In my role at Rise, I have the privilege of meeting with senior marketers at leading brands across almost every industry. Although a portion of our time together is spent discussing digital marketing initiatives that are going well, these initial meetings tend to focus on specific challenges and frustrations they are facing, and their strong desires to right the ship.
These marketers are experienced and accomplished, and typically have a clear vision of what they want to achieve; yet they are unable to execute. To help them figure out why, our team performs comprehensive performance audits, carries out stakeholder interviews, gathers industry insights, and conducts competitive analyses.
Strategic and tactical reasons aside, it’s been increasingly prevalent that many brands lack the right partnership structure to succeed. Having the right resources aligned in the right way is vital to bringing ideas to execution.
Here are four key ways to ensure your team is well-positioned to activate on your marketing initiatives.
1. Have a team of specialists.
It’s hard to find specialized digital marketing talent and even harder (if possible at all) to find individuals who truly excel across a wide range of quantitative and qualitative areas. This is important to point out, because as digital marketing has evolved, so has the depth of the specific skill sets needed to succeed. Today’s most effective digital marketing brands have teams comprised of dedicated specialists who understand how to work together to gain a competitive edge.
For example, while paid search is critical for many brands, it is also an area where it can be hard to move the needle, due to its maturity and near flawless execution at the top. To overcome this, brands are integrating paid and organic efforts to help inform budget allocation and relevancy. In addition, they are working closely with customer experience experts to increase engagement, as well as analytics experts to gain unique insights to create personalized ad and landing page experiences.
2. Don’t over rely on technology.
The digital technology landscape has never been stronger, with multiple best-of-breed point solutions available to accomplish a multitude of digital marketing strategies and tactics. That said, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the ease of automation and “set it and forget it” capabilities. Whether you’re talking about search, display, website builds, or any other digital medium, there are limitations to what technology can do and pitfalls when it’s not combined with human oversight.
For example, within paid search we often see agencies over relying on automated bidding technologies. While necessary for many brands, these technologies are fundamentally lacking in key areas such as testing, relevancy, complex budget management, and more – all of which play critical roles in helping brands maximize ROI and gain a competitive edge.
3. Ensure easy access to your data.
Digital marketing is highly measureable and offers granular insights to help inform your business decisions and drive strategy. It’s important to be able to get immediate answers around how much you’re paying for media, how it's performing, and why. Those who can quickly access the information necessary to make smarter marketing decisions are at an advantage. Your agency partner should be providing you with all of this information and packaging it in a way that makes it clear why decisions are being made.
For example, third party data visualization technologies are gaining popularity, and some agencies are even building proprietary analytics suites to significantly improve the point at which brands are able to access insights. This is essentially moving you further down the strategic path, versus spending time simply compiling and analyzing data.
4. Expect a great customer experience.
If your agency is driving fantastic results, but is difficult to work with, it’s not a strong partnership – the same goes if you love working with an agency, but they’re not delivering results. An agency should focus not only on driving performance, but also on providing a remarkable experience. They must understand the long-term vision for the relationship, be responsible for understanding your goals, ensure your media budget is being allocated as intelligently as possible (without bias), and be accountable for ensuring each deliverable is executed flawlessly and on time.
Many of the most successful brands demand their agencies provide them with online content access and collaboration technologies, commonly referred to as “client enablement.” This, combined with an agency team that clearly understands your brand and goals, is a powerful combination.
As digital marketing continues to evolve and grow, having the right resources in place is vital for success. If you would like to talk more about building a solid team to reach your 2017 goals or to discuss your overall digital marketing strategy, don't hesitate to reach out to our team.