As the new year begins, it’s a good time for marketers to evaluate their efforts and think about how effective their digital marketing campaigns have been. To that end, some industry leaders are calling for the acceptance of "digital accountability" as a marketing goal and benchmark.
What is digital accountability? In a nutshell, it’s the idea that your marketing efforts need to produce tangible results. Not just "feel-good" concepts like “customer engagement”, “likes” and “traffic”, but well-defined, quantifiable benefits for your business.
Digital accountability doesn’t come with the latest, greatest tool or app. It comes when you and your team make the connection between the data and the results. It happens when you understand which business actions produce real value for your bottom line.
Instead of tinkering around with concepts, this year, make your marketing campaigns accountable to you. Here are some steps you can take in 2013 to make it happen:
1. Focus on your goals.
There is no longer a “one size fits all” solution to every marketing objective, so targeting your marketing campaigns to meet individual goals is becoming the new standard for digital marketing. Separate out your goals and determine the best way to reach each one. Are you looking to increase online visitors? Improve website conversion rates? Reduce shopping cart abandonments? Map out a digital campaign for each, aligned with your specific goals and your target market(s).
2. Measure real results.
Web analytics offer a plethora of information, but how much of it translates into real value? Facts and figures only tell half the story—you also need an understanding of what they mean and how you can act on them. Going forward, take a closer look at the real results of your efforts. Has your email newsletter campaign resulted in more web traffic? Are your landing page designs enticing more people to sign up for your promotion? Has your list of contacts grown in the last quarter? Are you spending less time on unqualified leads and more time nurturing paying customers? There are many criteria for success, but it's essential to know which information countsand which is just a lot of buzz.
3. Commit to the long haul.
One of the biggest mistakes made by internet marketers is the tendency to look for the quick, easy solution (in other words, the "slap up a website and figure out the rest along the way" mindset.) Digital accountability requires continuous planning, testing and tweaking. It means an investment in the technology and human infrastructure necessary to lay a foundation for long-term success.
Building the right team of web developers, content creators and sales and marketing professionals who know how to accurately interpret your business metrics (and act on them) doesn't happen overnight, but it is an invaluable step to making your goals a reality.
Digital accountability has become more important in a highly competitive marketing environment, where budgets are tight and data overload can quickly lead a company in the wrong direction. A laser-sharp focus on your goals is essential, but it’s only the beginning. Commit to the infrastructure needed to create and sustain marketing campaigns that create real value. Align these campaigns with your goals and the needs of your target market(s). Keep your strategies accountable, and your business can thrive in the new year.