Think of a marketing campaign like one big machine. You input content – products, ads, blogs, website, social media, search engines, influencers, affiliate marketing, reviews, search engine optimization (SEO) – and after a lot of grinding through complex gears, the machine outputs results in the form of sales, brand awareness, loyal customers, and more.
But this machine also has a bunch of levers you can pull between “input” and “output”. These levers are marketing tactics that can change your results. They might improve your marketing’s speed or accuracy, give direction to your marketing strategy, or maximize efficiency or your return on investment.
The power of data
You want to be able to pull these marketing levers with confidence. The best way to do that is with data (which is way more accessible and real-time in digital marketing than in traditional marketing!).
Luckily, gathering data is basically a no-consequences lever that you can pull any time you want to get inside peeks at how the machine is working. Data will help you correct course, change your content or budget input, and tell you which other levers need pulling and when. It’s valuable for social media marketers, search marketers, content marketers – whatever kind of marketer you are, data helps you define the success of your digital marketing plan.
What does that mean? We’ve outlined five essential marketing levers and given you tips on how data can help you know when or how hard or which direction to pull each one:
Lever #1: The Audience Lever
In digital marketing, everyone who sees your content is part of your audience. That’s a big potential pool of observers! Among all the impressions, however, is the audience your online marketing campaigns truly reach – internet users who engage, comment, share, click, and buy your products or services. This is your target audience.
Pulling this lever means you’ll become a lot more confident with making use of options to reach your target audience. In order to get confident, you can use data to create amazing social media campaigns. What to measure? You want to understand where your target audience is, what they’re talking about, what they think of your company or brand, and where they are on the customer journey – the path to purchase. Once you’re armed with this data, you’ll know exactly what direction to pull this lever.
Lever #2: The Platform Lever
This is another directional lever, but this one you can pull in multiple directions at once.
Do you want to deploy your marketing on search engines, one of the many social media networks, websites that offer display ads, via influencers, or via PR and news? Do you know all the types of social media ad formats you could use and which platforms you can use them on?
This is a lever with a lot of options!
When you’re confident with pulling this lever, you know which platforms your marketing should include and what channels you should be advertising on, and also what kinds of campaigns and content performs best on each.
This is a challenge best met with data. By deploying marketing campaigns on different platforms, you can test and learn what gets results and what doesn’t. Data will guide you to make the right decisions about where to focus your effort and how much budget to apply.
Make sure you are comparing apples with apples when comparing campaign performance across multiple channels – what the LinkedIn platform might consider as a Conversion may not match what Facebook does. Comparing metrics cross-platform, like Cost Per Conversion or Return on Ad Spend is super easy in the Digivizer platform, with a snapshot of all your real-time data in one interface.
Lever #3: The Creative Marketing Lever
This lever has to do with your content input. Whether you’re making images, photos or videos to put on your social media channels or your website, or you’re making ads to deploy on social media, search engines or the display network, you’re going to need kickass digital media visuals. Creative assets can make or break a marketing campaign.
By pulling the creative lever, you’re focusing on making your creative assets work better and contribute more benefits in the marketing machine. Each platform, from the many social media networks to search and display, has different options, aspects and specifications for creative assets.
Once you make sure you’re deploying the right kind of creative in the first place, that’s when you can start to use data to test and measure whether it’s working. You want your audience to respond to and engage with the story the image or video tells (especially if you’re using carousel ads). You want the creative to seduce clicks and sales! If it’s not doing that, that’s when you know to pull the lever and change it up!
Lever #4: The CTA Lever
This lever is a nice simple one! Well, mostly. In marketing, a “call to action” (CTA) is a short phrase applied to many kinds of marketing content that seeks to compel the audience to take some kind of action. Sign up now, buy now, learn more, click here, subscribe, try for free, get started, join us.
These CTAs serve different purposes but they come under the same banner – you’re directly asking your potential customer to do something.
Do some research and gather data on what kinds of CTAs might work for your marketing campaign. Then pull this lever and apply them to your content in order to (hopefully) speed up the customer journey and compel action! Once you have CTAs in play on your content, you can then use data and insights to see which of them works best for your business and your customers, and adjust how hard you’re pulling this lever accordingly.
Lever #5: The Nurture Lever
So much marketing material refers to the customer journey or “funnel”. This is when your marketing efforts are tailored to whether a customer is unaware of you, learning about you, or just about ready to buy from you.
But there’s a fourth stage to the customer journey that your marketing machine should encompass: the nurturing stage, post-purchase, when you want to build customer loyalty and happiness so they’ll either refer you to their friends, or buy again themselves!
It’s often cheaper to nurture a repeat purchase than acquire a new customer. And it’s always nice to have fans and advocates in your customer community. Used well, this lever is an essential part of the overall machine.
Give this lever a hearty pull when you’re confident you have content in the pipeline that will provide value to your existing customers. In order to figure out which content they might get value from (email marketing, newsletters, discounts, benefits, clubs, rewards, etc), you guessed it, use data.
Without being creepy, you can use the data you have on your customers to personalise your content per customer persona. (Some examples you might find familiar: “Hey, it’s your birthday tomorrow! Here’s a special discount code for a little treat for yourself! Or, “Hey, it looks like the organic shower gel you bought might be running a little low. Snap up a fresh bottle before it runs out.”)
More marketing levers, more complexity, more value
As our former Head of Strategic Business Communication Alan Smith said, “As with all machines, more levers deliver more options for faster traction. They also deliver more complexity.” But if you’re using the right data and garnering insights from your marketing activity, you’ll be able to manage the machine and its many levers with confidence.
Bookmark this article to give yourself a pep talk when your marketing feels wonky, remind you to play around with a new lever, and share it with your marketing friends! Every business and customer benefits when marketing really works.