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Is marketing optimization the new silver bullet?

Posted by Sheera Eby on June 7, 2013

Marketers are always looking for the latest and greatest way to reach customers. What is the next channel that can create a new revenue stream? Optimization might actually be an unsung hero. Com­pa­nies spend­ing more than 25% of their mar­ket­ing bud­gets toward opti­miza­tion are twice as likely to enjoy high con­ver­sion rates, according to a recent study conducted by Adobe.



If this is true, why aren’t more marketers focused on optimization? Marketing optimization for most equals continuous improvement and testing. I guess that doesn’t sound as exciting as the latest and greatest tactic.


According to the Adobe study, almost half of the sur­vey respon­dents said test­ing is not a pri­or­ity at their com­pany. Bud­get and resources remain the two biggest chal­lenges to testing.


So is optimizing your current marketing mix a better investment than putting dollars toward new channels? I’d argue that generally most marketers are not optimizing their current marketing channels to the fullest extent. Many cultures are more attuned to adding another channel into the mix than ensuring their current channels are delivering to their fullest potential.


Marketing optimization comes down to applying best practices and testing various techniques to improve response. I’ve heard the question from clients, “But how much can we really increase response by?” It turns out optimizing a channel can improve response anywhere from 10% to 200%, making it a worthwhile investment of time and money.


So where should marketers start to optimize their tactics? Typically the best place to start is with measurable mediums, since these will be the easiest to determine optimization impact. Direct response techniques are now being integrated into many different marketing communications mediums. The principles of response marketing such targeting, delivering relevancy and effective calls to action are critical to make all marketing work harder. Remember, you can’t generate an action unless you ask.


For the most part, each channel within a multichannel strategy has unique aspects for marketing optimization. We generally recommend an expert diagnosis of current efforts, and a finite review of each tactic within the marketing mix. While it’s hard to generalize, here are a couple of quick hits to consider in an effort to optimize marketing performance of a set of vehicles.


  • Applying tried-and-true proven best practices for driving action.

Leveraging strong and clear calls to action, compelling offers and other response best practices almost always work to improve response. While each channel is different, e.g., email versus a retargeting banner ad, following response basics almost always ensures success. We’ve created several ebooks, by channel, that can serve as a road map to analyzing and determining ways to improve the response aspects of your tactics. These techniques are proven marketing optimization winners.

  • Personalization increases relevancy, and works to increase response.

Utilizing personalization reinforces a relationship, validates credibility and ensures a decision process can become simpler and easier. In a recent program we leveraged personalization in email to deliver a 36% increase in response. This is a pretty astounding lift for inclusion of easy-to-execute variable information. Check out our blog article on email personalization for more details.  Personalization and tailoring are techniques that are transferable to email, direct mail, landing pages, retargeting banner ads and even social media. Check out our blog article on social CRM to learn more about how to evolve your social media efforts to become more tailored.

  • Focus works.

It is a good practice to trade off coverage for efficiency and effectiveness. Whether it is focusing blog articles on long-tail keywords, or redefining your audience for direct mail, focus almost always pays off. While focus is stressful for marketers, because often there is a sense that someone is being eliminated from the target, it really works. The key is using analytics and precision diagnostics to identify the areas that are most ripe for marketing optimization and will likely yield the highest return.


Optimization is a path that is underutilized by many marketers. While it takes careful precision and diagnostics to determine the best paths for marketing optimization, it can quickly show increases in response and ensure your marketing dollars are working as hard as possible.

J&C is an expert in marketing communications optimization and produces several ebooks annually that provide guidance for marketers looking to get more of their marketing budgets.


Topics: CMO

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