Importance of understanding and evaluating Digital Marketing Channels

When creating an online presence, one of the initial steps for an organization is to determine the targets as defined by the Marketing Strategy and then explore the various digital marketing channels available to achieve those targets. Organizations typically market their products or services to targeted audiences that differ in demographics such as age, sex, education, marital status, geography, and income. Implementing digital marketing tactics allows a company to target very specific audiences and measure each tactic effectively.

Given the volatile nature of the online world, new channels are emerging with greater frequency, and audiences are continuously exploring new sources of online content—digital marketers must regularly assess and reassess digital marketing channels for their effectiveness. To identify the most effective marketing channels for an organization’s products or services, marketers spend a considerable amount of time and effort identifying and understanding the dynamics of all available digital marketing channels and evaluating these channels relative to their company’s overall organizational goals and objectives.

The digital marketing team analyzes the Internet behavior patterns of its target audience and identifies all possible online media that are used by those consumers being targeted. It observes macro trends that might impact the way in which the organization markets and sells a product or service to consumers. As a result of this process, the organization gains a better understanding of the digital landscape and learns how it can develop and implement its marketing strategies to be effective.

A company must understand the pros and cons of each digital marketing channel as well as the situations in which a channel is most effective or ineffective. For example, when a company wants to promote an important achievement or milestone, the use of social media forums is a good option because of the possibility of a viral effect and mass exposure, which may raise awareness of the company. When promoting a discount offer, the use of e-mail marketing is beneficial because of the fast results it can bring. On the other hand, if the company wants to inform customers about an expected delay in service (e.g., due to a scheduled routine maintenance, delay due some unavoidable circumstances), it is usually enough for the company to use e-mail or their website to notify customers, rather than initiating a social media update. Negative comments often spread faster in social media leading to loss of brand value and image. Therefore, understanding different channels is important in order to evaluate their usefulness.

To learn more about digital marketing channels, visit SMstudy.com

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Importance of Data collection in Marketing Research

Data collection is an important part of marketing research. Many significant marketing decisions are made based on the analysis of the data collected from a research project. One critical component of data collection is ensuring the quality of the data collected. Specifically, the data should be both high-quality and relevant. Data quality is the degree to which data represents the true situation. High-quality data is accurate, valid, and reliable, and it represents reality faithfully.

In some instances, researchers try to obtain the same data from multiple data sources to ensure the reliability and validity of the data collected. The following characteristics are assessed to determine the quality of data:

Reliability – The data should be reliable such that repeating the same methods produces the same results.

Validity – The data should measure or represent what it is supposed to measure.

Along with the quality of data, other important factors to consider in a research project are the availability of data and the affordability of the process required to collect it. Often the marketing organization already possesses enough information to make sound decisions without additional marketing research.

When adequate information is not available to make a decision, additional data needs to be collected from an appropriate source. If a potential source of data exists, the researcher or the decision-maker must consider the cost of obtaining it. The data should be obtained as quickly as is required to keep the research project on schedule and at an affordable cost. If the data cannot be obtained, or if it cannot be obtained in a timely fashion, the marketing research project should not be conducted.

Researchers have the option of collecting secondary data, primary data, or both. Secondary data is that which has already been collected for purposes other than the problem at hand. Primary data is newly obtained data for a specific purpose or a specific research project.

The marketing researcher needs to decide whether to collect primary data or spend the research budget exclusively on secondary data. Researchers usually prefer to examine the utility of low-cost and readily available secondary data first to see whether they can partly or fully solve the research problem under investigation without collecting costly primary data.

The source of the secondary data can be internal or external. The sources may include books or periodicals, published reports, data services, and computer data banks. When the needed data is non-existent, out-dated, incorrect or inadequate, the researcher needs to collect primary data. Most marketing research projects do include some aspects of primary data collection. Primary data may be obtained from individual consumers, subject matter experts, random samplings of a target segment, organizations, and other sources.

To learn more about data collection, visit http://smstudy.com/Certification/Marketing-Research-Associate and try our free associate course on marekting research.

Importance of understanding and evaluating Digital Marketing Channels

When creating an online presence, one of the initial steps for an organization is to determine the targets as defined by the Marketing Strategy and then explore the various digital marketing channels available to achieve those targets. Organizations typically market their products or services to targeted audiences that differ in demographics such as age, sex, education, marital status, geography, and income. Implementing digital marketing tactics allows a company to target very specific audiences and measure each tactic effectively.

Given the volatile nature of the online world, new channels are emerging with greater frequency, and audiences are continuously exploring new sources of online content—digital marketers must regularly assess and reassess digital marketing channels for their effectiveness. To identify the most effective marketing channels for an organization’s products or services, marketers spend a considerable amount of time and effort identifying and understanding the dynamics of all available digital marketing channels and evaluating these channels relative to their company’s overall organizational goals and objectives.

The digital marketing team analyzes the Internet behavior patterns of its target audience and identifies all possible online media that are used by those consumers being targeted. It observes macro trends that might impact the way in which the organization markets and sells a product or service to consumers. As a result of this process, the organization gains a better understanding of the digital landscape and learns how it can develop and implement its marketing strategies to be effective.

A company must understand the pros and cons of each digital marketing channel as well as the situations in which a channel is most effective or ineffective. For example, when a company wants to promote an important achievement or milestone, the use of social media forums is a good option because of the possibility of a viral effect and mass exposure, which may raise awareness of the company. When promoting a discount offer, the use of e-mail marketing is beneficial because of the fast results it can bring. On the other hand, if the company wants to inform customers about an expected delay in service (e.g., due to a scheduled routine maintenance, delay due some unavoidable circumstances), it is usually enough for the company to use e-mail or their website to notify customers, rather than initiating a social media update. Negative comments often spread faster in social media leading to loss of brand value and image. Therefore, understanding different channels is important in order to evaluate their usefulness.

To learn more about digital marketing channels, visit SMstudy.com

When creating an online presence, one of the initial steps for an organization is to determine the targets as defined by the Marketing Strategy and then explore the various digital marketing channels available to achieve those targets. Organizations typically market their products or services to targeted audiences that differ in demographics such as age, sex, education, marital status, geography, and income. Implementing digital marketing tactics allows a company to target very specific audiences and measure each tactic effectively.

Given the volatile nature of the online world, new channels are emerging with greater frequency, and audiences are continuously exploring new sources of online content—digital marketers must regularly assess and reassess digital marketing channels for their effectiveness. To identify the most effective marketing channels for an organization’s products or services, marketers spend a considerable amount of time and effort identifying and understanding the dynamics of all available digital marketing channels and evaluating these channels relative to their company’s overall organizational goals and objectives.

The digital marketing team analyzes the Internet behavior patterns of its target audience and identifies all possible online media that are used by those consumers being targeted. It observes macro trends that might impact the way in which the organization markets and sells a product or service to consumers. As a result of this process, the organization gains a better understanding of the digital landscape and learns how it can develop and implement its marketing strategies to be effective.

A company must understand the pros and cons of each digital marketing channel as well as the situations in which a channel is most effective or ineffective. For example, when a company wants to promote an important achievement or milestone, the use of social media forums is a good option because of the possibility of a viral effect and mass exposure, which may raise awareness of the company. When promoting a discount offer, the use of e-mail marketing is beneficial because of the fast results it can bring. On the other hand, if the company wants to inform customers about an expected delay in service (e.g., due to a scheduled routine maintenance, delay due some unavoidable circumstances), it is usually enough for the company to use e-mail or their website to notify customers, rather than initiating a social media update. Negative comments often spread faster in social media leading to loss of brand value and image. Therefore, understanding different channels is important in order to evaluate their usefulness.

To learn more about digital marketing channels, visit SMstudy.com

Sampling in Market Research

In statistical language, sampling is choosing the portion or subset of a population. A population is the entire group of objects having characteristics of interest under study. The subset of a population that is chosen for the study is known as a sample. In the context of market research, sampling means collecting opinions from a chosen segment of a large mass, to know the characteristics about the whole group.

The chosen sample must represent all or most of the features of the population from which it is chosen. To ensure that the chosen sample appropriately represents the population, a strategy is required. This strategy is known as a “sampling strategy.” The sampling strategy is a plan or strategy created to make sure that the sample of the population on which data will be collected is accurately representative of the group identified for study.

The task of sampling is undertaken when information regarding a process or product is not readily available, and analysis of the entire population on which the critical information is required is not feasible or possible (i.e., such an undertaking would be too time-consuming and too costly). Because sampling reduces costs and employs fewer human resources (among other benefits), it is commonly employed in most industries that require critical information regarding a process or product.

Sampling is also used when the data collection is a destructive process. For example, CDF Inc. is a mineral water manufacturer that produces bottled mineral water. The quality assurance team tests the quality standard of the mineral water by randomly selecting a sample of bottles taken from each production batch. In the testing process, they open the bottles and introduce chemicals into the contents, thus destroying the sample. These bottles will no longer be hygienic enough for sale and the water will be contaminated; testing the entire population of bottles would result in no revenue for the company, and therefore a sample is tested.

Researchers can choose from a number of different types of sampling strategies. The type of strategy chosen should appropriately suit the research objectives.

Sampling strategies are classified as either probability sampling or non-probability sampling.

Probability Sampling Strategies—Probability sampling strategies are the most reliable sampling strategies because the margin of error is minimal due to the statistical procedures used. In these strategies, every component in the population has an equal and independent opportunity to be chosen.

The four main methods of probability sampling are simple random sampling, systematic sampling, stratified sampling, and cluster sampling.

Non-probability Sampling Strategies—Non-probability sampling strategies are not as reliable as probability sampling strategies. The selection procedures in these strategies involve non-random methods. As a result, the subjects in the population do not have an equal chance of being selected as part of a sample. These types of sampling strategies are less likely to produce representative samples than probability sampling strategies. Regardless of this factor, many researchers have successfully used and continue to use these strategies. The three main strategies of non-probability sampling are Convenience, Quota, and Purposive.

To know more about sampling strategies, visit SMstudy.com

Opportunity: The Mirror Image of a Customer

The ever changing market trends and varying demands of customers have propelled companies to think out of the box and foray into market each time with new, updated or upgraded offerings that would outplay its rival products/services. In an attempt to capitalize on market, companies deploy numerous instruments and analytics to measure their efficacy level in several aspects of business. The latest being what we call “Opportunity Analysis”. As marketing professionals say “every non customer is an opportunity and it remains an opportunity till he/she becomes your customer.” So basically every customer as well as non-customer is opportunities. So if a casual conversation converts into sales conversation and that ultimately turns into a lead and further a customer/client, it’s called winning a customer and vice versa.

Customer win/loss analysis is a process of understanding why sales opportunities are either won or lost. A careful win/loss analysis is a cost-effective and less time-consuming tool to understand how customers perceive value. The perceived value by different customers is the deciding factor whether you win a customer or lose.  While customer need analysis is the most basic arena where sales people are often taught upon, but marketers argue it is not always the need that gives rise to a sale.

The process for win/loss analysis starts after a sales opportunity has been won or lost. A meeting is held with important stakeholders and includes the sales, product, account management, and customer service team members. After this meeting, the win/loss analysis interviewer must know the details of how the lead was generated, the events that took place during the sales process, and the product or products discussed. Customer interviews also need to be scheduled immediately after the opportunity has been won or lost to ensure maximum recall from customers about their experience in the sales process.

Here comes the customer feedback which is of utmost importance as the resultant responses devise the sales strategy for future. The customer feedback may be collected regarding customer perception in the areas such as

  • Performance of the corporate sales team: Company must know what role its trump cards played in the sales process. After all corporate sales team is the interface between customer and the company and loopholes in the same might result in downfall of future sales.
  • Marketing materials: Here the focus in on marketing assets that the company has. Feedback on the same helps in improving quality of Marketing Assets, Company has to offer.
  • Sales process: Feedback on the sales process is the stepping stone for future sales strategy. Profiling, generating leads, presentation, negotiation are some of the major areas where customer feedback counts a lot.
  • Product features: Customer feedback on product features informs seller analyze the product’s sales value proposition and whether seller needs to reposition the product with additional features or continue the existing one with regular up gradation.
  • Comparison with competition: This is something where the customer’s feedback drives the marketing strategy experts contrive better action plan to deal with competitors.
  • Pricing: Negative customer feedback on pricing can only be partially side-lined if the company is offering optimum value in comparison to its competitors at a given price and the product has some unique sales value proposition (e.g. i Phone). But if the customers feel availability of another product with same features and utilities at a cheaper price, then it is nothing less than a warning bell for the seller.

Customers change and so does their perception and demand. It’s important for sellers to consider each potential customer as an opportunity.

“To learn more about Customer Win/Loss analysis and related analytics, visit “www.SMstudy.com”.

Contemplating Ones Corporate Navel; Analyzing Market Opportunity and SMstudy

With the world breathlessly awaiting the next new super child of business, the hot topics in the dreams of entrepreneurs everywhere are innovation and disruption. Yet, the topic that will make the difference between a super child and an abandoned orphan will be market opportunity.

“An analysis of market opportunities is important because businesses operate in dynamic and constantly evolving environments, so understanding the changing landscape and trends that are impacting the business helps in developing an effective marketing strategy,” says Marketing Strategy, book one of the SMstudy® Guide series. This is true of established businesses developing innovations as well as startups pushing the envelope.

There’s an adage that says “we make our own opportunities.” The first place to look then is inside one’s self. To a significant extant that is true of business opportunities as well. That is why it is important for a company exploring new innovations to look closely at “the concepts related to analyzing the internal capabilities of [the] company as well as the factors of the external environment that impact the business,” according to Marketing Strategy. In other words, starting a new venture is a good time to contemplates one’s corporate navel.

The Guide recommends using the first two parts of a SWOT analysis—determine strengths and weaknesses—for this introspection. This step is especially necessary for entrepreneurs, who are often in the process of creating the company that will develop and deliver the innovation or disruption. These first parts of a SWOT analysis can be tailored to tell the innovator which strengths should be incorporated into the new organization and which ones should be avoided. Instead of asking, “what are our company’s strengths based on past successes?” the entrepreneur can ask, “what strengths do companies that have succeeded with similar products and services possess? And how can our new company get them?”

Marketing Strategy identifies four inputs that can aid in this process: senior management direction and insights, organizational capabilities, assumptions and constraints and existing market research reports. Obtaining senior management insights may seem impossible for a new company with no senior executives; however, innovation does not happen in a vacuum. That’s why both Thomas Edison and Alexander Bell had to defend themselves against more than one hundred patent suits. There are sources for expert opinion and insights.

Organizational capabilities will have to be tweaked again for entrepreneurs starting companies. Instead of taking an inventory of existing capabilities—in all areas such as finance, operations, human resources, location, intellectual property and organizational culture—startups must determine what capabilities they will need in each of these areas.

“An assumption can be defined as anything that is considered to be true without proof,” says Marketing Strategy. While assumptions are necessary when making plans that deal with the uncertainty of the future, “assumptions related to Sales and Marketing should be clearly thought through and explicitly stated, validated and agreed upon before deciding on any specific strategy or marketing plan.” Assumptions are the home of unrealistic expectations for many innovators and visionaries. They should be agreed upon with extreme caution, clarity and common sense.

Most industries have numerous associations that produce researched reports on current developments and market trends. For example, project management has the Project Management Institute’s Pulse of the Profession report. Governments and institutions of higher learning issue reports almost constantly.

Whatever information the next super child needs, it is out there. And if it has to do with sales and marketing, it is available from SMstudy.

For more interesting articles on sales and marketing visit SMstudy.com

 

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Leaky Funnel

Accepting that the sales and marketing funnel will always be leaky is akin to accepting that, despite all efforts, we will not grow taller… or younger. It’s never going to happen, we know this. The marketing funnel will always be leaky, no matter how talented and thorough sales and marketing teams become at plugging the holes. But accept it we must! Since as of today, there is no leak-free funnel and none on the horizon, we all just have to deal.

We learn from SMstudy that the leaky funnel is an analogy. Water being poured from the top represents prospective customers and the water existing from the bottom represents converted customers.

SMstudy states: “Digital media reaches out broadly and acquires potential customers using a variety of online tactics. Marketers then capture information about those customers and begin to target them more effectively with marketing messages and other digital marketing initiatives, and many become qualified prospects or leads. Eventually some of the qualified leads buy the product, thus becoming customers.”

In a perfect place known as “Sales-and-Market Landia,” every dear soul who ever views our ad, not to mention visits our website, would be swirled into our seamless steel-trap funnel with no chance of escape except out the bottom as the proud owner of our product or service, free to roam and spread the good word.

Well, the real world is not “Sales-and-Market Landia,” and most of those who venture into the funnel will ultimately slip through the cracks on their way to the final stage (aka the sale). Leakage numbers vary, but according to Lisa Cramer nearly 80 percent of those who fall into the funnel are never brought to sales. On the bright side or perhaps a cautionary warning, 60 percent of leads who enter the funnel will end up purchasing within the next 24 months… just maybe not via that same funnel.

With figures like these it’s no surprise we find all sorts of advice on how marketers can plug the holes of their own unique funnels. Just google, “plug leaky funnel” and you’ll see what comes back, a bucket load of funnel advice.

Basics such as data analytics and understanding the Point of Loss (POL) and Point of Influence (POF) can help to identify and shore up the holes, and realistic genuine attempts should be made to do so. But at some point, acceptance of a leaky funnel is key to not obsessing over the holes and maintaining your sanity.

David Lund of Marketing Executives Networking Group recognizes the inevitable nature of the leaky funnel and the necessity of accepting said leakage, but still offers these simple steps to increase sales even for a hole-riddled funnel:

  • Put more total people in the funnel.  Your funnel still leaks, but more people in should mean more people out.  If only 1-5% of the people at the top of your funnel actually buy from you or sign up for your services, you need to first focus on improving your funnel rather than putting more people into it.
  • Put more of the right people in the funnel.  You hope to attract and sell more of your target audience.  But, if you don’t clearly understand why they are choosing you, this approach will not be fully effective.
  • Retain more of the right people in the funnel.  By slowing or stopping the leaks in your funnel, you will optimize your efforts to attract and retain more target customers.  This is usually a much more productive near-term effort versus just spending more on ads or offering promotions.

So, ideally, yes, all holes would be plugged and anyone who ever knowingly or unknowingly fell into our funnel would come out the proud owner of whatever product or service was for sale. But that is a myth, a dream straight out of “Sales-and-Marketing landia.” The truth is, despite all our efforts, there will always be holes. Always. But still we plug on!

For more articles on sales and marketing, visit smstudy.com/articles

Photo credit: Catherine, https://www.flickr.com/photos/rumpleteaser/2812559753

Sources:

SMstudy Guide, Digital Marketing, pg.62-63.

Sales Success as an Optimistic Cynic, Tibor Shanto, Pipeliner CRM, July 7, 2015, http://blog.pipelinersales.com/sales-professionals/sales-success-as-a-optimistic-cynic/

The Beginner’s Guide to Identifying Leaks in Your Sales Funnel,” Dale Cudmore, The Daily Egg, June 8, 2015, http://blog.crazyegg.com/2015/06/08/leaks-in-your-sales-funnel/

“How to Reduce Lead Leakage Now,” Lisa Cramer, Marketing Profs, Oct. 27, 2011, http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2011/6227/how-to-reduce-lead-leakage-now

“Do you know where your marketing funnel is leaking and how to stop it,” David Lund, Marketing Executives Networking Group, July 30, 2013, http://mengonline.com/blog/2013/07/30/do-you-know-where-your-marketing-funnel-is-leaking-and-how-to-stop-it/