By Eric Waldinger
To develop an online marketing function that will drive ROI for an organization, companies need to understand and know how to leverage a key set of knowledge areas. Although bringing this online marketing function in-house is the ideal structure, you do not need to hire a large base of as permanent employees, nor can you assume that you can find one person to know all of these areas of online marketing. You need to be able to know how to access the right talent for the objectives of your campaigns.
The following knowledge areas have become vital for the marketing management structure to understand and know how to access to create marketing programs utilizing online media in today’s marketplace. These core functions include Online Marketing Management, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization Technology Strategy, Email Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Online Public Relations and Analytics.
Online Marketing Management
Online marketing management has a key role to identify and evaluate new tactics and channels to drive traffic and grow brand awareness. This function manages online advertising campaigns and marketing programs and maintains relationships with advertising partners.
With any media programs, testing is key to developing an optimal mix. Therefore, the marketing management function conceives tests and evaluates the performance of online marketing efforts.
This role is responsible for preparation and monitoring annual advertising budget and creating deals that are at a minimum CPC and in most cases a CPA structure.
Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing (SEM) should be the most cost and results effective online marketing medium. Search engine optimization and vertical key words and landing pages are key to successful search engine marketing. Search engine marketing has emerged as a vital marketing function to leverage search traffic and convert it to leads or purchase.
The SEM function in an organization should:
- Promote websites by increasing visibility in search engine result pages.
- Develop in-depth understanding of keyword advertising & direct marketing.
- Manage & execute operations across various interactive channels.
- Manage day-to-day operations of search marketing – keyword bidding, copy & optimization.
- Report & analyze advertising success and ROI.
Just like Direct Mail requires a specialized knowledge base, managing email campaigns has its own set of requirements, best practices, and specifications that can lead to the best outcomes. Developing a clear strategy is vital, but many factors in testing and development of email programs from subject lines to offer prominence can drive differing results.
Core staff should manage the functions of email planning, analytics and strategy, but bringing in specialists to complement your best practices and to execute complex campaigns can drive higher clicks and conversion rates.
The email marketing function in your organization should:
- Design, quality test, deploy, and report on manual and automated email campaigns for both internal customer databases as well as lead lists.
- Coordinate and maintain the email marketing communications production schedule to ensure accurate and timely delivery.
- Assess all email creative to ensure communications are aligned with internal email content policies and compliant with CAN-SPAM legislation.
- Monitor email volume and track to established budget.
- Maximize revenue utilizing best practices for direct marketing promotion and ‘endorsement’ selling optimizes promotions.
- Maximize the revenue from available web and email marketing banner ad positions through the use of effective analysis, scheduling, and creative approaches.
Online Public Relations and Content
This function focuses on Online Reputation Management and Public Relations. As consumers have increasingly adopted the self-service model, companies need to cover key areas of content online throughout new media. This should address specific questions on products and make sure that the right messaging is going out online.
The Online Public Relations function should:
- Write, manage, edit, and source website content.
- Improve site engagement through user management, guerilla marketing, and leveraging social media groups and in-club marketing initiatives.
- Utilizes content management tools and systems for content, page, and document creation.
- Partners with subject matter experts inside and outside the organization.
- Utilizes visitor traffic reporting to analyze site success.
- Contributes to and participants in content planning.
- Maintains in-depth working knowledge of related topics, sources, and trends.
Eric Waldinger is Aquent’s Online Marketing Practice leader.
In various roles over 11 years I have both worked with multiple customers and lead online marketing strategy for large organizations, I believe every Online Marketing Organization should be built around three key principles.
- Key planning activities and analytics that directly affect business results and strategies must be performed and controlled in house.
- The basis of all online marketing efforts must be built around analytics and cost per acquisition.
- The online marketing mix and online supply model must be flexible and responsive to customer behaviors.