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Becoming A Chief Marketing Transparency Officer

No, CMTO isn't the next big title. But, it may be your claim to fame. Sifting through the marketing quagmire to deliver certainty is top-of-the-heap important in these ROI-minded times. Transforming online marketing into your most transparent and efficient line item is the subject of this article.

Easy right? The CFO needs to connect spend to revenue and lower the cost to acquire customers. The CMO needs to connect strategy to tactics and results. And the CEO needs to move the organization for-ward. No problem. But how?

The Funnel as a Looking Glass

Think of your online marketing funnel--from click to conversion--as a looking glass. Through it, you can see which traffic sources combined with which landing pages lead to which customers. With transparency on these metrics comes certainty. You can then confidently manipulate your sources of traffic to lower your acquisition cost.

Why look to landing pages?

Landing pages can illuminate the funnel top to bottom: sorting your best respondents from your worst and letting you see cause and effect. They can help reveal the vagaries of traffic sources, and ultimately help you get more for less. How? By making the gap between the click and the conversion intelligent. The numbers never lie.

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Intelligent landing pages segment and qualify the people who come into them. The data collected be-tween the click and the goal becomes much more than simple pass/fail. If all you know from your landing page is if someone converts or not, you have very little to go on. If 97% of respondents don't convert, then you know nothing about 97% of the people you paid to attract. That's not illuminating your spend.

Good Landing Pages are the Funnels

The clicks you buy are a wide net at the top of your marketing funnel. You attract all kinds of people to click.

In stark contrast, your transactional or lead-gen conversion is very specific. But how do you know that even that small percentage is the best fit? You need to gain more knowledge than pass/fail.

In 2008 the term "landing page" is a bit of a misnomer. State-of-the-art landing pages are actually groups of pages. Conversion paths are linear and well suited for goal-oriented conversions while microsites are non-linear and better suited for more educational purposes. Regardless of what you call them, advanced landing pages are the funnels through which you pour your traffic.

By using more than one page, you can learn more than merely pass/fail. Each page offers a choice or choices that illuminate the respondent's value to your organization. You can gain this type of user-directed segmentation data on upwards of 60-80% of all respondents. Compare that with conversion data on 3% of all respondents and you start to see the light.

Of course to make this data valuable, it must be accurate. Accuracy comes from strategically designed choices on the marketing end, and from ensuring that those choices are explicitly made by the user. If you make it about inferring intent from behavioral patterns, you're just guessing. Guessing does not lead to certainty. And certainty is what you should be seeking to push up to your CEO.

Back to the Source

Once you know more about your respondents, you can use that information to confidently judge the search engines, websites and emails that drive your traffic. You can then authoritatively make budgetary media decisions that will reduce your waste and your acquisition cost. You'll be able to keep your spend consistent and deliver a lot more customers, or you'll be able to reduce your spend and deliver the same number of customers. Either way you'll have transparency and certainty that are hard to come by in on-line marketing.

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