by Olivia R. | Account Executive |

You’re a decision-maker for your company’s digital marketing. You’re planning budgets and strategies for 2019 and may be thinking of trying a new type of advertising. What do you need to think about before jumping into conversations about the world of digital marketing, with an internal team or an agency?

You might think these conversations should revolve around costs, the “return on investment,” and case studies that match your exact situation. These are important things, but they are not the first thing you need to discuss in a conversation to decide whether a particular digital marketing method is right for you.

1. Set a Goal.

This seems obvious, but starting with goal-oriented discussions is most fruitful because they determine the direction, creatives, cost, structure, and reporting of any digital campaign you run. As a marketer, I know there are countless types of goals associated with Google Ad campaigns, Social Media campaigns, and any integrated marketing campaign; however, the most common goal you have to answer for is sales. Under the umbrella of sales are many direct and indirect goals – gaining loyal audiences, brand awareness, online purchases, email lists, product trial, etc.

You’ll need to dig deep to figure out how these direct and indirect goals can positively affect sales since they directly affect the moving parts of the campaign.

2. Budget: What Can Achieve the Goal?

There always has to be a conversation about the budget. And, while we would like to say that we’ll spend anything if we can see results, your CFO likely isn’t going to write you a blank check. You’ll need to know a budget range you are willing or approved to spend before deciding on how to approach the goal.

A common misunderstanding we come across when discussing the budget with our clients is that giving a budget range will lock you into a specific campaign based on your price range. Unlike others, we don’t sell campaign packages based on your budget and we don’t think that’s a good way to choose digital advertising. We can attack lofty goals with mid-sized budgets; we simply use price range to determine whether we are taking a “micro” or “macro” approach to achieving a goal.

For example, if brand awareness is your goal and you have a smaller budget range to work with, it might be best for you to work on a segmented level in audience targeting, or starting with past data to reappear in front of your known customers in new and unique ways. This would be a “micro” approach to achieving the goal of brand awareness. With larger budgets, larger goals can be tackled on a higher level, with no less dedication to spending the budget wisely and tracking diligently.

3. Determining Success: Marketing Data and Company Success

The final piece that you must consider when jumping into digital marketing is how you are going to track the success of the campaign. Since you know your overall goal, your campaign goal and the budget associated with it, you can think deeply about the parameters you need to set up to track success. Do you need to beef up your website analytics, or set up an email campaign after you’ve successfully gathered data from an online audience, or think about follow-up remarketing campaigns?

ROI is a great “buzz” acronym. Its value is in its meaning to your bottom line. Just like I mentioned there are different marketing goals for different company goals, there are different kinds of return on investment. Sales may not be the indicator each time unless you make that the goal from the first conversation. For example, you won’t see a direct correlation between sales and a social media branding campaign unless you start with sales as the goal and ask yourself how a social media campaign might contribute to overall sales.

Digital campaigns can show real ROI when you’ve identified the goal, set a realistic budget approach, and put effort into managing your analytic tools (and expectations). These three pieces are crucial to setting up the right campaign for you, and if understood and executed by the right team of dedicated individuals, you’ll see those real results.

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