Chris Toy is the co-founder and CEO of MarketerHire, the #1 digital marketing talent platform connecting companies with expert marketers.
As the web becomes more focused on privacy, marketing is entering a new era. Unlike previous decades, consumers are now able to keep much of their online behaviors, such as browsing and purchasing habits, hidden. While this change makes most consumers happy, it makes marketing to them — and measuring the effectiveness of that marketing — more challenging.
Marketing attribution as we know it is dying. And marketing agencies and professionals need to find new ways to prove their value to their clients and executive teams, and rediscover old, pre-digital ways, too.
How did we get here?
The last decade of online marketing was the “age of the algorithm.” Real-time tracking and measurement on platforms like Google, Facebook and other major sites provided brands with more data, more immediately than ever before.
It didn’t take long for marketers to start funneling much of their advertising and marketing budget to Google and Facebook ads, because they had detailed data at their fingertips when their campaigns ended.
MORE FOR YOU
What’s interesting is, these digital platforms relied on the same frameworks and tactics behind original direct response marketing, like direct mail and infomercials. Machine learning and data science in digital advertising simply sped the testing process up exponentially, while platforms like Facebook and Google AdWords made advertising more cost effective and accessible to small businesses. Yes, the size and scale was unprecedented, but the foundation was the same.
In any case, digital ads grew dominant. That’s especially true for Facebook, Google and Amazon ads, which captured the majority of all ad spend in the U.S. in 2020. Many brands and businesses have stopped diversifying their ad budgets, investing solely in those top three platforms.
With attribution quickly becoming more complicated, I believe that’s going to cause problems.
How will marketers move forward?
Google and Facebook want brands to hand over all of the control to them — in some cases, the platforms aren’t letting businesses even set ad bids anymore — but brands should push back, and take control of their media buying.
That doesn’t mean quitting Google and Facebook ads. They’re accessible and usually quite successful, so why wouldn’t brands use them? They just can’t be a brand’s entire marketing strategy.
Instead, brands should diversify, investing in a variety of paid and unpaid channels. Marketing is much more than advertising, and many brands need to figure out how to leverage additional marketing strategies — like email marketing and SEO — alongside ads.
In fact, larger brands like Coca-Cola, McDonalds, and Nike have already created a clear division between their marketing and advertising departments. This reflects the deep expertise needed within each, and that will only grow as attribution evolves in the privacy-first web. Startups and small- to medium-size companies need to catch up.
How should your business move forward?
As you begin thinking about your marketing and advertising strategies going forward, there are four key things to ask yourself. These questions will help you and your team make the right decisions.
1. How good are your advertising analytics? The big digital ad platforms’ extensive-looking dashboards have made building in-house performance dashboards feel optional. It never was — the Facebook Ads dashboard always obscured a lot of nitty-gritty information — and the privacy-first internet makes it even more essential to build your own.
2. Do you have a diversified marketing strategy? You shouldn’t be spending your whole marketing and advertising budget on Facebook. If you’re spending 90% of your budget (or even close to that) on performance marketing, it’s time to start investing more aggressively in branding.
3. Do you have the right talent? You need senior marketing leaders to manage the first two points. Young companies sometimes feel like they don’t need or can’t afford a CMO — so try a fractional CMO. You need someone who’s thinking big picture and knows how to accomplish major pivots – but you don’t necessarily need them full-time.
4. Do you have a customer database? Your customer database should be much more than a list of email addresses and purchase histories — it should be home to your behavioral first-party data and any relevant third-party data you have, too. If yours isn’t there yet, customer data platforms like Segment and Clearbit can help you level up.
With attribution rapidly losing momentum, marketers need to figure out what’s next. Using the questions above and researching and brainstorming the most efficient and effective ways to see revenue is the best first step.
Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?
Go to Source
Author: Chris Toy, Forbes Councils Member