Marketers may be missing out on valuable customers by failing to understand the principles of aligning their offline media with their online marketing, says dgm Managing Director Craig Ellis.
While most marketers believe that online marketing provides more – and better – measurement than many offline mediums, they are yet to grasp how these measures, such as variations in traffic and search terms, can also be applied to their traditional media campaigns.
“Online marketing provides access to reams and reams of data, but if you are not asking that data the right questions, then it might as well not exist,” said dgm MD Craig Ellis. “And we have realised that, on the whole, the terminology around online marketing measurement remains largely unintelligible to Australia’s senior marketing community.
“That is the fault of the online marketing industry, which has retained an air of mystery and complexity around the discipline as a shield against inquiry into overblown claims and unjustified results. As a result many marketing organisations have partitioned their online marketing into a separate function – which only serves to further accentuate the failure of online marketing.”
dgm believes that online marketing is a pivotal element of any marketing mix, for its ability to “drive, reinforce, capture”, said Ellis. This three-phased approach describes how all forms of online marketing, including search engine optimisation and paid search, affiliate marketing and online display advertising, can create and support a campaign’s overall effectiveness.
Ellis said: “If as a marketer you are still using click-through rates as a measure of your online efforts, then at best you are behind the times, or at worst only weakly measuring the impact of your online advertising on your brand. Even worse, if you don’t know the difference between ‘post-click’ and ‘post-impression’ then perhaps it’s time for you to leave marketing and find a different job.
“I don’t know what is more scary, the agencies celebrating success based on results delivered from post impression, or the clients who are yet to ask the question about the authenticity of these results.
“Marketers and their agencies should be asking, are we driving customers to our brand either in-store or online? Are we using all media at our disposal to reinforce our marketing messages? Are we capturing customers with the right transactional opportunities? The answers to these three key elements of any campaign will indicate its success.”
Offline media such as TV and print is very effective at driving consumers to online search, said Ellis. Tracking by dgm across a wide range of clients shows clear spikes in search when a campaign ensures it uses convergent messaging across both offline and online media.
Online results can also be used to determine the effectiveness of offline media. Outdoor advertising, for example, which lacks its own universal measurement system, can benefit from the measurement capabilities of online marketing, said Ellis. The multitude of ways that online data can be sifted and analysed means that the success of outdoor advertising in a particular geographic location might be indicated in the lift of online search coming from that area.
Online marketing can also build momentum for unique phrases or taglines created for specific campaigns or products. Messaging in offline media can incorporate a direct response mechanism to encourage customers to search online for that unique term.
Ellis said that “track everything” is really the key to success for any campaign involving online marketing. “We are grateful to our clients who understand the value of testing and tracking across both offline and online media, using the triggers at their disposal to refine the campaign approach to produce better results.
“If you recall high school science experiments, where you were encouraged to change one variable at a time, and record (track) any changes, the same methodology should be applied to any marketing campaign including both offline and online media. It may sound simple, and it is.”