Dollars & Sense: A Budget Optimization e-Book


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Introducing the new series “Dollars & Sense” from our blog, Asking Smarter Questions. We are dedicated to improving businesses’ bottom lines by holding budgets truly accountable through business analytics and improving efficiencies with intelligence solutions. Visit Asking Smarter Questions to read our newest series, Dream Big:

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Dollars & Sense: A Budget Optimization e-Book

  1. 1. T Table of ContentsPreface: Staying Ahead pg. 1Part 1: Internal Affairs: Increasing Team Member Efficiency pg. 3Part 2: Crunching the Numbers: Determining your Budget pg. 5Part 3: Where The Money Goes: Budget Allocation Tips pg. 7Part 4: A Helping Hand: Budget Management Tools pg. 9Part 5: Time is Money: Improving Time Management pg. 11Part 6: From Data to Dollars: Operational Change through Social Research pg. 13Part 7: Leveraging Multiple Data Sources for Demand-Driven Marketing pg. 15Part 8: The Buck Doesn’t Stop Here: ROI Analysis pg. 17
  2. 2. Preface Staying AheadBy Steve Parker, Jr. How many times have you been hard at work and then some outside force – something unexpected – derails all your effort? It’s painful and it’s frustrating. It takes a lot of effort to get re-focused, fix the issue, or work around it. It’s even harder when the force that derails you is from the inside, something you or your company could have prevented; that can be a near-devastating feeling. Many times the issues that derail us are solved with proper measurement and accountability. It never ceases to amaze me that companies will spend tens-of- thousands, hundreds-of-thousands or millions of dollars on a new tool, service or campaign without the proper resources to hold dollars accountable and measure the true impact beyond standard convenience metrics. After all, it is not that difficult to hold items and people accountable and measure what we do. Yet, we are human beings so we often fail to do this and instead we suffer. Don’t for a minute pretend you don’t do this – we do this in our “Many times the personal lives and professional settings too. Yes, you chose that half-pound issues that derail slice of chocolate cake instead of the small slice. Yes, you chose for your PR us are solved with firm to assign a value of $30K to your quote in Business Week, yes you chose proper measurement to measure clicks and page views instead of sales and profit margin. Yes, you and accountability” are the inside problem, and your co-workers and friends are too. This series, Dollars & Sense, is dedicated to bringing accountability into not only your marketing plan, but your entire business. Finding efficiencies within your staff and operations, as well as appropriately managing your budget are essential to maximizing dollars. Think of it as a helping hand toward finding a better path for your business, allowing you to stay ahead of the curve. So how do you get on a better track? You become accountable, put the right people in charge, report on outcomes all need to be highlighted somehow. Make a plan. Establish a process that is clear and measurable and has substance to it. Don’t take the easy route and do what all the others are doing – stretch and make true goals that will have big impact and question the soft goals. Put the right people in charge. Yep, create a team, partner(s) or peers that will be critical, hold you accountable and allow themselves to be judged by the same criteria. You want responsible, skilled and analytical thinkers that will make you uncomfortable in establishing a new direction, setting goals and also measuring the right ones. That’s called growth. Report on the outcomes. Seems simple right? I’m not talking about weighing yourself in your bathroom where no one can see, or keeping the reporting of what you determine to be success contained to your department or division – I’m talking about clearly and transparently reporting so that true growth and accountability can occur. Be clear and honest on your SWOT analysis. Heck, Back To Top 1
  3. 3. Preface Staying Ahead (continued)By Steve Parker, Jr. post that weight gain or loss on twitter. Let the CEO know where you have succeeded and failed. Wait, you want me to report failure? Yes, that too – that way s/he can help you overcome those challenges and put you on a better path to success. Making money is great, but having sense about re-investing that money into your business is paramount for growth and success. Whether you are working with a small or large budget, this series will help you on your way. “Making money is great, but having sense about re-investing that money into your business is paramount for success” Back To Top 2
  4. 4. Part 1By Steve Parker, Jr. Internal Affairs: Increasing Team Member Efficiency “Dollars and Sense” is all about increasing efficiency in all aspects of your business. This is not just specific to marketing; we mean improving your business across the board. Things that you may not even consider affect your bottom line on a daily basis. To begin with, we’re not starting with your budgets or revenue, but your high-cost, high-value human capital. What can your team do in order to bring in more business? Well, it’s time for you to consider how you can encourage and challenge your team members to perform better on the job. First, let’s consider the individuals that comprise the teams you presently have. Ask yourself the following questions about the individuals you employ: 1. Does this employee seem happy? 2. What are this employee’s strengths? “Things that you may not even 3. In what aspects is this employee weak? consider affect your bottom line on 4. How can I play up to his/her strengths? a daily basis” 5. Will changing this person’s role negatively or positively affect them? These questions are important because in order to play up a person’s strengths, you must first know what they are. You can begin by asking the teammate, but oftentimes, they’re not entirely sure of what they’re good at. Asking the person he/she directly reports to will also give you some insight. Perhaps this person loves Aspect A of the job, but not Aspects B and C. Is there a role that requires more of Aspect A and less of B and C? Emphasizing this person’s strengths and managing weaknesses can help him or her work more happily, and more efficiently, thus improving their team and your business. Secondly, let’s consider the teams in your company. Use these simple tips to maximize efficiency in everyday tasks as well as big initiatives: 1. Team up. Put individuals with varying strengths, weaknesses and personalities on a team together. This will challenge them to think critically and from different perspectives when presenting new ideas or strategies. For meetings, certain team members can be responsible for “poking holes” in ideas and this can rotate. This ensures that meetings are constructive and reach solutions sooner. The team members responsible for “poking holes” can be rotated so that everyone has a chance to improve ideas and strategies. Putting individuals with similar strengths, weaknesses and personalities in a group may lead to a “group think,” or blind agreement, and the team will produce fewer impactful ideas. You can try giving your team members personality tests like this truncated version of the Myers-Briggs, or workplace-specific tests in order to determine Back To Top 3
  5. 5. Part 1By Steve Parker, Jr. Internal Affairs: Increasing Team Member Efficiency (continued) who would comprise the best teams. Though this analysis may take a bit of time, having your teams working efficiently together can save each of them (and you) a significant amount of time in the long-run. 2. Emphasize communication. If you have done your job when building teams in your company, you should have a generally dysfunctional-looking group of individuals comprising each team. By this I just mean that they’re all different in their working styles and personalities. Kathy is an ENFP and she thrives on conversation, while Joe is an ISTJ and prefers email. Therefore, communication is paramount. Emphasize the importance of communication in teams, but also let them choose what forms of communication is best. Educate teams on how many different types of communication there are. Perhaps they need off-site regroups to get away from their hectic schedules and desks, perhaps they need to meet early in the morning for coffee in the office kitchen. Tell team members “If you have that you (the boss) are going to ask individuals about what other team members done your job are working on from time to time. If the members of a team are aware of what when building others are doing, it will also make them more cognizant of deadlines and more teams, you should considerate in general. have a generally dysfunctional- Here’s an example: Jim is up to his neck in spreadsheets, but he knows that looking group Diane has a client meeting early the following day, so he needs to get them in this afternoon in order to allow her the time to review before her meeting. of individuals Likewise, Amy has just wrapped up a report and knows that Jim is on a tight comprising each deadline, so she is able to offer her assistance. team” 3. Never stop educating. Employee continuing education does not always have to be related to your company’s offerings today. Encouraging your employees to challenge the status quo and educate themselves about developing trends and services could impact your business greatly in the future. Employees who are able to extend their realm of knowledge will undoubtedly want to take on more responsibility and are more likely to become leaders in the company. Find unique ways to reward people who go out of their way to attend webinars, networking events or local classes to improve their depth of knowledge in their respective fields. Back To Top 4
  6. 6. Part 2By Jeff Adelson-Yan Crunching the Numbers: Determining your Budget There are many factors that go into determining a holistic budget for digital solutions. These initiatives can include marketing, business intelligence and analytics designed to help grow your business. Here are a few things to consider when setting budgets for your digital initiatives: Goals What are the ultimate goals for your business next year? If you are a start- up, brand development costs might need to be allocated. This can include developing sales and marketing assets for promotion, or a website, blog and social channels. For more established businesses who already possess these, perhaps the focus is increasing efficiency throughout the business with data enrichment or investing in competitive analysis to better compete in the digital space. Setting these goals will allow you to make the best decisions on where “There are plenty budgets should be allocated (more on that next week). of ways to put your brand ahead Here’s an example: Last year, a B2C spent $100,000 on pay-per-click ads of the competition and management. When assessing their success, they were able to attribute without blowing $220,000 worth of revenue to these campaigns. Therefore, they made $120,000. out your budget” Simple, right? But this business wants more. So for the next year, they will increase their budget for SEM, but also invest in data analytics that will help them determine more about their customers. In turn, they will be able to analyze captured data about their consumers’ behaviors and make informed decisions about inventory, staffing and marketing budgets accordingly. They can project to perform better in SEM, but also cut costs in day-to-day operations. Ideally, data enrichment and analysis happens in conjunction with all running PPC campaigns, but if it is not something that your business is currently doing, it can greatly improve your bottom line across the board. Competitive analysis Being competitive in the digital landscape can prove difficult depending on your industry. It is important to educate yourself about what your competitors are spending, which can be achieved with competitive analysis. This does not mean you have to match this number to compete, however. There are plenty of ways to put your brand ahead of the competition without blowing out your budget. Finding out what they spend versus what they make (public companies often release this information quarterly or annually) can be very important for determining the marketing-to-sales ratio for your industry. Volume and margins Is your business built on a volume or margins structure? If your products are low-margin (as in, the revenue generated from the sale of the product is not much more than the cost it takes to acquire and maintain the product), you Back To Top 5
  7. 7. Part 2By Jeff Adelson-Yan Crunching the Numbers: Determining your Budget (continued) need to sell large volumes of the product to generate healthy revenue. If your products are high-margin (the revenue generated from the sale of the product is much more than it takes to acquire and maintain the product), the volume can be less. Though successful businesses can run on both of these structures, it is important to know which you are so that you may determine budget accordingly. Generally speaking, those that operate with high profit margins spend fewer dollars on marketing and sales. This is because they do not need to sell large quantities of the product to make money. On the other hand, if you need to move large volumes of products, more marketing initiatives are needed. Explore new avenues for maximizing budgets The wonderful thing about the digital lanscape is that it is ever-changing. There are always new avenues to be explored (such as the aforementioned intelligence “The wonderful solutions like data enrichment and analytics technologies). Explore the newest thing about the fields to find out if they are the right fit for your business. Visual social media digital landscape marketing platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and Viddy can all be is that it is ever- leveraged in new ways to maximize your marketing budget. Budgets can also be maximized by integrating online and offline campaigns and continuing changing; there are optimization tests. always new avenues to be explored” Determining next year’s budget can be a little intimidating at first, but once you understand the basics, you can make informed decisions. The most important factor is thinking critically about what your business intelligence and analytics solutions can offer you. Improving efficiency–not just your marketing campaigns–is the ultimate goal. Allocating budgets to these efforts is paramount for your success in the coming year. Back To Top 6
  8. 8. Part 3By Steve Parker, Jr. Where The Money Goes: Budget Allocation Tips You have now decided what your overall marketing budget is for the upcoming period. But where should you invest these dollars? It can be difficult to decide what to allocate for tools, technology, analysis and the media spend itself including agency fees. First, we’ll discuss current trends in marketing budget allocation and then we’ll give you some tips on how to divvy up the money you have at your disposal. Current Trends According to Forrester Research, 38% of B2B marketers (in all industries) are expecting to increase their digital marketing budgets between 1-9%. 27% expect to increase it between 10-19% and roughly 16% are increasing more than 20% in the coming year. The numbers for B2C marketers are similar with “Good digital the majority planning to increase SEO and paid search efforts. marketing pays This positive trend is encouraging for digital marketers, as it appears that for itself – marketers are benefiting from new attribution tools as they are made available. and then some” For instance, 80% of B2C marketers report having generated sales from social channels, while 90% of B2B marketers attribute leads or sales to social. ROI and digital attribution is becoming more of a deciding factor to allocating budgets to the digital marketing arena; this is something we’ve been emphasizing forever. Good digital marketing pays for itself (and then some). Now that you know what other marketers and companies are doing, let’s talk strategy: Involve Other Departments Marketing budgets can be tight, so it’s important to try and marry your initiatives. Some examples: utilizing budgets allocated to R&D is prudent for something like social research, the act of listening to unsolicited consumer conversation in order to gain insights about your business. HR hiring initiatives can be put into place via social or paid media and additional funds can be allotted from that department as well. Thinking about various “marketing” initiatives as a holistic approach to improving your company can open up the doors to combine forces with other departments. Allocate by Media Spend 1. By media type Begin by assessing the different types of digital media you are running. How did your social, search or display efforts pay off in the last year? Where did you see growth potential and where do you think your budget can be slightly more restricted? If your KPIs (key performance indicators) are being properly measured in each of these media types, it should be simple to assess what is working and what needs to be manipulated. Back To Top 7
  9. 9. Part 3By Steve Parker, Jr. Where The Money Goes: Budget Allocation Tips (continued) 2. By publisher/platform Now you can go even more granular. Assess your performance by platform and publisher in the digital sphere. Notice the trends in your digital media initiatives. Did you see an increase in audience engagement for display ads on specific publishers? In respect to social, maybe you’ve discovered that your audience is more active on LinkedIn than Twitter. Study up to see if the trends you are finding are similar across the board in your industry. If it seems to be consistent, shifting your budget to reflect these findings may be the best way to utilize your funds. Allocate Budget for Technology 1. Analytics tools “What good is all What good is all this data if you can’t analyze it, find trends and enact this data if you operational change? That question was rhetorical, by the way; we all know that can’t analyze it, find data by itself is not helpful. You need to have the tools to track and measure trends and enact successful campaigns. Analytics solutions, like Google Analytics for instance, operational change?” can be free. But you need to assess how much data you’re generating and how you’re going to aggregate and decipher it all. If it’s going to require a customized solution, there needs to be budget allocated to this. 2. Agency tools Some agencies can offer technology solutions in order to help with the analysis part of the data. Customized databases are just one instance of solutions that can be tailored to your business. In order to maximize this budget allocation, an agency must base every decision around the business’s specific goals. If lead attribution is paramount, but there are several sources of disjointed data, it may be necessary to build a solution that will aggregate this data and match it to various digital initiatives, thereby rendering a specific ROI number. The good news is that digital marketing initiatives are just that–digital. This means they can be altered at any time. Many of these digital campaigns can be adjusted daily in order to maximize your budget. The most important factor is tracking performance in order to make the best decisions about where to go next. Budget allocation is great for planning the coming months – and remember that you are not completely locked in like with traditional media. Take advantage of the opportunity that digital affords to shift funds between initiatives in order to better reach your targeted audience and improve bottom line conversions. Back To Top 8
  10. 10. Part 4By Jeff Adelson-Yan A Helping Hand: Budget Management Tools Today, we will be discussing budget management tools. If you’re not quite to this step, you can check out our articles on determining your budget and budget allocation. Budget management tools can range from free and easy to expensive and complex. Here are a few of our favorite tools and tips to ensure your budget stays on track throughout the year. Paid Media Google AdWords and Microsoft adCenter both offer budget management solutions for paid search campaigns. You can set your budgets per day, per month or per campaign. You can also choose whether or not you’d like to spend the money quickly or over the course of a given timeline. These tools in AdWords are: “Management of 1. Automatic bidding: This essentially sets your budget and lets Google manage the campaigns it for you. This is the easiest tool to use, as the budget will never be exceeded should still happen and will automatically adjust CPC bids based upon the money you wish to on a daily basis in spend. order to optimize appropriately 2. Ad scheduling: With this tool, you can adjust the time of day your ads will show or what days they will show. This is especially helpful if you have a call and maximize center, for instance, and do not want ads to appear with the number when the your budget” center is closed. 3. Conversion optimizer*: You can use this in addition to other tools. Essentially, Google will go through its data and optimize your ad placement to receive the most profitable clicks. *adCenter does not have this particular feature, so beware when transferring your campaigns from AdWords. Facebook Ad Manager also offers ways in which you can set your budget by daily or campaign. You can also optimize Facebook ads for likes (CPM) or for clicks (CPC), which is an important feature when managing your budget. With CPM, the cost per click is significantly decreased and your ad shows to those most likely to like your page. It is important, however, that you do not rely solely upon the platform. Management of the campaigns should still happen on a daily (perhaps weekly) basis in order to optimize campaigns appropriately and maximize your budget. Sales Integration Budget management tools can also come in the form of CRMs or customer relationship managers. Companies like SalesForce make it easy to see your completed or in-queue tasks and keep up with how much revenue your sales initiatives are generating. This can be the perfect budget management solution Back To Top 9
  11. 11. Part 4By Jeff Adelson-Yan A Helping Hand: Budget Management Tools (continued) if your company is focused on lead generation, as many of your marketing initiatives lead to sales initiatives. Monitoring the success of one can usually inform the other. Overlaying a strategic roadmap for when marketing is most successful can help the sales team know when to follow-up on warm leads or begin cold calling and networking. “Aligning your Data Enrichment digital strategies, as well as your sales Data enrichment and analysis can ultimately help you decide how to maximize initiatives, during budgets at times when business is projected to be most prolific by using these “up” times consumer behavior data and trends as well as how your business has operated can be incredibly in the past. Aligning your digital strategies, as well as your sales initiatives during these “up” times can be incredibly useful and efficient when managing your useful and efficient budget throughout the year. when managing your budget” Managing your budget does not have to be filled with question marks. There are tons of tools that can aid you in the process and can be mismatched in order to inform other areas of your business as well. What are your favorite budget management tools? Have I missed any? Back To Top 10
  12. 12. Part 5By Steve Parker, Jr. Time is Money: Improving Time Management Time management skills. They’ve no doubt been mentioned in every interview of which you’ve ever been a part. Employers are always wanting to know how employees manage their time and multi-task. Why? Because this skill can make the difference between being highly effective and just mediocre. The reality is that improving time management skills throughout your company can improve your bottom line. Finding more time in the work day can essentially mean faster project turnaround and more completed projects, which means happier clients and more time to devote to finding potential clients. When team members can maximize their time in the office, the ripples can be felt in every aspect of your business. Here are a few tips for improving time management: 1. Use outside tools to monitor tasks. Free software can be extremely helpful for taking stock of time management “When team skills. Firstly, cataloging exactly how much time a project takes can keep you members can aware. Also keeping track of these things can allow you to optimize time spent. maximize their For example, if, when beginning a new project, you see that it took you 2 hours time in the office, to complete, you can try to find efficiencies to cut down on that time. Perhaps the ripples can be much of it was research. Bookmarking information sites can cut down on the felt in every aspect time you spend Googling next time. Also, if you lack Internet self-control, you can use tools to block your most time-wasting sites (like Facebook, Pinterest, of your business” YouTube). Tools we like: Time Tracker Toggl StayFocusd 2. Make a to-do list – and stick to it. There is almost nothing that compares to the satisfaction of a completed to-do task list. Try creating one each morning upon arrival in order of priority. If a new task is presented to you during the day, add it to the list. Also listen to the old adage, “do not put off to tomorrow what you can get done today.” This can also help you get into a groove. If you know that each Wednesday morning you have to review a weekly report, then put that at the top of the list. Get it done first- thing in the morning so you’re not shuffling through slides and data at 3pm. 3. Only attend meetings with agendas. Agenda-less meetings struggle to be productive. Encourage team members to send an itemized list of things to discuss in every meeting so that time can be used wisely. If you receive a meeting request without an agenda (or one with a meager one), try suggesting another form of internal communication or discussing the topic at lunch. Back To Top 11
  13. 13. Part 5By Steve Parker, Jr. Time is Money: Improving Time Management (continued) 4. Block time on your calendar for focused tasks. Blocking time on your calendar will not only help keep you on task, but will also signify to other employees that you are focused on a project. This can also preclude them from scheduling impromptu meetings or stopping by to chat. 5. Turn off the email notification sound. If you are like me, then you receive 500 emails every day. During the work day, it can be extremely distracting to see them popping up and can even feel overwhelming. Try turning off the sound so that you do not lose focus every time it goes off. You can also encourage fellow teammates to utilize the priority flag if the email needs immediate attention. Otherwise, you can take a break each hour to check emails (if that is sufficient). Utilizing these tips and passing them along to your team members can, over time, save you hours in the day (ie: money). If your team is able to use time more efficiently, you are open to take on more work, more clients and make your existing services richer. “If your team is able to use time more efficiently, you are open to take on more work and more clients, and make your existing services richer” Back To Top 12
  14. 14. Part 6By Steve Parker, Jr. From Data to Dollars: Operational Change through Social Research There are plenty of data sources out there that can help you create efficiencies and improvements in your brand or business. One commonly overlooked source is social research. We have written about the importance of social research many times, with its opportunities for proactive customer service and online reputation management. However, the most lucrative aspect of social research is its ability to convert data into dollars. Here are some key operational changes you are able to make based on intelligence gleaned from social listening. Competitive Analysis Competitive analysis is imperative for staying ahead in the digital world. Therefore, social listening does not have to be restricted to your business, brands, product lines, etc. It can also encompass your competitors’ brand and products. You are not only able to assess how customers respond to “The most lucrative your deals, customer service, website and more, but what your competition’s aspect of social new and most successful initiatives are through the eyes of the consumer. For research is its ability example, perhaps you and your competition both offer price matching, but your to convert data competition also offers free shipping. Therefore, the customer is saving even into dollars” more money. Social research can tell you if people choose that brand over yours for this reason. Inventory In addition to staying competitive, social research can tell you how many people successfully and unsuccessfully search for your products and brands on your site or elsewhere online. If there is a large spike in customers tweeting that they wanted to buy a product on your site that was either not available or not in stock, you may be able to predict–based on trended data over time–what products will sell best at certain times of the year. You will also be able to assess whether or not you should expand brand and product line offerings based upon demand. Opportunities for Product Improvement Unsolicited consumer opinion about your product or service is a gold mine. With social research, you are able to analyze what consumers like most and least about your product or service and find opportunities for improvement. Let’s say, for example, that you are a shampoo company that just switched over to all natural ingredients in an effort to be more environmentally-friendly. While some loyal customers think the new ingredients smell funny, the eco-friendly community has lauded your efforts and promoted you on every imaginable channel, which has increased sales. With the help of social research, you are able to calculate the profitability of adding natural ingredients to more of your products. Back To Top 13
  15. 15. Part 6By Steve Parker, Jr. From Data to Dollars: Operational Change through Social Research (continued) Opportunities for Expanding Markets Social research does not have to be restricted to certain languages, countries or continents. Therefore, it is possible to ascertain what other markets in which your product or service might do well. By listening to consumer conversation in other potential markets, your company can assess whether or not there is enough demand for your product in other regions of the globe and expand. Price Sensitivity Analysis Prices are a very popular subject on social media. People do not hesitate to tweet about a great deal, especially when there is incentive to share. Likewise, they are not afraid to share when they feel a product is not worth its price tag. Therefore, social research is a great place to conduct a price sensitivity analysis (e.g. how much people are willing to pay for a particular product or service). “People do not hesitate to tweet about a great deal, especially when there is incentive to share” Back To Top 14
  16. 16. Part 7By Jeff Adelson-Yan Leveraging Multiple Data Sources for Demand-Driven Marketing Demand-driven marketing is the most cost-efficient (and budget saving) way to market your business. Based on several sources of in-market consumer data, as well as your internal sales data, you can create more efficient campaigns that will maximize your dollars and visibility to those consumers who are most likely to purchase from you at any given time. However, some people go about this in the wrong way. Capturing existing demand first is the most important key to success. By using existing forms of data, we can create a predictive model about future demand. By taking the available industry data (trends over time) and marrying it with your consumer-specific data, you can create campaigns that are customized to your target audience. Some sources of data to consider are: Industry data “Capturing existing This can be found with simple online research. Finding out trends according to demand first is the time of year, season and purchase cycle can all be a great place to begin when most important executing your demand-driven marketing campaigns. Especially if you are new key to success” to your industry, it’s important to get a feel for the seasonal and year-over-year trends. Platform usage Finding out where your customers are, and where they want to see you, is imperative to staying ahead of the competition. Let’s say that all of your competitors are focusing heavily on Facebook, but you see more industry- specific conversation happening on Twitter, it’s time to invest in that platform. Optimizing your campaigns to focus on one or two platforms can often be more cost-efficient than being everywhere. Social research Social research is a great way to find out where your customers are (as suggested above) as well as keeping your finger on the pulse of what they want to see in your industry. Staying abreast of the issues your customer cares about can also help you predict trends. For example, if people are buying fewer new cars, it may mean that auto parts and services/repairs may increase since people are keeping their older cars for longer periods of time. Online search demand This is a great way to monitor trends and predict increases or decreases in demand. People who are conducting relevant search queries for your product or service may be in the market to purchase. A quick tip is to keep tabs on volume increases or decreases for more long-tail, or specific, searches. For example, instead of monitoring trended volume data for “womens shoes,” try searches for Back To Top 15
  17. 17. Part 7By Jeff Adelson-Yan Leveraging Multiple Data Sources for Demand-Driven Marketing (continued) brand, product, size and color. This will give you a better idea of who is looking to purchase and not take into account those people just “kicking tires.” For more information about online search demand, check out this video from Levelwing Director, K.B. Reidenbach. Site intercept research This is a form of research that comes in the form of consumer survey. You have no doubt been asked to complete a site intercept study when on a brand’s site. This is a great way to get ahold of some qualitative research, asking specific questions of your customers about their intent to purchase and the factors that help them decide. The results from these intercept questionnaires can be used in conjunction with other research in order to inform your demand-driven approach. “Marrying disparate sources of data can Campaign data help you create a roadmap of Lastly, you can look at the history of your campaign data’s performance for marketing to your insights about how it will perform in the future. Things like discounts and customers at the promotions are important to monitor over time. If an optimized campaign about most relevant times spring cleaning does not perform well with your target audience during the to them” winter, perhaps you can take some money from that budget and add it to later in the year when sales and inquiries are typically higher. Similarly, these data sources can help you make demand-driven inventory decisions. Marrying these disparate sources of data (seemingly unrelated) can help you create a roadmap of marketing to your consumers at the most relevant times to them. This kind of customized solution can ultimately end up saving you a large portion of budget, which you can allocate to better-performing initiatives. Back To Top 16
  18. 18. Part 8By Jeff Adelson-Yan The Buck Doesn’t Stop Here: ROI Analysis You’ve no doubt heard the phrase “the buck stops here.” And that’s what many people may think when they have successfully completed a marketing campaign. They look over the metrics and say things like “this campaign garnered 40% more clicks than last year’s” or “there was a 15% increase in transfers to our website from social channels.” But truthfully, the process is not completely over until you’ve evaluated how each channel contributed to your business bottom line. This means going past what was spent and brand awareness. There are still things to be learned, and that is when ROI analysis comes into play. What is ROI Analysis? Basically, ROI (return on investment) is a number assigned to an initiative that tells you how much money the initiative made you. Sometimes marketers will “The process is estimate this number, stating its “probable” impact or “implicit” payoff. This not completely will usually occur when the proper measurement is not in place, or the initiative over until you’ve itself was aimed at a more abstract goal like “brand awareness.” However, evaluated how each ROI analysis dives deeper into the data and assigns a concrete number to the channel contributed impact each channel had on the business’s bottom line. This is not relegated to marketing, as it can also be applied to initiatives like HR and staffing to your business optimizations or customer acquisition and retention. bottom line” Why Is It Important? ROI Analysis is important because it directly ties revenue to marketing initiatives. In digital marketing, we do not have to rely on approximated metrics (“We think about 80,000 people saw this billboard”). Instead, we can implement tracking and analytics that can catalog exactly how a user engaged with our ads, links, videos and more, which gives us exact numbers. What Can We Tell from the Data? When people talk about “Big Data,” they are usually referring to the seemingly- endless amounts of data captured from users’ engagement (including the user’s demographic and actions).What we can learn from data is practically limitless, which is why people often get scared when they hear the term. Some examples of useful data include: what time of the year people are most likely to purchase your product, what kind of messaging gets the best conversion rates, which KPIs are the best signals of success and more. ROI Analysis uses the data collected in order to assess which campaigns performed the best and why. The why is very important as it will inform other business decisions and marketing initiatives down the road (this is what we refer to as “data-driven marketing.”) The more data you have, the better your insights, which leads to better campaigns and more sales or leads generated. Therefore, Big Data should not scare us, but encourage us to rise to the challenge. Back To Top 17
  19. 19. Part 8By Jeff Adelson-Yan The Buck Doesn’t Stop Here: ROI Analysis (continued) Where Can We Use ROI Analysis? Though we often use ROI Analysis to assess how marketing campaigns perform, ROI analysis can be applied to virtually any part of your business to which you are devoting time and money. HR and staffing optimization is a great example of how, instead of assessing marketing collateral, we can assess human capital. What are the best times of year for your business to hire? At what personnel number is your business most efficient? At what rate of growth should your employee number be in relation to client growth? Similarly, ROI analysis can be used to aggregate data about customer purchasing habits, brand loyalty or even website design. These optimizations can make a huge difference in how your business runs. If you are not generating a specific ROI for each of your marketing campaigns “ROI Analysis through various channels, it is important to ask how it can be attributed. There can be applied to are many ways that digital attribution can work, but you have to choose the virtually any part route that is best aligned with your business goals. If, for instance, your business of your business generates mostly call leads, it would be imperative to include a phone number to which you are on your paid search ads. Using a unique, tracked phone number can tell you devoting time exactly what calls resulted from a user being shown an online ad. Tracking these calls to leads and eventual sales can help tie an exact ROI (ie: revenue) and money” to your paid search campaign. And anything less than that is simply not helpful enough. That is why measurement is critical and why ROI is the most important measurement. It essentially makes sense of the dollars you are spending and earning to give you a clear picture of your performance. Back To Top 18
  20. 20. Who isLevelwing? Like what you read and want to learn more? Primary ASQ contributors Steve Parker, Jr. and Jeff Adelson-Yan are also the Managing Partners and Co-Founders of Levelwing. Levelwing is a business analytics + intelligence firm, mining and analyzing data to help businesses operate with greater clarity and profitability. Please contact us directly to learn how your business can benefit from our services. Steve Parker, Jr. e: p: +1.843.631.4587 Or visit our website at