By Neil Morgan, VP of Marketing and Channels at Omniture.
The current economic turbulence has created widespread panic and businesses are being forced to make savings across all areas. What we’re witnessing is a slashing of budgets, with marketing traditionally being an area that is among those hardest hit.
From board-level down the ‘marketing team’ are often not considered to be seriously affecting the ‘bottom line’. But this is a grave, and possible fatal judgement to make. Nobody should go missing in action during a recession for fear of vanishing altogether.
There has never been a more important time for a business to build relationships with customers and the Internet has revolutionised the way consumers want to interact. They can be more fickle and can shop around more easily for products and services.
With disposable incomes and corporate spending power suffering during recessions consumers will search out the best deals available.
Because of these economic and social trends, online marketing has become a necessity and anyone who thinks it’s a ‘nice to have’ is seriously mistaken.
Recent retail spending statistics illustrate this point exactly. A comparison between February 2009 and 2008 revealed online shopping had increased by 13 per cent.
There are not many market trends at the moment that are even close to being positive, so an increase of 13 per cent is significant given the times we are in.
To benefit from such a buoyant market businesses should focus their attention on optimising their online businesses. This often used online marketing term is occasionally perceived just to mean monitoring web analytics or making manual changes to sites or campaigns to reflect traffic patterns, but this is misleading and severely underestimates the potential of online optimisation.
What it really provides is the automisation of the whole online marketing cycle, from acquisition through conversion to retention, by automatically changing campaigns based on conversion data.
So, for example, why manually examine Google reports to find the keywords that drive the most visits when you could automate the buying of keywords that drive the most conversations automatically.
Or, why manually try to guess the best creative for your site when you can optimise it by automatically promoting the creative that performs the best.
By doing this many of the hassles around planning campaigns are taken out of the hands of employees and solved by the technology. It also turns ‘gut feel’ or ‘hunch’ into a science underpinned by hard numbers and data.
Majestic Wine is an example of a company that has successfully optimised its online business. By seamlessly integrating its search engine and e-commerce solutions, its Merchandising software could communicate between front and back-end allowing Majestic to manage multiple brands and products online, connecting shoppers with the products they desired.
Also, popular searches by visitors allowed Majestic through the technology’s automation capabilities to adjust its website to suit demand.
As with any investment, particularly in these difficult times, a project’s success is determined by its ROI. Majestic not only significantly improved its customers experience, this also impacted upon sales figures. In a fiercely competitive online drinks market, during the latest Christmas period Majestic witnessed year-on-year sales growth of 20 per cent.
What the Majestic case study proves is businesses can really do more for less by optimising what they already have. With the right technology businesses can free up employees to work more efficiently while at the same time increasing revenues. Who can turn down such a benefit?
As the Majestic example reveals, advancements in technology have made e-commerce more tailored to the individual. A trend we have witnessed recently is the continued rise of social media within marketing.
The business world has accepted this is an area that requires their attention, with Twitter’s six million users who could neglect such a vast audience. Customers behavioural patterns are changing and businesses must follow.
Twitter has become one of the most talked about technologies this year, but has left many brands and marketers scratching their heads. It can’t be measured and who is reading the ‘tweets’, are the most common responses, but it can, and you can find out.
Omniture customers are currently using Twitter to their advantage and are enabling their marketing teams to capture all conversations within Twitter about their brand and products. In times of downturn customers points of view are priceless.
We all know the cost of carrying out traditional market research and the out-of-date results they produce. By monitoring Twitter, you can have these results at your fingertips every minute of every day.
The economic uncertainty has accelerated the need for marketers to consider their digital options. Online spending is still expanding requiring businesses to do all they can to be a part of this.
The only way for this to happen is by selecting an on-demand tightly integrated online marketing solution that means you have all the information you need to make the desired sales without any hassles and headaches.
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