Where who comes before what

When you are looking at advertising for your brand, there are myriads of decisions to make, like,

  • How do you want to position yourself
  • Where will you advertise
  • What will your advertisements say

This article would like to draw your attention to a particular question which should precede most of your concerns –

Who does your product help become better?

The question about understanding the voice behind the sales – the customers; is often underplayed.

Why know your customer

When you look at the question, you might have your answer already. If you are amongst the 87% business owners, then your answer is one of these:

  1. I have a generic product. It can serve multiple industries, age groups, regions and needs.

Even for a generic product like Coca cola, which anyone and everyone can buy, the only way to have people connect with it has been to define it. Consider its ‘Thanda matlab Coca cola’ campaign for India. The advertising message was based on a single most important factor – who are the people your ad should talk to? So coke said, I want to talk to people who are thirsty in the intense heat of Indian summers and want something cold.

This consumer identification is not just relevant to the messaging. It extends to ensuring that the drink is available in every place that looks like the one shown in the ads. (Small shops even in the remote are in India.)

The pricing and packaging of the product, is designed to suit the pockets of people who might be thirsty and would need something immediately from those shops.

What did the entire strategy pivot around? Knowing who the customer is.

  • How do they think?
  • What do they look like?
  • What problem will the product solve for them?
  1. I know the people that form my target audience. But they cannot be put into one segment.

The interesting thing about knowing ‘who’ you want to sell your product to, is that it is a very simple concept, once you know it.

You know who your customer is, if you can answer:

  • What does she or he look like
  • Where do they hang out
  • What do they want
  • How will your product get them what they want
  • How will the customer feel, once he gets what he wants

If your have answered all these questions, its time to move to the next step.

Ensure that your marketing attracts the person by reaching out to him where he hangs out and telling him how he will feel if he uses your product. When you address multiple customer segments, there are two ways of reaching out.

One is that you look for specific channels that reach only to one segment and try to project the advertising around that specific segment, there. This is possible only if you are using personalization on emails and digital media. It calls for segmenting your customers based on leaps of reliable data and incorporating it in your marketing.

For the second, Cadbury is the clue. You need to find a common sentiment that can weave around all of them. Cadbury built its campaign around relationships.

How to know your customer

So, how do you figure out who your customer is? Here’s what it takes:

  1. Customer interviews. Create cohorts of your paying customers and meet them. Talk to them to understand how they think. Try to figure out how your product is placed in their minds. You need to ensure that their perceptions are in line with your understanding.
  2. Customer details. If you have a large customer base, float across questionnaire and gather as much information about them, as you possibly can. The aim should be to get the factors from the customer’s background, which leads them to create a differentiated take on your product.
  3. Re-assess often. Try to see if your understanding of your customer reflects in your existing customer data. If it does not, then probably it is time to re-assess. Figure out what needs to be changed. Is your customer understanding flawed or does the marketing message promise something else?

We have been closely working with companies to help them find who their customer is. Reach out to us at thedigittale<at>gmail<dot>com, and we will be glad to assist!

When facebook ads are better than linkedIn


So you know your audience. If your customers are businesses, you know that around 40% of them have active facebook accounts, and probably, over 80% have linkedIn accounts. That’s some piece you would want to work on. You look at the CPC options in both your advertising mediums. You realize that while a facebook click can cost you around INR 20, a linkedIn click starts at INR 120. How do you take the call?

I would be fooling you in saying that there is any way out other than a test trial on both. But here are the pointers which should help you decide on how much experimentation is enough before giving up on a medium.

Challenging the linkedIn myth

I often hear that cost economics are not a driving force behind an ad campaign. The real impact is seen in terms of the effective increase in brand perception as well. LinkedIn is perceived to be the best way to reach out to business audience. Here is my question to you: Is it?

LinkedIn ads are placed in the most easily ignorable corners of the screen. The people who engage on linkedIn on a regular basis are either the HRs, marketing executives looking for leads or middle managers or beginners looking for job opportunities.

LinkedIn itself does not want you to monetize on linkedIn ads. Check their ad specifications here.

A 50X50 image is too small to attract attention especially when hushed into a corner. or the feelers, linkedIn profile image is bigger than that ad image. And the profile image is the smallest image size anywhere else on the entire platform.

That said, I think linkedIn is more about collaborative working. This means, if you really want to use linkedIn, get a premium account and use those in-mails. This step immediately removes mass reach as the target of linkedIn advertising. The targeting options can be very precisely set and the data points are mostly more reliable.

If your ticket size is big and your marketing-to-sales conversions are high, then it just might be a lucrative option for you. In all other cases, feel free to experiment. Since you can pay on CPC model, chances are, you will not lose much before realising whether or not the medium works for your business.

Facebook might just be a star

Since the post takes an extreme view on linkedIn, it would be justified to start with the turn-offs of facebook ads. As a platform connecting people to personalized gossip, some marketers feel it does not form a good platform for business related promotions. At this I ask, a business person remains a business person, right? If she sees something relevant for the business, even in a discotheque, they would pick it up!

The start off point in terms of cost is highly adjustable. While the targeting options seem extensive, there are major pitfalls in terms of the accuracy of those options. For instance, if I like a Digital marketing page, because it is owned by my friend’s sister, that does not make me someone interested in Digital marketing. With the rush to increase page likes, brands resort to a lot of promotions, which leave them with as high as 90% irrelevant page likers. This pattern, replicated across categories means the facebook targeting goes haywire.

That said, I put my bet on facebook. Over time, across campaigns, even though it may not be as sharply targeted as linkedIn, it helps reach out to potentially greater relevant audience. The cost economics make more sense and the remarketing to existing audience, through a combination of posts, ads and videos in all formats, sizes and places, makes it a more alluring option.

What is your take? Share your experiences below. Reach out to us at thedigittale<at>gmail<dot>com to get your marketing strategy audit.

If number is not the king, who is? This is who.

If you are a marketer struggling with making your digital marketing scalable, you are not alone. You have planned your campaigns properly, defined your audience and created precise targeting. Now all you want is that your marketing efforts should pay off, by being scalable. But beyond the initial 3-4 months, the truth opens up. Scalability is not inherent in digital marketing. The target group gets exhausted, the cost per acquisition increases non-linearly beyond a threshold. If you are about to reach that point, then its time you looked deeper into your numbers.

The campaign-to-lead conversion and lead-to-sales conversion, are dependent on parameters beyond your marketing budget. More often than not, a look at the quarterly marketing budget, will give a rough estimate of the winner campaign. However, there will always be multiple peaks and troughs in performance which will question your previous conclusions. This unrecognised pattern over a long period of time, makes it difficult to understand how to grow the performance from X to 2X while maintaining the promised ROI.

Finding the right metric

Here is what the fields of your ROI calculation might look like, at present:

Ad Source Ad medium Campaign Name Ad Term Cost per click Cost per conversion

In the first go, it seems that the ad-source should directly map to the conversion. This should help us decide which ad source works best for us. But is it even possible to linearly scale results?

Can there be more parameters that define why the campaigns on a particular ad source yield better results as compared to the average performance of, say, the past 3 months.

How do you scale the success in one campaign into the success of the overall marketing plan?

What is the justification behind higher cost per acquisition for a lower sales value per deal?

So here I would like to propose an alternative model for calculating your returns.

Target group Benefit Pitch Ad Source Ad medium Campaign Name Ad Term Cost per click Cost per conversion

Or probably, your audience is driven by the right combination of messaging. So you might want to look at the various points of contact, and find out how they contribute to the conversion.

Target group Benefit 1 Benefit 2 Ad Source 1 Ad Source 2 Cost per 1st click Cost per 2nd click Cost per conversion

What works for your case is subjective to your business and its marketing plan. It also depends upon how your target group interacts with your ads. So here are the questions you should start answering:

How do you categorize your audience, so that it makes a logical grouping?

What do you base your grouping selection on (placement, feature sold or sales value)?

Does your selection reflect the efficacy of your marketing process?

With multiple touch points in your process, you need to figure out the campaigns which do not yield immediate results, but play a cog in other lucrative conversions.

Make space for your conversion cycle

In our hurry to make digital marketing work, we fail to map the period that a sales process takes. If I generate 100 leads today, 2 of them close within a week, 5 more close within a month, and there are 2 more cases that close in the next 3 months.

To what do you attribute the sales that happen 3 months later?

If that attribution is an element in your process, what combination of elements creates best returns?

For instance, when you advertise on google adwords, a lot of people who search you on mobile might go on the web, search your name and create a demo request with you, in the process filling downloading one of your white papers.

Such correlations, say between the organic or direct traffic and the paid campaigns, need to be driven based on statistical modelling which depicts the overall scenario, month after month, week after week.

Making space for your conversion cycle, to allow all the elements to be duly acknowledged, is a step in the direction of avoiding the blinding spot that growing companies fail to see.

This entire exercise is a way to help you see deeper into what your numbers say. Numbers count, but the Buddha is in the details. To get a quick analysis on your own marketing activities, write to us at thedigittale@gmail.com.