Approach and performance may vary from marketer to marketer but not their experience with clients. Digital marketers have atleast once been at the receiving end of client expectations and demands that are sometimes nearly impossible to deliver. Digital Marketing Consultant, Ashish Dasharathi offers an insight from the marketer’s vantage point.
Marketers deal with a lot. Marketing eco-system is becoming increasingly crowded. More marketers are taking birth who become “Experts” right after becoming “Google AdWords Certified” Such marketers who do honest work, are understated and don’t go about trumpeting their own accomplishments, are endangered species.
Agencies range from being highly competent & humble… to the ones who are not-so-scrupulous and still-striving-to-be-competent. Life as a marketer sucks at times, but mostly it is beautiful & challenging. What do we notice then, when we look at the marketers out there, those who are more known by their name, those who are not so well known.
Here is an account of the same.
1. Those who want landing pages ready in a day.
Every marketer who is worth their salt, knows that there are several minute details with landing pages, and that it is good to give it decent development time.
How much time is sufficient? It is really subjective, for example if there are no fancy features, then 2 days is a good time including testing. But then again, these 2 days are pure design & development time. All content & copy writing, editing time is not counted in.
So each time a brand marketer asks their agency, or each time a marketing head asks their team to launch a campaign within one day, it’s a difficulty faced by marketers.
To put things in perspective, take a look at …
Who is involved in developing a landing page .
For starters – Agency side – web designer, copy writer or editor or both, website developer, account manager, client servicing executive, approving authority.
Client side – brand or marketing manager, client side web designer, sales manager if any sales related data is going to go online, CRM owner if there is integration of landing page with CRM, marketing head for approval if required.
From checking every small spelling, to the subtle art of getting the communication right with correct tonality and details, things should be right before making it live.
A laundry list of what goes in while designing & developing a landing page –
Updated favicon with correct logo color and legible size
Correct Title tag
Simple to follow static URL Structure
Company logo in correct size, color and updated file and that too under specific KBs
Company logo has hyperlink of parent website or no
Cover image that fits right on both desktop and more importantly on mobile devices
Overlapping enquiry form with the correct number of fields
Color and size of submit button
Hidden form fields to capture UTM parameters
Font of enquiry form text to be in line with rest of the font
Whether submit button sends data to both backend table and correct sales team email addresses
Whether submitted data gets appended to CRM with all fields or no….
If cover image is sliding then does it have “short zoom effect” or if it is there then remove it if its not needed
We have not even covered the entire first fold here. If we go further, it will take at least 60-70 more points more to discuss how to make “complete” landing page in its true sense.
Given deserved time for a landing page to be developed, it can go long way in fetching you better results.
2. Squalid work, once bitten, twice shy.
Lately, this has become a frequent scenario. Earlier agency screws up, so the next one is treated cautiously. Earlier digital marketing executive didn’t deliver, so the next hiring is made tougher. Pitches become harder to crack, there is a demand for detailed strategy and interviews become laced with unnecessary incisive questions.
Be it client side or agency friends, people have time and again become more careful only after a bitter experience. There are immensely gifted marketers out there.
3. Enough data, but restricted – or in some cases – zero access.
It is a well-known and recognized fact that brands sometimes do not get access to their digital properties.
From the Google webmaster tools & analytics account to Google AdWords account, and at time Facebook ad/business account, there have been some sorrowful incidences when brands lost a lot of time and investment to opaque vendors.
It is at times ok on part of agencies to not share complete access with clients. For example, if one’s agency fees hasn’t been paid for a few months, then the agency would try to restrict account access until the dues are cleared. Or until the agency or marketer in question is taking reasonable steps to keep the client informed about advertising spends and relevant information that can affect business decisions.
But, overall, as a thumb rule, brands must insist on getting account accesses. Saves lot of hassle for both the client and agency.
Of course, one can have faith on a trusted agency or consultant that they are managing spends well, and frankly beyond a point one looks at numbers. Very few CEOs or marketing heads want to spend time looking at dashboards which they do not understand.
The obvious case for not sharing account access is that its a business intelligence or strategy that agency can’t or won’t want to share. Secondly, a client is looking for leads or acquisitions. Then how does it matter if I am sharing access or no until performance is being delivered.
But then, is it better to be prudent? With no account access, one can’t tell what the source of lead was truly. Sometimes, a client could share insights from an outside perspective that can help account optimization. At times, some intervention or the thought that “Client has access” makes a marketer go extra length in keeping a diligent watch over the account.
An Example of Lax Account Management –
A real estate brand recently I worked with for consulting them on digital marketing has an interesting story. They had spent decent amount in past few months, but ROI was low. Just one look at the account history was telling enough. Account change history instances were of 4 changes in 2 months. The account was optimized or changed only 4 times in 2 months. When this was pointed out, it was a shock for the client. Why were they paying such a high retainer to them if the agency didn’t bother to look in to the account?
Had the client looked into the account previously, several lakhs could have been saved, time lost could have been saved and ROI could have been achieved earlier.
Every platform releases policies on its official sites. For example, Google Adwords’s access levels are explained here and Google Policy about transparency requirements here.
Marketing heads or marketers sometimes are forced to accept restrictive accesses, because their brand owners prefer a certain agency. This creates some challenges in marketer’s path.
As a ready reference you can see below step by step guide on how to request for MCC account access from your agency, it was earlier published here.
But, by and large, businesses are becoming more careful with their moneys. Which means, you would rather have control on how it is being spent.
4. Non-payment of dues or salaries.
Brands are known to throw such surprises. It hurts if client hasn’t paid, Diwali is around the corner and the salary date is closing. Likewise, there are brands who just can’t pay salaries on time to their marketing teams. Such brands often face difficulty in convincing their marketing teams to do something that improves a brand’s online reputation. For example, glass door reviews and complaint forums come in the way.
On a different note, employees do understand company being in difficult position.
I have worked with a startup in real estate space, and the company paid all its junior employees first, then the senior and the management team always took salaries last or maybe delayed salaries. This raised the respect about the company and the leadership team. That’s an exception though.
5. Inconsistent spends.
A cardinal sin. Please keep your spends consistent, unless of course your entire inventory is sold off or unless your marketing requirements warrant a pause in the campaigns. Poor performance should be a reason for introspection and investigation, but it shouldn’t lead to procrastination.
Will talk more later, on how it matters and exact situations under which inconsistent spends is ok.
6. Hiring Challenge – Inability to ascertain correct salary amount.
Some concerns to raise before talking about what is the right salary amount – Does the marketer know how to setup tracking? Can they write text ad copy as well as display banner ad copy equally well? Do they know the AdWords dashboard so well as to independently manage campaigns or would they need a guiding consultant? Can they tell basic answers about duration of cookies to be in list or display placement options or where to place which Google codes? Do they understand landing page elements properly?
7. Trying to hire jack of all trades.
No marketer has ever been able to master Google AdWords + Google Analytics + SEO + Content Marketing + Copy writing + Creative image designing + …. So on.
These are mutually exclusive skill sets and trying to hire someone who knows all of these is an exercise in vain.
Platforms evolve, rules change, skill sets become more and more difficult to acquire once a marketer grows up the ladder of hierarchy. Narrow down, focus, describe what you need in written job description and then go about hiring. Much safer and less likelihood of insanity or chaos.
8. Chasing wrong goals – 1
If you are Somesh Construction Conglomerate, it is easy to get ranked for a keyword like –
Somesh Construction Conglomerate 2 BHK apartments in Viman Nagar beside airport
But difficult to get ranked for a keyword like –
2 bhk apartment Pune
There are more marketers out there who tell a brand that ranking was achieved for a keyword like the 1st one, and not the 2nd.
It is difficult to get better results. Easier to achieve the low hanging fruits. But the better results, rankings, costs per acquisitions, analysis, insights – are the appropriate goals to achieve.
One should know which metric should be dealt in what way. And to know the difference between low hanging fruits and the juicier ones, one needs a better farmer. A better marketer.
9. Chasing wrong goals – 2
Case – Our previous agency since 2 years, is giving good leads from organic. How do we analyse the performance.
Take a look at Google analytics account, look up the search terms which are contributing to the leads. If it is brand terms, then likely your agency has got very little to do with the results.
Has your website traffic increased? Does your brand have backlinks in relevant pages? Do you have custom 404? Are there any spammy link building activities? Spinning content used anywhere?
A lot goes on in the marketing world, in marketer’s careers.