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Marketing Channels to Experiment With In 2018

Jacob Brain


Healthy marketing means thinking both of the bread and of the butter activities, as well as preparing for the next wave of awareness and engagement. This post explores a few of those newer tactics and channels worth paying attention.

We’d all like to be the first one to discover those high ROI channels or tactics that win us new clients and contacts at an alarming rate.

The reality is those are few and far between, and the hype kills even the best of opportunities.

What is more genuine is the idea that we should experiment. We push into those channels and tactics that are new or prevailing in the community as opportunities for growth worth taking a chance on.

In this post, I’d like to talk about some of those opportunities and the framework for experimentation.

What’s Hot Now

Snapchat – This is a big mover in growth in social media. With the Facebook decline that is forthcoming, the next generation is heading into snapchat, and other platforms.

ABM – Account-Based Marketing is a set of tactics around focused engagement on an existing list of contacts. It’s an age-old method of sales stalking, mixed with next-generation technology to make it even more effective. Imagine hitting prospects with ads, email, social content – all while your sales team is connecting with them on the phone and in meetings. It’s the “everything is turning up with your name on it” effect. There are lots of big players in this field, but much of it can be done with some of the tools you already have.

Paid Social – Paid social has been around, but with Facebook’s shift on inventory (less ad space is now available), other networks are gaining from that move. We’re seeing more movement on Linkedin, Twitter, and other platforms, as well as more aggressive campaigns on the platforms that don’t have much in terms of ad networks in place.

Web Video – No matter how you want to use it, web video is becoming a huge need in the digital space. It can go on your website, or it can be educational content that goes on social or in your blog. Video needs to be part of your playbook, and don’t let it slide away this year.

Sales Automation – Along the lines of ABM, doing more with automation around your sales team’s efforts. Complementing the current efforts, with things like automated email follow-ups, setting meetings digitally without the back and forth, and bringing the sales deck into the digital space.

Web Chat – Everyone debates this addition at times, and if you’ve waited on adding chat, or a chatbot, to your site, it’s a good time to try it out. With automation platforms like drift.com, you can automate the initial chat. You can also enable the sales team to engage on the details of the chat platform. This might also apply to Facebook messaging, which is a viable platform for chat as well.

A Framework for Experimentation

The hardest part of experimentation is knowing how to set up a valid test of the channel, with a budget, so that it makes sense for your company as well as the channel. Picking an arbitrary budget will not create a valid result, nor a time-frame. There are a few factors that need to be validated first and we can find them by asking a few simple questions.

How will I know if my experiment is successful?

Cost Per Lead (CPL) – You need to know your cost per lead in some generic sense. The reason being that most budgets for experiments should be related, in some degree, to a lead basis. You’ll know if your experiment is successful if your spend to lead or cost per lead is better, worst, or on-par with your other channels.

Cost Per Impression – In much the same way, the cost for a page impression might be your signal if lead generation is not your primary goal of the campaign. Social media, for example, might be a place where impressions are the focus over leads.

How long should I run the experiment?

Budget – The two budget-factors to consider for any campaign is going to be the spend (i.e. how much you are investing in the channel for exposure) and the labor (i.e. how much it costs to have someone run it). The spend portion is generally the same cost as a determined number of leads x CPL. So if you want to gain 3 leads, and your CPL is 1,000, you can budget 3K. If you are more of a B2C business, you might run 100,000 impressions x 3.00CPM, coming to about 300.00 dollars. These considerations are what is most important in determining the right budget.

If you have, for example, 5,000 in an experimental budget, you can do this backward. You can pick the spend and budget based on what you have to work with. The important thing is you don’t set the experiment up for failure by not allowing the right about of time or CPL, to show results.

How will I know it is successful?

ROI – Return on Investment is how you’d gauge the overall success of your campaign. For what you spent, what did you gain? That might be leads, that might be impressions, but whatever it is, be sure to note it. This simple fraction can be computed into CPL, CPM, and impact on page views. But generally, you are starting your experiment with the goal in mind, so this question is answered before you start.

Should I continue with it?

This is the analytic component of the experiment. Once all the data and experimentation is done, the next step is to figure out if this is worth continuing. Only you will know if this matches up with your other investments and instruments in your orchestra of marketing. Does it draw the right return for the spend, and touch the right market?

Take the Year by the Horns!

There is never a great time to experiment because experimentation involves risk. With the pool of options in front of you, jumping into some new channels and options could be a great way to bring growth, learning, and agility to your marketing. If you’d like to talk more about these options or kick the can on another channel you’re thinking about, contact us for a free consult. We’d love to chat.

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