2008, the Year of...??? (Part 2 of 2)

I’m predicting three themes for 2008 (Part 1). Yep, hedging my bets, plus you may recognize a few of these themes I’ve expanded upon:

1. Data-led Advertising Strategy. Marketers realize the positive impact of integrating all marketing data, both on-line and off, to determine budgets and shared strategy. Agencies & Client marketing departments will scramble for Statisticians & PhD’s in Applied Mathematics to gain insights and take action based on data trends. Performance-based data sets, seasonality/econometric modeling, and latency forecasts will determine the marketing mix/budgets.

2. Increased branding dollars shift to Paid and Natural Search efforts; E-Commerce no longer top Paid Search spenders. What better place to target consumer behavior than based on what keywords people search on? Marketers are seeing that websites engage potential consumers and loyal customers much longer and in more interactive ways than 30-second spots (you still watching those?) or billboards. Additionally, websites will begin to increase their focus on branding and customer retention over e-commerce. If this happens, #1 certainly becomes more important, right?

3. For ROI efficiency, “optimization” now includes the Website itself. Companies have been willing to spend millions of advertising dollars to drive traffic to their websites, hoping the visitors convert by offering a “good website experience” as defined by some corporate task force (IT? Marketing?). After gathering data on that paid traffic, typical “Digital” marketing theory (SEM, Display, Email, etc.) suggests to improve ROI by targeting different traffic sources, test positions/prices/copy points, & use fancy technology to do it better and faster. The focus has been on optimizing the incoming traffic – but rarely is anyone (as) focused on improving the website. Marketers & Agencies have been squeezing every last drop of juice from a few store-bought oranges while there is a grove of bountiful orange trees growing in their backyard (grove = the website, in case I lost you there). In 2008, marketers will realize an investment in website improvement will make a bigger impact than habitually driving more of the same traffic. The energy & time spent on figuring out if position 3 has a better ROI than position 4 or performing an A/B ad copy test is much better spent on designing multi-variant tests for web pages with high bounce rates or simplifying the checkout process. 2008 will bring great demand (and large salaries/fees) for the small group of Web Analysts and Web Analytics Consultants – and much like SEO’s typical 20-30% traffic lift, a 1-2% increase in website conversion rate will quickly justify those “non-media” fees.

No doubt about it, Resolution Media has its work cut out for it in 2008 to bring innovative and valuable solutions to our clients as well as continue to grow our core service offerings. We’ll keep sifting through the buzz vs. real opportunities and I’m confident you’ll see increased data-led strategy, clarification of SEM’s role in building a brand, and a focus on website conversion improvement.

Posted by: Jeff Campbell, VP Product Development & Innovation


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