Predictions of the death of traditional media by evangelists of new media remind me of the famous statement from Mark Twain “I am afraid that the rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” The media of print, TV, radio, mail, and many others will be with us for long time but they do need to learn to play well with the new kids. The truth is that businesses need to balance their marketing strategy based on how each media-type works with their specific target.
I was recently invited to be part of a Marketing Experts Panel by Softec, a local technology trade association. The event drew about 45 people for dinner and a discussion on marketing their business and there were some great conversations. The organization is largely technology-based businesses, but the subject of the evening was marketing and you could tell that it was a challenge to many.
The panel consisted of Dave Cox, CEO, Barnett Cox & Associates, Lynne Biddinger, CEO, 20/20 Creative Group, Starr Hall, CEO, 2 Point Media and myself. As I reflected on the discussion it struck me that within the marketing field we really have brand leaders and brand followers. Dave and Lynne fall into the category of a brand leader and our business is very successful being a brand follower.
While the brand leader might be more glamorous, the marketing team needs good brand followers within their niche specializations. This is clearly where Google Adwords belongs in the marketing team. We need to bring data back to the brand leadership in a form that they can use to make good decisions. Adwords is a direct and measured channel and the brand managers need to understand what that data says. We have to transform the mounds of data in to actionable information. We also need to tune the AdWords system to support the overall brand strategy because if our tuning is “off-message” the results are not pretty.
We have business relationships with both Lynne and Dave, although both are indirect. I never got a chance to make a point at the event, so I am doing it now. In Dave’s case we are running a Google Adwords campaign for a client that he managed the branding of for many years. That organization enjoys a great search engine position largely because of the overall marketing plan he designed. This site now gets great paid traffic because the brand is clear and well managed making it very easy to extract highly targeted traffic. Without the traditional media support and comprehensive marketing plan this site would not consistently be at the top of Google with expanded placement for their highest volume keyword.
Lynne is the brand manager for another client and that client has the best performing landing page in our entire business. As of this morning this page converts at an amazing 36%! The results are actually even greater than that because the primary response design is for phone and we only measure the back-up response by email form. The reason this converts so well is because the landing page and Adwords model are exactly on message. 20/20 did the branding and landing page design for the client; we just got the right people to the page.
The brand leader can be internal or external but their job is to be the brand cop. They need to up hold and communicate the brand standards and the core messaging. The brand follower on the other hand needs to excel at their specialty and work within the brand. When structured properly with everyone knowing their respective roles this process works great. Lack of brand leadership is a problem but so is excessive leadership.
As I look at the clients that have enjoyed the most success there is clearly a relationship between their brand leadership, clarity of message, and the success in their Google Adwords campaigns. When your message is clear it is much easier to get highly targeted traffic.