There is an ongoing debate about the overall effectiveness of traditional versus digital marketing. Determining the best way(s) to measure marketing success is what keeps marketers up at night. Asking the right questions can help bring about the best answers. Knowing what digital marketing questions to ask and how to definitively track success can significantly boost an organization’s competitive advantage.
Marketers can weigh digital efforts by monitoring a variety of metrics. It is recommended that marketers use only a few metrics as guided by their organization’s mission and goals.
Can digital marketing really be the Crème de le Crème?
Organizations engage in digital marketing when they promote brands, products, or services through electronic media channels such as internet advertising, mobile phones, and display advertisements (Alexander, 2016). Digital marketing practices are commonly used to connect organizations with customers through RTM (Real-Time Marketing).
Marketers acknowledge that digital marketing hype has risen over the past few years but question whether digital marketing efforts yield significant ROI (Return on Investment). For example, the monetary return on digital technology investments can be questioned when consumers fail to download appropriate applications (Briola, 2016).
RTM approaches do not work when they fail to incorporate variables like behavioral data, predictive analytics and personalization. Inability to track the correct variables means that organizations will fail to contact consumers in the future at the right time, through the right channel and with the right content (Naragon, 2016).
Technology, travel and entertainment are among the most discussed topics by consumers in the digital realm (Smith, 2013). Many organizations, especially within the CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) industry, are spending more on digital advertising while questioning its overall effectiveness (Neff, 2017). It is not surprising to see that traditional advertising remains a steadfast option for CPG firms. Digital marketing gives CPG firms an opportunity to reach consumers in real-time; however, traditional advertising allows CPG firms to engage consumers at the right time. For instance, CPG firms send coupons to consumers which can be used at a later date, or time when a consumer desires to shop. Coupons are generally considered a form traditional advertising; however, they can present in digital form. Traditional advertising can be deemed more effective than digital marketing within the CPG industry since traditional advertising can effectively market to consumers at the right time.
Digital marketing has received much hype in recent years, as mentioned above. It makes sense to question whether digital marketing is one of the absolute best marketing methods to reach consumers given the amount of time and money required to create and sustain capital investments in digital technology.
It is important to ask the right research questions prior to engaging of problem solving. Popular methods utilize the ‘5W + 1H’ (who, what, when, where, why and how) technique (Reid & Smyth-Renshaw, 2012). Analyzing digital marketing effectiveness can help organizations better understand who they are marketing to, what content needs to be marketed, when and where advertisements should be placed. Organizations can further improve right time marketing practices if they better understand how and why consumers react to digital versus traditional advertising.
In conclusion, digital advertising appears to be relatively popular among technology, travel and entertainment market segments. The verdict is still out to whether digital marketing is the best form of promotion for every industry, especially within the CPG realm.
Is social marketing brilliant, or what?
Coming up with and devising good research questions is one of the most important parts of research and perhaps more important than the answers (Alvesson, M. & Sandberg, J., 2013). Components leading to good questions include available funding, publishing opportunities and practical experience (Alvesson, M. & Sandberg, J., 2013). Marketers can use social media for a wide array of communications. Social media can be used to address public relations issues, fix customer service problems, promote products and disseminate information. Practical experience using social media reveals critical pitfalls for organizations using social marketing strategies, especially when it comes to measuring social media ROI.
Social media can be considered a subset of digital marketing since it falls under the umbrella of electronic media for marketing purposes. Both organizations and consumers use social media when blogging, tweeting, messaging and engaging in discussion on popular boards. Organizations are ever increasingly trying to find ways to utilize social media to achieve both RTM and right time marketing objectives. Ultimately, organizations desire to learn how social marketing can be used to bring consumers together at the right place and at the right time (Bernhardt, Jay M; Mays, Darren; Hall, Amanda K., 2012).
Social media marketing has garnered much attention over the past decade. Organizations continue to struggle with how to measure ROI of social media (Powell, G. R., Dimos, J., & Groves, S., 2011) despite all of its Brew Ha-Ha.
Publishing opportunities exist for academic and practitioner content that properly addresses proven methods to measure social media ROI. Current interest in measuring social media ROI exists. In fact, the popular online retailer Amazon.com returns more than 250 publications when searching for content using the search phrase “social media ROI” (Social Media ROI, 2017).
Social media marketing has its place of importance with the marketing mix. It is subject to several shortcomings. At a minimum, marketers can utilize social marketing to promote in real-time even though it may not be the right time. Additionally, shortcomings arise as organizations struggle to accurately measure social media ROI. Organizations should leverage social media but not forget about traditional communication methods (i.e., press releases for public relations issues) as well.
What is the best way to measure the value of a digital marketing?
Measuring the impact of digital advertising on a brand’s (or product’s) success, or lack thereof, can be extremely difficult. Defining digital marketing success in terms of sales as a ROI is good; however, a complete focus on sales is short-sighted. Companies that merely focus on ROI in the short-term will limit their ability to build long-term on-going relationships with their customers. For instance, an organization might post content about a product on its blog, or website. Expecting consumers to immediately buy is a fallacy. Organizations should use blog, or website as a digital platform to showcase products (or services) and interact with current or potential customers. Building solid customer relationships is a key to long-term business success.
Monetary gains are important; however, marketers can use other metrics to measure the success of their digital marketing campaigns. Such metrics include website traffic, conversions, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) ranks among top search engines, number of comments and brand sentiment (Alim, 2017).
Ultimately, marketers need to understand the goals and mission of their organization. Garrett Sloan on Adage.com suggests marketers determine metrics based on an overall set of priorities (Sloane, 2017).
Better understanding methods to evaluate digital marketing effectiveness is crucial for businesses to be successful. This research question is extremely relevant and thus warrants further study. Most important is that answers can be found through proper research.
Well formulated research questions can provide a pathway answering important questions. Digital marketing is viewed as a very important component of the marketing mix. Digital marketing can help organizations if used correctly. Digital marketing has its pitfalls despite all the hoopla. Traditional advertising remains a very effective means of advertising for certain industries. More research is necessary to ultimately determine the best ways to measure digital marketing success. For now, marketers should assess achievement based on their goals.
Alexander, L. (2016). What is digital marketing? Retrieved on March 5, 2017 from website https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/what-is-digital marketing#sm.0000a6zzvm1ebhf9ir6jtc7wize1f
Alim, R. (2017). 10 Simple and Reliable Digital Marketing Metrics. Retrieved March 7, 2017 from website http://www.convinceandconvert.com/digital-marketing/10-simple-and-reliable-digital-marketing-metrics/
Alvesson, M. & Sandberg, J. (2013). Research questions: a core ingredient in developing interesting theories. In Constructing research questions: Doing interesting research (pp. 1-9). London, : SAGE Publications Ltd doi: 10.4135/9781446270035.n1
Bernhardt, J. M., Mays, D., & Hall, A. K. (2012). Social marketing at the right place and right time with new media. Journal of Social Marketing, 2(2), 130-137. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/20426761211243964
Briola, E. (2016). Why have Beacons Failed to Live Up to the Marketing Hype? Retrieved on March 5, 2017 from website http://digitalmarketingmagazine.co.uk/digital-marketing-features/why-have-beacons-failed-to-live-up-to-the-marketing-hype/3352
Naragon, K. (2016). Why Real-Time Marketing Isn’t Always The Right Time. Retrieved on March 5, 2017 from website http://www.cmo.com/opinion/articles/2016/11/14/why-realtime-marketing-isnt-always-the-right-time.html#gs.3c8BQpI
Neff, J. (2017). Study: CPG Now Spends More on Digital Than Traditional Ads, but Shoppers Doubt They Work. Retrieved on March 3, 2017 from website http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/study-cpg-spends-digital-traditional-advertising-combined/308077/
Powell, G. R., Dimos, J., & Groves, S. (2011). ROI of Social Media : How to Improve the Return on Your Social Marketing Investment. Singapore: Wiley.
Reid, I., & Smyth-Renshaw, J. (2012). Exploring the Fundamentals of Root Cause Analysis: Are We Asking the Right Questions in Defining the Problem?. Quality & Reliability Engineering International, 28(5), 535-545. doi:10.1002/qre.1435
Sloane, G. (2017). How to Get the True Measure of a Mobile Ad. Retrieved March 7, 2017 from website http://adage.com/article/digital/true-measure-a-mobile-ad/308186/
Smith, C. (2013). These Are The Six Most-Discussed Topics on Social Media. Retrieved on March 5, 2017 from website http://www.businessinsider.com/most-discussed-topics-on-social-media-2013-5
Social Media ROI. 2017. Retrieved on March 5, 2017 from website https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1/157-2244760-8128263?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=social+media+roi