American Marketer


Balanced marketing campaigns grow ROI

October 29, 2015

Emily Adams Emily Adams


By Emily Adams

Mobile is Everything! Content is King! You Need Social Media! Email Wins!

You have heard a phrase like this before. You probably hear all of these phrases, or some variation of each, every week. Small Business owners are constantly bombarded with messages, advice or catchy phrases about the one thing they need to be successful in marketing.

It is easy to get sucked in.

And, yes, mobile is important. So is content. And social media. And email. And a Web site. And direct mail. And … you get my point.

The truth is, each one of these tactics individually is important. But any one, on its own, is not everything.

And the truth is, phrases like “mobile is everything” hint at a deeper problem with developing a digital marketing strategy.

When business owners buy into these broad-stroke concepts, they are likely to put too much emphasis on one marketing strategy only. And when you put all your eggs in one basket, you had better not drop that basket.

But buying into every option available is not necessarily the right choice either. To overuse the metaphor, when each egg is in its own basket, will you be able to carry them all?

Finding the right mix
In my previous article, “5 W’s of digital marketing,” I discussed the importance of targeting and the fallacy of one-size-fits-all approaches to advertising. This same concept can and should be applied to your underlying marketing strategy.

Your business is unique. What works for your neighbor or your competitor will not inherently work for you. For some businesses, mobile is everything. For others, mobile is just a small part of a larger strategy.

But marketing agencies too often fill your head with catchy one-liners. They say “Content is King” to sell you a blog or a landing page. They say “You need social media” to sell you a social management package.

The trouble comes when you need to weed out the salesy pitches and figure out what you actually do need for your business.

Importance of integration
What you need is synergy. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” applies perfectly to your marketing strategy.

When you too heavily emphasize only one aspect of your marketing plan, you lose the added value of supporting services and strategies.

Think about your Web site – if you pour your entire marketing budget into a flashy Web site design, you will not have any money left to bring customers to your site.

You might be equipped with all the bells and whistles of the latest design trends, but what is that worth if you only have one or two visitors per day? What is a stunning design worth if it is not matched with effective content?

Secret to more ROI
At a basic level, I am talking about return on investment (ROI). If you look at any one service individually, you might see a modest ROI. The real return happens when you combine services.

Customers first hear about your business from a friend. Then they notice the “liked” post on Facebook, or stumble upon a display ad on a Web site. When they need your service, they recognize your name in the search results, and only then do they visit your Web site for the first time.

But if you spent all your marketing budget on a Web site design? They might have passed over your site and clicked on your competitor.

On average, it takes seven touches before a customer will act or make a purchase decision. It is very difficult for a Web site alone provide those seven touches in time to catch that customer.

I used a Web site as the example, but this could just as easily be said for pay-per-click campaigns, or email marketing, or direct mail, or any one marketing service.

MY POINT IS this: No one solution is enough. You need a balanced and integrated approach to marketing.

There is no easy button solution. There is no magic formula to follow. There is no catchy phrase to guide your strategy. But finding the right marketing mix creates the synergy that can rapidly grow your business.

So grab a few baskets, measure your results, and rearrange your eggs until you find the mix that keeps you balanced.

Emily Adams is content manager at Automated Marketing Group, Littleton, CO. Reach her at