Liz is an old friend of mine and one of the first people I met in the industry back in 2008. With a track record of turning under-performing media channels into revenue winners for retailers online, Liz is a Canadian multichannel retail marketing professional specializing in digital media & marketing. She has 10 years of combined agency and client-side Ecommerce experience and is the Founder of Growthspurt Media, a Digital Marketing Consultancy serving the global e-commerce business community since 2006.
Passionate about education & advocacy as the digital media industry continues to evolve, Liz writes, speaks and teaches within the industry community. She has contributed to content at MerchantABCS.com, written for trade publications like FeedFront magazine & appeared on talk shows like Internet Marketing LIVE on QAQN.com and WebMaster Radio.
1) How do you do research before setting up a media buy? Please walk us through some tips!
Today there are so many advertising options with the fast paced growth of digital and mobile, that choices can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned of marketing executives. Cutting through that overwhelm is easier if you know what you’re after so it’s important to clearly identify it first through research and development of a complete strategic plan. Media buys should always be determined as part of a larger focus on overall marketing and business strategy. If you know who your audience is, and you know what your marketing goals are, it’s a lot easier to determine where your media spend should go and where and when you should be advertising. With that said, understanding your target audience demographic, psychographic and the consumer behaviour behind that group should play a big part in determining where you ultimately invest.
A lot of marketing folks forget to develop a full strategy complete with target customer profile before rushing into media buys. So research is important; competitive analysis is important. Identify answers to questions like, where is your competition advertising? Where are your consumers hanging out? What are they reading, watching and listening to? What trends are they following and what motivates them to spend in your vertical? Answer those and identifying the right media channels to spend in, becomes a lot easier.
2) What are the challenges, pitfalls and joys of the industry?
One of the biggest challenges for any marketer today is just the sheer amount of overwhelm that exists. It’s a fast paced industry and technology is always changing. It can be a tough gig to keep up with “what’s next”and at times can seem that as soon as you’ve mastered one new piece of the puzzle, there’s something else that needs exploring. But that’s also what those of us who have made this industry our home, tend to love about it. It’s exciting to always be living on the cutting edge of what’s next and it’s a big part of why I’ve worked in digital media since the early days of e-commerce. I’ve been lucky to have worked with those I’d call some of the best in the business; I’m always inspired by their work, their drive, their ideas and the boundless creativity & innovation that exists within our industry. If you’re passionate about creativity, technology and business and if you like variety, and enjoy researching, testing and analysis, it’s a very rewarding industry to be in — opportunities are plentiful.
3) What’s most important to your clients on a campaign – careful placement/brand consciousness or hitting a strict acquisition goal?
I’ve worked with advertisers (both client and agency side), on both ends of the spectrum and it really varies by company and by campaign. Those who enjoy the best performance and sales results, know about striking that careful balance between the two. Though specific campaign goals may vary in that one campaign may be for longer term brand awareness while another is designed to drive shorter term, immediate conversion and sales, ultimately a truly successful marketing strategy – and campaign plan – should achieve both. That said, it also depends on the medium and the channel. Affiliate Marketing or Retargeting for example tends to often be more conversion focused whereas, say, a display media campaign might be more about longer term brand awareness. Again, referring to the strategic goals of the organization and the overall marketing plan can help determine where focus needs to be on a campaign level. Set goals and work backward. Ask, where do you want to be and what do you need to get there?
4) With new forms of online advertising emerging, especially with social, does the stand alone banner have a bright future?
I don’t claim to be a fortune teller but I think banners will still have a place in modern media for some time yet… I don’t see them going anywhere anytime soon. I do see them becoming more interactive, and more engaging than the static advertising of the past; that’s already prevalent today. But banners still have their place in media, they just make up a smaller portion of the investment than they used to because there are more options for advertising in digital today – many more. Most important is being careful about what content you feature in each ad unit to ensure that what your media spend is going to good use and that you’re setting yourself and your campaign up to win. I always advise clients to choose one strong, short, concise and memorable message. I see a lot of people trying to cram multiple messages into one tiny little space and the end result is consumers ignore it. Say one thing well and they tune in and take action. So, yes, banners still have a place. Just make sure they make a bold and simple statement. Never design it with the idea that consumers are on the internet FOR your ad. They aren’t. That’s why value-adds are so important. That’s the biggest question you need to ask yourself. How are you adding value?
5) Did you use any tools to help you with your media buying decisions? If so, which ones do you like and recommend?
Competitive intelligence is a wonderful thing and that’s what I love about services like WhatRunsWhere. Knowing your demographic is key but knowing your competitive landscape is just as important. Finding out what they’re doing and matching their stride (or surpassing it, ideally) is how you get ahead.
Some other marketing and media buying/analysis tools I’ve been impressed by in the last few years include, ExactTarget for email, Optimizely (great for A/B testing and optimizing conversions), KissMetrics (awesome alternative to Google Analytics), Viewbix (for adding interactivity to Youtube and other online videos for lead generation or engagement). Acquisio is cool for PPC management because you can manage all your major search engines on one platform while integrating with Google analytics, Trade Desk (a Real Time Bidding platform for Display Media) and Google’s Double Click. This is just a small sample. There are TONS of really easy to use and very impressive – and affordable – tools available today for the e-marketer that come with awesome features like ease of integration, etc. The options are endless.