing page to the visitor that is viewing it.

There is no set standard KPI for every business. The objective depends on what your end results are. Say you are in a service related industry; a primary KPI would be the amount of phone calls your company received by its online efforts. As you investigate more, the length of every phone call would tell you even more than that. Shorter phone calls, under a minute, could tell you that no one actually answered the phone and never left a message. A longer phone call can tell you that your customer is being helped to solve any issues they may have had.

There are many different things that can indicate your KPI such as “Time on Site,” which tells you how appealing your website is and the “Pages Visited” can tell you whether your sales funnel is set up accurately. Sometimes the impact of your KPI is not always quite obvious and it can take a pinpoint strategy to understand what it all means.

Key Performance Indicators are typically unique to every different business as well as their individual objectives. Here are a few that I deem relevant to an assortment of businesses:

Common KPI Definitions

Visit– This is where a person visits one or more of your web pages under 30 minutes time in between page visits.

Visitor – A visitor is someone who visits your website. These people can be placed into three groups:

  1. New Visitor– A new visitor is only noted once and includes those who have never visited your site previously. This is different than a unique visit and is can be measured over certain amount of time.
  2. Repeat/Returning Visitor – A person that visits your website more than two times over a certain period of time. These types of visits are only recorded once in a given amount of time.
  3. Unique Visitor – The first time a person goes to your website during a particular amount of time, either daily, weekly, or monthly, is called a unique visitor.

Conversion – This is when a customer or visitor finishes the action you set up for them, such as completing a web form or purchasing something.

Key Performance Indicator Examples

General KPI

  • Average Time on Site –This is where a person who visits your website looks for certain phrases or keywords that have relevance to what they are looking for. In turn they will spend more time on that page than if they did not find what they were looking for in their search.
  • Page Views / Visit – The amount of times a visitor views your website is a page view or visit. Numerous visits will have an effect on the amount counted.
  • Page Views / Visitors – This is comparable to page views/visits, but it overlooks the number of visits that certain visitors make.
  • New Visitors / Visitors – This follows the number of people who are first time visitors. This is a great way to determine new prospective clients.
  • Repeat Visitors / Visitors – These are returning people that have previously come to your website. This shows that your website has the ability to attract visitors back to your site.

KPI is Important – Take your KPI to the Next Level

Measuring how well the strategies you use in your business to produce a positive effect starts with the  inclusion of the development of your KPI and reaching the Internet marketing goals you have set. Your KPI can give you warning signs early on and can help you figure out what works and what does not. As soon as you get the results from reviewing your KPI, you can adjust the parts of your business that are not as effective and boost those that are working positively.

A KPI does require more evaluation that you’d think. A professional digital marketing specialist is someone who can help you analyze a KPI with proficiency. Interpreting data and certain experimentation should be set up to gage cause and effects of incremental changes within your business. A Professional Digital Marketing consultant can even prepare a Competitive Analysis on the KPIs of direct competitors in your industry.

7 Interesting (if sometimes obvious) things you can do with QR Codes

Chuck Bankoff - Monday, November 21, 2011
QR Codes…my new favorite toy (and a Digital Marketing dream) are becoming incredibly popular because of their ease of use and unlimited applications.

A QR Code (short for "Quick Response" Code) is a 2-dimensional digital icon that your customers and prospects can scan with their mobile phone to get access to well...virtually anything that you want them to have access to. Not only that, they come standard (and free) on most mobile phones, even the most basic software to design them is free as well!

The applications are limited only by your imagination. Here are a few of them literally off the top of my head. Some of these are cleverer than others, but I guarantee these are just scratching the surface:

1: Business Cards & Flyers: This may be one of the most obvious places to use a QR Code, but the applications are endless. You could set it to download your contact information to your prospects smart phone (where it belongs) so they don’t have to look for your business card the next time they think of you. Or you could do the obvious and simply link it to the home page of your website. Just make sure that you link it to a mobile optimized page or you won’t fully be taking advantage of the technology.

Or you could be clever and link it to a “special” promotional page that is reserved for those who put forth the effort to scan it. For example, you could link the code to a special “VIP Room” with a special discount or offer that can only be obtained by entering through the scan.

2: Your Website: Yes, another obvious one, so think it through… If they are already on your website you could give them remote access to a hidden special offer page (mobile optimized of course) or you could simply download your contact information or product offerings.

3: Shirts: Just think about doing an expo or a convention and everyone on your staff has a large QR code emblazoned on their shirt. Having people aiming their smart phones at the large gaudy design your entire staff is wearing just might be the attention getter you’re looking for. What would it link to? How about an “event only” special?

4: Social Media Icons: You could use it as a profile picture or as your personal picture on Skype or as the secondary logo on your LinkedIn Business profile.

5: Graffiti: Come on…who could resist scanning some hi-tech tagging on the side of building or fence? Or a little more conventionally, on the door to your OWN office or store.

6: Menus: Why should a restaurant rely on pieces of paper to make their takeout menus available to patrons? Why not let them scan it and store it on their smart phones. If the scan links to the mobile menu page on their website, it can constantly be updated by the time the patron takes her next look.

7: Tattoos & Tombstones: What’s the difference between eggs and bacon? The egg was involved…the bacon was committed. If you’re really committed to this concept of QR Codes, why not tattoo one on your body? After all, a tattoo is permanent proof of temporary insanity. Speaking of “permanent”, nothing says forever like chiseling your final epitaph on your final resting spot. Now that’s commitment!

Here is a little step-by-step guide on setting up a QR Code. Of course in many cases you might need help in setting up a mobile enabled website or specific mobile web page. Your Kreative Webworks team can help you with that.

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