Sunday, July 29, 2012

Structuring Your Digital Marketing Channels

Last week Marketing Sherpa, with sponsorship by Marketo, presented a webinar on inbound marketing architecture. I found it thoughtful and informative and I’d encourage you to download the presentation.

That said, the webinar dealt only with the three inbound channels. Blogs and social media seem unarguable in that list. Some, like HubSpot, call content marketing the third channel, while Marketing Sherpa’s research used organic search as the third channel. When you stop to think about it, content marketing requires optimization of both content and website for organic search, so it adds up to three channels, whichever descriptors you use.

They identify blogs and the website as conversion points. The actual conversion/sale will take place on the website, but blogs can be highly influential in the later stages of the customer purchase process. A recent study suggests this is especially true of women consumers. In this sense, both the website and the corporate blog are conversion points. For that matter, so are other influential (trusted) blogs.

As long as you limit yourself to inbound channels, the Marketing Sherpa architecture hits the nail squarely on the head. The trouble is, and in spite of the well documented continuing shift to inbound channels, there are other channels to be considered as marketers identify and integrate their communications mix.

I’ve crafted my own version, sticking with the hub and spoke structure, which I think is essential. For one thing, it answers a question I’m frequently asked, “Can I get along with just a Facebook page?” Absolutely not. It’s one of the spokes, not a hub.

My version includes email, although it doesn’t show up in any of these cost of lead charts. Email isn’t a good lead generator, but it does have influence in the latter stages of the purchase process. It is also reasonable to hypothesize that email and text messaging are going to be more important as mobile continues its growth. Likewise, even though many are more expensive and less effective than digital channels, real world channels still figure into the process.

All that  is a reminder of the complexity of the process. It’s a matrix, with one dimension being customer channel preferences and another being channel effectiveness, given the state in the purchase process.

So I herald the trend to inbound marketing, even as marketers:

1. Need to learn to use it well
2. Must remember that outbound and physical world channels still have a role.

1 comment:

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