Give credit where credit is due (Digital #MarketingAnalytics 101)

Jan 12, 2015Marketing Strategy

[mashshare]

Here’s one I’ve been milling over for a few months now. While this article is written speaking specifically toward the healthcare digital marketer, it’s really applicable across any industry. The unique challenge faced by many in healthcare is that most marketing teams are somewhere along the path of transition right now. They’re busy, scrambling to transform from old-school marketing strategies like mass media to 21st-century marketing in the form of digital and content marketing. That transition means they’re struggling to justify their digital efforts, because many in the organization are still demanding mass media campaigns. The transition is a gradual one, with one huge question posed during this transition:

How do you prevent mass media efforts from stealing your content & inbounding marketing successes?

You can’t just stop using mass media, like print, television spots and radio ads. That’s not realistic or even desirable in many markets.

How do you make sure your digital efforts get the credit they deserve? With a little planning, analytics and insight, of course!

Tip #1 – Shed Doubt Through Trend Analysis

If you’re just starting out, you likely won’t have much, if any, historical data on how your digital efforts are panning out so far. There’s no year-over-year or possibly even month-over-month comparisons for you to do yet. And if there is, the sample sizes are sure to be small (those “pilot” digital projects you’re undertaking) and not very helpful.

The first way you can ensure that mass media advertising efforts don’t take credit for your digital programs is to gather some historical numbers. Ask and answer some (or all) of the following questions:

  • What were our awareness scores last quarter or last year?
  • What was our market share last month?
  • What was our market share this time last year?
  • What initiatives were our competition known to have in the market?
  • What were marketing budgets / expenditures last month? Or last year?
  • How do mass media budgets compare to digital?
  • What were revenues (or patient appointments or other metrics you have access to) last month / year?
  • What do the trends look like prior to the acquisition of our digital efforts this month?

Now let’s try a simple what-if scenario on one of the above questions – patient volumes. What if patient volumes the previous 12 consecutive months were trending downward, when all of a sudden they saw an increase? Could it be because of the massive tv advertising campaign that just concluded? Well, yes, it could. But it also could be because of the brand journalism effort that’s underway and the earned media attention it’s getting as well.

Tip #2 – Know Your Own Numbers

Shedding doubt on the reasons for recent success won’t be enough to ensure mass-media advertising doesn’t steal your thunder, though. There also has to be positive affirmation of your digital efforts as well.

You have to know your own numbers (and they have to be the right ones).

Gone are the days when “webmasters” can simply report on monthly page impressions or unique visitors to c-level executives and call that reporting. One huge advantage to digital marketing over other mediums is the ability to track and report on your efforts. I strongly recommend the following types of items be added to your reporting repertoire, as they tell more of the whole picture:

  • Page Views
  • Unique Website Visitors
  • Organic (SEO) Impressions
  • PPC (SEM) Impressions (vs. spend)
  • Social Followership Counts (likes, followers, etc)
  • Aggregate Social Impressions (paid, organic reach)
  • Call to Action Conversions (conversion rates)
  • Appointment Requests
  • Revenue on Appointment Requests (if you’re able)
  • Cost-per-Acquisition (CPA)

You should be able to get to the point where you can substantiate your efforts in digital right down to the number of patients that were acquired (directly) from your efforts to the revenue generated from their appointments (not to mention down-steam revenue potential). Sure, the funnel has many paths and the radio spot or television ad running could be one of them. But if you can prove Mrs. Smith clicked on “this” banner ad, filled out “that” appointment request and spent $1,000 in your system, then you’re absolutely doing something that mass-media still can’t really do.

Tip #3 – Haste Makes Waste

Media campaigns, by their very nature, are often big ticket items. You have to put a lot of money behind producing, filming and running a television campaign or on-going radio spot or billboard campaign. Healthcare media budgets are often measured in the millions. On the contrary, and especially in the beginning, digital marketing campaigns are usually much smaller (especially when you’re still in pilot mode). I, myself, just setup a digital campaign just a few months ago and the total budget? $40,000.

The key difference really isn’t just the budget sizes, though. The key difference I’ve found best described in the book, Joe Public II – Embracing the New Paradigm by Chris Bevolo. In one of the last chapters, he tells the story of “Case Study Hospital” (CSH). He steps through the numbers that mass media reaches, compared to how many people would actually be in the market and open to responding to a media call to action (CTA). In the example he gives, the real target audience is only about 1% of those actually receiving the message.

Clearly, the numbers are not in the favor of media campaigns and tremendous waste is apparent. Media campaigns have their place in the marketing mix but when it comes to increasing revenues “right now” (compared to their costs), you’re better off saving your money in favor of a solid inbound marketing effort.

What do you think?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article. Please leave a comment below or feel free to contact me with your thoughts.

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