Picking Your Multi-Channel Agency For 2015

Dec. 22

With 2015 approaching, it’s the ideal time to think about your team. I’m talking about your internal team, and also your agency team. Do you manage a complex, multi-channel digital marketing program? When I first started in this field, our industry was organized in more of a channel-specific manner. These days, however, it’s all about the multi-channel approach. And, this is where team comes in. To manage an effective multi-channel digital marketing program, you need to assemble a great team, the best team ever!

I’m a huge fan of agencies. One of my favorites is 3Q Digital, the authors of today’s whitepaper: Should One Agency Manage Your Multi-Channel Strategy? I’m thrilled to share today’s whitepaper because it presents all the right frameworks to think about your staffing approach in 2015. It’s unbiased, covers all of the viewpoints, and includes 13-pages of helpful knowledge around choosing the right internal employees and/or agency(ies) for your digital strategy. Best yet, it’s written by David Rodnitzky, CEO of 3Q Digital.

Some highlights from 3Q’s multi-channel agency whitepaper:

  • How to think about the different digital channels. Which channels build brand, which drive direct response, which do both? Before selecting your team, first think about the channels that are important to your business.
  • How to determine if online advertising is truly core to your business. Assessing how critical digital advertising is to your business will determine if you build your team in-house, go with an agency, or do both.
  • Pros and cons of agencies. I really thought this was cool. Even though the whitepaper is written by a digital agency, it’s truly unbiased and shares all of the pros and cons. Before adopting any approach, it’s good to have honest expectations.
  • What are the three types of agencies and how do they differ? David covers the three types of agencies, and the pros and cons of each. Again, I truly appreciated the unbiased and honest approach.
  • David shares his "deep dive" approach to selecting an agency. Once you’ve crafted your overall team and agency strategy, you need to audition multiple agencies. David’s framework provides a great way to ensure you pick the right agency for you.

I hope this whitepaper helps shape your strategy heading into 2015. Now is the time to think about your team, and build your team heading into the new year.

3Q Choosing Agencies

Image in this post © 3Q Digital

Kenshoo’s Amazing Big Data Guide

Dec. 06

2015 is almost here! Now is the time to start planning your digital marketing strategy for the next year. Is big data part of your strategy? It certainly should be. Big data can be confusing. Is it just a buzz word, or does it have real implications in your marketing strategy? I’m thrilled to share Kenshoo’s Guide To Big Data where you will find the answers to all of your Big Data questions.

Kenshoo, one of the premier digital marketing technology platforms, is a true leader in Big Data. If you’ve been reading PPC Ian for a while, you may remember that I shared an amazing whitepaper about Kenshoo’s SmartPath Technology. SmartPath is perhaps one of the coolest applications of Big Data in the field of digital marketing.

Kenshoo’s whitepaper on Big Data is really big, it’s 20-pages long! Some of my favorite highlights:

  • Is Big Data just a buzzword or a real trend? Kenshoo tells you the truth about Big Data!
  • Kenshoo highlights the most relevant applications of Big Data in the field of online marketing.
  • Kenshoo calls out the "8 Laws of Big Data", perhaps my favorite section of the entire eBook. The 8 Laws section ensures you keep the right focus and perspective when applying Big Data to online marketing.
  • Daniel Morgan, Head of Search Engine Marketing at Accor, gives his perspective on Big Data. I really enjoyed this section since I heard the Accor team speak at Adobe Summit EMEA.
  • Amit Golan, Senior Director of Product Strategy at Kenshoo, shares some really cool perspectives and stats on Big Data. Did you know, Kenshoo processes 85 million tracking events every day. They manage over $100 million in spend every week. They deliver 1 billion clicks per month. And, 1 trillion ads per year. Simply amazing! In my opinion, Kenshoo is Big Data!

Each weekend, I really enjoy reading these eBooks and whitepapers. They always provide great value heading into the workweek!

Kenshoo Big Data Guide

Image in this post © Kenshoo

Tips For Testing New Things In Marketing

Nov. 30

The Holiday Shopping season is upon us! In my opinion, it’s one of the best times ever to run new tests in Marketing. Running and measuring tests requires a massive amount of data to arrive at statistical significance. There will never be more data available than during your company’s busy season (which happens to be Q4 for many businesses, especially those in retail). Today, I wanted to share some high level tips and frameworks as you explore your own testing strategy.

Beta Testing

  • Never stop dreaming up new ideas. As performance marketers, I view each of us as "Mini CEOs". There are few disciplines as multi-disciplinary as digital marketing, and you are truly in the driver’s seat to create change and drive results for your overall company. No test is too crazy. No idea is wrong. In fact, I encourage testing just about anything. Even ideas that are seemingly strange or bad may work. Stay creative!
  • Treat each test as a new business. Get disciplined about it. In the world of digital marketing, we work with large budgets. The money at stake is meaningful and should be treated as your own. Approach each new marketing test with a complete business plan. Include an overview of the test, who will run it, how much money will be invested, what success will look like, an overview of plan b and plan c (in case plan a doesn’t work), and more. The business plan will inspire confidence in your management team. And, it will serve as a guide to those running the test. Think of it as Marketing’s equivalent of the PRD.
  • Create a calendar and script your entire busy season. You can only run so many tests at once. Prioritize the most important ones. Set specific dates that correspond with timeframes set forth in your business plan. Don’t know all of the tests you will be running? That’s ok, some of the best tests are impromptu and will be inspired by events that unfold in your market. Set time aside for new tests.
  • Collaborate with search engines and other partners. Some of the best tests are bigger than your company. Become a great beta testing partner. Participate in case studies. Allocate time and resources towards developing cutting edge technologies with others.
  • Don’t overlook offline marketing channels and other new channels. Are you primarily a digital marketer? Does your company avoid offline marketing? Challenge the norm. You’d be surprised that many of the characteristics that make you an excellent digital marketer will make you an excellent offline marketer.
  • Pay attention to all those emails and phone calls that come through. If you’re like me, you probably receive tons of new opportunities each week. I’m always being approached with new opportunities and have a tough time managing the level of emails. Of course, you can’t look at all of them, but try to pay attention to the biggest opportunities.
  • Set aside a separate budget, one that’s outside your team’s goals. Testing can be expensive. Even the most promising new ideas can be expensive in their earliest days. Carve out a separate testing budget from your bread and butter campaigns. Without this separate budget, teams are rarely incentivized to test since tests will typically raise overall CPA.
  • Realize that you and your team will be working longer hours during times of increased testing. Testing is super fun, and it’s a very motivating exercise. However, it definitely requires some extra time and attention. Again, it’s all about treating your company’s test budget as if it’s your own. Make sure every single penny is spent wisely.
  • Make sure proper measurement is in place. Collaborate with you Analytics Team. Never start a new test unless you are able to clearly measure and communicate its effectiveness. Testing is a complete waste if you cannot measure.
  • Consider tests that span different pillars of your overall Marketing program. Testing drives innovation, and you want all areas of your Marketing program to progress. Make sure to test across: ad copy, landing pages, bidding, beta features, targeting and segmentation, media channels and programs, and more. Every person on your team likely owns a portfolio of programs. Challenge each person to drive tests across each of their programs.
  • Document everything and delight in the process. Testing is so much fun! This is your time to shine. Make sure to present your results to everyone!
  • This final tip won’t help as much this year, but will certainly help going forward… Make sure to plan and do as much prep work as possible ahead of time. Build the landing pages, build the banners, get legal approval all well ahead of time. When things get busy, I like to focus on execution, and it’s always so great to have all the background work done well ahead of time.

Image of beta test © iStockPhoto – Aquir

Presenting At Digital Marketing Conferences: My Guide

Nov. 10

I’m a tremendous fan of presenting at digital marketing conferences. In fact, I Recently Spoke at SMX East. Public speaking is such an adrenaline rush, and am amazing way to give back to the digital marketing community.

Public Speaking

When my good friends at 3Q Digital extended the opportunity to write a guest post for their incredible blog, I just couldn’t resist one about public speaking. (Especially because their very own Jay Stampfl was on the panel about Advanced Bidding Strategies with me at SMX East.) Make sure to head on over to the 3Q Digital to read my Guide To Presenting At Digital Marketing Conferences.

I put a lot of work into this guide and cover all sorts of cool stuff:

  1. Why Present? I give all the pros of presenting (there are many of them).
  2. How To Score Your Speaking Opportunity. These are not easy to get, but a little hard work (and a savvy strategy) will get you there in no time.
  3. How To Prepare. The best presentations come from attention to detail in the preparation phase.

Thinking about speaking at a digital marketing conference? Don’t know where to start? I hope my guide helps, and hope to see you speaking at the next big industry event!

Image of Public Speaking © iStockPhoto – uschools