Opinion

Do you understand how to accurately make tactical digital investments?

5 min read

28 July 2016

With limited resources, most companies cannot afford to waste time and money investing in marketing channels and activities that do nothing to meet their business objectives. Despite their limitations, many companies are being persuaded to invest in tactical activities without understanding how it will impact their overall strategy.

Companies are being bombarded with tools and services that only benefit the seller. Whilst the application or service may seem like a good idea at the time, it’s often the wrong decision to spend your precious time and money on them.

Unless the tools or services are a part of a well thought-out marketing strategy that links with your company’s business objectives, then you should think very carefully before signing on the dotted line.

The problem

We were recently engaged by a company that had been investing in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising for 12 months. For some time, the campaign had not been providing sufficient ROI.

We started by conducting an audit of the client’s existing PPC accounts, which revealed a number of issues. Whilst our findings were concerning, in order to provide a qualified strategy for the client, we needed to take a step back and review the overall online ecosystem relevant to the business.

In doing so, we identified a number of areas where the company could leverage their assets cost effectively. For example, the company had strong relevant content including insightful thought-leadership articles and had built relationships with credible publishers, including charities.

However, these aspects were not being utilised in relevant channels. They were missing the opportunity to strengthen their brand’s domain authority and improve their organic ranking – factors to consider for search engine optimisation (SEO).

Establishing whether pay-per-click works for your company

The outcome

In essence, our findings uncovered significant opportunities for the company to gain more traffic and better organic ranking with less investment than they were spending on PPC.

As a result, we developed a holistic digital marketing strategy that incorporated PPC, SEO and social media, all for the same time and money they were spending on PPC alone. We helped them set clear goals and parameters to allow the business to scale up investment gradually at relevant intervals.

Had the company taken a more strategic and holistic approach to planning their marketing activities, they would have saved money and time, and generated better results.

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The recommendation

Many companies invest tactically because they are being sold to by professionals who only provide expertise in certain mediums. For example, a PPC agency will probably not tell you that paid advertising is the wrong choice for you, because they’ll lose business.

There are many examples of companies wasting time and money:

  • Running campaigns which deliver traffic to a poorly optimised website or landing page
  • Running PPC campaigns when the ROI does not stack up
  • Targeting the wrong social media channels

It’s easy to follow the crowd. You might feel like you have to do what your competitors are doing, or you’ll get left behind; however, it is far better to do nothing than to waste money and time on the wrong activities.

Our advice is to make sure the marketing agency you are choosing has the expertise to provide a holistic view of your marketing plan, even if they are only servicing one medium.

Seek a partner that can provide you with an understanding of your overall online footprint, explain how each impacts the other, and determine what your priorities should be.

They should also make sure the fundamental infrastructure and basic technical aspects are in place and working properly before engaging in any business development campaigns.

By looking at your marketing strategy holistically, and making a plan with clear priorities, you will reduce the risk of the following:

  • Non-alignment with marketing strategy to your business objectives 
  • Investing in the wrong medium 
  • Wasting time and money with the wrong priorities

There are so many tools and services on offer, it is imperative to have a clearly thought out marketing plan. This plan will not only help you avoid making costly tactical moves, but it will also allow you to make the right decisions by prioritising what’s most important to your overall business strategy.

Donavan Whyte is commercial marketing director at online marketing agency mad4digital

Don’t miss: Our digital guide on how to secure visibility for your firm in the competitive online space.

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