December 8, 2020

The Evolution of Performance Marketing

The field of digital marketing is ever-changing, but there are proven strategies you can take advantage of that still stand the test of time.

Mike Grehan of Acronym and Todd Lebo of Ascend2 joined Perfect Audience to share tips for using performance marketing to your advantage.

We covered topics like:

The greatest challenges businesses face today, according to research.

What exactly is performance marketing? How did it start and where is it going?

How does performance marketing address your struggles as an SMB?

Watch the full conversation below!

View the slides below ↓




Hey everybody. Welcome and thanks for joining us today. I’m Kathleen Davis from the Perfect Audience marketing team and we’re here today talking about the evolution of performance marketing and what it means for you and your business. So, before we get started, I just want to mention that we do do a Q and A at the end usually. And we’ll even do a follow-up video if we get a lot of questions. So anything that comes to you, a question or comment during this webinar, go ahead and post that in the chat box that’s at the bottom of the screen. So today we’re joined by some awesome speakers and I’m going to introduce them quickly. First up we have Mike Grehan who is now the CMO of Acronym, a digital agency in New York, but he was previously producer of one of the marketing industry’s largest search and social marketing events. It was called SES Conference and Expo. You may have heart of that. But Mike’s also a well-known author and keynote speaker in the marketing industry and he has been for a number of years. So we’re super thrilled that he’s here today, thanks Mike for coming on. Thanks very much for the invitation, thrilled to be here. Awesome. So also joining us is Todd Lebo from Ascend2. Todd, for those of you who don’t know, Ascend 2 is a research-based marketing company and they work with marketing technology and data companies to conduct original research. We’ve done some research reports with them as well as well, as Acronym has as well. You’ll be seeing some of that research today so stay tuned for that. And I’m excited to be here as well. Yeah thanks Todd. And then last but not least, our very own Eric Stockton, he’s our general manager at Perfect Audience and he’s well known for his knack of growing businesses he’s managed, some huge ad budgets and overseen a variety of sales organizations over the years. So with that we’re gunna jump in. Mike, since you have been in the industry and kind of our performance marketing expert, can you start us out by letting us know what is performance marketing?


Yeah it’s kind of a bit of a conundrum. Really, I mean performance marketing I think is somewhat of a misnomer and that kind of happens when you try and give something a name before it’s fully evolved. It happens a lot. generally, certainly it happens a great deal in the digital marketing industry. But I guess it has to be called something. So if you go back to the very early days when I first started in this industry, there was no such thing as paid search. The only thing you could do was try and manipulate the organic listings at search engines and there were many of them before Google came around. I mean, people tend to think that search marketing started when Google came on the scene but there was like a hundred other failures of search engines before Google came around. And Google didn’t really have this, any kind of business model. Anyway, the results that people would see in the organic listings as the many search engines back in the day were all pretty bad, I mean they were pretty terrible. Because trying to pull all of this, you know they talked about multi-millions of pages, well trillions now, but back then millions of pages, and put them in some kind of order so you could find something and it was really difficult to do that. But it was very easy for people like me at the time. And there were only a few of us, a handful doing this thing that’s now called Search Engine Optimization. It didn’t have a name then. But literally just manipulating the results. Eric would be number one with his website when the index rolled out and 15 minutes later I’ve stolen his page. It’s mine now. Now I’m number one kind of thing.


The reason I give that history is it’s really important to understand that pay-per-click advertising PPC as we know it now wasn’t simply designed because there are lots of people want to advertise and the search engine, predominantly Google as it is now, could make money from that. There was actually basic philosophy behind it that if you had to pay to be found then perhaps the results would be greater quality you know, if there was a, so this guy called Bill Gross had a search engine called Go To, and that was the world’s first PPC, you know pay-to-play kind of search engine. Eventually it became Overture and belonged to Yahoo. But that was the first and then very quickly after that, Google came up with it’s own thing which was called AdWords. And so that’s how the industry began. You had these organic listings on the left side that Google was eventually beginning to clear up, and then an element of a way to be able to found more quickly by paying to play. By doing this pay-per-click advertising you know, it’s been referred to as search marketing. Again, it’s a misnomer you know. I mean, search is actually a tactical thing that comes underneath the marketing umbrella. Over the years, paid search has become so important. I think marketers began to realize that it didn’t work really well in a silo, and that you had to be able to track the customer as best as you can. So it wasn’t too long, particularly when google bought Doubleclick that the kind of display side came into it that became attached very quickly, marketers began to understand what retargeting was or remarketing, which term you want to use for that, and as its evolved with social media.


Now the same thing kind of happened you know, that you could organically do things in social media, but now you can pay, so it’s a short question. It’s a very long answer. the evolution, it didn’t actually all just start to come together as oh, look, let’s do performance marketing. I think quite a lot of it just to sum it up, has been driven by the client side where you know, if you’re doing my paid search, why don’t you do my SEO. If you’re doing my organic social media, why don’t you do my paid social media. And that’s kind of the way that it’s come. So performance marketing agencies are kind of a niche that evolved out of the search specialist agency but not quite the full service digital marketing agency. At the core, performance marketing is largely regarded as a process where advertisers pay for an action such as a sale or a click, but predominantly it’s about getting the sale. So I would say performance marketing, generally speaking, if you were to compare it to the way that conventional marketing before digital evolved effectively, this is the direct marketing part of digital marketing you know, sorry long answer to a short question. I will be asking questions later.


I love that response though, because Mike you weren’t around, but your ears must have been burning because last week give or take, Todd and Kathleen and I were on this, we were on this call and we were talking through, you know, why people, and I did a LinkedIn post on this, and there’s some other things where I was just ranting about how you have, marketing is a holistic function right? marketing and sales. And marketing it’s a holistic function from the top of the funnel with the first ad impression all the way through to a conversion right? And you know it’s all about the entire life of the lead. It’s not just like you know, marketers in general tend to do marketing based on whatever their job title says right? Marketers tend to do things based on sort of optimizing a silo or in a vacuum and that is really difficult to do. Well you know, it has to be done holistically. It has to be done all the way through from beginning to end. And you mentioned, I don’t know if you actually said the word attribution, but you said in effect you know, everything has to have some sort of attribution to be able to determine who gets the conversion, who gets the sale. At the end of talking about the customer journey, Eric which you know is the same thing, kind of joining the dots. It’s funny because there are a lot of these conversations that are going on, similar, you know, you talk about holistic marketing. I’m what they call classically trained. Which means that 100 years ago I went to university to study marketing and yeah you kind of unlearn some things. but there is this tendency for people to talk about marketing and selling as if it was the same thing. And they’re not the same thing but they rely so much on each other you know. So one of the problems that I think now that people are looking particularly this year where people have been surging towards, e-commerce and marketplace online where they didn’t before. Because their customers had to do that because of Covid, because of the lockdown. So they had to go there, and I think the short-term rewards of performance has opened a lot of people’s eyes.


Wow, they should have been doing this and paying a lot more attention to it. But the fact of the matter is, the short-term reward is something that they have to be very careful about because the long-term effect of creating a brand is so important. So you just really trying to get the balance right. So you know, that taking the conversation into a different direction, it’s kind of similar. These conversations fundamentally are you know, how does brand marketing which again it a bit of a misnomer, but managing the brand and performance marketing, which is about the selling. How can we do these things at the same time? And I think that’s what people are trying to find out. Certainly because nobody was ready for this pandemic. But I think the, you know, if we can solve this problem, that if we can still manage brand and get the sale at the same time, be focused in both places, it’s a case of being ready for the next pandemic would be much better marketers you know. When I think, and I think that the pieces were starting to become into place even before the pandemic. And now marketers are having to more rapidly get to where they need to be. So I mean, I think you just see these incidences, like you know, economies and pandemics that just make things happen more rapidly than what they would have done previously. So I think there’s you know, obviously negative things that have happened through the pandemic, but some positives as well. As marketers have really had to maybe address some of these issues more quickly than they normally would certainly be just going back to the conventional thing.


Sorry, just to add to that, you know Eric mentioned attribution. Attribution modeling has been around for quite some time. It gets a lot more attention right now because, rather like when I mentioned before you know, direct marketing, when that became a very popular thing, it was because it was accountable, you know, you could actually put numbers next to it which was very very difficult in your typical brand marketing as they say, you know, so attribution is very hard. And because like I say, many more brands are looking more seriously at online and looking at attribution. And attribution is a great thing. it really is good. However, it’s full of holes as well. And one of the biggest ones is, and this is the one that I keep asking. You know, everybody when we talk about attribution, yes you can follow this, where in your attribution. model does it actually show you the person who was going to buy from you anyway? yes, they hit all of the touch points. But where do you, how do you isolate the person who was actually on the way to the store to buy from you? Anyway, you know, and then tripped over two of your ads, your email, and your search campaign on the way there you know? Yeah.


Well i think the other challenge too is, you see marketers tend to stitch together a marketing stack right? And those mark, in that marketing stack, those different tools and the stack don’t talk to each other real well right? they don’t play nicely. They don’t pass the data back and forth the way that you would want it to you know. If we’re applying this holistic kind of approach and you know, you see that a lot right, and I see it a lot in attribution. it gets lost. it doesn’t get passed from one platform to the next one or one place to the next. And so when you talk about the life of the lead, and. you don’t really have that complete picture. That really creates problems because you don’t know where to double down on your budget. You don’t know where to cut back on your budget. And you know it really puts you in a world of hurt if you’re trying to figure out how to ROI their campaigns or your marketing initiatives then even to set campaigns aside for a second. Just say, is my business profitable? is it, are the unit economics correct? And you can’t do that without a full picture of what’s happening. When you put money in the front end and you get money out the back end, so we’ve suspended that, sorry go ahead.


Oh, I’m just saying, I pulled out from beside my desk. i was dong a repair to my chair, but I think a lot of marketers use duct tape to put together their stack you know? And they’re gunna make it fit somehow, and they’re gunna use the duct tape to make it work but, yeah at some point they’re fighting the losing battle. The primary serves me well as, somebody actually wrote a book called Duct Tape Marketing.


Yes the point I was going to make is that one of the things in Acronym, which I think is probably a sign of given that we’ve been around in the industry for so long, is understanding that the data management platform is actually the most important thing. So instead of spending a lot of our time on developing tools to go out and scrape the web and look at link building and all of these kind of things other people did, that what we’ve actually been very successful at doing, is building a platform that aggregates data, and we just say bring us your date and then get that data to speak to each other, which is exactly what you were saying Eric. Because I mean, the ultimate goal is that I’ve said many times before, you know, given the fact that it’s performance marketing search is definitely at the core of that. We understand it is trying to follow the journey. I know that on most journey’s it begins with, such I know it very frequently ends with search. What the hell happens in the middle? Is what everybody’s trying to figure out?


Yes no, that’s very true, and I think that we’ve covered lots of things here. About the spectrum of marketing and what goes into that. but I just want to jump back into, you kind of already spoke about how performance marketing came from search marketing, and the search wave. But I know that. you’ve recently done a research report with Todd too, and this is going to tell us a little bit more about what performance marketing looks like today. So Todd, can you kind of expand on this a little bit more for us?


Sure. You know, it was a privilege for us to work with Acronym and we wanted to take a deep dive into performance marketing and we just did this last month. And I thought it was important to do this study post-pandemic so we had like better numbers to share with people. And to think about, as they’re preparing their budget for this year. But when we look at challenges, because we always think it’s really important to look at the challenged that marketers are facing so that they can address those in advance and be proactive with those. And one thing that really jumped out at me was, and we’ve seen this before in other studies was creating a you know, a comprehensive strategy, it tends to be one of those items that marketers are really, they’re doing a lot. They’re out there very busy. Tactics and activity is not an issue, but how it all fits together seems to be one of those pain points they they’ve having.


Yes, that’s why I, again it’s one of those things that it kind of still surprises me that the, when I was looking at the data, it was just a little but of a side thinking to myself, there is still this element that a lot of major brands, where the bulk of their revenues are still offline, that they still look over at the digital guys who are doing something other there. So the performance marketing guys are doing something. The internet guys are doing. No, it’s like, it’s marketing. The whole thing has to work together you know, so then, when you start and talk about strategy, you can’t say well, those guys are doing that thing over there. It’s like, how does it fit with everything else you know? Well, are you ever going to measure this? And you know, as Eric has said a couple of times, how will you know how much money to spend next time around At the end of the day, the question is this, how do I know I’m being successful?


Oh yes, Yeah I love that. That’s great. Yeah Eric, that’s his favorite thing to talk about is ROI. And you know, all the things that he kind of mentioned earlier, but you, we did just mention how this is the number two concern for a lot of marketers. And if this is you viewing this, what would you guys have to say to them for where they can start?


Eric, I know that we’ve talked a lot about where people start for their marketing KPIs, and that’s where they begin. Where the money is. So many you can expand on this a little bit more.


Yeah so, I’ll just use us as an example. Our team, so we just went through this exercise, just prepping for 2021. And one of the things that we did is we sort of mapped out where the core revenue drivers are in the business right? So we did it based on whats the new customer coming in? What are they worth? How quickly are they falling off in terms of attrition? What does that lead to in terms of MRR? Where we’re basically a SAS business as opposed to maybe a transactional e-commerce business. But really the premise is the same right? You can draw, like what are all of the pieces of the business that lead up to the number and the number being the top line revenue and you can sort of back your way into that and build a budget such that if you’re looking and saying look, I need to generate X number of dollars next year, these are the key pieces that I need to build on to be able to get to that to reach that number. And that starts sort of at the top of your funnel right? So if you say look, I need hypothetically, if I need 200 sales, you know every single month, 200 closed deals, however whatever your terminology is there, and you work your way back from free trials up to accounts starts, up to the number of leads generated at the top of the funnel, up to however your spend breaks down, you should be able to generate a fairly decent picture of how your customers behave, how your business operates, so that it’s less guesswork. There’s a lot of, and I’m sure Mike you can probably speak to this a lot too. Like you see a lot of businesses from the inside that they’re, the budget for 2021 is such that, or sorry next year, not necessarily 2021 but the following year, is sort of predicated on whatever it is that you did this year right? Or whatever it is. The CFO hands down to you or what have, but marketers have to be able to talk the CFO’s language, right? And that’s what I like actually about this, the performance marketing right? Is it online or offline, doesn’t matter. But when you look at what it takes as a marketer, as a marketing leader, to be able to drive the business forward, to drive your department forward, you have to be able to talk the language of the CFO, the CEO right? And they are thinking in terms of those major unit economics of the business that drive the department, the operation forward and make it a sound investment in terms of marketing dollars and staff.


It’s a very complex thing to do. I mean, people just talk about this, do you have a marketing plan? Like I said before, the term strategy tactics, people kind of use them the wrong way around. You have a strategy and a bunch of tactics underneath to help you get to where your organization needs to be over a period of time depending on how complex the business is. If you’re a smaller business and you have a small range of products, then you’ll probably manage that portfolio a lot easier. But if you’re a larger organization given some of the organizations that we work with on a global level, where they are just so huge and yet, to simplify that you can go back to some of the fundamentals that you learn in marketing. And I still find the Boston Grid, I mentioned that to other people in, the younger people who, if you haven’t studied it, but if you wonder where the terms cash cow, rising stars, dog, where it all came from, this is from Boston Consulting. And if you’re going to take a look at the Boston Grid now with any company and decide starting there, do I want to spend more money on launching a new product, do I want to put some money into RD over here to promote? You really have to get that balance to get those priorities right at the very beginning.


Wait, there you go, wow. Right up, pulled it right off my bookshelf. That was not planned. Just pulled it right, so that’s a great place to start. To get the priorities right. And then begin to figure out tactically, how are you going to bring all of this together for wherever you’ve prioritized on products and services that are going to get that time and attention. I’m just thinking the classic line that I heard about marketing planning, it always comes back to me. A lot of marketing planning is like a ritual rain dance. It has no effect on the weather that follows. Moreover, it seems that much of the advice and instruction related to marketing planning is directed. Improving the dancing and not the weather, the reason I say that is because you kind of just touched on that, where at the end of each particular year we go, how much did I get the CFO last year and what can I do to screw 20% more out of them this year. Bringing it back down to performance marketing, this was a fundamental change that we made as a kind of an experiment, more experiment, more than anything else. With one of our clients, I can’t get too deep into that, but it became very successful. Instead of just looking at ROI, let’s actually talk the language of the CFO and talk about the profit. So the program that we put together for our client is actually called performance for profit. And that’s what it’s all about. It’s actually based on where does this impact the bottom line more than anything else. And that’s proved to be really successful for us. it’s transparent. It makes our clients really successful. And of course we do well when they do well. So it kind of makes..


Oh that’s awesome. Right? And I know that we’ve already touched on starting with the goal in mind, but i did want to share this chart since this was just part of the research that Mike and Todd, you guys have done together, as you can see increasing ROI and then improving audience targeting are the two top ones. Can we talk about that second one for a minute? Is there anything related to performance marketing that you guys would like to add on that?


I think it’s going to become more difficult obviously in the short term. Everybody knows we rely very heavily on this thing called a cookie. When the cookie goes away in attribution modeling, that’s like where’s my data gone, it just disappeared. So I think in audience targeting, there are two sides to is and I’ve given this a lot of thought over the years. And kind of just touched on it at the very beginning. So I talked to, I’m very fortunate I get to talk to some of the researchers that work inside the largest corporations to see what it is that they are looking at. And some of the feedback that I’ve had from them is that we’ve become so focused on tightly targeting, tightly targeting, tightly targeting, that we do end up selling to people who are going to buy from us. Anyway, you know, we’re actually targeting the people we’re looking at intent, and if we can tell the intent is to buy, I just let that guy go sail on down, you don’t need anything else from us. But at the same time as you’re doing that, you’ve got this kind of laser focus on targeting the people who we’re going to buy. What about the people who don’t know who you are? What about the people who don’t know your brand? Which goes back to what I was saying before. So one of the quotes that sticks with me from one of the researchers with the typical science guy thing he said, you have to spread your net wider, but be more focused on where you spread it. I was like well, you should have been a politician. I think maybe, but to go back to the question directly improving audience targeting for the future is going to be about the user experience from beginning to end. And that’s why content is going to become so important. Where there’s no cookie there has to be great content. That’s how I’ll be able to track them. And be there at each particular stage of the journey. So that bring me that , okay what is it? So to bring that down to like a tactical super granular level, an example I would have with that when I’m doing our own paid search campaigns for example, one of the things that I have a really stringent policy on for our own people is bidding on our own terms right? From a paid search standpoint and there are smart ways to do it. There are not smart ways to do it. The not smart ways, it’s just like burning hundred dollar bills right? So you do have to make sure that it’s all about the audience. It’s all about the audience. So there are people to use your example Mike, there are people that are going to come through and they are going to buy from you anyway because they found a great piece of content or they had a good experience with the brand or they came from a word of mouth or referral base, some other channel. And then they click through right? Of course they’re gunna, first thing they’re gunna do is Google it. And so they’re gunna see that Google gets, Google wants to go and claim the sale right? They want to claim that conversion. But three minutes before you just happen to be going through Facebook, he didn’t see an ad or something else. And so Facebook comes along and says what I’m claiming, the exact same sale right? And maybe you got retargeting ads and retargeting ads come along and they claim the sale or whatever.


So you look at your analytics and you have four conversions, four customers, sorry four people, let me rephrase that again. Four conversions for the one customer that you actually got that’s paying you money right? And then the question becomes who get the credit? Was it Google, Facebook, retargeting etc right? And I have my own sort of theory in that we built that into the product and Perfect Audience but I was kind of curious what you guys had to say to that.


I agree 100%. You know, we come across this, the conundrum is about attribution. And it’s not the last click, it’s not, the thing is, and I’m sorry I keep arguing back to experience. In the time before there was digital, we didn’t call it attribution then, but we did integrated marketing and frequently I would ask the question of how do I know what impact my PR campaign is having at the moment. So I have to go out into the street and ask some guy who bought the product. Was it my ad that made you buy that? Was it the ad? Was it the display in the store that made you buy that? Was it the PR? Was it the journalist who wrote about it yesterday? And the guy goes, I just needed to buy razor blades. I have no idea. And then off they go. So that, the whole notion of bring able to track advertising, I was writing about this just recently. About the ways and means that we know, we look at, how effective advertising is on people. And there are not that many ways that you can do it. The one that works for most larger companies, what they call single source data, and that involves collecting both the viewing behavior and the buying behavior from the same individual. That’s virtually like living in their apartment with them and following them around and doing that, you know there is this new thing, well I say new, it’s not new essentially, but kind of looking at the difference between having brand affinity and brand associations. It’s called mental availability, and it’s about where does this brand and what it means to you, fit inside your mind, do you have enough space to put it in there. Whether there’s a sale or not, and that hopefully is going to solve the problem when it comes down to recall. That said, there’s going to be a lot more science behind it Eric. But you know, we can only use the tools that we’ve got. So at the end of the day we can say, maybe is that imperfect, but at least you start at the very beginning saying I am going to designate something. Give it a quantity or quantification, whatever it is, and then at the end of this see what the outcome is.


I’ve got some way of means of measuring it. Otherwise it’s just.. that’s right. I thought, I think you had something you wanted to add too. I think these guys pretty much covered it. I was initially thinking about attribution and it’s kind of like the saying of a person with one watch knows exactly what time it is. The person with two watches is never quite sure. And I think that’s the struggle that marketers are sometimes facing. And I think that, but I think there’s also, we keep striving on to find clarity and data should help influence and help us make better decisions right? And that’s the constant work that we try to do, is collecting and not having, not just more data, but data that allows us to make better decisions.


Can I just throw something in real quick here? Because it just came back to mind. Eric, something you said before there about depending on your own brand terms, you know this is a conversation that I’ve been having for at least 49 years or something you know. Should I paid off my brand terms, yeah do it and do it smartly and do it for a reason. yeah, one of them may just be the brand protection. I mean you know we were working with a major business school with Walton business school. I can say this openly because you could go and see for a while, ask you know, should we bid on our brand terms. And I say yes, you should for this very reason. And if you don’t, Harvard is based you know, I don’t want to go searching for Wharton Business School and find an ad for Harvard in there. So that’s one way you need to protect yourself. But something that I was thinking about recently, when we talk about, I don’t want to get into the funnel thing because I don’t believe that the funnel exists, we can save that one for another conversation. But I think in the earliest stages, one of the better ways to tactically use paid search that people don’t think a lot about is that a lot of organize ranking that you’re beating the competitor. Very few of them have something current to say, very few of them have a recent and new call to action to them. So you know, if I’m ranking in the top three for an organic listing, and yet at this point in time I’ve got a super sales promotion on there should be an ad there against that saying click here, because its 50% off this week you know? So there are ways and means from a tactical point of view that, the two things to together very well if you work with them very cleverly.


That’s great, I think that’s a great strategy. If you think about the real estate of a serp right. You know that is the page, it’s very equivalent to thinking about as people read from top to bottom, left to right. One of the things that you know really really helps in terms of click-through rate is being able to see the listing from the brand more than one time right. So in a lot of cases it’s gunna be, am I ranking from us, again kind of going back to the holistic approach right. There’s, if I’m ranking for key terms that are sort of my big revenue driver terms, then I may or may not want to have bidding on top of that if I’m already listed two or three different times for some content that I’ve got out there or some sort of PDF or maybe, I’ve got my local listing. Maybe I’ve got my main brand term that I’m being listed for etc. So there’s a lot of nuance to that but you know, at the end of the day the holistic approach I think is really where it’s sort of it’s what it makes what makes or breaks campaigns.


So that’s the thing. I think it makes it fun, is to be able to look at it very seriously. Now Eric, about a major change, which is another topic for another of, where we can sit down and open some beer and talk about this one. But I don’t know that people are really thinking as much as they should be because it’s a game changer. I mean, a complete game changer, particularly with this thing, I mean this is where most of the activity is taking place on a mobile device is taking place on a mobile device when Google or any search engine decides that understanding end user intent. The content experience that they want, they start and build things on the top. So eventually you’re gunna see that the top three things and the serb for the, to satisfy this natural need for information is like weather forecasts, some driving instruction, something else and you’re being pushed down further and further so now you really got to start and think about hey what type of content do I want to create in order to be found there if that top result that people talk about zero click is a terrible thing. Google wasn’t invented to send people to your website. That was not their intention. Their intention was to bring information to you. A zero click is actually, can actually be a great experience if it’s just right for the end user and if it actually has your logo next to it.


Well thank you very much. I mean, when I go for, people talk about looking at engagement. It’s something else that obviously with Google, now saying that there’s going to be this kind of quality score that goes even with your organic listings, I want to know what the weather is in New York today. .07 of a second is all it takes to give me that to somebody else that looks like a bounce to the weather company. That’s the ideal situation for them you know. So I do think that spending more time developing content around intent which is attached to this holistic approach. What is it that the end user, my next potential customer could be looking for at the earliest part of the journey and then stop selling, start helping. How do I become, sponsor the weather forecast of the tennis results, or the sports or whatever it is you know right? So it’s very true. And I think that with all of the what we just shared about Google and search engine optimization and everything that we’ve just talked about. It makes our next slide even more relevant. So the impact on page strategy, this is another piece of the research report that you’ve just done with Todd, Mike. So Todd, is there anything on this slide that we should be paying attention to related to performance marketing?


I mean it just kind of goes back to how, I mean performance marketing is, it’s working and it’s increasing and marketers are gunna continue not to, I mean they’re going to continue to rely on it and Eric you probably have some, you probably have a little bit of insight from your background, but I mean this isn’t going away. It’s only going to be increasing. Yeah I think so. I mean I like to say this a lot, you know paid is going to be that top of the funnel. Or sorry, let me rephrase, paid is going to be that tactic, that approach that you take in order to bring in trackable revenue that is going to convert into a sale or a conversion. So my thing, the only thing I would add to this is sort of look at paid at the sort of umbrella tactic. It actually, you know if you think about retargeting, it really makes all of your other sort of marketing efforts more effective right? So you know, if you think about your traffic and what’s happening to your website in relation to your audiences right, there’s very few audiences and I’m putting Facebook in that and Google in that, and your email list in that, and everything else, there’s very few audiences that are going to be more cost effective. And that will convert better than the audience that you already have on your website right?


These are people that have already visited your website. They’ve already had a goo experience with your brand. They’ve already seen or been exposed to your product or your offer. They already understand your value proposition and your messaging . They already get that and all you’re doing with retargeting is you’re bringing them back and having a second or third or fourth shot at them to be able to get them to convert. Maybe they didn’t convert it the first offer or that you gave them, but maybe they will the second or the third one. As you’re testing different types of messaging. But there is, you know if you think about your email audience and your social audience, and your website audience, and you’ve got all of these different types of audiences, third-party audiences, offline audiences that you can bring in. There are very few, in fact I don’t know, if I can think of one that is more quality that’s going to convert better and be able to be more cost effective for you then actually retargeting, Mike I do believe this year obviously because of what happened, it’s been entirely different. As I said before, there are strangely enough, a lot of companies that it still works you know, their revenues, main source of revenue is from offline. And the online stuff didn’t really get the importance that it deserved even before this because it was a bit of extra on the side. Now that the, or now that you have to go where the audience is, and they’re online, then naturally you will end up spending more money. I think the problem is going to be in training the mindset still given that we’ve touched on a few things that have been kind of issues that have been in the industry for a long time, and you think, when is it going to resolve itself. But here we are still having that same conversation, still having the same conversation. And that is to do with conversion. So you know, the impact on paid strategy, should I spend more money, you should spend more money. If you’re spending it wisely, it’s as simple as that. From the very beginning of paid search, there was a case where people would keep it simple. I’d spend a grand. I got 10 conversions. So I’ll spend 22 grand and get 20. No. Why don’t you find out what happened to the 80% that you lost, as opposed to just throwing some more money at it, you know? So there is getting the balance right. Like you say looking at the attribution, looking at the conversion, being very strict about understanding what you’re being told by the data which will get you somewhere close to being able to tell you that you might be targeting people who are going to buy from you.


Anyway, but I do honestly think that the question is going to be answered. Again, there are always long answers, shorter questions. it’s going to be answered by what happens to consumers and consumer behavior next year and into the year after that. You’ll have to go where they are. That’s very true. And I just, jumping off of that and jumping into our next slide, Mike can you maybe speak to this a little bit about agency attributes and which are the most desirable from your research?


I mean, this multi-channel expertise thing has become really important and it’s kind of, we’re going out through the accident. Well the same door what we came in. Really, what performance marketing, maybe you did just start working with the specialist search agency as they began to grow and he began to get better at that, then if they were just doing the SEO, why shouldn’t they do the PPC? And if they’re doing the PPC, why shouldn’t they be working with whoever it is to do the retargeting? And if they’re doing the retargeting, why shouldn’t they be doing some of the social? If they’re doing the social organic, why shouldn’t they be doing the paid? So i think this is definitely something that we have seen as an agency as we’ve grown. Search is at the core. We’re experts but our clients demand a damn site more than just being able to throw some money at Google for them. So I think the multi-channel expertise, it does not surprise me at all to see that at the top. Right no that makes a lot of sense. And so with that we’re getting close to the end of our time. But we do want to take some questions from the audience and then everything, anything else that any other questions that we get, we will try to do a follow-up video after this. But our, I just want to take maybe one or two questions before we go here that are all kind of around the same topic of how we can use Perfect Audience to meet some, a business goal of our viewers.


Our first question is, what tools or technologies would I need to have in place before I can really make use of perfect, of performance marketing. And anyone feel free to jump on that. I think that’s a pretty open question for all of you. Again, it depends on the demand and the amount of money that you’re going to spend a smaller business. And if you’re got the in-house ability, most of what it is that you need to do and performance marketing from vendors is designed specifically for you. It is designed for you to do it DIY. When it becomes much greater than you’re definitely gunna have to bring in an agency and look at that. But so you know I mean, I look at the size of the company. What is it that you need to do?


I don’t know that you have to have 15 different vendors because some of them have other areas of expertise where they can tie the data together, joining the dots. But I think probably the best way to get started is to look at how can I connect all of these as best as I possibly can. So you know, how do I connect my paid search and search remarketing and how do I connect that to some paid social and then start and just map the journey out.


Yeah and even take that further right? I mean you have email, you have other types of triggers that really feed into whatever leads to that lead or that conversion and then being able to, as we sort of hammered on this entire meeting here you know, is like understanding what channels are influencing the conversion. And just as important as knowing which ones are contributing, you need to know which ones aren’t you know? So you’re cutting those out and you’re optimizing right? I mean I can give you a 20% lift by just cutting out a few sites that are not performing for you right? You’re just throwing money out the window. So I think my thing, and this is what’s been, the whole conversation has been fascinating to me because I have been, again just our internal meetings with our team and on our product, really just trying to hone in on if holistic performance-based marketing is sort of the goal right? And then everything has to talk to each other and everything has to talk to each other and I’ve been posting this question of what if we had a platform or there was a platform that didn’t have to be stitched together through Zapier or some other third-party service that makes all of these different data sources, silos talking to each other which we know they never do. And they aren’t ultimately, if you’re trying to stitch together data you’re only going to get yourself served so far. But if you were able to have a single source of truth that holds the data, that maps out the life of the lead from the first time they’ve ever come in contact with your brand all the way through to a conversion, and then actually post-conversion right?


Because there’s always repeat sales and all these other types of things that happen. But if you could sort of see it on a timeline of when they became first aware of your brand all the way through different data points where they came into interaction with your pieces of content or your paid search campaign or your retargeting campaign or your email campaign or your social following post that you just did. And what are all of the contributing factors that lead to becoming a customer. What if we had a platform that would be, that’s why again that is the goal. To be able to track that journey. I’ve got to tell you that my very dear old friend Avinash Kaushik, who is the evangelist for digital marketing over at Google, and he and I have known each other for a long long time. And we’ve been talking about the customer journey and he came up with a little framework that he called see, think, do. Which is kind of based around the original informational navigational transactional. But that little framework is really important. That if you understand that the see state as he calls it, the earlier that I can connect with somebody and help them, like as I was saying before, stop selling, start helping, then the quicker the brand affinity can be created there, the less friction there’s likely to be when you get to the transaction stage. So we adopted see, think, do with out clients for a period in time because it was a very simple way for them to get to their head around it.


And I was talking to Avinash sometime afterwards and he said yes of course. As you just pointed out, he said I had to add something else to the model, I had to add care. Because afterwards after the sale you’ve got to do that. I said I’m so glad you did that because I never thought STD was a pretty good acronym for you. Anyways TDC is a much better model. But you know, I mean, we kind of just evolve, revolve, coming back to the same thing. Where can I meet my next potential customer and how can I help them take these steps and guide them towards that eventual transaction. I think sometimes as well again, it’s important to think about that word transaction. Everybody always assumes that it means that somebody’s sitting there with a credit card. But the transaction can just be where the conversation begins. So that can be a download. It could be signing up for this webinar.


Yeah I mean, little micro conversions in the conversation right? Yep. This is a little bit off topic slightly, but I think it’s, connection is you know, we did this research with the acronym and Mike, you know the research, you know, looks at objectives and challenges and budget and KPIs and all these great things and I really see the research as really like a thinking toll for the marketers to really obviously have quantified data on what other marketers are doing and how they’re addressing things. But it’s also like a thinking tool. So you could just spend some time and think through the process and hopefully it’s, I think it’ll be very helpful. So I know Mike, I’m sure we’ll probably have a link somewhere to make that available to people. But I think it’s really good as we’re going into 2021 to take some time to map our even beyond your budget. Really mapping out your strategy and thinking through some of these challenging situations. I think we spent more time during this session because there is so much to talk about, so much to share. And it’s all connected to this. We forget fundamentally some of the answers to some of the questions that you have are actually in the report. Read the report.


Yeah no absolutely. We will be sharing this webinar on our blog and it’ll be follow up emailed out to everyone who registers. So we will definitely include that as well. And with that we are almost out of time. But just to let everybody know, go ahead and send your questions in if you haven’t yet. You can also email us at or connect with any of our speakers on LinkedIn. We’d all be happy to answer any of your questions. But thank you Mike and thank you Todd and Eric as well for joining us today. This has been really fun and super informative. So I’m sure that everyone has gotten a lot out of it. But thank you all for joining. No thank you. Thank you very much. Todd, Eric, great. Let’s just do it all again sometime soon. That sounds great. Thank you.

<a href="" target="_self">Kathleen Davis</a>

Kathleen Davis

Digital Marketing Coordinator - Perfect Audience: Kathleen is an enthusiastic marketer experienced in marketing automation, campaign management, and digital analytics. She's previously worked on direct mail campaigns, spear-headed lead generation efforts, and managed a team of interns at SharpSpring.
Post categories: Perfect Audience, Webinars

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