by David Stout, Bayshore Solutions Director of Digital Marketing

Want Better Results? Better Define Your Buyers and Specify Your Goals.

2016 SMX West digital marketing insightsDay 3 of SMX West marked the end of a very exciting and fast-paced immersion learning experience. The major breakout sessions focused on reporting, optimizing paid search, and social media tactics. The “common denominators” in these three very different seminars, were the importance of establishing specific goals with stakeholders and investing time and consideration into creating deeply developed buyer personas that reflect the true motivations of your target audience. This deep dive into customer profiling requires more time in strategic development and testing than for what many business and agencies have established precedent. Companies are currently in an intellectual pattern of “action now, results yesterday” expectation – and why wouldn’t they be? The data is coming in real time, and in droves, so why can’t the results be instant? That is the million-dollar answer that no one could clearly provide.

The challenge of marketers who are now being faced with a nearly overwhelming amount of data is about to become even more complex when it comes to creating reports in a multi-device world. Automated reports no longer seem to provide the metrics that matter; and multi-device attribution tracking still has too many flaws to be a heavily weighted measure of performance. Worse, marketers have become so mired in the details of the data that it is common for them to miss the mark with reporting on metrics that align with the goals and expectations of a business executive.

In Jim Yu of Bright Edge’s seminar, he stated that marketers have become siloed practitioners and our language has become jargon-filled which often causes misalignment and misunderstandings with corporate leadership or clients. What business leaders typically want to know falls into 4 major categories:

  • Engagement
  • Conversion
  • Revenue
  • Business Impact

Erin Eberhart of Home Depot had a great slide in her reporting slideshow that reinforced the data communication challenge we face in reporting. She stated, “It is our job as marketers to be in the weeds. Our clients however, should not be.”

Breakout Session 1:

Essential Analytic Reports That SEO’s Can’t Live Without

It’s easy to go astray with the wide range of data analytic reporting that even basic platforms provide. The bottom line is that the most important reports are the ones that increase the value to your business. In this session we learned best practices in setting specific goals, and gained actionable insights to improve the ROI of marketing campaigns and better communicate the data that matters to business executives.

Key takeaways were as follows:

  1. Give leadership actionable information, NOT data. Mundane data spreadsheets in Excel don’t help anyone make actionable decisions and neither do pretty graphs and charts based on the same data. “Metrics” are the term used to label data directly relevant to a very specific goal.
  2. Give business leaders actionable (not a laundry list of) tactics and show impact on business (not just SEO or AdWord campaigns). This is why setting goals to specific components of business is so important.
  3. Associate “visits back” to revenue performance
  4. Raw data means different things to different people. Ignore the buzz surrounding “Big Data.” What business needs is “Actionable Data.” What does actionable data consist of?
    1. What Is It? (Goal Based Reporting)
    2. What does it Mean? (Analysis of Relevance To Goal)
    3. What Should We Do? (Actionable). It all starts with strategy
  5. The new reality of multi-channel, multi-device, multi-attribution reporting makes the traditional model of reporting to a “sales funnel” look really dated. The reality of a buyer’s journey today looks more like a crazy straw than a funnel. With this reality it is even more important to closely follow the buyer’s journey in reporting.

Breakout Session 2:

Optimizing The Paid Search Conversion Funnel

To run  successful paid search campaigns, you need to know the details of your buyer personas from the start. Do you have the right messaging, ad formats, and offers in your ads? Are you reaching the right audience at the right time, maximizing exposure? Have you built high-quality landing pages to convert visitors into leads? And are you properly attributing and making informed decisions on the leads you generate? This session covered a variety of moving parts to ensure PPC campaigns are optimized for peak performance.

Key takeaways were as follows:

  1. Recognize that leads don’t just happen online. Use 3rd-party call tracking to provide deeper insights into cost-per-acquisition.
  2. Beware of pushing budget channels based only last-click attribution. Maximize each channel (Search, Display, Social) for the lead stages in the buyer journey or based upon a predefined lead scoring system.
  3. Getting lead source data into marketing automation and tracking to customer acquisition is key but sales attribution is the future. What other marketing channels, online and offline influenced the purchase decision? And what other marketing efforts accelerated them through the funnel?
  4. Further reinforcement to report on actionable data. Use findings from sales funnel to make adjustments to targeting within campaigns.

That wraps it up for me from the SMX West conference in San Jose. I hope that you found some of this information helpful. Feel free to keep in touch with myself and Bayshore Solutions by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. We look forward to seeing you at the next major event!

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