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What is marketing performance management and how can it help you?

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One of marketing’s greatest challenges is proving its value to the business. Without demonstrable proof that marketing initiatives are driving business results, marketers’ budgets are easy pickings for leaders seeking to improve profitability or just keep the business afloat during challenging times.

And it’s not just marketing department jobs and media budgets that are at stake. Cutbacks in marketing investments often backfire. They can retard the velocity of sales, stunt the company’s brand development, jeopardize relations with customers and create opportunities for competitors to gain market share.

Though it’s been a perennial issue for CMOs, the pressure to justify their budgets to C-suite colleagues has never been more intense. Seventy-one percent of B2C marketing executives expected that demonstrating the value of marketing to the CEO, CFO and the board would be “very challenging” or “extremely challenging” in 2022, a Forrester survey found.

Gauging the relative success of each of your marketing tactics is important no matter which way the economic winds are blowing. But when budgets are tight, as they are now with the current economic uncertainty, the prospect of eliminating waste is especially resonant.

The dawn of digital media promised a brighter future. One in which we could look at every sale and determine which touchpoints were effective at delivering ROI and which represented wasted spend. It’s not simple or straightforward, but we’re getting closer to realizing the promise, despite the headwinds, which include the pending deprecation of cookies and the need for compliance with restrictive, and often contradictory, privacy regulations.

Attribution — the practice of assigning weight to every touchpoint in a marketing campaign based upon its contribution to revenues — is not new. But the breadth and scope of available marketing attribution tools today exceed what we could have imagined just a few years ago.

The proliferation of APIs and integrations now enables marketers to pull together data of a wide range of types from myriad sources, applying machine learning and sophisticated algorithms to compare and make sense of the information.

These advances, along with business analytics technologies, let marketers get a more holistic view of their programs, regardless of channel, platform or silo. Even better, many tools now glean insights from data to model different scenarios and predict possible future outcomes, empowering marketers to confidently make budget allocation decisions.

Download the MarTech Intelligence Report: Enterprise Marketing Performance Management Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide

Together, these technologies enable marketing performance management (MPM). There is no consensus on the moniker for this type of solution. Some refer to it as “marketing performance measurement” or “marketing resource management” (MRM). We prefer “marketing performance management,” which encapsulates both the attribution aspect (performance measurement) as well as the bigger picture function of using data and technology to assess bottom-line results and make decisions about future spend (performance management).

Like other marketing software solutions, marketing performance management can be achieved with an integrated platform or by assembling a “stack” of point solutions to do the job. 

An MPM platform employs statistical modeling and machine learning to holistically evaluate the performance of a company’s marketing initiatives on bottom-line impact. Its purpose is to help marketers allocate future spend and bring it in line with business goals.

These tools feature attribution models that gauge the impact of each marketing touch a buyer encounters on a purchase journey and beyond. Additionally, MPM platforms use data, algorithms and machine learning models to predict future outcomes based on historical data and scenario building.

Integrated platforms have several advantages, including:

  • Seamless sharing of data between modules.
  • Built-in functionality for reconciling data from disparate sources.
  • A consistent user interface.
  • One vendor to contact for assistance with the implementation and support should they be necessary.

Point solution stacks also have advantages. Marketers select best-of-breed applications and have the flexibility of swapping out those applications should another with better features become available.

Stacks have challenges, too. Sharing data between applications can present issues, although connecting applications via APIs has gotten much easier in recent years. Interfaces are unique to each solution, meaning users must learn multiple navigation schemes and means of accomplishing their tasks. And terminology used by vendors may be different, creating a Tower of Babel within your marketing department.

Even measuring just digital media is complicated because data from many sources must be combined and normalized and normalized for an apples-to-apples comparison. The task is even more difficult when you include data from walled gardens like Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple that target ads to logged-in users, limiting the data advertisers get about their campaigns and the users that interact with them.

Because of these phenomena, marketers are turning to third-party tools that aren’t tied to any particular medium or channel. These solutions ingest data from every channel and aggregate it to give marketers insights and predictions to apply to future campaigns.

Privacy and the deprecation of cookies

Advertisers and marketers, along with the martech vendors that serve them, must also cope with regulatory and technological efforts to safeguard people’s privacy. Consumers’ growing awareness about how their personal information is collected and used has resulted in a backlash against some of the ways online marketers gather data.

Governments enacted privacy regulations like the European Union’s General Data Privacy Regulation and California’s Consumer Privacy Act both of which govern the collection and use of customer data.

Apple, Google and Firefox have or will significantly curtail others from tracking customer behavior by eliminating third-party cookies, i.e. tracking files put on a user’s computer by companies other than the one operating the site they’re browsing.


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Online advertising, since its inception, has used cookies to enable analytics, ad targeting and tracking. Transitioning to another methodology for accomplishing those tasks is a vexing challenge for the ad tech business and those that need to prove the performance of their marketing efforts.

For this reason, companies offering MPM have been hard at work developing solutions to facilitate measurement without relying on third-party cookies, personally-identifiable information or other information that might run afoul of privacy-oriented changes.

Marketers recognize the need for MPM

Last year, 38% of B2C marketing decision-makers said “they will focus on the implementation of new systems and technologies to support their organization’s business strategy” over the next two years, according to a Forrester survey. The company’s analysts note that “technology becomes even more important when you need to measure how marketing drives business value and distribute insights across the entire organization.”

Marketing performance management tools aim to address this need. They provide visibility into performance across online and offline channels and promise to enable marketers to drive more revenue from the same spend or reduce budget while obtaining the same results.

Read next: How marketing ops improves ROI through campaign performance and budget management


About The Author

20 questions to ask digital asset management platform vendors during

Pamela Parker is Research Director at Third Door Media’s Content Studio, where she produces MarTech Intelligence Reports and other in-depth content for digital marketers in conjunction with Search Engine Land and MarTech. Prior to taking on this role at TDM, she served as Content Manager, Senior Editor and Executive Features Editor. Parker is a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since its beginning. She’s a former managing editor of ClickZ and has also worked on the business side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing. Parker earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

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MARKETING

Boost Your Traffic in Google Discover

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Boost Your Traffic in Google Discover

2. Understand topical authority: Keywords vs. entities

Google has been talking about topical authority for a long time, and in Discover, it is completely relevant. Traditional SEO includes the use of keywords to position your web pages for a specific search, but the content strategy in Discover should be based on entities, i.e., concepts, characters, places, topics… everything that a Knowledge Panel can have. It is necessary to know in which topics Google considers we have more authority and relevance in order to talk about them.

3. Avoid clickbait in titles

“Use page titles that capture the essence of the content, but in a non-clickbait fashion.” This is the opening sentence that describes how headlines should be in Google’s documentation. I always say that it is not about using clickbait but a bit of creativity from the journalist. Generating a good H1 is also part of the job of content creation.

Google also adds:

“Avoid tactics to artificially inflate engagement by using misleading or exaggerated details in preview content (title, snippets, or images) to increase appeal, or by withholding crucial information required to understand what the content is about.”

“Avoid tactics that manipulate appeal by catering to morbid curiosity, titillation, or outrage.

Provide content that’s timely for current interests, tells a story well, or provides unique insights.”

Do you think this information fits with what you see every day on Google Discover? I would reckon there were many sites that did not comply with this and received a lot of traffic from Discover.

With the last core updates in 2023, Google was extremely hard on news sites and some niches with content focused on Discover, directly affecting E-E-A-T. The impact was so severe that many publishers shared drastic drops in Search Console with expert Lily Ray, who wrote an article with data from more than 150 publishers.

4. Images are important

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. If you look at your Discover feed, you’ll see most of the images catch your attention. They are detailed shots of delicious food, close-ups of a person’s face showing emotions, or even images where the character in question does not appear, such as “the new manicure that will be a trend in 2024,” persuading you to click.

Google’s documentation recommends adding “high-quality images in your content, especially large images that are more likely to generate visits from Discover” and notes important technical requirements such as images needing to be “at least 1200 px wide and enabled by the max-image-preview:large setting.” You may also have found that media outlets create their own collages in order to have images that stand out from competitors.

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

One of the most important parts of having a website is making sure your audience can find your site (and find what they’re looking for).

The good news is that Google Search Essentials, formerly called Google Webmaster Guidelines, simplifies the process of optimizing your site for search performance.

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MARKETING

Salesforce rolls out new edition of Marketing Cloud for small businesses

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Salesforce summer 2023 release: The business executive's guide

Today Salesforce announced Marketing Cloud Growth, an edition of Marketing Cloud designed specifically for small businesses.

With help from AI, this edition makes it easy for marketers to segment audiences, create and execute email campaigns from text to image, optimize campaign performance and create unified customer profiles. It also has a prompt builder that can store and manage known reliable prompts for organizations.

Dig deeper: 70% of SMB marketers willing to pay more for tools with AI or automation

Salesforce developed the new edition by looking at the most common use cases for which small businesses frequenty don’t have the people or resources. This includes things like personalizing campaigns and advanced testing.

The company is also letting small businesses (those with fewer than 200 employees) that have Sales or Service Enterprise Edition “get started with Data Cloud at no cost.” Marketing Cloud Growth will initially be available in the U.S. and Canada and is expected to roll out to Europe, the Middle East and Asia by the end of the year.

Why we care. First of all, small businesses need all the help they can get. This creates an opportunity to start using AI within a centralized marketing workflow rather than importing content from independent generative AI tools. Perhaps it’s also a sign of Salesforce moving to compete with platforms (can we say HubSpot?) that more overtly court SMB clients.

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