Digital Marketing Agency RFPs: April is High Season For a Reason

There may still be snow on the ground from this past winter in some parts of the country, but with digital marketing, Holiday prep for next winter should start in Spring. This is especially true for brands who are launching their marketing efforts for the first time. 

For larger brands and/or brands already running digital marketing campaigns, the months from late Spring and Summer through to Q4 are when account health checks are done. Best practices are implemented, new interface features are tested and put in place, and other efforts are tried such as new copy, promos, etc.  By testing and iterating in the months leading up to Holiday, when Q4 arrives, these accounts should be running their A game.  This is why April is RFP season in digital marketing.  Brands want to give themselves and their new agencies ample time to get their marketing campaigns in the best possible shape for Holiday.

For brands who are new to digital marketing and Paid Search, though, there are different considerations for why it is critical to launch well in advance of Holiday.  All have to do with particulars in the Google Ads interface which work quite differently for new rather than existing advertisers.  Here are some examples:

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Using Prospecting Display as a Means to Feed the Remarketing Cookie Pool

display

In Digital, we are always on the lookout for a new ROI-producing channel.  We willed for that (unsuccessfully) with Facebook organic.  Mobile, while not a channel, continues to vex those struggling with sub-par conversion rates.  Programmatic display provided hope of a new standalone prospecting source that could yield efficient sales on a last-click basis.  Each has a solid place in the marketing mix, but none has emerged as the new high-producing direct response channel of its day.

An exception is that for marketers with a high level of resources and sophistication, programmatic display is that new channel from both a CRM and acquisition standpoint.  It is one of the key pillars to their DMPs.  For medium and smaller digital marketers, though, the amount of resources needed to build and activate a DMP may not be particularly accessible.  Continue reading

Dynamic Online Pricing: Maintaining Consistency with the Store

online vs offline pricingOn a recent business trip to Miami, I decided to check out a local fabric store (a hobby of mine).  I live close to NYC, which is where many people – even those who live thousands of miles away – aspire to buy fabric because of the assortment and quality.  In my case, though, I sometimes like to visit stores in other cities that have a strong design aesthetic, and Miami fits that bill for me.

In using Yelp to decide where to go, I came across one store in particular that had many reviews, which is among the criteria I use when assessing a business on Yelp.  Unfortunately, not many were positive.  The negative comments were consistent in that there was a certain complaint that the owner charges prices based on how a person physically looks.  Wealthier-looking people got charged more and vice versa.  This practice incensed this store’s clientele.

There was a recent article in the NY Times that talked about the widening gap among some service providers in terms of giving better amenities and exclusivity to customers who are willing to pay moreContinue reading

Best Practices for Retargeting (Part 1):  Are you reaching new customers or just annoying your best ones? 

retargeting best practicesJohn Wanamaker once said he’s wasting half his advertising but not sure which half.  In today’s programmatic buying, this sentiment can be updated to “I’m only buying the good half and annoying half of them with the wrong ad.”

Creative seldom has a seat at the table when planning a programmatic buy.  Media planners are more focused on the media logistics such as which audience to target and what to do in the platform itself to make it all work.  Continue reading

5 Digital Marketing Trade Show Musts

digital conferenceWith trade show season approaching, here are some tips for making the most of the digital marketing conferences.

  1. Walk the exhibit floor and talk to the vendors

You can get more out of a trade show by talking to the exhibitors than you can from the keynotes and content.  Many booths are manned by senior staff who will readily provide thoughtful and educated responses to your most challenging business issues.  Continue reading

Paid Search RFPs: What You Need To Know

January-2016-CalendarIn the online retail world, the dust doesn’t quite settle on Holiday until the January sales are over.  That said, the intensity pales in comparison to the 6 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  January is somewhat of a roller coaster month in which priorities shift between sales and introducing Resort and/or Spring merchandise.  It has also always been a tricky time with paid search, in particular, in that advertising discounted merchandise can often lead to strong conversion rates while yielding AOVs so low that achieving P&L goals is tricky.

Once January has passed and Holiday is finally actually over, February is the time to reset the agenda and start moving toward rolling out new ecommerce priorities.  Often this entails assessing partners and vendors and determining whether or not it’s the right time to consider making a change.  Continue reading

Can brands — and now Etsy — compete with Amazon?

Amazon launching Handmade to compete with EtsyI am not an Etsy shopper but am pained nonetheless to hear that Amazon is launching Handmade — a marketplace that will compete directly with Etsy.

The truth is that I am conflicted about being pained. In my personal life — and I know this is true for many of my industry colleagues — I buy many things from Amazon.

In my professional (digital marketing) life, though, I prefer to buy from brands direct because I’ve seen Amazon assert itself as a category killer, which is not good for competition and causes lots of angst in the industry. This was a big topic at  IRCE15, same as it’s been in prior years. Continue reading