Digital devices

Today’s consumers are increasingly “digital”, with an 85 percent smartphone adoption rate in Singapore – Google, The Consumer Barometer, and Singaporean consumers spending an average of 12hr 42 min on digital devices.

Shifting the focus to the digital customer and creating a seamless digital customer experience is the key piece of the puzzle for organisations embracing digital marketing transformation.

What is Digital Marketing Transformation?

The Altimeter Group defines digital transformation as “The re-alignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital consumers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle”.

In a survey conducted by the Altimeter Group, 88% of organisations indicated that they were undergoing digital transformation efforts. Yet, only 25% had mapped out a digital customer journey and have a clear understanding of new digital touch points.

This reveals a lack of fundamental understanding on the objective of digital transformation and a gap in the implementation of the process in many organisations.

What about digital marketing transformation – a subset of digital transformation?

I-Scoop defines digital marketing transformation as “The transformation of the connected marketing function and operations for a channel-agnostic customer journey with ever more digital touch points.”

Basically, it is the shift of culture, processes, and focus of marketing departments from a traditional marketing approach to a more customer-centric and technology-enabled (e.g. digital and data-driven) marketing modus operandi.

The digital customer isn’t concerned whether he interacts with your brand digitally or non-digitally. He cares more about his experience with your brand – whether it’s a positive or negative one. Incidentally, for most of his buying journey he is interacting with your brand via digital channels or touch points.

From conducting research on your industry’s products and services on Google, selectively browsing content on your website, to following your social media page and searching for reviews of your business online, he is the captain of his buying journey.

How Can Companies Transform Their Marketing Departments?

In order for marketing departments to transform for a channel-agnostic customer journey with ever increasing digital touch points, the following challenges need to be overcome:

Getting C-level buy-in:

Are marketing personnel able to get C-level Executives to give the go-ahead in formulating the change required? Can C-level Executives envision the potential returns on investments in digital technology, platforms, channels, and people?

Marketing automation for example, powers revenue performance management. RPM, enabled by marketing automation, allows for lower cost of customer acquisition, more predictable sales forecasts, and increased ROI due to shorter and faster sales cycles and higher than average product pricings.

Here are some of angles of approaches to increase your chances of getting C-level buy-in:

  • Present how you are going to measure the effectiveness of your digital marketing campaigns and benchmark them against other business units within your organisation and industry standards. It would be advantageous if you had already run micro campaigns and have some data to back up your plans.
  • Offer competitive insights and emphasise how your competitors are going to have first-mover advantage if you don’t start adopting backbone digital marketing solutions.
  • Illustrate the benefits of doing digital marketing such as improved productivity and anticipated cost savings. For example, traditional media buying of ad space is no longer considered productive since programmatic advertising and real-time bidding were introduced.

Integrating marketing and operations:

Can marketing departments collaborate with sales and operations departments to map out the digital customer journey and ensure a more connected, seamless customer experience?

One of the benefits of this integration is delineated marketing and sales funnels which boosts audience engagement and fosters strong brand relationships. 

Closing the digital skills gap:

Do marketing personnel possess general knowledge on various digital marketing disciplines? Do they specialise in any digital marketing disciplines? A digital marketing proficiency survey conducted by Equinet Academy and Cooler Insights revealed that more than 50% of Marketing Executives are not confident in developing a digital marketing strategy.

To alleviate this issue, HR teams can scout for digital marketing courses for junior to mid-level marketing managers and executives to attend. Topics range from search engine optimisation, digital marketing strategy, to content marketing. These courses can help marketing teams better align their marketing strategy across various departments, improve their communication with their digital marketing agencies, and make better use of their marketing budgets.

Establishing new digital marketing roles:

Are there sufficient digitally-skilled marketing personnel to head and execute specific digital marketing campaigns? Is outsourcing to external digital marketing agencies always the right solution?

There are roles which are more suitable in-house and functions that make more sense when outsourced, depending on the size and scale of the company. For example, it can cost anywhere from $2600 to hire a university fresh graduate for a digital marketing executive role. Multiply that by approximately 6 months + on-the-job and external training costs before she gains the competency required to perform as well as an experienced digital marketing campaign manager from a reputable digital marketing agency, and you may find that it can cost you more than outsourcing the job.

Organisations undergoing digital marketing transformation should establish these emerging roles within their core teams:

  • Content Marketing Strategist
  • Digital Advertising Campaign Manager
  • Full-Stack Developer
  • Search Engine Optimisation Specialist
  • Marketing Automation Specialist
  • Data Scientist 

Inaugurating a culture of digital optimization (agile marketing):

Are there internal frameworks and workflows in place to govern a continuous optimisation process that constantly measures and improves the performance of marketing campaigns?

These frameworks and processes are typically overseen by CMOs but should involve the role of the CIO as well. Think of it as an innovative partnership between the CMO and CIO.

Adopting cornerstone digital technology:

Have organisations integrated backbone digital technology (e.g. marketing automation software, marketing analytics software) that contribute towards enhancing productivity and maximising returns?

Developing and executing “always on” digital marketing campaigns:

Are there sufficient skilled marketing personnel to create and run continuous branding and awareness, engagement, acquisition, and post-acquisition campaigns in a world where consumers are actively researching and consuming information on-the-go?

Such as:

  • Optimising and maintaining a website’s rankings on the search engines to convert search users with buying intent into paying customers
  • Monitoring brand mentions via web and social media monitoring tools in order to efficiently respond and engage with brand advocates and vice versa
  • Setting up lead nurturing campaigns that trigger marketing messages via email, mobile, and display ads to capture customers at the right moment

Reshaping thinking towards a customer-centric approach:

In a digital-enabled world where consumers hold all the power, have marketing teams shaped their strategies and tactical campaigns around their customer personas and customer journey maps? Is the ultimate goal for a seamless end-to-end customer experience and digital customer experience the driving force behind all marketing initiatives?

To Summarise

Your customers are already digital and they expect a seamless customer experience whether digital, offline, or both. As such, one of the main focuses of digital marketing transformation is to evangelise new customer centric thinking. To support this focal point, organisations have to establish a culture of digitalisation, de-silo business departments, and adopt backbone digital technology among other challenges.

Digital marketing transformation is inevitable, as organisations continue to adopt new backbone digital marketing solutions to stay competitive. The key is to accelerate this process and gain first-mover advantage in order to capture the significant market share portion in this digital economy.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is intent-based advertising that can help advertisers gain high quality traffic to their websites.

Unlike Search Engine Optimisation which focuses on increasing your organic search rankings on search engines like Google and Bing, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), on the other hand, requires you to pay to play on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). This is why SEM is also commonly referred to as Paid Search.

Organic vs paid search results

Pay to play?

Paid Search relies on an auction model to decide which advertisers stand a chance to show their ads on SERPs, and also the ranking order in which their ads appear. To participate in the auction, advertisers key in a Cost-Per-Click bid, an amount they are willing to part with when searchers click on their ads. This is also the reason why you would’ve also heard terms such as “buying keywords”, “bidding for keywords”, or “Pay Per Click (PPC)” being thrown around when discussing about SEM campaigns in general.

In order for ads to show on the SERPs, advertisers must enter the following into a Paid Search platform such as Google Ads (formerly also known as Google AdWords):
1) Keywords
2) Ad Copy
3) Landing Page
4) Maximum Cost-Per-Click Bid

Infographic to show relationship between advertisers and consumers

The SEM auction

The two main components that most major Paid Search platforms take into consideration at the time of the ad auction are your Maximum Cost-Per-Click (CPC) Bid, and a Quality Score factor. (more on what Quality Score is in just a bit) In the following scenarios, we’ll examine what happens in the absence of a Quality Score factor, and how a Paid Search platform such as Google Ads takes these two components will be multiplied to form an equation called Ad Rank :

1) Scenario #1: Paid Search auctions are based purely on Max CPC Bids advertisers are willing to pay, WITHOUT taking the Quality Score into consideration.

keyword bidding process illustration

Result: Advertisers will be purely ranked on the SERP according to who can pay the highest dollar.

Possible Outcomes:
i) Advertisers with the most financial muscle can manipulate and dominate ALL search queries, whether relevant or irrelevant to their business
ii) Searchers will be frustrated as the SERPs will turn into a “spam”- like environment where results are not closely related to their search intent

2) Scenario #2: Paid Search auctions are based on Ad Rank, taking both Max CPC Bids and Quality Score into account.

Infographic on auction taking into account of quality score as well, reshuffling the order of the advertisers

Result: Ad Rank ensures that the auction creates a fair and optimised experience for searchers through the use of a Quality Score factor as a multiplier. (We’re leading up to what makes up a Quality Score in just a bit, bear with me!)

Outcome: While advertisers who have deep pockets will still have an upside against advertisers by keying in higher Max CPC bids, with Quality Score coming into play, smart advertisers can still stand a fighting chance by maximising their Quality Score to achieve a higher Ad Rank and ad position.

Components of the Quality Score

We all want to be that smart advertiser that pays less but ranks on a higher position. To do that, it is important to understand what makes up the Quality Score to make your advertising dollars work harder for you.

i) Landing Page Experience

Does your landing page content resonate with the searcher’s query, and the ad copy that was shown to them?

is the landing page relevant to the search query?

ii) Ad Relevance

Does your ad copy resonate with the searcher’s query? Have you included a Call-to-Action (Sign up, Learn more, Download now. etc) in your ad copy to encourage clickthroughs?

example of a call to action shown in an serp

iii) Expected Clickthrough Rate

Google Ads takes into account how well your keyword has performed in the past, based on your ad’s position. Note that this is a prediction based on what Google sees in your account and across all advertisers so you do not have much control over this, but rather, take this as a signal to help you assess whether your keywords lack relevancy or specificity.

example of clickthrough rate

Keyword Research and Targeting

Last but not least, similar to SEO, keyword research is a key determinant of your success with SEM campaigns. Your ads will have limited visibility if you are too conservative with your keyword targeting. Conversely, you could start racking up high advertising costs without seeing any tangible results if you’re too liberal with the keywords you bid for.

The most important thing when you decide if a keyword is worth bidding for on Paid Search is intent.

Intent is when someone is searching for midnight food options when they’re up watching the World Cup, or when someone has car troubles and needs a reliable workshop to have a look. Intents are business opportunities.

Getting Started with SEM

If you’ve reached this part of the article, you would have attained a basic understanding of how SEM works. To gain an overview of what else you need to take note of for SEM, Google has produced a series of bite-sized videos for your viewing.

If you’re not sure where to start on researching and building your keywords list, here are some keyword research and analysis tips from the pros. We understand that self-learning is not for everyone – if you’d prefer a guided and structured method of learning, do check out our 2-Day instructor-led Google AdWords Fundamentals Certification Course *. Not only do we help prepare you for the Fundamentals Certificate Examination*, our instructors also impart real-world best practices, tips, and share stories of their own experiences.

*To become AdWords certified, you need to pass the AdWords Fundamentals assessment and one of the additional advertising assessments that are available through Academy for Ads. The additional assessments are Search Advertising, Display Advertising, Mobile Advertising, Video Advertising, and Shopping Advertising. For more information, visit here.

Google Ads Trainer Lin Xuanbin at Equinet Academy

Xuanbin is a Digital Marketer with experience spanning MNCs, private companies and government agencies across Financial Services, Recruitment, IT, Media, and International Trade industries.

He has planned and strategised digital marketing campaigns over the Asia Pacific region for some of the world’s largest companies during his stints in award-winning global media agencies. Some of the clients he partnered with included Hotels.com, SAP, MINI, Laneige and SPRING Singapore.

Having been on both brand and agency sides, Xuanbin strongly believe brand marketers and agencies can benefit from better alignment and understanding to maximise the full potential of their partnership and digital marketing performance. In his day job, he likes to think of himself as a fully committed data ninja, manipulating and analysing large datasets to uncover the real business impact of the digital campaigns he runs.

teamwork-and-collaboration

In line with our vision to equip every digital marketer with the job-related skills sets they need to succeed, Equinet Academy partnered with CoolerInsights to conduct a survey that endeavours to understand the current proficiency level of digital marketers in Singapore.

In the past few years, Digital Marketing has become fast-paced and hyper competitive. We found that while more organisations and brands are embracing the digital transformation process, there are still significant skill gaps to overcome. New digital marketers, or those transitioning from traditional marketing, often do not recognise the complexity of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.

The full infographic can be found at the end of this article. The survey is intended as a preliminary study, and may not be not conclusive.

Here is a summary of our key findings.

52.4% of respondents are the sole digital marketer in their company/department.

digital marketing survey proficiency statistic singapore 2018

When it comes to being a one-man show, your 100% is divided between many channels and that doesn’t always translate to good results. Businesses need to adopt a systematic approach to create a sustainable long-term strategy for their digital growth. Digital Marketing is more than just having a presence on Facebook, or a company website. While social media may make for quick, easy, and free engagement with your community, it takes more to make your customers remember you.

There are multiple channels out there, all of which can synergistically generate increased business for your organisation. While not all channels may be suitable for your industry, even expanding to one additional channel can work wonders. For example, a fashion brand can tap on the visual nature of Instagram to attract sign-ups to their weekly email subscription (marketing automation), where they can send promotions and content.

55% of respondents are not working with any digital marketing agency.

brand and digital marketing agency collaboration

Why is this a big deal?

Referring back to the previous point, over half of the marketers surveyed are the sole digital fighter in their department. With more brands shifting their advertising budget to digital channels, it is important to know how to allocate your budget wisely instead of blindly splashing it on the keywords with the largest search volume. A good agency can help to fine-tune and optimise your campaign results, generating more bang for your buck.

If you are considering working with a digital marketing agency, or are curious about what one should considering before hiring an agency, take a look at our Comprehensive Guide To Choosing A Digital Marketing Agency. We are also curating a list of agencies that walk the talk – just click on this link here to check them out.

If you are an agency and wish to submit your listing, submit your entry here for a quality review.

30% do not have a monthly budget

survey infographic monthly marketing budget

Paid advertisements are a fast way to gain traffic, conversions, and sales. As the adage goes, “it takes money to make money”.

Not having a monthly budget can mean two things: they either don’t have a fixed amount to spend and/or don’t track their budgets, or that they don’t do paid advertisements at all.

While there is no universal rulebook to setting PPC budgets or SEM campaigns, many in the industry would agree that tracking the budget is a good idea as it prevents you from overspending and allows for better calculation of returns on investment (ROI). Furthermore, tracking and analysing your results would allow you to better justify the budget to your boss and let him know if you need more help to hit your KPIs.

There is a lack of structure in place.

empty office

Some companies are still wondering “what is this digital thing?”. In many organisations, marketers merely take a digital role such as managing the Facebook Page, on top of their traditional marketing duties. They may hire an agency to take care of their digital growth.

Sometimes, they may not know what they want or are not able to set concrete digital marketing growth KPIs. For example, a food delivery start-up wants to increase brand awareness. Neglecting to set a timeline and budget would hinder the efficiency of their campaigns, as those are important variables for choosing the suitable growth tactics.

Walter Lim, Social Media Marketing Trainer at Equinet Academy and Founder of CoolerInsights, said “Digital Marketing literacy is generally low, and even if companies choose to work with an agency to better boost their digital growth, there may still be a chance of them getting misled. Therefore, it is always wise for companies to educate themselves first, so that they are able to better express what they expect from the agencies, should they choose to hire one.”

50% are not confident in developing and executing a digital marketing campaign, however, 62% are confident in leading a digital marketing team. Why the disparity?

digital marketing strategy planning

Perhaps the 62% of respondents felt that being familiar with the technicalities and hands-on responsibilities are unimportant when taking on a leadership role. It is not uncommon to assume that a leadership role only requires them to do overall planning and strategising.

However, it is important for a digital marketing team leader to know how things work. He or she may not have to do the ground work, but knowing how various digital marketing tools work together, or the difference between custom audiences and lookalike audiences, or how to review performance and allocate the advertising budget accordingly, makes it easier to guide the team members.

View the full infographic below.

Infographic Digital Marketing Industry Proficiency Survey Statistics Singapore 2018

Gwen is the Sales and Marketing Manager at Equinet Academy. She is passionate about content creation and making digital marketing less daunting for small businesses. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

skills-based-digital-marketing-training

skills-based-digital-marketing-training

Definition and Basic Overview of Digital Marketing

This digital marketing guide aims to provide you with a basic overview and a fundamental understanding of digital marketing.

Digital marketing refers to any type of marketing activity that applies any forms of digital technology. Digital marketing activities include conducting market research using digital marketing research tools such as Google Keyword Planner, analysing marketing performance using digital analytics software such as Adobe Analytics, and launching digital display ads using digital advertising platforms such as Google Marketing Platform.

Compared to traditional advertising methods such as print, billboards, and TV, digital marketing is primarily data-driven. Many popular digital advertising platforms today provide access to campaign reports for comprehensive data analysis.

What are Digital Channels?

In digital marketing, a digital channel is the way goods and services get to the consumer electronically.

Examples of digital channels include:

  • Organic Search (e.g. Google)
  • Paid Search (e.g. Bing)
  • Digital Advertising Channels (e.g. Display Ads)
  • Email
  • Affiliates (e.g. ShareASale)
  • Social Media Channels (e.g. Facebook)
  • Online Public Relations (e.g. Press Releases)

It’s a common misconception that digital marketing is a single channel. It’s not uncommon to hear entry-level marketers defining digital marketing as social media marketing, search marketing, digital advertising, and what not. More often than not, digital marketing campaigns apply multiple channel strategies (multi-channel) such as a combination of search engine marketing, content marketing, display advertising, and email marketing.

Do not confuse this with omni-channel, which like multi-channel, also involves engaging customers via multiple channels. Omni-channel is more accurately defined as providing a consistent, unified, and seamless customer experience regardless of whether the customer interacts with a brand on social media, in the physical store, or on the online store. Physical brochures that in-print QR codes to link the customer back to the online store, and membership systems that tailor product recommendations based on customer purchase history both online and offline are examples of omni-channel strategies.

Digital marketing can and should be integrated with offline marketing channels such as print advertisements, live industry events, popup booths, and in-store promotions to maximise target market reach and lead nurturing.

An example of an online/offline marketing integration would be launching a trade show (offline) and launching a Facebook Advertising campaign (online) to promote the offline event. And during the event (offline), collecting personal details of leads such as emails and phone numbers to follow up through email and mobile marketing (online).

Digital Marketing Disciplines and Subsets

Do not confuse disciplines with channels, however. A digital channel is a digital medium organisations use to communicate or deliver messages to consumers, while a digital marketing discipline is a branch of knowledge or a field of study within digital marketing. For example, search engine optimisation and search engine marketing are separate disciplines, but they both target the same digital channel – the search engine results pages.

Digital marketing disciplines and subsets include:

  • Content Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Marketing Automation
  • Email Marketing
  • Digital Advertising
  • Digital Marketing Analytics
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Conversion Rate Optimisation
  • Affiliate Marketing

What is a Digital Marketing Strategy?

A digital marketing strategy is different from a digital marketing campaign. When talking about digital marketing strategy, we are referring to a master plan or a blueprint to achieve a long-term or macro goal. Campaigns on the other hand are the specific tactics used to achieve more micro, short-term goals within the digital marketing strategy.

Similar to many other forms of marketing, a digital marketing strategy involves:

  • Defining customer profiles
  • Defining marketing objectives
  • Alignment of customer and marketing goals
  • Identifying target markets
  • Performing competitive analysis
  • Managing and allocating resources appropriately to achieve objectives
  • Reviewing and optimising campaign performance

Example of a Digital Marketing Strategy and Digital Marketing Campaign

For example, a digital marketing strategy includes setting marketing objectives based on the analysis of market information and target audiences, selecting digital marketing channels and platforms, determining channel-specific delivery tactics, and defining macro marketing KPIs to measure the performance of the digital marketing strategy.

On the other hand, an example of a digital marketing campaign centers around creating brand awareness (micro objective) by launching a viral marketing campaign (tactic) on a specific social media channel like Facebook. Short term (micro) KPIs are used to keep track of the progress and success of the digital marketing campaign.

Before developing any digital marketing campaigns, you should first have a strategy. Part of the strategy includes creating a customer journey and touch point map that looks something like this:

Digital Marketing Customer Journey and Touch Point Map

Digital Marketing Customer Journey and Touch Point Map

This map will act as a key reference document when determining which digital marketing channels to target and which digital marketing tactics your team should execute.

The implementation process of a digital marketing strategy which we cover in our 2-day digital marketing strategy course looks like this:

Digital Marketing Strategy implementation process

Digital Marketing Strategy Implementation Process

So, How Do the Different Digital Channels Impact the Business?

By delivering an omni-channel customer experience, all the way from the awareness to the post-purchase stages.

Digital Marketing Funnel

Digital Marketing Funnel

For instance, we can launch online PR campaigns to create awareness, implement content marketing to help customers evaluate our products, drive high purchase intent traffic to our website via SEO, digital ads, and email, and nurture leads to repurchase through Email Marketing, Digital Advertising, Marketing Automation, and Social Media Marketing.

The selection of digital marketing channels depends on a variety of factors such as:

  • Marketing objectives: Are your goals to increase brand awareness or encourage loyalty?
  • Marketing Budget: Do you have sufficient budget to spend across more than 3 channels?
  • Manpower: Does your marketing team have the necessary knowledge and skills to manage multiple campaigns and digital agencies?
  • Customers: Which platforms are your customers on? What are your customer touch points?

If you want to learn more how to develop and implement a digital marketing strategy, sign up for our digital marketing strategy course.

neat Digital Marketing workspace home office

A career in Digital Marketing can be hugely satisfying. You get to see tangible growth and results from your efforts, and a visible impact on your audiences or clients. It can be especially rewarding when you find a fix for a problem that results in measurable improvements to a website’s performance or campaign.

Traditional marketing is slowly being taken over by digital marketing as the internet enables marketers to interact with targeted audiences of all ages in real time. Another huge draw of Digital Marketing is that it provides cost-effective marketing and reach. This further cements its position as a cornerstone in most organisations’ marketing strategy.

Digital Marketing in 2018

According to recruitment firm Robert Walters Asia, the forecast for 2018 looks to be rosy. There has been an increasing demand for digital marketing candidates in the past 3 years, and it looks likely to continue in 2018.

Digital Marketing is more than just creating a Facebook Page and running some advertisements to get Likes on your post.

With companies seeking to reach a broader audience, it is essential for them to utilise digital platforms such as social media, email, and mobile marketing. Furthermore, an omnichannel approach offers more value for businesses, allowing them to approach their audiences from different angles and platforms.

However, adopting an omni-channel strategy does not mean using every available channel, or as many channels as possible. It’s about figuring the sequence of events (customer buying journey) which takes place leading up to the action of purchase, and determining which channels best lead to the success of that.

Therein lies the difficulty: finding out how to execute efficiently and track accurately. This also led to an increased demand for candidates who are comfortable with numbers and using analytics tools.

It’s all about the money

In a perfect world, it would be all about the career journey, and the lessons and friends you make along the way. But it isn’t always, because bills have to be paid. So let’s take a look at the renumeration offered by employers here in Singapore.

For junior and executive positions, candidates are expected to have a broad understanding of digital marketing concepts and strategies. However, if they choose to specialise in one channel, employers would expect them to have a portfolio or evidence of practical experience.

The salary package offered will vary with candidate’s years of experience and industry standards. These are not absolute and should only be taken as a guide. Salary figures are sourced from: Robert Walters, Payscale.com, Morgan McKinley.

Job Roles

Salary Range

Digital Marketing Executive$30,000 - $38,400
Copywriter$31,200 - $54,000
Assistant Marketing Manager$38,200 - $54,000
SEO Specialist$39,000 - 57,000
Paid Media Specialist$42,000 - $72,000
Lead Digital Strategist$4500 - $5800
Digital Marketing Manager$55,400 - $90,000
Social Media Director$100,000 - $125,000
Digital Marketing Director$130,000 ++

On Social Media Manager VS Community Manager

A social media manager is more focused on the logistics and operations of various brand channels, they plan campaigns, distribution of content and evaluate brand impact. They are responsible for the performance of social media, making sure that each platform is properly utilised through measurement and analytics.

Community managers focus on people and personalities. They interact with users on behalf of the brand, posting and publishing content on various social platforms. They’re often the face of the brand in the digital space, and the internal advocate for customers. Social listening and monitoring is an important part of their job as they funnel information internally from all digital platforms.

Like most other jobs, it takes years of experience (at least 10 years for director level) to reach the top. However, the journey will be an enriching and fulfilling one.

Companies would expect candidates to possess a degree in marketing or communications. For entry-level positions, some employers may consider a diploma. However, you may wish to supplement your qualifications with certificates from online courses, distance learning programs, or local institutes.

Sometimes, the digital marketing modules in university or institutional curriculum focuses more on the theoretical aspect and rarely offer actionable insights which you can apply directly to your work. This puts the candidate at a disadvantage because the learning curve at their workplace would be steep and they’ll struggle to catch up.

Ideal Qualities of a Digital Marketer

via GIPHY

Some may think that digital marketing is only for the young ones. However, that is not true. Not all millennials are born digitally-savvy, they just grew up with the platforms. Being good at this industry requires more than just knowing how to navigate the digital landscape. Age is, after all, just a number.

An ability to condense and present information neatly in a visual manner is a core skill of a good marketer as they have to analyse different metrics and optimise sales. Furthermore, the ideal digital marketing employee is expected to be able to articulate their thoughts confidently and coherently.

Showing that you’re able to build a personal brand and an online presence adds brownie points to your credibility. Some examples include having a blog or social media page that posts relevant content, or showing that you’ve cultivated a small online following, or creating a personal brand.

Most employers would indicate whether a degree or diploma is required. However, in this online era, it is possible to land a marketing gig (depending on the organisation) with a good portfolio, marketing certifications online and offline, and strong commendations from reputable industry professionals.

An internship or online side project will showcase your skills to the hiring manager and puts you at a greater advantage. Don’t forget to set up a LinkedIn account and feature your achievements! Here and here are some stellar examples from hopeful graduates around the world.

Knowing and understanding the industry jargon helps too, as it will come in handy if you have to evaluate pitches and hold meeting with a digital marketing agency.

Related: A Comprehensive Guide to Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency

For example, Search Engine Optimisation, a niche yet essential aspect of any digital strategy, has been steadily gaining popularity in Singapore. A lot of marketers and business owners are starting to recognise the long-term value that SEO brings to the table. Want a slice of the pie? Start by familiarising yourself with the phrases- check out this comprehensive SEO Glossary.

Wang Yaoxian, Senior Project Manager at Zombits, a local digital marketing agency, says that there is high demand for candidates who are able to demonstrate problem solving capabilities and have an analytical mindset. “Because in real life, things don’t go according to plan and you need to be able to think on your feet and address the problem at the first opportunity. The inability to assess and process a course of action quickly can be very detrimental.”

As for advice on the good habits that a digital marketer should have, he says, “Develop habits that exercise your brain. I like to stay updated on current affairs, spend some time catching up on what’s happening in the world and think about how it could affect me, my work, or my client, regardless of whether or not it is practical or applicable.”

The biggest brands of tomorrow will be built online

There are no magic ingredients or secret potions to having a successful career in digital marketing. You basically need to be a creative problem solver. And to remember that marketing is always about connecting with an audience.

Having a finger on the pulse of the industry is great, but subscribing to all those ebooks and mailing lists won’t be doing much to get you that job offer or promotion. In an industry that moves at an incredibly fast pace, you have to take action and like many others, look at ways to upgrade your digital marketing skills and stay competitive.

Gwen is the Sales and Marketing Manager at Equinet Academy. She is passionate about content creation and making digital marketing less daunting for small businesses. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Marketers discussing project work.

Engaging a digital marketing agency is a big step and a huge investment, with many companies offering packages at eye-watering prices. The market in Singapore is pretty saturated and people are wary of the small agencies that claim to be a one-stop shop for everything. Some of my clients and friends who have worked with agencies even complain that they overpromise and underdeliver.

Others say that agencies maximise their chances of winning by submitting low bids, but after signing the contract, they pressure the clients to “top up” more to gain access to even the basic deliverables. Agencies, on the other hand, complain that clients steal their ideas and make them their own without payment, or credit of acknowledgement.

However, not every digital marketing agency is a bad egg. Agencies who don’t just pitch-and-go do exist. They believe in deepening the client relationships and building an ecosystem that incentivises client advocacy and referrals.

So here’s the million dollar question: How do I choose the right digital marketing agency to give me the best bang for my buck?

This article aims to empower you to make educated choices when deciding on an agency. There will be That One agency that will give you the best return on investment for your marketing dollars, I assure you. Go forth, and choose!

MAKE FRIENDS WITH GOOGLE

First step: Research.

via GIPHY

Find out about the core competencies of each agency, and try to look for an agency that has prior experience in that particular field. It’s also good to ask around for word of mouth recommendations, especially from friends or colleagues who have done similar projects.

Always check to see if the digital agency has a working website. A Facebook or Instagram page does not suffice and will not be enough.If you can only find them on Yellow Pages or Greenbook, they are not a digital marketing agency that can keep up with the times.

If their website appears outdated and neglected, carry on with your search. If they can’t manage their own digital presence, how can they manage yours? Any reputable agency will have an updated portfolio with a client list, that features work from their area of expertise. They should have testimonials too.

Check if the agency specialises in your domain, because not all agencies are the same. Some handle large B2B clients and niche industries. Some assist small companies. Others may act as an intermediary between freelancers and client.

Find out how well they know your industry, and if they’ve had clients from your industry. You’ll feel a lot less anxiety about signing the contract if you can see proven results from previous clients within your industry.

Caveats to note

Some say to avoid the agency that has a fixed approach to everything because then all of their work may end up looking similar. However, others think that it just means they deliver consistently. It’s up to you to decide.

Even if they don’t have recent work in your industry, you can ask them how they will gain the knowledge they need about your company, the field of work, and sales goals. However, watch out for agencies that work only in one industry or field. They might have conflict of interests with your competitors. You should walk away.

If you choose to continue, ask the agency how they plan to work over any issues of conflict of interest. You’re paying for a digital agency to gain an edge over the competition. Not to be thrown into the same basket as them. No matter how pure the agency’s intentions are, only one can be king.

YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING AGENCY NEEDS TO KNOW WHAT’S UP

You remember the frequent changes Facebook made to their algorithms? In 2016, the social media giant started prioritising live videos in News Feed. Facebook also tweaked their news feed algorithm to predict which posts a user may find “informative”, and prioritise such posts in the user’s News Feed.

Informative content could relate to a variety of posts based on the individual’s likes, reactions, and forms of engagement such as shares and content.

For marketers, this means that they basically need to start providing value-added content that’s subtly linked to their brand to get engagement, instead of just pushing out promotions all the time.

Häagen-Dazs has some excellent examples of value added content. All screenshots are taken from Häagen-Dazs Singapore’s Facebook page.
Social Media Marketing by Häagen-Dazs Singapore Facebook posts by Häagen-Dazs Singapore

Well taken images, a warm and friendly tone, great copy and storytelling.

In 2017, Facebook also announced another game-changer. They revamped the Reactions on your news feed to weigh more than your Likes. Over the past year, Facebook has learned that any Reaction left on a post is a strong indicator that the user was more interested in that post.

Reactions bar on Facebook posts

This update meant that if a user selects a Reaction on a post, even an ‘Angry’ reaction, Facebook will begin showing similar stories in the news feed. So as marketers, they should aim to create content that elicit a Reaction over a Like.

What about the time Instagram transitioned from being all about pretty and filtered pictures, to a huge direct-to-consumer/audience marketplace? There were no special press releases for this change, but a gradual evolution of how Instagramers use the platform.

This change gave birth to a new kind of influencer marketing – one that gives more weight to using an individual’s influence to amplify your brand message. This article by Forbes provides an excellent overview of this topic.

It’s not just all about social platforms. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing are improving constantly. Screenless SEO is a huge new development, thanks to Alexa, Siri, and other intelligent personal assistants. It is a new SEO tactic based purely on spoken language, which changes the landscape for content marketers. They will now have to re-think how they present content, and write copy in a conversational manner. (source: geektime.com)

Knowing what’s up isn’t just about keeping abreast of the trends and hot topics. It is also having an eye on the social and cultural changes on each and every platform.

There’s a lot to be gained from early movement, and your agency should be there to give you the information to make that right move at the right time.

A GOOD AGENCY IS LIKE A SWISS ARMY KNIFE

This analogy probably has been repeated ad nauseum. But it’s true.

For a digital agency to be effective, they need to have fairly broad skills sets. Businesses should work with the agencies that can offer a multi-prong approach that aligns with your goals, issues, and strategies. There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution for every business.

Here are some important 21st century skills to consider when vetting agencies.

  • Web design
  • Website hosting
  • Branding
  • Digital and inbound marketing
  • Video, visuals, and graphics
  • Copywriting
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Online PR (Public Relations) and Community Growth
  • Analytics

Think that’s a lot? Well, okay, maybe you don’t need all. But in order for your marketing efforts to be well-rounded, your agency should have a motley blend of marketing professionals working together.

Let’s pretend you are expanding your grandfather’s carpentry and furniture shop. You engage an agency, looking to revamp the website and come up with a sleek brand identity.

Now, let’s check off the boxes. For a website, you’d need someone to code it, whether they’re using custom code or templates. You’ll also need a decent web user experience (UX) to go with it. So you’ll have to get a marketing expert to map out the customer journey. Next, web copy. Not all web developers do web copy. And don’t forget the images! You’ll most likely have to provide them. Otherwise, the agency might arrange to get in a couple of photographers (who might be freelancers, not in-house) to snap some pretty pictures of sample interiors and furniture. And if you’re not into that, the agency might suggest that they get in an interior modeller to create images for you. You’ll also require regular content updates and maintenance, so you’ll need a content marketing strategy, as well as a SEO guy to push your website visibility. And that’s not the end of it!

Get to know who you’ll be working with on a regular basis. When you partner an agency, you’re gaining new teammates. Make sure these new co-workers are people you’ll look forward to collaborating and communicating.

YOUR AGENCY MIGHT OUTSOURCE SOME WORK, AND THAT IS (SOMEWHAT) OKAY.

Let’s face it: in business, cost-cutting is necessary. Everyone has bills to pay. Many digital marketing activities such as SEO, community management, analytics report, and content creation require a high level of time commitment. Even web design can be outsourced.

It’s not unusual for an agency to save on costs by outsourcing those tasks to freelancers or interns. So a prospective marketing firm might offer web design, but will these designs be outsourced, or will there be a design team in-house?

It’s okay to outsource some things. Some agencies have professional freelancers that they work with regularly, rather than the cheapest option randomly plucked from Fiverr, Upwork or Carousell.

HOWEVER, you’d want to ensure that most functions important to the project are created in-house, for consistency. Otherwise, there’s the danger that your digital marketing agency is just doing little more than managing others, and is not involved in the creative process.

Walter Lim, Social Media Marketing Trainer at Equinet Academy and Head of CoolerInsights, advises that it is important to check if the agency staff handling your account has experience in the tasks you’re paying them to do. Whether it’s for web copy, running a digital marketing campaign, or designing new packaging. There are some firms out that that outsource virtually every aspect, from copywriting to analytics reporting. When this happens, employees or freelancers end up working in silos, losing sight of the ultimate goal: to raise the online profile of your brand.

If you’re doing a complete rebrand or revamp, it’s better (and more reassuring!) to know that there are experienced professionals in-house to review content and ensure that the quality and style remains consistent and aligned to your goals.

MONEY TALKS

Budgeting is important
The cheapest agency may not be the best. Then again, the most expensive ones aren’t necessarily the best either. But one thing’s for sure, remember to do your own due diligence (DYODD) ensure that the agency is good at spending your money.

No, not that your agency should splash your dollars around buying ads, buying content, sending out promotional emails for you everywhere, every day. The team you hire should be good at giving you value for money.

Anyone can spend money on advertisements. But creating good content and coming up with a proper strategy can help cut your digital ad spending by up to 50%. Demand for paid advertisements have skyrocketed in the past few years, and is expected to continue climbing.

Gone are the days when digital or online advertising only required a few clicks of the mouse and some educated guesses. Now you need tracking, reporting, benchmarking to ensure good results. In 2017 Q3, Facebook reported that the average price per ad increased 35%, but will be compensated by more sophisticated ad delivery methods. (source: AdEspresso by Hootsuite)

Your agency should be able to explain to you in a clear manner where they’ll be spending your budget on, and why.

RED FLAGS TO LOOK OUT FOR

via GIPHY

If you don’t look out for the red flags you’ll be waving the white flag.

  • They recommend an all-encompassing social strategy. BIG NO.
    • 99% of the time, your business doesn’t have to be deployed across every social media channel. If they can’t justify why they chose that channel, it’s a huge warning sign
    • If you run an industrial shipping company, maybe Instagram isn’t your best bet. However, if you’re looking to do marketing for a bunch of villas in Bali, Instagram is the perfect platform for you to induce some serious beach envy and wanderlust.
  • If their promise sounded too good to be true, it probably is. TERRIBLE.
    • The agency should not make guarantees or blanket statements. Executing an effective strategy takes time, work, and patience.
    • A good SEO agency can get you on the first page of rankings, or even the first position. But if they claim to guarantee it: RUN. Because it’s highly likely that they’ll be using black hat tactics that would be harmful to your brand in the long run.
    • Arbitrary metrics for SEO, such as ranking for keywords but not showing search volume, and not being able to explain how the metrics will convert to leads/business for you.
    • Likewise, if they’re oversimplifying things by focusing on web traffic and avoiding discussion about leads and conversions, you know that they’re not a very creative bunch.
  • Prices are too good to be true. FAKE NEWS.
    • If they’re priced far lower than their competitors for the same services, ask them for their deliverables. Chances are, the deliverables that they’ve omitted or claim to be optional will turn out to be essentials and be charged at a premium during the project itself.
  • Billing breakdown is too complicated to understand. SAD.
    • A common complaint is that clients often receive bills they don’t understand for projects and initiatives that never seemed to happen. Even before you start the project, the agency should explain in a clear manner and give you a clear breakdown of what they are charging you for and why.
    • DO NOT take this as an opportunity to haggle or bargain, but as a preview into what you’re likely to get when you engage the agency.

CHECK YOURSELF

Marketers discussing project work
Last but not least, we have our blind spots. Before you go shopping for an agency, take some time to reflect yourself or with your team about expectations, priorities, problems to solve and (important!) budget.

Set some time aside to read up about Digital Marketing on your own, so that you’ll know which questions to ask. This is also to avoid getting swindled by agencies that pitch you the stars and moon but don’t deliver.

A good agency will be able to address your concerns eloquently. Be honest and realistic because nobody can read your mind!

Here are some questions and advice for you to think about:

  • Expectations and agenda
    • What do you need the agency for? Figure out if it’s to make up for manpower crunch, lack of skills, or to solve a problem.
    • What are the branding guidelines? What about the target audience and objective of engagement? Will you want them to provide post-project support?
    • Pick a range of figures for a budget you’re comfortable with. Check out this article by Ice Cube Marketing for a brief overview of the rates in Singapore.
  • Meetings and discussion
    • Do you prefer to hold meetings in-person? How much time are you willing to spend travelling to the agency? Would you be able to hold meetings over the phone or Skype?
    • You might think that driving 30mins to a bi-weekly meeting isn’t much, but regular commuting could be an annoyance when you’re busy juggling higher priorities.
  • Project Timeline
    • Rome wasn’t built in a day. Fully-functional websites do not magically sprout up overnight. Your article will not rank at the top of Google just by adding 3 keywords to your page. Your sales team will not be flooded with emails and calls after launching the Facebook Ad the first day.
    • An e-commerce website takes at least 6 weeks to be built, and that’s not counting the improvements you will make on web copy and design. SEO projects often take at least 6 months to see tangible growth. For inbound marketing projects, you probably won’t see a return until after 3 to 6 months.
    • If you suck at delayed gratification, buy advertisements. But even that would take about a week for results.
  • Responsiveness and Feedback
    • Some people may ask if the agency will be available on time to answer calls or emails. But what about your own availability to approve designs and content? You aren’t the only account the agency is handling. To avoid last-minute disappointments, be sure to give the team time to work.
    • Don’t be the client from hell that changes their mind about the font size on the website 60 seconds before the deadline.
    • If you’re too busy to approve content and collaborate on projects when needed, maybe consider delegating the bulk of the communication to someone else on your team
  • Do you know what you don’t know?
    • Example: If you’re engaging an agency to do SEO work for you, try to get a basic knowledge of the jargons and processes behind the scenes. It will then be easier for you to communicate your needs or requirements to the agency.
    • Digital Marketing evolves rapidly, and many consultants themselves sometime struggle to keep up to date. As we all know by now, Google and Facebook’s algorithms are perpetually shifting. Consumer tastes and consumption patterns of online content can change significantly in weeks.
    • An additional bonus: if you understand the topic, the agency won’t be able to smoke you. Isn’t that incentive enough?

We’ve only just scratched the surface of what to look out for when shopping for a digital marketing agency. Always remember to do your due diligence online (read and read) and offline (ask for recommendations, sign up for courses).

Gwen is the Sales and Marketing Manager at Equinet Academy. She is passionate about content creation and making digital marketing less daunting for small businesses. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Digital marketing strategy pdf ebook cover

This article aims to equip you with a fundamental understanding of what digital marketing is, how successful companies are doing it, and what processes are required in place to ensure a successful digital strategy for your business.

We hope after reading this, you’ll better understand:

  • The modern consumer journey and the role of digital marketing.
  • How to apply a 4-step digital marketing framework to your business.

This digital marketing strategy resource is broken down into two parts:

  1. The Shift From Traditional Towards Digital
  2. How to Implement a 4-Step Digital Marketing Framework

Part 1: The Shift From Traditional Towards Digital – How the Consumer Buying Journey Has Changed Over Time

Traditional marketing vs digital marketing

Traditional advertising methods still work today, but are no longer as effective and cost-efficient today as they were.

  • TV has been overwhelmed by online video streaming sites such as Youtube.
  • Flyers have been replaced by online banner ads e.g. Google Display Network (Ad exchanges).
  • Radio has been suppressed by podcasting sites such as Spotify.
  • Flyers and direct mail is mostly ignored today and is much more expensive compared to email marketing.
  • The sale of newspapers have sharply declined as more and more readers turn to online news sites.
  • Offline advertising methods are harder to track (in terms of viewership & browsing behaviour) than online marketing channels.

As John Wanamaker, the founder of advertising said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

What is the traditional marketing funnel?

Traditional Marketing AIDA Funnel

In the traditional marketing funnel, a consumer is made aware of a brand’s existence, compares and considers a brand’s competitor products, and makes a decision to purchase a chosen product. The consumer then enters the customer loyalty phase.

If you’ve ever sat in front of a sales presentation and signed up for a product or service after being convinced, you may have experienced the whole funnel in one sitting.

This linear process is inflexible as the consumer buying process today is no longer linear. Today, consumers enter the buying process at different stages, jump stages, and move back and forth between them.

Here’s the scenario of a typical consultation with an insurance agent selling you a policy.

Awareness

The insurance agent starts by asking you whether you’re aware that you should have an insurance plan to protect your finances in the case of an unfortunate incident.

Interest

Should you develop interest, she’ll go on to explain different insurance policies (life insurance, investments, etc) that are available.

Desire

You may then inquire whether the insurance policy you intend to get is the best deal out there, and your insurance agent will highlight the key advantages of their policies compared to other insurance companies.

Decision

Once you’re convinced, she’ll hand you a form to fill in your application.

Today’s consumer decision-making process

Modern Consumer Buying Journey

Consumers today have the means to do their own product research at home online and on-the-go on their mobile phones. The control is shifting from marketers to consumers, as consumers now have to power to block ads, conduct their own research, and opt out loyalty marketing programs.

For example, a movie fanatic, Anne, may be shopping for clothes when she suddenly decides to watch a horror movie. In modern marketing, this is known as a “buying trigger” or a “micro-moment”, as Google calls it.

Anne would then search for “new horror movies” on Google and watch movie trailers, read user reviews on IMDB, and ask friends on Facebook for their opinions, in any random order, before ultimately deciding on a movie. She would now go online to compare cinema ticket prices and eventually purchase her movie tickets from Cathay Cineplexes.

Cathay Cineplexes now has Anne’s contact details and slots Anne into their loyalty program which regularly emails her membership discounts, movie bundles, etc.

Case Study – A Consumer’s Laptop Buying Journey

Here’s an interview of a consumer’s laptop buying journey:

“It all started out with a Trigger moment (Micro moment) when I needed to buy 20 laptops for our newly launched IT training course.

I then asked some friends if they knew of any cheap deals, and went to Challenger and Best Denki to source for them, but could not find anything within my budget.

Later at home, I went on Google to search for cheap and good laptops and landed on Lazada and Qoo10. I also sourced the internet for articles on the pros and cons and hardware specifications on various laptop brands.

Eventually, I narrowed down to a $650 Lenovo laptop after discount. I considered all the options and remained stagnant in the consideration phase for a few days.

While I was having lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant and surfing Facebook, I saw a sponsored ad from Qoo10 on Facebook on how refurbished laptops are better for your wallet and can perform as well as new laptops. I read the article and was convinced I should buy 20 refurbished laptops. At the bottom of the page, there were related product links to refurbished laptops. How convenient! It was then I became a proud owner of 20 refurbished Dell laptops.”

#Tip of the day

What can a marketer do, knowing how valuable this information can be?

  • Interview consumers who own both refurbished and brand new laptops to find out the reasons why consumers chose their current buys and what were their buying journey experiences like by:
  • Setting up focus group studies
  • Interviewing existing customers through online and offline channels
  • Conducting market surveys

The Consumer Buying Journey today is no longer linear. Marketers have to ensure consumer-brand interactions on as many relevant touch points as possible on the path to purchase.

Digital Marketing buying journey

Key takeaways:

  • Modern marketing is no longer “push” marketing (as traditional marketing is), as consumers today have access to a boatload of information within a click of a button.
  • Effective modern marketing is being engaging and useful (via Content Marketing, Email, Search, Social, Display, Mobile) at relevant touch points during the consumer’s journey.
  • Understanding the customer buying behaviour (e.g. which social media networks they hangout on, which websites they visit to check for product reviews, what keywords they search for on Google) through Digital Analytics is essential in order to calibrate all online marketing efforts to each specific customer profile and effective channels.
  • The trend is shifting toward a two-way communication – consumers are able to voice out their frustrations on social media, as compared to a one-way communication in the past – customers were being marketed to via radio, television, and banner ads. Marketers and PR executives need a more systematic way of managing negative reviews and customer support. No longer are brands in total control in the marketing funnel today.
  • Conduct research (e.g. customer surveys, feedback, interviews, focus group studies, etc.) to identify and understand buying triggers or micro-moments in order to build trigger-specific message and content around relevant touch points in the customer journey.

Part 2: How to Implement a 4-Step Digital Marketing Framework

Digital Marketing is basically…

Marketing via digital and online tools and channels, as opposed to traditional marketing (TV, Billboards, Flyers, Newspapers, and basically any form of print advertising).

Digital Marketing is NOT…

A one-size fits all marketing solution. It is important to look at your business goals and not limit your activities to only one marketing channel.

Digital marketing can complement your traditional marketing efforts and vice versa. For example, ABC Flower Store can hand out coupons to their shoppers upon checkout at the cashier. These coupons can then be used on ABCs e-store where customers can create a membership account and receive a discount on bouquets ordered online.

Furthermore, ABC Flower Store can track (via digital analytics) how many customers actually used these coupons, and can use the data collected (email address, mobile no., mailing address) to build a loyalty program via email, mobile, mail postage.

There are many schools of thought on how many digital marketing channels and disciplines actually exist.

Here, we’ve consolidated them into nine individual channels and disciplines:


  • Search Engine Marketing & Search Engine Optimisation
  • Display Advertising
  • Social Media Marketing & Online PR
  • Email Marketing & Marketing Automation
  • Content Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Web Design & User Experience (UX) Design
  • Digital & Web Analytics
  • Conversion Rate Optimisation

These 9 digital marketing channels and disciplines can be implemented to one or more digital marketing campaigns.


A 4-Step Digital Marketing Framework

4-step digital marketing framework model 1

Phase 1: Define

To apply this framework to your business, start off by defining your audience, business goals and buying triggers. This is crucial to ensure you kick off on good ground.

Phase 2: Implement

Based on what you’ve defined in the first phase, you then implement the most appropriate digital marketing strategies through various channels to create awareness, engage, procure, and retain customers.

Phase 3: Analyse

Once you’ve ran your campaigns, you need to collect and analyse data (e.g. which channels generate more ROI, which audiences are more likely to purchase) in order to further optimise and boost your ROI.

Phase 4: Optimise

This is the crucial phase, where you make minor to major changes (e.g. from lowering your ad spend on a digital marketing channel to targeting different audience segments) based on your digital analytics data.

An Alternative View of This Framework:

Applying the 4-Step Digital Marketing Framework on a Mockup Company

For illustration purposes and to put the following information into context, we’ll be simulating developing a digital marketing strategy for a travel company.

Let’s name this company…

Phase 1: Define

In the first phase (Define), you’re basically looking out for these 3 things:

  • Who’s going to buy from you? (Audience Definitions)
  • What will make them buy from you and when? (Micro-moments/Buying triggers)
  • What do you want them to do in order to buy from you? (Macro & Micro Conversions/KPIs/Goals)

Audience Definitions

Defining your audiences at the beginning of your digital marketing campaign enables you to reach out to them via the correct digital channels and also create effective marketing collateral (video and written content (ebooks and helpful guides), ad creatives, electronic direct mails (EDMs), e-brochures, etc.) that they can resonate with.

Note: Audience definitions may vary from industry to industry.

Defining Micro-Moments/Buying Triggers

A micro-moment or buying trigger is when a consumer discovers a problem and acts on it.

For example, Home Depot got powerful results when it used location extensions for display ads to reach home and garden enthusiasts on mobile. The brand reached consumers in their intent-rich moments—when they were looking for outdoor garden products—and brought them into nearby stores. – think with Google

Your job as a marketer is to identify these micro-moments and be present when they happen.

Defining Macro & Micro Conversions (KPIs)

It is important to define both macro and micro conversions early on in your digital marketing campaigns, in order to target the right audiences and marketing channels. You can view them as KPIs of your marketing activities.

Macro conversions are the big picture goals of a business. For example, growing the membership base of a paid subscription Software As A Services (SAAS) company.

Micro conversions are the milestones that eventually lead to the macro conversion. For example, a 30-day trial signup which may lead to a paid membership upgrade is an example of a micro conversion.

Phase 2: Implement

Based on the variables, scenarios, and conditions you have defined, you can then deploy a digital marketing campaign and target the most appropriate digital marketing channels to engage with your target audience on as many relevant touch points as possible.

Defining and Implementing a Digital Marketing Strategy

Implement SEO & SEM

Based on the Micro-moments and Buying Triggers definitions, we can launch Travellers Beyond ads on Google Paid Search using Google AdWords and optimise the travellersbeyond.com website to rank on page 1 on Google’s organic search results by implementing Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

To learn how to rank your website on page 1 of Google both organically and on paid search, sign up for our SEO course and Google AdWords course.

Implement Display Advertising with Facebook Ads

Using Facebook Sponsored Newsfeed ads, we can target visitors who have visited travellersbeyond.com, but did not book a travel package with us.

For help and step-by-step guides on how to launch a Facebook Ad, refer to https://www.facebook.com/business/help/633662000000451 or sign up for our Facebook Advertising Course.

Implement Content Marketing via Guest Blogging

We can guest blog on travel sites with an audience of frequent travellers to build brand and product awareness.

Tip: If you include any links in your article back to travellersbeyond.com, be sure to tag them with UTM parameters to report referral traffic in your analytics platform. For Google Analytics, you can use the Campaign URL Builder.

Implement Social Media Marketing

You can launch a contest for your social media fans to take part in. This will not only encourage sharing and brand awareness, it will also increase brand loyalty and brand engagement.

For this, you will require a Facebook Page:

Here are the steps to create a Facebook Page:

1. Go to facebook.com/pages/create.
2. Click to choose a Page category.
3. Select a more specific category from the dropdown menu and fill out the required information.
4. Click Get Started and follow the on-screen instructions.

Discover the 6-step social media marketing process to creating, managing, sustaining and measuring your Social Media Marketing efforts in our 2-day Social Media Marketing training.

Implement User Experience Web Design and Conversion Rate Optimisation

Your landing pages are one of the important touch points of the consumer journey. If you fail to convert your visitors here, your would see very little ROI on all your marketing channels.

Be sure to optimise for conversions when building your landing pages. We can implement Conversion Rate Optimisation by conducting an A/B split testing experiment.

For example, we can test the CTA button with A – “Book Now” against B – “Go On An Adventure Today” to determine which CTA led to more form submissions.

You may use Google Content Experiments as a free solution for A/B testing.

Learn how to create, customise, and maintain a website from scratch in our 2-day hands-on WordPress Website Creation course.

Phase 3: Analyse

What to Analyse?

There are a ton of metrics you can measure and analyse – From audience demographics, acquisition channels, average time spent on landing pages, bounce rates, top conversion paths, to dozens of goals and smart goals in each digital marketing campaign. What you need to analyse depends on the objectives you’ve set and the type of digital marketing campaign you’re running. Below are some two key things to track and analyse for an overall digital marketing strategy.

Analyse Audiences

Segmenting and analysing your audiences can give you insights on their browsing and buying behaviour, and can allow you to focus on targeting higher ROI audiences and improve your user interface (UI) and user experience (UX).

In your Google Analytics reports, navigate to Audiences => Overview and you can segment your audiences by demographics, interests, geolocation, device types, and more.

To enable this report:

1. Sign in to your Analytics account.
2. Click Admin.
3. Navigate to the account and property where you want to use Demographic and Interests data.
4. In the PROPERTY column, click Property Settings.
5. Under Advertising Features, set Enable Demographics and Interests Reports to ON.
6. Click Save.

We can compare which country had the highest number of goal completions i.e. macro and micro conversions that we have defined in Phase 1.

To access this report in Google Analytics:

1. Navigate to Audiences
2. Click on Overview
3. Under demographics, select Country
4. Click View Full Report

In the above table, we can see that Singaporeans alone accounted for 12,107 goal completions (conversions).

We can also break down users by device category.

To access this report in Google Analytics:

1. Navigate to Audiences
2. Click on Overview
3. Under demographics, select Country
4. Click View Full Report
5. Under Secondary Dimension, select Users => Device Category

Singaporeans using Desktops accounted for majority of the conversions.

We can also analyse which age group had the highest number of goal completions i.e. macro and micro conversions that we have defined in Phase 1.

To access this report in Google Analytics:

1. Navigate to Audiences
2. Click on Overview
3. Under demographics, select Age

Learn how to analyse advanced Google Analytics reports and produce actionable insights in our Digital & Web Analytics (Google Analytics) course.

Multi-Channel Attribution

What is Multi-Channel Attribution?

Put simply, multi-channel attribution is giving relative credit to the channels which played a part in securing a conversion. Multi-channel attribution allows you to credit all digital marketing channels involved in driving conversions. The credit value (attribution amount e.g. 0.1 – 1.0) is dependent on the significance of the channel in influencing the conversions. See multi-channel attribution models explained here.

For example, in a soccer match, we have the goal keeper, defenders, mid fielders, and strikers.

When the team scores a goal, we can attribute equal credit to each player. We can also attribute different credit values to each player, depending on the importance of their roles.

For example, if the goal keeper kicked off the ball and the team scored, he would get 100% credit if we used a first-touch attribution based model. If we used the linear attribution model, each soccer player who touched the ball would get equal credit.

Attribution Modelling Illustration

Attribution Modelling Example Scenario

A potential traveler, interested to travel to the caribbean islands, Googles “caribbean island travel deals” and lands on your website www.travellersbeyond.com.

One week later, she returns to your website by clicking on a Facebook Sponsored Newsfeed ad.

The following day, she clicks on an email link to an article on your website.

On the same day, a 3 hours later, she returns to your website directly by typing in your URL into her browser’s address bar and makes a booking.

Example Buyer Journey at Various Digital Marketing Touch Points

Position Based Attribution Model

Using the position based attribution model, we can see that organic search channel was the biggest player in terms of influencing conversions.

To access this report in Google Analytics:

1. Navigate to Conversions tab
2. Under Attribution, select Model Comparison Tool.
3. Choose from default models e.g. Last Interaction, First Interaction, Position Based, etc.

Phase 4: Optimise

What to Optimise?

There are a ton of things to optimise in your entire digital marketing campaign.

Let’s leave testing and optimising button clicks, ad creatives, and landing pages to the respective digital marketing disciplines i.e. UX Web Design and Conversion Rate Optimisation.

Let’s focus on these two metrics and optimise your campaigns from a top-level digital marketing point of view:

Audience Targeting

Based on our analysis (Phase 3), we can observe that Singaporeans, age 25 – 34 years old, who mainly use desktops, are our largest target audience. They made up for 42.14% of all conversions from all age groups.

With this knowledge on hand, we can craft our marketing collateral (both online and offline) in a particular tone and style that’s targeted to this demographic. If we have data where they often hang out, e.g. which websites, social media platforms, online/offline channels, we can also launch marketing campaigns (both online and offline) to target them on these channels.

Once we have targeted one audience group, we can move on to test different audience groups by launching the same or different digital marketing campaigns to another audience group. After collecting and analysing the data, we can adjust our campaigns to the best performing audience groups.

Marketing Spend on Digital Marketing Channels

Based on multi-channel attribution model data, we can assign/reassign our marketing dollars to the best performing channels.

If our focus is on branding and awareness, we would most likely use the first-touch attribution model (100% credit to the first marketing channel interaction), and pump more dollars into the channel which drove the most conversions.

On the other hand, if we used the position-based attribution model (40% to both first and last touch, 20% split evenly to everything in between), we would assign more marketing dollars to the first and last marketing channel interaction.

Putting It All Together

We can put all the information gathered from your entire digital marketing campaign and present this 4-step digital marketing framework into the following table:

Digital marketing framework table summar

Modern marketing concepts are not much different than traditional marketing, in that they both focus on the buyer’s journey. One of the key differences between modern vs traditional is in the marketing/advertising mediums which have gone digital (e.g. Search Engines Vs Yellow Pages, Digital Advertising Vs Print Advertising).

The other key difference is that the consumer buying journey is no longer linear. Your job as a modern marketer is to define the relevant touch points in the consumer journey, engage them at as many of the touch points as possible (e.g. Search, Social, Email, Blogs, etc.), track and analyse audience behaviour (e.g. conversions), and optimise your audience targeting and marketing budget for the most effective digital channels.

We hope this article has given you a better understanding on how digital marketing works and how to apply a 4-step process (Define => Implement => Analyse => Optimise) to your existing business.

Happy Digital Marketing!

Dylan Sun is the Founder of Equinet Academy, a Digital Marketing training organisation. Passionate in all aspects of Digital Marketing and Web Design, he extends his passion to helping people implement effective digital strategies to their businesses. Follow his blog at Equinet Academy to learn more about Digital Marketing and Design.

Digital-Marketing-Interview-For-Case-Studies

Having knowledge in digital marketing is the new sexy, especially here in Singapore. When someone casually asks you what you’re currently doing and you say “digital marketing”… they’ll likely go, “wah!”, “cool!”, or “nice”.

Although the marketing profession has been around for a long time, digital marketing, a sub sector of marketing, has only sparked interest in a handful of Singaporean marketers in the recent years. Meaning to say, it’s not something you hear everyday as compared to the likes of Events Management and Customer Service.

In Singapore, there are only a handful of experts in each digital marketing discipline. It’s not easy to master and keep up to date with every discipline, especially due to the rapid changing nature of all things digital.

Some of the disciplines within Digital Marketing include:

  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Marketing Automation
  • Email Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Digital Advertising
  • Digital and Web Analytics
  • Content Marketing
  • Conversion Rate Optimisation
  • UX Web Design
  • Display Advertising
  • Online PR
  • Online Reputation Management
  • Pay Per Click
  • Video Marketing

Here, we have rounded up a handful of case studies, insights, and examples of campaigns executed by a number of digital marketing experts in Singapore.

Walter Lim – Social Media & Content Marketing Expert

What is Social Media Marketing in your own words?

Social Media Marketing is the process of using social networks like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and others to increase brand awareness, improve community engagement, generate leads, to driving customer purchases (or other conversions). This can be achieved primarily through creating useful and entertaining content which is snackable (ie bite-sized pieces) and shareable, while building and growing your online community.

How do you think Social Media Marketing complements your overall digital strategy? Can you share successful examples and challenges faced?

I like the analogy given by Lee Odden when he compared Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Social Media, and Content to a Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwich.

Quoting from his blog:

“People use search & social to discover content. Search engines & social platforms like content because it creates the basis for advertising opportunity.My favorite metaphor is Content = Bread, SEO = Peanut Butter, Social = Jelly. PBJ marketing.”

Source: Top Rank Blog

As both a content strategist and a social media marketer, I have used all three strategies to gain traffic and generate leads for my business. Readers may be interested to know that 100% of all my business comes from inbound leads, be they from my social networks (especially LinkedIn), content on my website, referrals from friends, and attendees of my training courses.

One of my recent clients was a convenience store which wanted to improve brand awareness and engagement on their Facebook page. At the same time, they wanted to lower their total SMM budget.

Through a mixture of precise audience targeting, creation of compelling content, and delivery of the right promotional mechanics (mostly contests), we managed to substantially improve their performance in the following:

  • Five fold growth in fans (from 11.3 K to 54 K)
  • 218% improvement in reactions/likes
  • 175% increases in page reach per day
  • Almost four times (381%) improvements in engaged users per day
  • More than double (223%) improvements in post clicks per day

More details here.

What is your advice for aspiring Social Media Marketers? E.g. How can one get started and stay ahead on Social Media Marketing?

Social Media Marketing is more of a lifestyle than an occupation. You need to be constantly plugged in to keep ahead of the game, and to continually learn what the experts and leaders are doing, observe the types of content, promotions and advertisements your competitors are doing on social media.

Personally, I listen to podcasts on social media marketing and digital marketing such as the Social Media Marketing podcast by Michael Stelzner, and Perpetual Traffic by DigitalMarketer. I also read books and blog posts, and attend courses and workshops to sharpen my game.

Walter Lim

Walter Lim is the Chief Contest Strategist of Cooler Insights – a boutique content and social media marketing agency. A prolific blogger and business influencer, he loves to help businesses create, nurture and grow winning brands through storytelling, social media, and PR. Connect with Walter on LinkedIn or visit his website.

 


Bryan Choo – Content Marketing Expert

What is content marketing in your own words?

Creating value for readers by producing useful content that a brand is associated with. It can be engineered by skilled content creators to drive enormous traffic for brands.
Content now takes different forms. articles, videos and even ‘influencer’ postings fall under content marketing.

How do you think Content Marketing complements your overall digital strategy? Can you share successful examples and challenges faced?

Our brand is built around content. That’s what we do everyday. So clients look to us to engineer their content marketing strategy.

Here are some examples of client work that went viral. We consider anything over 2,000 shares viral cause that usually means it reaches over half a million people.

1. 11 Fitspo Photographs To Bluff Everyone You’re An Olympic Athlete (Sony Advert)
http://thesmartlocal.com/read/fitspo-photography

2. Paragon Christmas Surprise (Paragon Advert)
https://www.facebook.com/TheSmartLocal/videos/1227130447374737/

It’s challenging when clients don’t understand content marketing and try to dictate the direction.

But thankfully, most of our clients do or they understand after we explain digital marketing to them.

What is your advice for aspiring Content Marketers? E.g. How can one get started and stay ahead on Content Marketing?

Focus on creating value for the reader and the rest will follow.

To do that, you need strong ideation ability or your content won’t stand out from the clutter on the Internet.

Just creating content for the sake of content will never work.

Bryan Choo

Bryan Choo is the Managing Director at TSL Media group. Their editorial and video content network reaches over 3 million Singaporeans monthly.

 

 

 


Xuan Bin – Search Engine Marketing Expert

What is Google AdWords in your own words?

Google AdWords is a marketplace that matches, on-demand, an individual’s needs to businesses that are advertising their solutions.

How do you think Google AdWords complements your overall digital strategy? Can you share successful examples and challenges faced?

Google AdWords can play a role in every digital plan and campaign. Google AdWords allows you to be present at intent-rich moments – moments when individuals like you and I are looking for answers, or products and services that will fulfill a present or future need. During those moments, what do people do? They go online and perform a search. This behaviour carries throughout the entire buying decision process and each search performed by an individual represents an opportunity for the advertiser to influence the buying decision process.

Even in situations when creative ideas are implemented offline (e.g an automotive maker advertising heavily on major newspapers for a new car launch) or over social media (e.g a paid endorsement by a celebrity ambassador sharing her experience at a slimming centre), individuals who have interacted with these advertisements are likely to perform an online search to understand more about the product or service that is being offered.

In my course of work, I have ran paid social campaigns with the aim of increasing my company’s brand awareness. Having a supporting Google AdWords campaign bidding on brand-associated keywords meant that my prospects could find my website and our products and services easier. Running both Paid Social and Google AdWords campaigns in tandem, we found that search volume and clicks on our Google AdWords keywords and ads increased by three-fold over a period of 3 months.

A common challenge I hear from advertisers who have tried out Google AdWords is that they are paying high costs to advertise but getting low returns. Some have set up the right tracking mechanisms to determine their returns on investment, while some are doing this blindly. And while it is true in some cases that keywords relating to the advertiser’s products and services are more competitive than others to bid on, by first acquiring and then applying the right knowledge, an advertiser can devise ways to mitigate rising costs to ensure that they are getting more in return than what they’re spending with Google.

What is your advice for aspiring Google AdWords Enthusiast? E.g. How can one get started and stay ahead on Google AdWords?

The best way to get into the game is to start reading the Google AdWords study guides and challenge yourself to get the qualifications! Google has made it easy for everyone to be a qualified individual by making it free for all (it used to cost USD80 when I first started!). Attaining the qualifications will help you gain a solid foundation, but nothing beats real life practice, and learning from the first hand experience from the professionals through attending a course, or keeping yourself updated through respectable online publications like Search Engine Land and Search Engine Watch, to name a few.

Lin Xuanbin

Specialising in Paid Search and Online Lead Generation, Xuanbin’s digital marketing career has spanned MNCs, private companies and government agencies across Recruitment, IT, Media, and International Trade industries.

During his stints in award-winning global media agencies, Xuanbin planned and strategised digital marketing campaigns over the Asia Pacific region for some of the world’s largest companies. Some of which included Hotels.com, SAP, MINI, Laneige and SPRING Singapore.

Having been on both brand and agency sides, Xuanbin strongly believes in empowering brand marketers with a deeper understanding of the digital marketing landscape to achieve better alignment with their agencies; therein maximising the potential of their partnership and digital marketing performance.


Wayne Tay – Facebook Marketing Expert

What is Facebook Marketing in your own words?

It’s part of social media marketing. It’s THE largest social media platform in the West.

How do you think Facebook Marketing complements your overall digital strategy? Can you share successful examples and challenges faced?

Customers consume content from myriad of different channels – social, email, mobile app, search. Facebook is definitely one of the important advertising medium in the overall digital media strategy. Google and Facebook together accounted for 20% of global advertising spend across all media in 2016.

One of the challenges we have is to quickly grow the subscribers for our content hub. As the website’s primary purposes is to publish news, users will have higher tendencies to bounce especially from a referral source.

To overcome this challenge, we leverage on Facebook Lead Ad to re-target users for sign up who visited the website or read posted article on the Facebook, this gave the user a consistent and holistic experience to sign up within the ecosystem without any drop-off to another landing page – in a short span of 1 month, we garnered from zero to 6500 email subscribers.

How do you think Facebook Marketing complements your overall digital strategy? Can you share successful examples and challenges faced?

Be a platform specialist. Test it, Learn it, Master it. Facebook newsroom gives you the latest news about what’s next for Facebook.

What is your advice for aspiring Facebook Marketers? E.g. How can one get started and stay ahead on Facebook Marketing?

Be a platform specialist. Test it, Learn it, Master it. Facebook newsroom gives you the latest news about what’s next for Facebook.

Wayne Tay

It’s common for professionals to brand themselves as a subject matter expert with the vast experience they have, accolades they won, and various positions they held.

However, Wayne is not your usual marketer, he hardly believes that anyone can be a “digital expert” (long enough) without constant learning because the world is moving at the speed of light in digitalization.
Instead of considering himself as a “know-it-all” expert, he’s a “learn-it-all” growth-hacking marketer and trainer. As a regional marketer, he has accelerated the growth of (B2B and B2C) digital marketing and revenues in both local and overseas markets within Asia Pacific.

He is also award-winning marketer; his drive for excellence has led him to various opportunities, winning multiple marketing awards over the decade.

You can connect with Wayne Tay via his LinkedIn profile.


Ted Chong – Search Engine Optimisation Expert

What is Search Engine Marketing (SEO/AdWords Search) in your own words?

Non-interruptive pull marketing. The beauty of search as opposed to other forms of marketing including social is that it appears infront of people when they need it most. It gives them what they want at a time they want it. Ultimately it cultivates a positive brand image without the company coming across as needy. On the other hand, push marketing is intrusive as it shuffs advertisements infront of people. If not done properly, it can leave a bad taste in people’s mouth.

How do you think Search Engine Marketing complements your overall digital strategy? Can you share successful examples and challenges faced?

No strategies should be done in silo, and it should fit into the overall strategy for the company. Search engine marketing is a lead generation tool whereas content marketing is a long term brand-building tool. Email and social media marketing are great for nurturing prospects and customers into advocates. For a successful digital campaign, none of them should be excluded. Likewise, the message across all channels should be consistent and sing the same tone. For example, if a company prides itself as a solution providing fast response time, all forms of marketing ought to be shouting that message so that it sinks into the customer.

Icecube.asia is a success case study. SEO brings in most of our leads.

The challenge with search is that it is capped. It is capped by the search volume of that keyword. Worse, if you are marketing a product that no one searches for such as ‘tongue brush’ , then you can’t even tap on search engine marketing. Thats why you have Facebook.

What is your advice for aspiring Search Engine Marketers? E.g. How can one get started and stay ahead on Search Engine Marketing?

People always think they have to chase after the next big thing. You can never keep up with Google’s changes by the way. I think good old marketing is underrated. Instead, to get started, work on the foundation. Learn why do people buy, provide what they want and Google will reward you.

Ted Chong

Ice Cube Marketing Consultancy helps businesses in both Singapore and Malaysia improve their sales through data-driven online marketing campaigns that are cost-effective and ROI-focused.

Services includes that of SEO, PPC, content marketing and conversion optimization.

 


Marcus Ho – Social Media Marketing Expert

What is Social Media Marketing in your own words?

You’re probably goiing to expect a very complicated and long answer. But I’ll do the job of simplifying it for you. In short social media marketing is about building profitable relatonships with your customers.

How do you think Social Media Marketing complements your overall digital strategy? Can you share successful examples and challenges faced?

Today, social media marketing is perceived as a piece of the whole digital strategy puzzle. It is no longer ignored by any marketer. Everyone wakes up with their smartphone no further than one arm’s length away from their bed. The first thing they do after checking their e-mail is probably to open up one of the social media apps. And you probably already know that.

As for successful examples to share, there are quite a few stories I’d be happy to share. But the one story that holds a big place in my heart is the story of my very business — Techzone.

It was started in 2008, as an e-commerce store selling tech accessories; iPhone caes, Macbook covers, etc.

I was very young when I started the business, so the naive 20-year-old version of me went to IT show to distribute flyers. Much to my shock and dismay, most people were dumping them right before me!

But that was when I realised that I needed to take full advantage of digital marketing…and more specifically social media.

Back then, Facebook was just starting to get popular (this was circa 2008/9). I did many things — Created a Facebook Group (there weren o Facebook Pages), ran ads with my own savings, etc.

To cut the long story short — 18 months after, with a lot of hard work, sleepless nights, trial and error, Techzone went from a few thousand bucks in revenue to $600,000/year.

It was a decent business for anyone in their young 20s.

That was how I learned about social media marketing. The entire business was built on driving sales from social media. And finally, the company had a successful exit.

What is your advice for aspiring Social Media Marketers? E.g. How can one get started and stay ahead on Social Media Marketing?

I would be biased, but I would tell you to get my book — Social Payoff (www.socialpayoffbook.com). A lot of marketers have shared with me how useful that book was in helping them manoeuvre in the fast changing world of social media and digital, so please, help yourself to a copy.

Marcus Ho

LEADERSHIP AND EXECUTION
• Author of 2 bestselling books on digital marketing and social media
• Co-founded SocialMetric, a digital agency and been growing it for the last 5 years with offices in Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila and Australia
• Founded and grew Techzone.SG to be one of Singapore’s largest e-commerce platform for consumers to purchase tech products and accessories

M&A
• 2 successful exits. SocialMetric, my digital agency was exited in 2015 to New Union Holdings.
• Techzone.SG, my e-commerce platform was purchased in 2011 by a PE fund. It is now combined with a bigger e-commerce group.
• Private investments in emerging businesses

DIGITAL MARKETING
• 9 years of running digital marketing strategies and campaigns for clients such as Qatar Airways, 3M, Fuji Xerox, NTUC, Great Eastern, Tokio Marine
• Built key case studies such as:
• $1.1mil of ticket sales in less than 48 hours for Qatar Airways
• Grew 350% increase in lead flow for ERCI and 78% reduced cost per lead acquisition
• Built thought leadership and improved brand sentiment for 3M


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Dylan Sun is the Founder of Equinet Academy, a Digital Marketing training organisation. Passionate in all aspects of Digital Marketing and Web Design, he extends his passion to helping people implement effective digital strategies to their businesses. Follow his blog at Equinet Academy to learn more about Digital Marketing and Design.

Attribution Modelling Illustration

What is Multi-Channel Attribution?

Put simply, multi-channel attribution is giving relative credit to the channels which played a part in securing a conversion.

For example, in a soccer match, we have the goal keeper, defenders, mid fielders, and strikers.

When the team scores a goal, we can attribute equal credit to each player. We can also attribute different credit values to each player, depending on the importance of their roles.

For example, if the goal keeper kicked off the ball and the team scored, he would get 100% credit if we used a first-touch attribution based model. If we used the linear attribution model, each soccer player who touched the ball would get equal credit.

Attribution Modelling Illustration

First Touch

The first marketing effort gets 100% of the credit. Allows you to find out which marketing effort drove brand awareness and lead to the conversion . But is biased towards other channels which played a part in the conversion.

Linear

The simplest of multi-channel attribution models, Linear attributes equal credit to every channel that played a role in the conversion. This makes it difficult to assign budgets according to the importance of various channels.

Last Non-Direct Touch

“Direct” data is often reported when a visitor doesn’t have any referral source (e.g. social ads, untagged email links). This attribution model ignores all direct traffic (i.e. if a visitor enters the URL directly in the browser) and attributes 100% credit to the last channel the visitor interacted with.

Position-Based

This model is also known as the U-shape model, where 40% credit is attributed to each the first and last marketing effort, and 20% credit is distributed evenly to the rest of the channels in between. This signifies the importance of the first and last interaction channel in the journey.

Last-Touch

Attributes 100% credit to the marketing effort that drove the conversion within a window period of say 90 days. Easily discredits other marketing channels that also contributed toward the conversion.

Time Decay

The Time Decay attribution model attributes the least credit to the first touch point and the most credit to the final touch point. This assumes that the last marketing effort had the most influence in the conversion, but ignores the influence of the first marketing channel.

Last (Channel) Touch

This attribution model credits 100% credit to the last touch/click of whichever channel you specify (e.g. Facebook, AdWords). For AdWords, if your ad was clicked on for two search terms, the last search term, in this case the second search term would receive 100% of the credit.

Custom

This attribution model will require a data scientist to analyse the entire buying process and develop an algorithmic attribution model to match the customer journey to it. It requires the most time and effort to build and maintain, but can provide the most accurate representation of attribution data.

Multi-channel attribution allows you to credit all digital marketing channels involved in driving conversions. The credit value (attribution amount e.g. 0.1 – 1.0) is dependent on the significance of the channel in influencing the conversions.

To learn more about multi-channel attributions, sign up for our Digital & Web Analytics (Google Analytics) training course.

Business Discussion on digital marketing case studies

This is a collection of local case studies of successful digital marketing campaigns developed and executed in Singapore. The case studies are segmented into the following online marketing disciplines:

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Case study #1 – Express Colour

Company Background

ExpressColour is a boutique local commercial flyer/postcard/brochure printing company based in Singapore. For over 25 years, ExpressColour had been relying on traditional marketing methods to sustain its business activities.

ExpressColour’s main clientele base were real estate agents. When the property market dipped in 2013, the phone lines became very quiet.

As an FMCG company, Search Engine Marketing was the most relevant and effective marketing channel. Consumers wanted their marketing collateral delivered fast and at low cost and they took to the search engines to discover and compare various commercial printing companies.

After launching a Search Engine Marketing campaign with Google AdWords and optimising the website to rank on the 1st page of Google’s organic search results, ExpressColour saw a 30% increase sales volume.

What Happened?

Before the property market downturn, ExpressColour’s clientele base was relatively small, but the sales volume of each client was large.

After implementing Search Engine Marketing, a huge influx of small volume orders came from a variety of industries ranging from Retail to F&B. This made up for the initial dropout of larger B2B clients and ExpressColour was able to thrive in this competitive industry.

The figure on the right depicts a monthly average search volume of 1650 searches a month for only 4 commonly used search terms.
Google search volume results for flyer printing keywords
A conversion rate of 2% would mean 33 new customers per month on average.

Challenges Faced

It wasn’t all smooth in the initial phases of launching the Search Engine Marketing campaign. Competition was high and ExpressColour’s pricing wasn’t competitive enough.

Bidding on the keywords that included the keywords “cheap” e.g. “cheap flyer printing” proved ineffective.

According to its AdWords reports, ExpressColour was spending an average of $2.00 per click on keywords that included “cheap”, but weren’t fulfilling orders for those keywords. This resulted in a negative ROI for the overall Search Engine Marketing campaign.

Upon removing “cheap” keywords from its AdWords Search Advertising campaign, ExpressColour was able to reduce its Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) by 4.5 times.

Before Optimisation

Note the cost per conversion at $150.92 before adding search queries e.g. “cheap flyer printing” and “cheapest flyer printing in singapore” as negative keywords.

After Optimisation

Click-through-rate dropped to 5.04% but cost per conversion decreased to $29.19 after ads did not show for “cheap” keywords.


Case Study #2 – New Launch Property Website

PropNex Property agent Dominic Lee has been launching multiple Google AdWords campaigns on multiple new launch properties for the past year since 2016. The average cost per click (CPC) was high and leads were plenty, but the average cost per acquisition/lead (CPA/CPL) was high.

After attending our Digital Advertising (PPC/SEM) course, Dominic applied industry best practices on his AdWords campaigns, including launching Display and Remarketing campaigns, and has seen remarkable results.

His most recent campaign on the newly launched Martin Modern condo project has seen 66 leads in a span of less than two months.

What Happened?

He started by dividing different keyword themes leading to different pages into different ad groups. For example, floor plan keywords such as “martin modern floor plans” would lead to the martin modern floor plan page on the website.

So if a potential buyer keyed “martin modern floor plans” into Google, he would see a text ad about Martin Modern floor plans. And upon clicking on the ad, he would be taken directly to the floor plans landing page.

This increased relevancy and the click through rates (CTRs) and resulted in a bump in Google AdWords’ Quality Score metric system, decreasing keyword cost per click and increasing the average positions of his ads.

Other techniques applied included keyword match types, ad extensionsremarketing, and conversion tracking.

These optimisation techniques resulted in at least a 250% decrease in cost per acquisition. I.e. $100/lead instead of $250/lead.


Social Media Marketing

Case Study #1 – Local Convenience Store

Social Media Objective

Our client is a retail brand which operated convenience stores located around the island. They approached us when they wanted to increase the performance of their Facebook page to boost brand awareness, engagement and conversion.

Results Achieved

Here are the main Facebook performance indicators for slightly over four months since we took over the account from its previous agency. We have achieved significant improvements across all performance metrics – from fan growth and engagement to reach, impressions, views and clicks.

  • Total No of Fans:
    • BEFORE: Total Page Likes at about 11.3K
    • AFTER: Total Page Likes at about 54 K (as of 10 May 2017)
  • Fan Growth:
    • BEFORE: Average growth of about 397 new fans per month
    • AFTER: Average growth of 2,525 new fans per week (or about 10,000 new fans per month)
  • Total Reactions/Likes:
    • BEFORE: Average total of 123 reactions per day
    • AFTER: Average total of 268 reactions per day (about 218% improvement)
  • Average Impressions Per Day:
    • BEFORE: Average total of 6,590 impressions per day
    • AFTER: Average total of 11,437 impressions per day (174% improvement)
  • Average Page Reach Per Day:
    • BEFORE: Average page reach per day of 5,313
    • AFTER: Average page reach per day of 9,482 (175% improvement)
  • Average Page & Tab Views Per Day:
    • BEFORE: Average Page & Tab Views per day of 43
    • AFTER: Average Page & Tab Views per day of 65 (50% increase)
  • Average Engaged Users Per Day:
    • BEFORE: 225 Engaged Users Per Day
    • AFTER: 858 Engaged Users Per Day (381% increase)
  • Average Page Positive Feedback Per Day:
    • BEFORE: 190 Page Positive Feedback Per Day (ie Likes, Comments, Shares, etc)
    • AFTER: 304 Page Positive Feedback Per Day (160% improvement)
  • Average Post Clicks Per Day:
    • BEFORE: 210 Post Clicks Per Day
    • AFTER: 469 Post Clicks Per Day (223% increase)

From an advertising ROI perspective, we placed about $200 to boost each post, capping monthly ad spent at about $2,000 (or less). This was comparable to the amounts spent prior to taking over. 

Social Media Marketing Strategy

We adopted an integrated and holistic social media marketing strategy to gain significant improvements in brand awareness, fan engagement and conversion (as measured by contest participation) while reducing total advertising and content investment from our client (approximately 20% reduction compared to previous agency).

This was achieved through the following strategies:

Audience Targeting

We created different custom audiences in our Ad Sets for Facebook advertising, and tested how they would respond to different boosted posts. Generally speaking, the target audience which we zoomed in on were:

  • Demographics: Mostly young (Mid 40s and under)
  • Location: Distributed throughout Singapore
  • Psychographics: Users with affiliated interests (eg convenience stores, retail, snacks, beverages etc)
  • Connections: Friends of fans and connections of existing fan base (11.4 K)
  • Behaviours: Facebook users who respond to certain promotions

From the lessons which we’ve learned from each boosted post, we have increased our efficiency in targeting and placing of Facebook ads.

  • Boosted posts to increase engagement and participation
  • Like page ads to increase fan base

Captivating Content

As our client is a convenience store, it was important to create easily accessible, attractive and captivating content. The goal was to gain greater brand awareness and recall while improving engagement and stickiness:

  • Create monthly content calendar that focuses on a mixture of promotional and thematic posts
  • Capitalise on festive occasions to boost engagement and participation, eg Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day
  • Develop community-based content revolving around the neighbourhoods where the stores are located
  • Craft punchy and witty copy that appealed to target audience
  • Use creatively designed visuals that are targeted primarily at the young and young-at-heart
  • Experiment with a mixture of different visual styles, eg GIFs, photo-led posts, and cute looking cartoon like design

Gamification through Fun to Play Contests

A key part of the strategy involved rolling out regular contests (about 2 per month) to trigger reactions, comments (contest participation) and social sharing/ virality. On average, each contest attracted from 150 to 200 participants and numerous shares (with the best result achieving over 800 entries).

  • Mechanics to play simple yet creative to attract mass participation
  • Use of simple but attractive visuals to convey game mechanics
  • Value of prizes kept low (eg $20 worth) with only one winner. However, the sheer fun factor of the contests made participation significant

Credits to: Walter Lim – Cooler Insights

Walter Lim is the Chief Contest Strategist of Cooler Insights – a boutique content and social media marketing agency. A prolific blogger and business influencer, he loves to help businesses create, nurture and grow winning brands through storytelling, social media, and PR. Connect with Walter on LinkedIn or visit his website.


Display Advertising

Case Study #1 – Linda Mandarin

Background Information

Linda Mandarin, Chinese Edge, and Korean Explorer form a local language school offering Chinese and Korean language classes for corporate and individuals.

Having already established their presence on Search Engines for Chinese Edge and Korean Explorer, Linda Mandarin wanted to increase their volume of free trial class signups.

They took to Display Advertising via Facebook Ads to deliver Sponsored Newsfeed Ads to website visitors who browsed their website, but did not sign up for a free trial class.

By installing a Facebook Pixel on their website, Linda Mandarin was able to track their website visitors’ behaviour and create Custom Audiences to retarget ads to their website visitors who had a Facebook account, but hadn’t yet signed up for a free trial class.

What Happened?

In one Facebook Sponsored Ads campaign with Conversions selected as the ad objective, Linda Mandarin acquired 21 contact form enquiries at the cost of $10.38 per lead.

As you can see in the table below, an A/B split testing experiment was conducted. Two ad creatives, one with the call-to-action “Claim” and one with the “call-to-action” “Sign Up” was ran side by side, and the winner appears to be the first ad with the word “Claim”.

As a collective result of all Facebook Ad campaigns ran, Linda Mandarin saw a 20% increase in free trial class signups.

Source: Lawrence Foong, Founder of Linda Mandarin, Chinese Edge, and Korean Explorer.

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