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How long is too long to see value in marketing tech?

By Grant Coleman, SVP of EMEA at Emarsys

Choosing the best marketing platform for your business is difficult for any marketer. There are countless different factors involved in the decision, but finding one that delivers results, quickly can be particularly challenging. The timeline for acquiring, implementing and integrating new marketing tech lasts more than twelve months in many cases. It’s likely there will then be a latency period before it delivers results too. You might even be looking at a couple of years before your new piece of tech starts generating value. It is no surprise therefore that this ‘time to value’ challenge often puts marketers off choosing new tech solutions.

There’s a compelling case for addressing this challenge head on, however. Taking too long to get innovative solutions up and running comes at a business cost: a recent McKinsey survey shows that 71% of major tech projects go over budget before time to value (TTV) is reached.

How then, can marketers reduce TTV to make their new tools as profitable as possible in a short timeframe? Those seeking to save time and deliver sustained success from their martech must first set aside plenty of time to adapt their marketing strategy to ensure it’s proactive, not simply reactive. Even if this process is challenging and requires the investment of time and money, it is a worthwhile exercise for improving long-term productivity and profit in more ways than one. 

With this in mind, here are my top tips for marketers seeking to get bang for their buck from their martech investments: 

1.       Make sure your marketing talent has the tools to succeed when they need them

Delayed and slow launches are bad for business. As everyone knows, the quicker you can get your platform working at an optimal level, the greater impact it will have on your business objectives. Skilled marketers need tools to match their ability to rapidly respond to and manipulate the market. If not, they will be frustrated.

2.       Think strategy, not just speed

There’s no need to become fixated on speed alone, however. Outsmarting your competitors is also key, so it’s crucial to invest in platforms that are both strategic and streamlined to ensure your product delivers value. By collectively agreeing your desired outcomes and a methodical, transparent timeline to get your new platform up and running with the wider business, you’ll be able to build a far more effective marketing strategy than if you aimlessly construct an IT architecture that renders your technology more of a hindrance than a practical tool.

3.       Establish goals at the outset and evaluate your progress

A critical part of any plan is its timeline, which needs to be collectively agreed and transparent from the outset. It is important to designate milestone markers: what does the whole process resemble after a month of implementation? What remains to be done? If your business is five months down the line and still unclear on the end objective, or how far away it may be, then something needs to change. There are many technological advancements at our fingertips that we can use to ease the process.

4.       Make your platform work for your team

When deploying a new platform, it’s critical to get your team clued up on your new tools and turn them into experts as soon as possible. That doesn’t just mean training them on its functionality though. It’s vital you impress on your team how beneficial the new tech will be, once the teething stage is over. Otherwise, staff may become disillusioned, clients may question contract renewals and you might fall further behind the competition. 

5.       Be open to addressing new challenges

Your objectives will naturally influence your choice of tech, but you should also be open to the potential of new technology to address hidden problems you didn’t know you had previously. For example, wouldn’t you want to address the fact that 86% of customers will “channel hop” and evade traditional marketing methods? This is an instance when new information can inform our choices.

6.       Choose an ally, not just a vendor

Above all, make sure you choose a provider you can trust. You need them to be on hand for assistance during the process. Proper implementation requires a provider closely aligned with your objectives. Find out what their training materials are, the courses they have available, what consultancy they provide, and the support services they have available, and whether these are calibrated to the needs of your marketing team. Adopting a new platform is not an overnight process and will require due diligence before installation.

Final Thoughts

Time to value has been an important concept for years for countless products and across hundreds of industries. In marketing TTV is less transparent, which is a confusing problem. Taking a more strategic view of acquiring tech that matches the objectives you want to achieve with the most suitable tech available will ensure you deliver the best possible time to value for your business.

Online visibility is more than Google search: ignoring other platforms is losing you sales

The number of consumers heading to the internet as the first step on their purchasing journey is growing at a rapid rate. In fact, with over half of UK consumers preferring searching online than browsing a physical store, it’s easy to see why brands are utilising search engine optimisation (SEO) for comprehensive online visibility.  

Holding 92% of the global market share, Google is the natural choice when implementing an SEO strategy. However, taking a linear approach to your online visibility with Google alone is losing you sales. 

Jimmy McCann, Head of Digital Strategy at Search Laboratory is here to explain why you need to take a holistic approach to your integrated digital strategy to ensure 360 online visibility for your brand… 

The importance of organic, paid and multi-channelled advertising

If recalling the last time you purchased an item without searching it online beforehand seems like a distant memory, you’re not alone;  82% of all smartphone users say they consult their phones on purchases before they make them in store. In addition to searching on Google, consumers may look at reviews, marketplaces and social media to gauge whether a brand and its product is trustworthy.

It is therefore important for businesses to create a multi-channel strategy, rather than focus their entire marketing efforts on Google. 

Widening your brand’s reach by appearing in multiple channels is a crucial step that will allow you to reach prospects at more touchpoints in their customer buyer journey, increasing the likelihood of making a sale. 

There are various platforms that offer paid and organic methods to reach your target audience. Not all will be valuable to your business; using an appropriate attribution model along with carrying out an analysis of your customers and target audience will help to identify which channels you should start with.

Paid media is a great way of reaching your exact audience. Paid search on Google is invaluable, but there are other platforms that your business needs to take advantage of to get in front of consumers at different stages of the customer buyer journey:

A good digital strategy should have paid and organic activity across multiple channels, with each channel’s activity integrating with the overall strategy.

Scaling your brand internationally

For enterprises looking to expand their brand into international markets, understanding the local search landscape is crucial, and often requires going beyond the precincts of Google. 

The search engine’s market share varies internationally, which means an international SEO strategy needs to encompass other search engines.

For example, Bing’s presence in America far outweighs its UK presence, which took 33% of the market share in 2017. Whereas Yandex is prevalent in Russia, and Baidu is the market leader in China. 

In order to successfully expand into new markets, you will need to combine mother tongue knowledge of the local culture with digital marketing expertise. This will ensure that your strategy is localised successfully, avoiding any pitfalls of simply translating your brand. 

Set up an appropriate attribution model for your business needs

A customer will come in contact with your brand across multiple channels before finally converting. Using attribution models will help you to identify which touchpoints are most valuable in the customer journey. Google has multiple attribution models available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Setting up the appropriate model will help you to identify which channels to focus on in your digital marketing strategy.  

Building online visibility is a multi-faceted and often a time-consuming process but an integral part of growing your business, sales figures and customer retention rates. Your approach to digital marketing should remain a ‘work-in-progress’ and be constantly adapted to improve results. More importantly, your online visibility should span across different platforms and follow a paid and organic advertising strategy, which will ensure you remain market leaders and grow online revenue. 

Influencer marketing in the affiliate sector increases 9%

Influencer publishers drove 610,000 sales to advertisers in 2019 up to September; 5.5% more than 2018, while revenue made from influencer sales in that period totalled £29.7m – 9.2% up from 2018 and AOV of influencer marketing was £48.47, representing a 3.4% increase.

The data was compiled by the team at global affiliate network www.awin.com, who looked at Awin’s top 100 influencer publishers in the UK, combining subnetworks, talent agencies and individual influencers, for the first three quarters of 2019 and then compared results to the same period in 2018. 

2019 saw an increase across all metrics for influencer marketing, which confirmed industry-wide forecasts that predicted advertisers were going to be allocating more marketing budget to influencer marketing for the year. 

In terms of sales, influencer publishers drove a total of 610,000 sales to advertisers on the Awin network for the first nine months of 2019, representing a 5.5% increase on the previous year. This amounted to £29.7m in revenue to advertisers, which was a substantial increase of 9.2% on the year before.

The amount of commission paid out to influencer publishers saw a significant uplift of 18.9% from 2018, amounting to £3.78 million. The average order value in influencer marketing for 2019 was also up 3.4% on the previous year, totalling £48.47.

Retail & shopping continues to dominate the influencer sector, accounting for 99.2% of the top 100 advertisers, whilst there has been an increase for those in the telecoms sector, who made up 0.6%.

Fashion is the sector investing in influencer marketing the most, with eight of the top 10 advertisers operating in this industry, with the remaining two in the beauty sphere. The dominance of fashion & beauty retailers is maintained in the top 50, but there has been an increase of advertisers in the health supplements space entering into this list.

Commenting on the findings, Carina Toledo, Influencer Partnerships Manager at www.awin.com, said: “Influencer marketing has increased massively in popularity over the past few years, and has come to form a key part of marketing strategies, particularly in the fashion and beauty sectors. The practice is certainly set to continue increasing, and the rise in its use in the telecoms and health supp

IPA Bellwether reports UK digital ad budgets rise

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s (IPA) Bellwether reports marketeers have revised their budgets upwards in the first quarter of 2017, the highest level recorded in almost a decade.

Some 26.1 per cent of those companies polled remain positive about 2017/18 budgets, signalling growth for the coming year,  while 11.8 per cent of companies said that marketing budgets would increase during the first quarter of 2017.

32 per cent of those companies polled also reported improvement in the financial pipeline, compared to 19 per cent that predicted things would be worse during the quarter.

The IPA reported marketers on tighter budgets are seeing greater value from digital and positioning ad spend accordingly, mostly as a direct result of the unknown effects of Brexit negotiations and wider economic uncertainty.

However, despite a positive outlook for digital ad spends in 2017, the IPA predicts stagnation materialising in 2018, with marketers being advised by experts to proceed with caution.

Speaking about the report, the IPA’s director general Paul Bainsfair said: “The election result has thrown further uncertainty into an already volatile environment.

“It is inevitable that this has had a knock-on effect on UK. Specifically, for marketers this has meant a desire, where possible, to seek out more activation driven advertising. As evidenced strongly in this latest Bellwether Report, this has resulted in a further move towards advertising in the digital space.”