Tips & Guides

So you don't get in trouble when...

Hiring an Ad Agency & Marketing Company to build your Custom CMS and eCommerce Website

A very big DON'T. Why? Because they are creatives that understand buying media spots and creating pretty things, and that is ok, but they do not understand the technology and UI/UX that enables your eCommerce and Website to work and engage with visitors. This will only eat up your budget while they are trying to learn on your dime. OR best case scenario, they hire subcontractors that are using the lowest common demnominator of developers and designers. In the end, you will be stuck with something over budget and doesn't work.

Integrating ERP (Supply Chain) and eCommerce

Don't waste your time with a huge project team of developers, trying to write code to integrate into your SAP, PeopleSoft, or any other ERP system you are using for Supply Chain, when there are simple out of the box APIs for eCommerce to ERP integration. For example, Shopify has a simple API into SAP. You don't have to spend 100s of thousands of dollars to have an entire system integration team integrate. Those are the old days.

Implementing Closed Loop Marketing for eCommerce Model

If you are going to go to market with a branded product or service, leveraging the eCommerce model, you need to understand the complexities of what that intails. It's not just about putting up an Online Storefront and all of sudden people are going to be shopping on your site, or if you push out a few email campaigns people will start buying. It's a lot more complicated than that. First, you need to understand the technology that is the foundation to your marketing efforts. Your ERP supply chain (fulfillment), CRM (Customer Relationship Manaagment and Services), CMS (Content Management System Website) eCommerce Platform, Full Service Digital Marketing and Data Analytics Platforms. They have to be working seamlessly, and that's just the beginning.

Building a Marketing Operations Team

Most companies marketing teams and management, do not understand what it takes to run, optimize. and levergae the technology and platforms that run marketing campaigns and drive brand activation. So when marketing launches a prodocut, they soon find out that they do not have the staff to keep up with the 24/7 eCommerce model. For example, most companies think a couple social posts can be done by a customer service rep, or an adminstrative assistant, when the reality is you need a team consisting of a graphic desinger, content creator, display advertiser, SEM/PPC/retargeting guru, and that is just for one Social Platform. Write once run anywhere isn't the correct method and actually works against you. The moral of the story, you need to build a Marketing Operations Team to be able to handle the bandwidth and take advantage of the many opportunities that rise up everyday to do campaigns. You can't expect to own 40% of market with 6 people running the show.

Other things to ponder


Get a Code Audit

If you have any development shop create a custom built template or website, or custom integration into another system (Which we DON'T recommend), hire another third party to do a Code Audit to see if they have written the code right, followed standards and practices, and used the right programming languages that will work with your enviornment. Also, to see what you have so you can hire the right staff to be able to manage the platform that is built.

Data Analytics and Visualization

The foundation to all business, marketing, technology, process improvement, UI/UX, and Go to Market Strategies and Decisions. Real-time data analytics is the TRUTH TELLER. You can't hide from the data. With that said, Google Analytics, Domo, and Tableau have made tapping into all the different repositories easy. So whether you want some deep dive in the weeds data around every campaign or customer engagment, or you want to present high level 30 thousand foot view visualization and dashboards to the executive team, these are powerful, powerful tools. If you are not using them, you are already behind.

Mobile Ads

Mobile Ads have yet to come around to give an ROI. 60% of mobile ads are clicked on accidently, so their conversion rate is very low. BUT Marketing and Ad Agencies will talk about the Imporessions and High Click Through Rate, but at the end of the day if you are looking for "Call to Action" Optimization and ROI, this isn't the best way to go. I wil say though, if you are about Brand Awareness and don't care about Conversion Rates, then buy all means buy Mobile.

Acquisition Costs

This is a very important metric that a lot of Marketing & Ad Agencies will talk around without giving you the true Acquisition Cost. For example, if you spend $70,000 a month on Social Campaigns, and you have sold 10 $41.99 items, your Acquistion Cost is $7,000. So to sell a $41.99 product, it cost you $7,000 through that channel. That isn't a good business model. With that said, we can argue all the different points of why it didn't work such as, wrong channel, wrong content and messaging, wrong demographic, wrong location, etc. However, the bottom line is, you need to change something FAST.

Why CRM

A CRM platform like Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics, Sugar, Netuite, or anyother, are a very important tool for not only Sales, but for Marketing and Customer Service. For example, your online storefron integrates into your CRM and tracks all items a customer has purchased. And when the customer calls the customer service rep, she can easily find their profile, which has all the data points of conversations, items purchased, issue they might have had, documents they might have signed, etc. At the end of the day, it's a good repository of information that can be easily accessed by Sales, Customer Service, Supply Chain and Inventory, and Management. It also allows you to query on customer segments based on location, demographics, purchase size, etc, so a company can do marketing outreach via eamil and phone.

Impressions vs. Click Through Rate vs. Conversion Rate

The days of Vanity Metrics are dying in the world where there is real-time data analytics behind every marketing campaign you do. Marketing companies and agencies used to be able to get away with not getting an ROI and proving their worht with impressions, but today it is all about the Conversion Rate. The evolution went from Impressions, to Click Through Rate, to now Conversion Rate. And with Artificial Intelligence, Chatbots, and Predictive Analytics coming on, even the "Brand Awareness" excuse is no excuse anymore. We are now in a time when you can get Conversion Rate through the process of Brand Awareness.

Why you want to build your Website off of a CMS Platform

Most companies do not know what a CMS Platform is or what it does. To make a simple reference, you might have heard of these platforms, Wordpress, Joomla, Druple, Sitecore, or Kentico. These are all CMS Platforms that are used to build Mobile Responive, Content Driven, websites. There are so many reasons why you use these instead of ANYONE telling to do a custom built website. I will give you a few reasons:

1. Your marketing and technology team can easily manage the site so you do not have to rely on a web development shop or resource.

2. In the world of online content marketing, you need to be able to have the flexibility for your non technical marketer to build landing pages in minutes for everyday opportunities and campaigns.

3. Non technical marketers can easily upload and change images, fix or change copy, and post daily pages to sites blog, which can be leveraged for outbound campaigns.

4. Last but not least, you DO NOT have to have a custom template built (the wesbsite front end, what you see) that will cost you, I've seen $100k plus, and will be inferior to the thousands of pre built commercial templates that a non technical person can easily customize yourself.

Omnichannel Marketing

Omnichannel marketing is not one size fits all situations. Even though most companies will tell you need to hit every social channel, device, online store, brick n mortar, you have to step back and really do a deep dive analytic look at what your model is and what you are selling, and who you are selling it to. Messeging to the right audience is the starting point, but where to find that right audiance at the right time is a entirely different strategy. For example, one might think that selling protein powder to athletes would naturally be a big hit in the Sports & Nutrition Magazines. However, most research is done on peoples mobiel phone or device, but that is usually in real time as they are doing other activities. So it might make more sense to put up a Billboard on a busy major highway from the mountains of Colorado, that athletes and health enthusiests frequent on their weekend getaway. Once they see the Billboard with the message thet resonates with them, they put in a mobile seach that brings them to a SEM/PPC landing page comapaign that is tied to that Billboard. This is an example of how you mix traditional and digital marketing together that would most likely get a better conversion rate. Conversion Rate while building brand awareness.

Workflow & Personalization

This is the key element to your Marketing Automation platform. Setting up Drag and Drop Worflows for when people come to a "Call to Action" landing page within your site is a very important task, so you can capture site visitor data. For example, when someone fills a form for a download of a whitepaper. If you are using a Marketing Automation platform and workflows, based of off the information they filled out, it send them into a personalized (content that they are interested in) worflow and drip campaign to eventually get them to convert to either a call, purchase, evalutaion, etc. Whatever you want them to do. It keeps them engaged with your brand or company. We call this Demand Generation.