A well-executed creative strategy can be a complete game changer for a business. Just look at Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign or Coca Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign where they personalized bottles with some of the most popular names printed on the label.
You may think that marketing ingenuity like this is reserved for companies with Fortune 500 level budgets (and if you were limited to the tools advertisers had in the 60s you’d probably be right), but there are so many affordable and even free resources out there today that can help you build a winning creative strategy without breaking the bank.
Anderson Collaborative Founder & CEO Trevor Anderson speaks to the Startup Aggieland program at Texas A&M University in 2018
I decided to put these thoughts down on paper after giving a series of lectures to students at the University of Mississippi and Texas A&M University in 2018 and 2019. In these discussions, I spoke to the methods and processes that exist today that allow us to build a data-driven marketing creative strategy in a variety of different ways.
When I first got into marketing, the data component always fascinated me. It seemed amazing to me just how many analytical touchpoints you could actually track in today’s digital world. I’d often get in trouble in college for tuning out the professor while I researched how Facebook Advertising and Google Analytics worked. Attributing the success of a marketing campaign used to be incredibly difficult or even impossible to accomplish. Only recently has attribution become more feasible.
Today, marketing is becoming much more personalized and it’s working . Campaigns are now becoming integrated and holistic to build more meaningful customer relationships and experiences with a brand or product. There are several types of ways this is being done:
Making your marketing creative data-driven allows you to better understand the impact of your approach and to tweak it if it’s not working. It also allows you to personalize your marketing which as we discussed above, works wonders. So how do you do this on a digital level?
Step One: Make Your Website A-Data Aggregator
Marketing and web trackers on Kroger.com allow their company to better understand and improve their online presence.
Ad blockers like Ghostery are a nuisance to some marketers but also an incredible tool if used the right way. Ghostery allows you to see all of the active marketing trackers on a website while you browse and better understand what data they are pulling out of your visit. You can take a look at Fortune 500 websites to see how organizations of this size use these tools to their advantage. It also is a great way to discover new marketing trackers or to prospect potential clients that need them installed.
Google Analytics is a free and must-install tool for any website. It allows you to better understand how people are finding your website, what pages they are visiting, how long they are on the website, and more. When set up properly, it can be used to accurately track return on investment from various digital advertising campaigns and individual ads.
Web trackers like Hotjar,Crazy Egg, and Full Story allow you to closely monitor website visits and actually watch video recordings of website visitors interacting with your website (yes, a little creepy but very cool). You can also build out heat maps to see where people are clicking and scrolling.
Lastly, if you are using a digital advertising channel like Facebook Ads, ensure that you have properly installed their marketing pixel. This will allow you to build out custom targeting segments and to closely monitor results generated from campaigns.
Step Two: Build Dynamic Content & A/B Test Creative
36 unique ads tested against each other during a client campaign allowed our agency to find the perfect piece of creative that was driving the highest return on ad spend. By doing this early on, we were able to maximize the results from our advertising budget.
When building out your marketing creative, it is absolutely essential that you test a variety of different headlines, descriptions, call to actions, images, and colors. It works. In a recent set of digital campaigns we ran, we tested over 36 unique advertisements all targeting the exact same audience. Return on ad spend ranged from 0.89 all the way to 46.79. By doing our homework at the beginning, we were able to maximize our return on ad spend and allocate our budget to the creative that was driving the most results .
If you are driving traffic to a website with your marketing campaign, be sure to include UTM link tags on each unique set of creative . It is a painstaking process, but it will allow you to closely monitor your ad beyond key performance indicators like click-through rate and cost per click. The most important metric is the return on ad spend.
A/B testing can also be done on the website level. A study done by Hubspot showed that just changing the color of a button affected the click-through rate by 21% . You can also use dynamic content (aka adaptive content) on your website. Wordpress website builder Elementor allows you to easily change content on your website based on a variety of different factors.
Step Three: Monitor Results And Pivot
At our own agency, we use the SOSTAC strategic planning model to help guide our marketing approach. It’s a great way to set up guiding principles for your campaign and put steps in place to monitor results.
Now that you have made your website a data aggregator and set up your marketing creative in a way that can be tracked, you can take a look at the data and decide what needs to be done to improve results and if your creative was successful or not.
“Data Studio turns your data into informative, easy to read, easy to share, and fully customizable dashboards and reports.”
Data visualization is a crucial component of this step. Looking at spreadsheets can sometimes make it difficult to comprehend results. The free tool Google Data Studio is a great way to plug in your data and interact with it.
Bottom line, if you are not able to understand completely if your campaign is driving revenue, try something else. You are just wasting money, and it doesn’t take much financial investment to figure that out.
Put That Data to Work
According to a study and survey by Rakuten Marketing, respondents estimated they waste an average of 26% of their advertising budgets on ineffective channels and strategies. With the above steps in place, you can ensure that you are taking your budget further and not squandering money.
Data is your friend!