Optimizing Digital Marketing & Retargeting Investments: The CMO’s Test

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The Merkle Digital Marketing Report was recently released. After reading the report, one data point in particular resonated with me: Google Paid Search Spend Up 23% in Q2 2017

So marketers have upped investment in paid search to drive website traffic. This trend doesn’t come as a surprise, since paid search was budgeted for at the beginning of the year.

And that investment was made for good reason. Part of a marketers’ job is to drive web traffic and discover new prospects.

Typically, when website visitors bounce, your first move is to get back in touch via display ad retargeting. Adroll’s annual State of Performance Marketing Report affirms this with another dominating headline:

Between 25% and 50% of Digital Marketing Spend is on Retargeting

But these headlines aren’t painting a full picture. Almost every company has an interest in attracting new visitors to its website and putting money into retargeting users who don’t convert. Sounds like a sound strategy — but oftentimes, investment in paid search is driving clicks without driving conversions. More than 90 percent of first-time website visitors don’t make a purchase. Those visitors come and go from the site without leaving a trace.

You can spend as much as you want on paid search and digital display ad retargeting. However, if those individuals you’re targeting aren’t converting, your organization is just spending money to spend money.

So, how can you make sure your marketing spend is on point — and optimized to drive revenue this year?

1. Call The Team Together & Review The Numbers
How often does your team evaluate the performance of your spend? It might be time to increase the frequency of those meetings to determine if the right amount is being spent in the right areas.

For instance, if the money you’re putting into paid search and digital display ad retargeting isn’t aiding customer acquisition, conversion and revenue, it’s likely time to recalibrate the budget.

Get the right people in the room from your team in order to make sure the right results are coming in today — and if they aren’t, make changes that make an impact. By evaluating current budget allocation now to make changes, you’ll be able to realize major revenue changes between Q1 and Q3 in order to set your organization up for a successful Q4.

2. A Single Channel Is Not The Sales Funnel
The Merkle Report highlights a big issue in marketing: A single channel performing well does not mean revenue will increase overall. Adroll’s report echoes the same sentiment: A single remarketing strategy deployed does not ensure you’ll hit your numbers for the year.

In order to realize results, CMOs need to take a high-level view of the entire sales funnel. It’s easy to get caught up in analyzing channels individually, but it’s a much more productive strategy to look at the entire customer journey to drive brand loyalty and conversion.

3. Diversify and Redeploy Channel Investments
CMOs have another challenge when optimizing marketing spend. Because traditional and digital marketing arms often operate independently, data, spending and execution are typically siloed within the marketing function — which can lead to incongruity in analytics, tactics and results.

Let’s say you’re putting dollars into paid search. You’re seeing increased traffic to your website, but visitors aren’t converting. So, you retarget to those visitors with display ads. This is a logical response. But, now you’re throwing money into the same channel, and nearly the same tactic.

Instead, try responding to non-converting web visitors with a customized, personalized direct mail piece. Think outside the box when it comes to converting your visitors. You can smoothly transition marketing functions from one channel to another as long as you have the right data — and the ability to respond quickly.

Remarketing and paid search are powerful tools that marketers will continue to use. But, like any tool, they have to be used in the correct way. They must be used with a data-driven understanding of website visitors, the ability to reach out to them with a resonating message — and a retargeting strategy that doesn’t bank on digital alone.

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