In the current economic situation, it is more important than ever for organisations to review their marketing strategies and assess how they can improve. Change should be based on data – whether it is customer segmentation that needs to change, or whether more robust testing processes are required.
This article will review the key areas to assess when determining how effective one’s marketing strategy is, from deeply understanding target markets through to measuring success.
Understanding Target Markets
The Importance of Hyper-segmentation and Personalisation
Tailoring one’s marketing efforts based on a few broad segments is not enough anymore; consumers expect personalisation. According to one survey, 45% of consumers stated they would take their business elsewhere if a company did not offer a personalised experience. Therefore, businesses are seeking to move closer to the prized ‘segment of one’ as much as possible, which will ultimately result in more precise targeting and improved customer engagement.
The more data analysed, the more precise segmentation can become. It is important to study it in granular detail, considering a range of factors from the fundamental demographics including age, location and gender, to factors such as job title, income and education level, previous responses to promotions, purchasing habits, and other behavioural data.
Discovering segments should be a bottom-up and not a top-down process; that is, marketers should not take try to fit the existing data to match the segments they are already aware of; instead, the data should dictate how the customer base is segmented. This is the scientific way to approach segmentation, allowing for the discovery of new patterns among consumers.
For each defined segment, buyer personas can be created in order to gain a fuller picture of who they are. Consider factors such as their pain points, what types of content they relate to, what media they consume and what tone of voice they will respond well to. Depending on how much a business’ products and services vary, separate products/services may require a different set of personas.
When it comes to tone of voice, analysing which posts have garnered the most engagement from different segments is a clue as to how to address these members in future.
Determining Where to Reach the Audience
As a starting point, review which platforms have brought the most followers and engagement and invest more in them in order to increase their impact. Conducting the same review for competitors’ profiles is another helpful tactic.
The broadest approach to determining where to reach prospective customers is to research which demographics are most active on which platforms. For B2B marketing, LinkedIn is the priority; for B2C, consider the following statistics:
- The majority of Facebook users in the UK (24.5%) are between ages 25 – 34, with individuals between ages 35 – 44 making up the second largest category, followed by those aged 18 – 24.
- 42% of adult Twitter users in the U.S. are ages 18 – 29, followed by those aged 30 – 49 who make up 27% of their user base.
- More than 50% of the global user base of Instagram are age 34 or younger.
- In 2021, 81% of adults in the U.S. said they use YouTube.
- 71% of 18 – 29 year olds in the U.S. said they use Instagram; 65% said they use Snapchat and approximately 50% use TikTok.
- The numbers of Gen X, Boomers, and even members of the Silent Generation using social media have been increasing over the years, with Facebook being the main platform of choice.
Ad libraries such as Meta’s are another way to check the performance of ads and discover how much has been spent on them, and their reach for different demographics. If competitors or non-competing but related businesses are performing well on a given platform, it is a promising sign.
The Importance of Timeliness
Timeliness enables businesses to capture customer attention at key moments and take advantage of current trends or topical developments. This ensures that the message is delivered when consumers are most receptive.
Timeliness is also important from a cost perspective. If campaigns are launched too early or too late, businesses may experience inefficiencies that result in lower returns.
An example of a timely campaign would be if Nike were to launch a promotion around the time of an important football match. Another example is the use of weather data to capitalise on weather-related purchasing trends.
Essentially, it is about tracking events that are relevant to customers and launching campaigns to match (in terms of timing and relevance), which should also be integrated with content strategy. This can and should, wherever possible, include personal events such as birthdays. In addition,
Businesses should track events in the customer journey such as subscription, cart abandonment, and so on. The marketing messaging is then tailored in order to increase the likelihood of conversion.
Continuous improvement in marketing is essential for all businesses as it helps to ensure that strategies remain relevant, efficient and effective.
An important step to make this easier is to leverage automation tools to help manage campaigns. This enables less resources to be spent on having humans carry out manual tasks so more time is available for analytics and testing.
It is essential to continuously measure the ROI of all marketing activities. The simplest approach to do so is to calculate the returns generated by a campaign using the formula: ROI = (sales growth – marketing cost) / 100.
While the above method is simple, it is not the most accurate, especially when measuring the success of complex initiatives such as content marketing.
To get an approximation of the value of content, establish the number of leads generated from the content and the total sales from those leads; then calculate total sales minus the cost of producing content to get the net profit.
This provides some insight, though there may be many factors influencing a customer’s decision which cannot be accounted for. For example, they may have made the decision to buy based on the content in the first email in a sequence, but not bought until after the seventh for some reason that will never be known.
It is therefore not easy to calculate a precise ROI of content marketing because the customer journey is complex and non-linear; thus, it is not possible to ascertain at which touchpoint they were converted. There are different models for approximating which touchpoint triggered the conversion, as discussed in the next section.
If the main objective of a campaign is to improve brand awareness, there are other metrics to measure such as the increase in traffic, reach and brand mentions since launching the campaign.
Attribution modelling is the process of assigning a value to each touchpoint in the customer journey and attributing a portion of the conversion credit to these touchpoints. It helps marketers identify which channels and tactics are driving conversions, allowing them to optimise their efforts and allocate budgets more effectively. It can also provide a better understanding of customer behaviour in order to create stronger segmentations. Ultimately, it is one of the most powerful tools for providing a valuable omnichannel experience.
There are different types of attribution models, each assigning the credit to different touchpoints. For example, first and last interaction attribution assume the first and last interactions were responsible for the conversions, respectively.
With first interaction attribution, if a customer found a business on Instagram, Instagram would be considered the touchpoint that converted. On the other hand, if a customer started following a business on Facebook and one month later clicked on a link to their online shop via a post, the post – as the last interaction – would get the credit.
Each model has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, first and last interaction attribution may be helpful for products that have a short or long buying cycle, respectively. These models do not provide complete accuracy but they can shed some light when analysing large volumes of data. (Also note that Google Analytics and most other platforms use last interaction attribution by default.)
Another model is linear attribution, where the credit is divided between all touchpoints. Time decay attribution divides the credit between each touchpoint but touchpoints are given more weight as the customer progresses through their journey.
The Importance of Having a Robust Test Plan
A robust test plan is essential for any marketing team. It provides clarity and direction in the development of strategies, helps identify potential areas of improvement, and ensures that resources are effectively allocated.
Below is an example of the type of details a test plan should consist of as a minimum (with examples):
- Objective/s: To test the effectiveness of a new product launch campaign.
- Timeline: The test will run for one month, beginning on [date].
- Target customers: 500 customers from our existing customer base who have purchased similar products in the past six months.
- KPIs to measure: Number of purchases; click through rate on emails and ads; survey responses from customers about their experience with the product; other relevant analytics.
- Implementation plan: Promotion will consist of emails to target customers and advertisements placed on relevant websites. Surveys should be sent out two weeks after initial promotion begins and completed surveys should be reviewed after the end of the test period.
Testing should be done continuously and split testing of ads, landing pages and other copy should be carried out as thoroughly as the budget allows. Optimising small details adds up in the long-term and informs future copywriting approaches.
There are numerous sources to gather data from but if they are not connected to each other, there is no single source of truth. Data from an organisation’s website and apps, social media, email campaigns, CRM software and any other sources should all be connected in order to gain the fullest picture and ensure data is analysed in the most robust way possible.
Instead of performing analytics on separate platforms, businesses must use a centralised customer analytics service to gain the most comprehensive insights. Another advantage here is that all teams have access to the same data which helps to align marketing and customer service teams.
When reviewing marketing strategy, critical areas to assess are segmentation and profiling, ensuring they are informed by data and defined in a bottom-up fashion. Determining where to reach these segments is the next step; from there, campaigns can be launched in a timely manner when customers are likely to be most receptive.
In the spirit of continuous improvement, testing should be an ongoing activity. A robust test plan must be prepared for each campaign, and attribution modelling will help provide insight on which touchpoints are most effective. Finally, to gain the most accurate picture, data must be aggregated into a centralised platform, providing all teams with a single source of truth.
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