Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Adnan Arnautlija
One of the categories at the MIXX Awards, which were awarded for the most successful digital campaigns at the recent Days of Communication festival in Rovinj, was Direct Response / Lead Generation. Since the agency Degordian won in that category both this and last year, and has also won this award at last year’s MIXX Awards in Serbia, we decided to talk with Ivo Novak, director of marketing services at Degordian, about what is actually direct response / lead generation and how they do it.
Media Marketing: What are considered direct response/lead generation campaigns, and for which type of brands do you do such campaigns?
Ivo Novak: According to the IAB’s category for MIXX Direct Response / Lead generation awards, eligible campaigns are those that generate immediate and easily measurable impact on the brand that runs the campaign, whether in the form of direct sales of products and services, downloading coupons, installing applications, generating leads which will be later turned into consumers etc. This type of campaign can be implemented in any industry and type of business.
But industries and brands in which this kind of campaign can be best utilized are those in which the web is used as a sales channel, where campaigns and other activities can attract consumers who are at the stage of making a purchase decision, or are in the process of purchase itself. These would be all the brands that have e-commerce or, for example, tourism brands that generate booking over the web. There’s also the healthcare industry in which transactions may not take place on the web, but queries for examinations are being made online. Also, insurance firms, banks, telecoms etc. Basically all industries where purchase of products or services is achievable online, or where you can order services through some online forms. The latest example is the Fresh Island Festival for which we have worked throughout the year on the sale of tickets for the festival – the case study of which you could see at the MIXX Awards. In this category, we also won MIXX award for Camping Village Šimuni and Raiffeisen bank, so it’s not so much about the industry, as much as it is about whether the client uses internet as a channel that directly affects the sale of services or products.
Media Marketing: Is there any difference in conducting direct response and brand awareness campaigns that are directed at communication of brand values?
Ivo Novak: The difference should be in the communication and messages that are communicated to consumers, as well as in KPIs which are used to measure their success. But still, generally most campaigns, even for products and services sold online, are carried out in the same way as in the time when there were only mass media. For example, in the case when you are launching a product or service, you design communication and creative concept, define the media on which the campaign will run, for which we consider to be relevant based on some data, and after this campaign is broadcast to as many consumers, hoping that it will “stick” and that some of them will buy the product / service.
But now, at least digitally, much more information about consumers is available and a multitude of technologies such as advertising on search engines, email marketing, remarketing, programmatic inventory buying, web analytics, etc.. It gives us different options for segmenting and targeting consumers and collecting data about their behavior, on the basis of which we can do real-time adjustments to the campaign. We can target depending on the intentions, the events in the life of consumers, their interests and how deeply into the sales funnel they are, without limiting ourselves purely on the demographics. So I think that a small departure should be made from the month-long campaigns with the targets “20-45, Croatia”, “Millennials” and the like, and do a lot deeper segmentation and personalization and work on marketing activities continuously, not periodically. If you want any kind of direct response, it is necessary to target the right consumer at the right time with the right message. The question is how will a student who moved into a new apartment in the ninth month and now wants an affordable internet package be affected by the fact that telecom has a campaign that ran on all TV programs in the fourth month. Similarly, the question is how will a promotion of a flight for Lisbon in the sixth month affect a businessman who learned in the 11th month that he should go there for a meeting. Because of them, brands must be present in the search engines (via ads or organically) at the moment when they seek these services. Social media team should always be ready to issue a response to their query, and there always has to be content on the web that is useful in every step in the life cycle of a certain consumer. With our campaigns, activities and content we need to cover every phase of the life cycle of the consumer, from the creation of the awareness of the product, during the making of purchasing decisions, during purchase, and in the period after the purchase. This means that direct response / lead generation, and brand awareness campaigns should be done continuously throughout the year. It’s just that it’s easier to do in the case of sales / direct response campaigns, because we can see a direct return on them, and optimize campaigns daily according to that data.
Media Marketing: What are the best ways and channels for implementation of direct response campaigns? Are some channels and media better than the others in the context of direct response campaigns?
Ivo Novak: We need to have well-defined segments towards which we advertise, and we have to approach each of them with different communication, we need to test that communications and adapt it over time, gradually achieving increasing ROI. Through performance advertising and other activities, it is necessary to create a well-established sales system that works all year round, of course taking into account seasonal fluctuations in each industry.
Since this may sound a little abstract, we can explain it on the example of a large hotel chain with many different types of accommodation. There should be different communication for people who are looking for family accommodation in relation to those who are a couple with no children or those who just want a pool. Also, you can for example show an ad with a special offer for a hotel in Istria to a person who on your website searched for accommodation somewhere in Istria, but hasn’t concluded the purchase.
This is logical in itself, but now we can use the data provided by media such as Facebook / Instagram / Google / YouTube to really target the consumers that we know that they belong to one of these categories. But we simply cannot have the same communication and creative solutions for all these segments, so we have to adapt it to each segment. The domestic market, unfortunately, has not yet passed over to programmatic advertising that would enable us such targeting of very specific audiences, instead of buying impressions on local portals, but it will come with the education of the market, primarily client side, which should push for that because it’s not only important for the direct response, but also for any other form of campaign. This is where the media at the local level are lagging behind giants like Facebook and Google, but I see that some of them are working on it.
Media Marketing: What kind of knowledge is necessary to work on such campaigns? What kind of specialists are you developing to be able to provide such a service?
Ivo Novak: In terms of expertise it is necessary to have people who understand the opportunities that exist in digital marketing and know how to exploit those opportunities in the marketing strategy and, more importantly, they know how to measure their impact. Important to us are experts in advertising, good copywriters who can create content that can highlight the benefits of the product / service, experts in web analytics that must be well set in place if we use web as a sales channel, and experts who optimize the websites, both from the SEO and the UX sides. Campaigns can be perfectly optimized, but if the website is not up to the task, it will be difficult to achieve good results.
Media Marketing: Since Degordian has won its third MIXX Award at the recent Days of Communication in direct response/lead generation category in the last two years, what do you think has mostly contributed to that success?
Ivo Novak: One of the important advantages of Degordian is a very large number of different specialists that allows us to have in one place all the knowledge and resources that are necessary for such activation. Another thing is that we have invested a lot of time in the development of our team and development of the optimization process of performance advertising campaigns and their measurements. The third very important point is that we generally don’t approach every client as a supplier for a single service, but as a strategic partner for all activities in the field of Digital, and we invest a lot of time in understanding their business. We make a plan of activities that we do, and what is most important – a plan for their measurements. We wish to emphasize that we cannot use the same metrics to evaluate brand awareness campaigns and sales-oriented campaigns. Planning advertising and other activities we do in the RACE Framework which is based on the consumer’s purchase path. We try to put all the activities and campaigns that we do in this framework, so we would know exactly what KPIs to use to assess their success.
Media Marketing: The story of digital advertising is becoming more and more interesting, but at the same time more complex. Facebook had an affair with inflated metrics, YouTube is facing heat for showing ads against inappropriate content, and in general there has been a lot of talk about the value of display advertising, and how much of the ad impressions are actually visible, how big is the ad fraud in all of that and so on. How do you see the development of digital advertising in the near future, and which trends would you highlight, and how can advertisers find their way in all of that?
Ivo Novak: I expect that approach to advertising and even marketing in general will change over time, and that a continuous, interactive approach will be used, with a lot of small changes and adjustments instead of a campaign approach. This is true not only for advertising on search engines or presence on social networks where the “always on” approach is being slowly accepted. This is also true for display advertising, content making and the current buzzword – marketing through influencers, which also needs to be a continuous process, instead of using influencers as large billboards that we will activate a couple of times a year. It also applies to the operation of the website that you should constantly optimize and work to improve, rather than the classic approach where every few years you would make a redesign of the website and completely destroy all the good that has been done in those few years on the SEO side. Ultimately, programmatic will allow us to have such a continuous approach in the case of display advertising as well, and after a while probably in the case of TV advertising. Regarding the measurement and value of digital advertising, in the case of direct response campaigns, any brand should have well-defined KPIs with which to monitor how campaigns affect its business, thus metrics such as the number of impressions, click-through rates, video views, and the like become less important, and it doesn’t matter how certain media define them. For the success of performance campaigns, the most commonly used metrics are ROAS (return on advertising spend), ROI (if we know the product margin), conversion rate, CPA / CPL (cost per action / lead).
It is possible that a large part of that will be taken over by different AI algorithms that will be able to very well calculate the profitability of specific target groups and the success of creative solutions and communication that we have towards this target group.
In any case, it will be necessary to follow the trends and adapt your marketing strategy accordingly.