With the current unsteady economy, businesses are being asked to do much more with their marketing, with far fewer resources. It is crucial that your firm choose the most cost-effective, high-ROI marketing strategies. Which tools are offering measurably stellar returns? What are the trends?
According to Unica’s “10 Key Online Marketing Trends for 2010,” “Marketing dollars are going where the customers and prospects are—online. Online channels are lower cost and more measurable, and as a result continue to cannibalize traditional media.” The opportunity to efficiently and effectively reach and engage customers is undeniable, and marketers continue to experiment, test, and adopt emerging channels. In fact, a very high proportion (84 percent) plans to use emerging marketing channels over the next year.
Over 80 percent of online adults use social media and 50 percent take part in social networks like Facebook, Twitter and others. According to Lyris, “Companies of all sizes are scrambling to develop real-time web applications…and the market potential is huge.”
Sites like Facebook and Twitter have had a meteoric rise. In 2007, only 27 percent of companies were using social media in their marketing; by 2009, this number grew to a staggering 80 percent of companies. (University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research, 2009).
Companies find themselves thrust into a world where they have to share control over their brand with consumers. Blogs, product reviews, and other social media are mixed with marketing messages to shape consumers’ perception of company brands. As companies pinpoint the specific social tactics that work best to engage their customers, they will expand their social media participation and continue to nurture a wide variety of social media tactics.
81 percent of businesses polled by Marketing Sherpa in 2009 said that Social Media Marketing (SMM) extends the reach of email content to new markets. 78 percent said that SMM increases brand reputation and awareness, and 53 percent said that it increases ROI of email programs.
According to Unica, 92 percent of marketers are using or planning to use email marketing this year—making it the most widely adopted marketing tactic. With email adoption pervasive and consumers’ inboxes increasingly crowded, marketers will move beyond their old “spray and pray” strategies and work hard to stay relevant. To do this, marketers must not only create compelling campaigns, but also have a stronger focus on analysis and management of inbox placement, content rendering, and reputation management of their digital communications. Integrating email marketing with Social Media Marketing produces deeper engagement, better measurement, increased reach and frequency, enhanced relevance and ROI as well as low-cost email list growth.
There are no signs that consumers will stop using search engines as their primary vehicle to find products and services, according to Unica. However, search marketers are starting to take notice of search engines other than Google, such as Yahoo and Bing, and search marketing’s complexity is growing. Being found on page #1 of the major search engines is a must, but since the search engines are constantly changing their search algorhythms and since firms compete to muscle others off of first page, a consistent SEO program is essential. But beware; not all SEO companies are the same. (Read Incyte’s blog article about how to choose a good SEO firm, at www.incytemarketing.com/blog.html).
According to Mobile Marketer.com’s “Integrating mobile into traditional media is essential,” interest in mobile marketing has exploded. In fact, over one third of marketers (36 percent) are already conducting some type of mobile marketing, and adoption will increase with an additional 40 percent of marketers indicating plans to incorporate mobile marketing. The combination of new devices, faster networks and new location-aware technology, will fuel this steady march toward greater significance.
Experian, a marketing services provider in the US, estimates that the number of SMS text users (approximately 1.8 billion at present) is twice that of active email users. These text messages are generally read within 15 minutes and responded to within the hour, compared to email communication which could go unread for days.
“The key is to communicate, deliver and exchange value with your audience, to interact with the audience on their handset,” says Michael Becker, executive vice president of business development for iLoop Mobile. “Choose the tactic that is appropriate for the overall campaign strategy.”
One effective text marketing tactic is text coupons. “Coupons can take many forms, but today the primary form is an alpha-numeric code within a text message, so consumers can to walk up to retail point of sale and show their phone to redeem the coupon,” according to Becker.
“A limited number of messages can generate huge ROI for your business,” Becker says “Use traditional media channels to build your mobile list, and once they’re on your list you can start marketing to them, engaging them with promotions and incentives and establishing brand affinity and a value proposition.” Once you know a person likes a specific product or genre, you can go right back to people who responded to a particular ad or campaign and build a targeted database.
President Obama had over 50,000 keywords that his campaign used over the course of two-to-three years, enabling his campaign to send targeted, personalized text messages to people in specific locations. “You don’t need to be a Fortune 500 company to do this; it’s such an approachable channel,” says Becker.
“Mobile was one of the reasons that Obama won—he used these mobile channels to engage his audience.”
Are you using these tools and integrating them with your current marketing strategies? If you’re not, you may quickly find your marketing outdated, ineffective and too expensive to justify the cost. You must get your business marketing into the 21st century or be left behind.
Kelly Walker is president of Incyte Marketing of Bend. He can be reached at 541-419-9976 and Kelly@incytemarketing.com. Visit www.incytemarketing.com for more information about 21st Century marketing tools.