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July 24th, 2012

Eyeballs to Outcomes: Moving Beyond Yell & Sell Marketing

Yell & sell: Largely used prior to the internet. Essentially, it makes use of a small number of media channels – such as TV, radio, and print – to push products onto consumers. There is very little interaction with the customer and very little targeting of messaging to various kinds of consumers (other than broad segmentation such as overall channel demographics). Often, the success of the campaign is defined by the number of people who saw it.

Marketing 1.0: Makes use of multiple media channels to market to customers. This marks the beginning of dialogue between consumers and brands – consumers begin to use more mediums to educate themselves about the products they want, and brands start to segment their messaging to target the appropriate consumer segments.

Measurement of contribution to the bottom line is accurate only in silos, e.g. measurement of effectiveness within a single channel. “Analytics” in marketing vernacular either applied specifically to web analytics or back-end systems to analyze resource allocation and sales data.

The “new” marketing: I want to refrain from using the Marketing x.0 nomenclature here as the evolutionary speed of the “new” marketing is as fast as the information-based world that drives it. It is complex, but the complexity yields effectiveness in measurement and results. The level of data available allows us to see not only how a specific channel is performing, but how the channels interact, allowing us to answer questions like, “How is my TV ad spend affecting my Google search volume?”

Startlingly accurate statistical models can be created to not only measure but to predict financial outcomes. This allows marketers to drive more granular consumer segmentation, delivering the right message at the right time. The use of "analytics" in marketing vernacular is now morphing from web-based tools to big picture analytical tools, used for pulling insights out of large sets of data, of which online data is a component (albeit a significant one).

So how do you move your marketing from the old “yell & sell” method to measure and maximize the return on your marketing investments? Obviously, there are many paths based on the intricacies of your business, but here is a general plan:

  1. Establish what your conversion funnel looks like in order to arrive at the true measure of ROI for your marketing spend. Metrics such as “awareness” and “engagement” are only intermediary steps to the essential question: What is the return on my marketing dollars? The “new” marketer uses data to drive the discovery of this funnel, possibly modeling it using statistics.
  2. Determine your key performance indicators (KPIs) en route to ROI. As mentioned in step 1, those intermediary steps (awareness, engagement, etc.) will help drive the discovery and definition of your conversion funnel. And, like a physical funnel, you want it to be as friction-free and with the fewest holes as possible. Not every metric that you track is a KPI unless you determine it is the best measure of your brand health – and the measure of your brand health is only as good as the impact on your bottom line.
  3. Make sure you have high quality data. We’ll address this in more detail in an upcoming post, but keeping your [data ware]house clean is extremely important. This is the “bottom-up” portion of the process, where establishing proper categorization with your marketing team is paramount. Consistently applying tagging and tracking for your online campaigns, properly storing circulation reports from offline media, and having granular sales data is all part of this.

    Planning and execution of this step will establish a sound foundation for you to draw insights from your data in the future. It also allows for effectively executed analytics and modeling projects.

Moving from yelling at your customers to the “new” marketing should be the goal of every marketing department. Not surprisingly, people don’t like to be yelled at. They want to be listened to and understood. Embracing ROI analysis, statistical modeling (both marketing mix and attribution), and maintenance of high quality data will move your business closer to its full potential, and, ultimately, closer to your customers.

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