As CMO, you are responsible for the health of some of your company’s most vital organs—its digital marketing system. Just like in the human body, many inefficiencies can develop over time, especially when digital isn’t treated as an intrinsic, dynamic component of a larger marketing strategy.
What’s more, companies often fail to recognize signs of a poor-performing digital programs and, when they do, experience difficulty pinpointing the holes in their strategies to bring performance up to optimal levels.
That’s why, like your own yearly physical, conducting a digital health check is crucial in order to keep your strategies running at optimal levels.
To start, here are the top eight questions to ask yourself to first assess whether an in-depth digital marketing checkup may help increase your current program’s performance:
1. Have You Built Up Walls Between Your Digital Marketing Channels?
It may seem common sense to assign groups or departments to be accountable for specific marketing channels, but, as digital has grown in importance and spend, this often results in each channel falling into large independent silos, with potential to create extreme inefficiency across your marketing spend.
2. Do You Feel Foggy When Identifying Where Credit Is Due?
Digital has grown up in direct marketing: great at reporting and calculating ROI, but the downside is most of the analytics are done from a last-click perspective, with weak cross-channel attribution driving underinvestment and poor budgeting decisions across the various levels of the marketing funnel. Better understanding of opportunities across the funnel—including often-neglected and less expensive tactics in the mid-funnel—can help convert potential customers already leaning toward your product or service by giving them a push in the right direction when it’s less expensive.
3. Is Your Brand Spend Out of Control?
Brand awareness is critical, but many companies fail at measuring top-of-funnel spend effectiveness and blindly throw money at brand while starving digital growth. The same discipline around ROI must be applied to brand spend to optimize marketing budgets, taking advantage of digital’s strengths for targeted marketing to draw more leads through the funnel to increase conversions.
4. Are You Seeing Quantity Without Quality In Results From Your Efforts?
In digital, many companies focus purely on impressions and traffic instead of qualified leads, conversions, and lifetime value.
5. Do You Need More Organic?
“Earned media” is well-supported in PR and brand efforts; however, the amount of “earned volume” left on the table by most companies when it comes to digital marketing is staggering. Responsibility for SEO needs to be elevated in many companies out of technology and into the hands of the CMO in order to use inherent value in owned media for search.
6. Are You Sending Mixed Signals?
User experience is often defined as the site experience but more often than not starts with marketing messages in search, email, and display. Inconsistent messaging is responsible for a significant amount of conversion erosion.
7. Feeling Resistance To Change?
Leaders are typically promoted for their past performance, which can lead to a culture of intolerance for risk-taking and innovation, particularly in direct marketing. For most companies, too small of an investment is spent on testing new channels/tactics (e.g., video, mobile, social).
8. Is Your Approach Too Passive?
While retargeting has become more common, typically applied to users who hit the company website, it’s often not managed carefully as one of the most valuable digital channels. Search retargeting, look-alike modeling, and CRM retargeting are powerful tools for improving conversion rates when implemented as an essential aspect of a digital campaign.
To remedy many of these mistakes, the best option is to conduct a comprehensive digital marketing checkup for a deep review of your strategies once a year. A checkup should provide a high-level assessment against the following digital marketing checklist:
• Site quality: Performance, usability, build quality, compliance, and mobile compatibility and searchability.
• Analytics audit: Tagging, documentation, customer segmentation, online/offline connectivity, and channel attribution
• SEO audit: Share of search, spread across funnel, on-page audit, off-page audit, and off-site marketing.
• Social evaluation: Channel breadth and business integration.
• Paid search audit: Account structure, quality score, CPA Pareto analysis, benchmarking.
• Display audit: Display effectiveness, retargeting, social, programmatic buying.
• End-to-end optimization: Testing, hypothesis, impact to business, and test tool evaluation.
• Mobile evaluation: Integration with strategy and all channels, device-specific behavor anlysis, engagement, conversion, and usage.
• Automation opportunities: Site-wide changes, rule-based optimization, and automation tool use.
Once the checkup is conducted, a prioritization of high, medium, and low findings can be determined to guide the organization’s focus on the most important initiatives with the highest return. The summer/early fall is often the best time of year to conduct the checkup as a lead-in to annual business planning and budgeting processes.
But no matter when it occurs, a proper checkup can deliver critical insights into developed inefficiencies and provide a path to deliver dramatic growth and far better returns on marketing spend.