Dear Performance Marketer:
The economic forecast for 2009 looks a lot like what we've already seen in the second half of 2008: pain. Thus, creating marketing initiatives that are both
effective and accountable has never been more challenging, yet essential. With this in mind, buckle up and take a look at these 10 guidelines to help improve conversion rates while also strengthening
your brand in the new year.1. Take optimization into your own hands.
Don't pay a premium for someone else's optimization that isn't transparent to you.
Ad networks have optimization technology, but it's a black box -- you can't see how your ad dollars are moved around, or how keywords are being optimized. Demand transparency. Make sure you're getting
value in return for the optimization premium paid.2. Use your data to target and speak to your ideal costumer.
Find a partner that can append your data
to theirs and personalize your media plan. Pinpointing and targeting your ideal customer allows you to eliminate media waste. Most ad networks and agencies have their own data points and don't append
advertising data to the system because they'd have to customize every single media buy.3. Know your addressable market.
Are your goals realistic given
your addressable market? How big is your current market opportunity? How can you expand it? A Hawaiian airline just flying in and out of certain California locations shouldn't market across the
Internet -- they'll hit their addressable market too many times. Know where the tipping point is in terms of diminishing returns.4. Analyze your attribution
method in relation to frequency and exposures.
In display, where the last impression/last click always wins, it's easy for media aggregators to steal attribution, especially via cookies.
What's your optimal frequency across the whole media plan? If you don't know because you're buying from too many aggregators, consolidate your budget. If you can't track frequency and exposures
across the entire media plan, you can't assign attribution equitably.5. Establish metrics based on cross-channel market opportunity.
Too often I hear one
ad delivery method is outperforming another, but they're not all created equal. You can't evaluate display the same as search since they are unique; instead your goals should be different. You need
cross-channel attribution analysis in order to establishing metrics that allow you to effectively budget different channels.6. Invest in good creative.
Is there a clear call to action in the ad? What do you want the viewer to do? Is your message concise? Don't try to say too much - you have about two seconds to grab someone's attention. Is
your logo visible? If you can't see it on a skyscraper ad without scrolling down, it's wasted.7. Know where your ads are running.
If you don't have
control over where your ads appear, it won't matter how compelling they are. You need to know if the content on the placement sites is helping or hurting your brand. A children's advertiser doesn't
want its ads alongside a review of 50 Cent; over time, it hurts brand association/interaction and people will start to think, "They're not that family-oriented."8.
Give your Web site the same amount of attention as your media.
If all your attention is focused on driving traffic to your site, but you don't know how to dynamically personalize it
through content management, your conversion rate will suffer. If someone's profile says Champagne, don't offer them domestic beer. A personalization conversion funnel can provide a minimum 20%
lift, and it's not that expensive.9. Challenge your ad agency.
Why are they buying what they're buying? What are they doing that's innovative?
Also, educate yourself. If you don't know the difference between a Tacoda and a Revenue Science, do your homework. Don't say to the agency, "Just do it all for me." Ask why they're doing what they're
doing, so dollars are spent as they should be. You don't want them to push media at you because of their vendor relationships.10. Clearly define your objectives.
Clients often don't have clear objectives, such as firm CPA goals. Or they may have conflicting primary and secondary objectives, such as driving traffic and conversion. Just because someone
is intrigued by your site doesn't mean they'll convert. If your goal is to drive traffic, don't piggyback a goal of conversion on top of it.
Do these steps appear daunting? Well, take heart
-- I know of no Fortune 500 firm that is implementing all of them. However, a few to watch that are a bit ahead of the curve include AT&T Wireless, Capital One, Discover and Verizon.