ROI Demand Drives Convergence of eMarketing and Analytics
During the last decade, technology has emerged as an increasingly critical element of the marketing and business development tool set. Web technology advancements have revolutionized how organizations present themselves on the web, buy and sell products, services and supplies, and build relationships with customers.
Following the dot com bust in 2000, and the irrational exuberance that existed during the early days of the web, organizations began to take a serious look at leveraging the power of the web and utilizing proper business principles in evaluating the costs and benefits of this promising technology. Rather than settling for standalone web sites, organizations soon began to look at their web site as a complementary channel that could be leveraged into a key element of an effective multi-channel marketing mix.
Not surprisingly, we’ve witnessed an ever growing use of the web and online marketing by businesses and, as discussed in this column last month, recent data from a variety of industry sources show that growth in online marketing and digital media is expected to continue unabated in 2010 and beyond. As shown in the following chart from B2B Magazine’s recent 2010 Outlook: Marketing Priorities and Plans Survey, email, search, web sites, social media and to a lesser extent video are expected to see the greatest online marketing spending increases this year.
Driven by an increased focus on accountability and return on investment, and exacerbated by a sluggish economy and tighter budgets, marketers are being asked to do more with less and are shifting attention and spending towards more cost effective and efficient means of generating sales leads, acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones.
Growing Convergence of eMarketing and Analytics
With growing maturity in the use of web-based marketing programs, we are witnessing a convergence of e-marketing initiatives with analytical tools. As marketers implement more cost effective and efficient web-based marketing programs to grow their businesses, they are at the same time seeking ways to better measure the effectiveness of their marketing spend.
Increasingly, web site development, search marketing, including search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click programs, among many others, are intentionally intertwined with analytical programs to validate the achievement of the targeted marketing objectives and the delivery of measurable ROI.
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards and search engine optimization considerations, such as the use of search friendly URLs, meta/title tags, keyword weighting and back link analysis for example, are incorporated into web site development efforts to ensure compliance with industry standards and best practices so that the web sites achieve optimal search engine positioning results. As an example, the new Technology First website included extensive search engine optimization consideration from the very beginning of the development process. As a result, upon the site’s completion, the natural rankings of the targeted keywords and keyword phrases have now outpaced previous rankings.
In general, analytics have been used to prove that best results can often be achieved through a combination of search engine optimization techniques coupled with selective pay-per-click programs. Among other things, pay-per-click programs can be utilized to secure immediate first page sponsored positioning on the major search engines or top-of-page positioning for keywords that are unlikely to produce optimal organic or natural rankings through search engine optimization techniques alone. Analytical review and analysis in this example can be invaluable in measuring key search program validation elements that might include click-thru volume, length of time on the website, request for contact/quotation and of course, conversion to sale and the sales inquiry cost. One of the most useful as well as cost-effective web analytical tools available today is Google Analytics. Fortunately, Google allows anyone to use this tool at absolutely no cost and, it is easy to set up. There are however, many additional analytical programs available for a fee that provide more extensive, complex analysis capabilities if deemed necessary. The Technology First website uses the Google Analytics performance tracking program to analyze its site traffic, content effectiveness and the utilization of various site functions to name but a few of the elements being tracked and analyzed.
The use of web-based measurement tools and analytics to monitor and assess the performance of e-marketing campaigns has contributed to the explosive growth of these marketing tools. Ongoing assessment and monitoring of results aids in the recognition of “what works” and also provides the basis for identifying areas of improvement. Tracking and measurability are key benefits of web-based e-marketing programs and have proven their effectiveness. For marketers challenged to do more with less, leveraging a combination of web-based e-marketing programs and analytics can cost-effectively drive optimum business results.
TDH Marketing, Inc., is a Dayton, Ohio-based marketing firm with alliances and joint ventures in the U.S., England, The Netherlands and Singapore that support its global client base. The firm provides strategic, marketing and operational planning and implementation for large, mid-size and small corporations looking to develop profitable, technology-driven business growth.