Posted on Leave a comment

Should your company outsource digital marketing services?

The outsourcing industry has seen quite a sweeping change in the last decade and a half. Changing technologies, rapid updates in the online sphere, economic instability across the globe and cost arbitrage are the primary drivers of the outsourcing industry.

Although getting digital marketing services outsourced is more of a strategic and a tactical decision for most organisations, dynamically changing scenarios in the digital space also contribute to this decision. Most digital marketing agencies like these have a trained talent pool that keeps itself up-to-date with the latest technological changes happening in the industry and are better equipped to handle these changes as and when they happen.

Outsource digital marketing services
Should you outsource digital marketing services

Here are some of the key drivers that can help you decide if your company should opt for outsourcing digital marketing services:

Does digital marketing fit into your organisational strategy?

Many companies such as those in the manufacturing sector, or the aerospace industry do not see digital marketing as a core competency in terms of organisational strategy. So, it is more beneficial to them to have the digital and online marketing services outsourced to agencies, rather than allocating dedicated resources to this function. Of course, privacy, data integrity, and confidentiality concerns also are taken into consideration.

Do you have the right resources?

In case of digital marketing functions, the requirement of resources varies greatly and unless a company is a very large MNC, it is not viable for them to invest hugely in digital marketing resources. In many cases, the marketing team carries out the function in a limited way.

A fully fledged digital marketing team includes specialists such as web developers, SEO strategists, SEO experts, content specialists, UI designers, graphic designers, creative head, analytics experts etc. Hence, small and medium enterprises usually opt for outsourcing of digital marketing services when they want to introduce the entire gamut of services such as SEO, PPC, SMM, etc.

Does your technology support the function?

The digital marketing function requires the support of integrated technology along with cutting edge infrastructure and higher specifications than normal. For example, a designer needs access to a higher capacity processor which can run heavy programmes such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. This might be feasible for a company that has enough design needs to justify the RoI on these softwares.

Let the Operations part be handled by the pros

While it is a good idea to ideate and create concepts for advertising or campaigns, you are more likely to think about the big picture and let the rest be taken care of by the agencies. Strategy and insight is the input that goes from you to the agency that you have outsourced your digital marketing services and operations to. That way, you can take care of the core operations of your own company.

Avoiding hindrance in the path of growth

When you have the path for your company set and established, and know the plan of action, you might want the expert agencies to take over some or all parts of a digital marketing strategy and operations. Hence the need to outsource digital marketing services becomes an organisational decision.

Cost Arbitrage

Most companies outsource because it is worthwhile to invest in; outsourcing became the norm because it was profitable in many ways to give a part of the business process to an agency that would handle it from end to end, rather than investing in it.

360 degree coverage

When you hire a digital marketing agency for your social media needs, you can rest assured that there will be a 360 degree coverage of your brand across all possible channels, or most effective channels, and the kind of leverage that you can get from the focused industry knowledge of these agencies has great benefits. For example, agencies know which concepts and Hash tags are trending and can connect your brand to the current trends, thus leveraging the popularity of current in-the-news hash tags.

Leveraging network

Digital Marketing agencies are usually in touch with a lot of media people as well as have good connections across the industry. A company on its own may not be able to spread as much word about its services at the right places, as an agency.

If you would like to see a professional and qualitative approach towards your digital marketing plan for 2014, do contact us to know how we can make your brand name a buzz word in the digital sphere.

Posted on Leave a comment

Secondary Marketing Techniques: Landing Pages and Microsites

Secondary marketing is the usage of smaller, often single or two-page, websites as a complement to the main website. These smaller websites serve as an addition to the main website but are of secondary importance. Microsites are also known as landing pages, essentially pages that a customer would land on, after searching for keywords on search engines or clicking on advertisement banners online. Although both microsites and landing pages serve the same purpose and are used as tools for secondary marketing online, the basic difference between both is in the number of pages – landing page is just one, while a microsite can have a couple of pages or more. Both utilise attractive graphics, text and images to grab the attention of visitors and encourage them towards a desirable action.

Secondary Marketing - Use of landing pages and micro sites
Secondary Marketing – Use of landing pages and micro sites

A typical microsite is made of two elements which might be spread over a single page or several pages:

  1. The visual (consisting of images, text and graphics), and
  2. A call to action that guides users towards a course of action.

Microsites are launched with several objectives. In terms of secondary marketing, microsites enable users to grasp more information on a service or sub-product.

How do users “land” on your landing pages?

There are several methods of directing users to your desired landing pages.

  1. Banner ads
  2. Pop up on website home page
  3. Google search engine result
  4. Email marketing (usually emails containing links are sent to users)

Why does your company need to use secondary marketing techniques?

Many digital agencies suggest the use of secondary marketing for branding purposes, because it is easier for them to successfully execute digital marketing strategies for companies by using microsites.

  1. It is a great marketing idea to promote a specific product/service, target a specific location and conduct a seasonal event by using microsites. Doing so gives access to a host of analytics that are relevant only to the purpose of its creation. For example, if a brand has created a landing page for a newly launched product, it can measure the number of people interested only in that brand by tracking the metrics for the landing page.
  2. Microsites and landing pages are essentially used for lead generation and in most cases, contain a lead form that captures customer information such as name, number, email address, etc.
  3. Most companies are reluctant to give control of their websites to agencies, and hence, this is another way to market a company’s products and services online.
  4. In some cases, websites are made in a haphazard way, or have just plain simplistic and uninteresting home pages. Getting an amateur agency or an inefficient resource or for that matter, not having had the time to look into the website launch could result in branding without quality. This means, the branding has been done, but is ineffective.
  5. Once customers start recognizing a brand, companies feel apprehensive about making very big changes. In such cases, and in cases where the website is in an unsalvageable state, digital marketing agencies suggest the use of landing pages, or microsites.
  6. Campaigns – Say a popular telecommunication company comes out with an integrated online marketing campaign to launch its new mascot, and creates a new microsite to introduce the mascot, announce some new plans and gather customer information.
  7. Events – Many companies participate into or conduct events and to promote the same, they create microsites with event information, ticket sale pages and booking information details.
  8. New launches – Companies advertise new launches through landing pages to gauge customer interest, more so, if the launch is of a new range of products or a new entrée.
  9. Social Media, Search Ad Campaigns and PPC for display ads – This is another way of directing your visitors to a good attractive landing page. By linking ads and PPC display banners to a new landing page, brands can also measure the traffic that the ad is sending to the landing page.

Types of secondary marketing techniques that warrant the use of microsites and landing pages

Conclusion

A landing page is a great way to engage users and disseminate information that a brand does not want to disclose on its home page. Landing pages/microsites actually complement the home page and enjoy the same level of importance without overshadowing the purpose of a home page. Many marketers use microsites to engage users in interactive games such as karaoke sessions or quiz with gratification.

Ultimately, secondary marketing techniques must empower the business to grow by converting visitors into leads.

My Digital Marketing Team has a team of expert designers and programmers that create effective and interactive landing pages and microsites for expanding your customer base through result-based online marketing campaigns.

To know how we can help you grow your business, contact us here.

Posted on Leave a comment

Social Media Marketing Case Study: Bournville

In June this year, on a quiet Friday, dark chocolate brand Bournville by Cadbury kicked off a social media campaign called ‘Tape a Tweet’ simultaneously on Twitter and YouTube. The campaign took into its wake, the Twitterati, Facebookers and YouTubers, triggering funny, excited, curious and creative conversations amongst the followers of the company.

The outline:

With 44% cocoa made from the world’s best cocoa beans from Ghana, Cadbury Bournville’s USP rests on the quality of being not so sweet. The team turned this into a campaign in itself, and planned a simultaneous marketing campaign on three major social media networks. Using the concept of “Not So Sweet” and releasing the hashtag #notsosweet, Cadbury tried repositioning Bournville from “You don’t buy a Bournville you earn it” to “Not so sweet”. The Twitter campaign directed followers/fans to tweet a not so sweet, or an over sweet moment and this would be converted into a video real time.

The Hook:

The curiosity and excitement of seeing their tweets come alive on YouTube was an incentive that made Bournville fans get swept into the campaign. Bournville is still running the #Notsosweet campaign on Twitter.

Social Media Marketing - Bournville - Latest tweet

The Process:

Tweet a not so sweet (or too sweet to digest) moment to @BournvilleIN. Tag it #notsosweet. Share it with friends on Facebook. Retweet it. The team had an entire logistic setup ready, that came together to convert each of the selected tweets into a video within an hour of the posted tweet. Here’s an example:

Bournville Tape a Tweet social media marketing campaign

Worth noting is how the tweet accompanies the video to let users know which one was taken as the inspiration for the video. A total of 19 such videos were made and uploaded on the same day. The videos aren’t too long, just about 50 seconds to 90 seconds. Leading stand-up comics from the Schitz en Giggles comedy group were engaged to act in the videos. The hash tag #notsosweet started trending in 30 minutes and this 10-hour campaign instantly grew Twitter followers by 130. The brand received almost 20 tweets per minute and each tweet received at least 10-15 retweets, which is phenomenal. The videos had received anywhere between 200 to 350 views during that week and over 200,000 impressions were made.

Conclusion:

Currently 3.9 million subscribers strong on Facebook, Cadbury Bournville has several such campaigns to its credit, including the Bournville Academy Awards for Facebook users, The Legend of the Cocoa Bean, Catch the Cocoa Pods game et al. This social media marketing campaign is a good example of how one can use all the available channels across the World Wide Web to create an integrated marketing effort that not only elicits participation from the audience but also engages them in a constant conversation with the brand. The brand gets enough traction within a stipulated amount of time, and recall value ascends quickly with such targeted campaigns.

Would you like to conduct a campaign that kick-starts the buzz around your clients’ brand across their social media channels? Do contact us here to know how we can assist you.

Posted on Leave a comment

Impact advertising: The art of indirect online marketing

The key to creating good marketing content – whether it is an ad, or a blog post or a deal page – is to make it customer-centric and personal by touching upon the emotional factor. We as human beings are emotional creatures. We click well when a piece of content touches our emotions. When an online marketing copy, ad or video sells a product indirectly through references, connections and recall elements, it amounts to indirect online marketing. Common customer behaviour indicates that sales figures see a boost, when a product associates itself with a particular feeling, for example, awe, joy, panic, fear, contentment etc., rather than just speaking about its features.

A recent trend on this front has been witnessed across the World Wide Web with the release of videos and ads that play upon feelings as primary content and speak much less about the product being endorsed. A case in point for a highly effective sales strategy that uses indirect online marketing is the advertisement called Real Beauty Sketches that was released by cosmetics company Dove in April this year. This advertisement took home the Titanium Grand Prix1, which is the highest honor at the 2013 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity1. Voted as 2013’s most shared advertisement, the Dove Real Beauty Sketches touched millions of hearts and received over 4 million shares till date. The videos hardly talk about the product; but they elicit emotions that are deep. Ending with just one line, “You are more beautiful than you think”, Dove created a gigantic brand image for itself on one word – ‘Beautiful’, and effectively advertised a whole range of products without naming even one. The concept rests on depicting how we see ourselves (described in the sketches as not so well) and how others see us (described in the sketches as beautiful).

1Dove ‘Sketches’ Campaign Takes Titanium Grand Prix at Cannes

An indirect online marketing strategy in fact causes more impact than a “Hey! I have an awesome product to sell. Buy it!!” declaration.

Here’s how you can develop an indirect online marketing strategy:

  1. Identify the keywords that associate perfectly with the product/brand that you are trying to sell online.
  2. Identify the emotions that the keyword generates in its entirety, in context with the brand, and also on its own.
  3. Play on the emotions and create a context map that starts with the element of surprise and ends with the keyword and a logo.

To be able to do this, you need to ask several direct and/or subtle questions to the target audience that is going to view the marketing campaign so as to initiate favourable action on their part. These questions form an essential part of an effective content strategy and are basically aimed at piquing the curiosity of the viewer, creating a compulsion to ‘know more’, and compelling the viewer to perform the subsequent action as desired by us.

  • Identify your target audience’s need. Ask them about the need.
  • Identify what will benefit them. Ask them how they would feel if the need is fulfilled.
  • Identify what emotion is perfect for selling your product. For example, a home cleaning solution advertisement played on the emotion of fear of germs and disease, enacted by a mother who has a crawling baby at home. Another telecom company came out with a 4 minute song, with jingles and catch line, that exploits the need of friends to be in constant touch with each other – so keep talking. This song caught on so much that it became an anthem for friendship.
  • Offer something “extra”. I wouldn’t call it a freebie. Today’s customer is informed. But it’s good practice to offer a little value over and above the product you are selling. For example, if you are a Broadband service provider and your website and social pages are trying to sell various Internet plans, you can offer a no-charge plan upgrade for two weeks or increase the Fair Usage Policy limit as a surprise. Customers love being surprised with such offerings and tend to spread the word, bringing in more enquiries and leads.

Thus, by understanding what need your product is fulfilling and what gratification the audience will truly enjoy, create hitting content that subtly puts forth a curiosity and leads your customer to think, “Why shouldn’t I try this once?”

 

Posted on Leave a comment

How Digital Marketing can change the landscape of your company – for the better

As more and more users add I-pads, tablets, and smart phones to their list of connectivity devices apart from laptops, digital marketing becomes all the more vital for a company to sustain itself in the online space. Not only are today’s companies required to enter the digital marketing arena, they need to also figure out how to impart the right message to the right audience at the right time. Effective online marketing is the order of the day.

However, digital marketing is a whole lot more than online marketing. It encompasses detailed selling strategies towards goal (leads) oriented outcomes, targeting specific categories of users, in depth analytics, visitor tracking, and leads generation. And yet, it is not complete in itself, because the online world experiences changes by minute time frames.

Numbers on the plate: A quick glance at digital marketing statistics

Digital Marketing is a broader term that includes all those set of activities that directly or indirectly help promote a brand, website, service, or company online. While traditional marketing techniques employed print, radio and television as the media for advertising, today, Internet has taken a fair chunk of the same. According to the PwC IAB report1 titled “2013 Half Year IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report”, Digital ad spending in the US grew 18% year over year and has already surpassed $20 billion in the first half of 2013.

This report is testimony to the fact that many small, medium and large enterprises have woken up to the current importance of Digital Marketing.

1Source: IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC)

Furthermore, similar trends are being witnessed across the globe. A recent study2 by Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and Direct Marketing Association UK (DMA) reveals that 94% of the marketers in UK and 89% in Australia have already adopted content marketing.

2Source: Content Marketing in the UK: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends

Being visible everywhere that matters

If a company is not there online, it effectively doesn’t exist, unless it is a big multinational. And being online doesn’t mean just the web – they have to have a mobile version, an I-pad version, so on and so forth. Visibility on hand-held devices has also come of age. As against web visitors, smart phones and tablets have taken over a 20% share of the total website visitors according to the Monetate Q1 2013 Ecommerce Quarterly report. This makes it essential for companies to optimize their websites for other platforms as well.

The Domino Effect

We have all heard about how online reputation management (ORM) has become a priority for companies, what with customer feedback coming up online in various ways. There is an extremely vulnerable state of transparency on the web that gives many companies jitters. Especially when there are a lot of negative reviews floating around the web, companies take great pains to ensure that their customers are given the best of service so that they may spread good will online, or at least keep mum.

What’s all the more disturbing for companies is the fact that one negative comment spirals into a long, never-ending thread of negative comments saying “I had the same experience too!” that results in a significant loss of brand image as well as revenues – such is the power of the online medium.

Walking the planned path – Digital Strategy?

A Smart Insights survey in the beginning of 2012 revealed shocking statistics as per which, almost 70% of the companies surveyed admitted to not having a digital strategy in place. Yet they were indulging in some sort of digital marketing activities. Besides leaving your company direction less and clueless about what progress is being made and what are the Returns on Investment (RoIs) against Online Marketing, not having a digital strategy actually de-optimises your efforts towards building a brand online. Moreover, if you do not want your competitors to nibble on the market share that is supposed to be yours, then you have to be up-to-date with your digital plan.

Measuring results the analytics way

While offline marketing is measured in clearer terms, when it comes to online marketing, the grey area widens. Hence, analytics and metrics get a greater role to play in establishing the credibility of online marketing strategies. The grey area includes terms such as mentions, impressions, referrals, social signals and conversions. While marketers can easily decipher the terms, an old school company that is still engaging in Above the Line marketing activities might take longer to understand the significance of mentions/visitors/referrals, unless they are explained in terms of lead generation and RoIs.

The Changing Landscape

Digital marketing holds the key to growing your business by triggering an “attract >> engage >> convert” cycle, the results of which are hard to ignore, more so when all your competitors have already climbed on to the bandwagon.

Digital Marketing amplifies your marketing efforts by several manifolds, and often reaches just the right prospects that are likely to convert into customers. Traditional marketing techniques are more expensive and their reach is diluted because they lack audience focus, unlike digital marketing activities which can be targeted only towards relevant audiences, thus extracting the maximum use of investment and giving the best returns out of it.

The time to take action is now.