7 Signs CMOs Need To Examine Their Media Mix

Have you been debating which advertising channels to pour your money into? Columnist Scott Rayden lays out the signs that your media mix may need a refresh.


One of the most common questions we get from clients and prospects is this: “Are we spending our money on the right advertising channels?”

Quite obviously, the answer varies by company and the goals of the campaign in question. But if you’re trying to do a little self-diagnosing, there are some definite signs that you need to take a hard look at your media mix. Let’s explore seven of them.

1. Your Brand Search Is Flat Or Decreasing

This one’s pretty simple, and it can extend to your non-brand search as well. Fewer people searching for your brand or products means that your funnel isn’t wide enough, and it’s time to devote some budget to brand awareness.

We’ve frequently encountered this with clients too heavily focused on intent-based performance marketing (SEM and SEO). Yes, those channels are great, with easily measured ROI and a wealth of available data for testing, etc. But they’re also dependent on people knowing your brand or product well enough to search for you.

Pouring money into non-brand search might help a little, but a) it’s limited to people already in the market; and b) it won’t do much if what you’re selling is something the market hasn’t seen before (our 3Q Digital CEO, David Rodnitzky, likes to cite the example of trying SEM to market TiVo in 1999).

So where should you reallocate budget? There’s no shortage of options — Twitter, display, video, Pinterest, Gmail Sponsored Promotions, etc. — but if you really can’t let go of the performance piece, Facebook offers a potent combination of direct-response efficiency and top-of-funnel reach.

One more point on this: Inability to measure value of interactions across channels is no excuse anymore, not with the proliferation of attribution technology. (Shameless self-promotion: We already covered why attribution is more accessible than you might think.)

2. Most Of Your Traffic Is Coming From Desktop

No doubt you’ve heard by now that mobile traffic has eclipsed desktop and that the trend is only going to get more pronounced. Is your traffic following suit?

Even if your product or service isn’t the best fit for an app (if it is, get on that today), people are simply spending more time on mobile than they ever have. B2C and e-commerce companies have certainly heard ad nauseam that mobile is an essential part of the purchase funnel, and companies with any kind of brick-and-mortar or local angle have been beaten over the head with that fact as well.

But let’s say you’re an online-only B2B company targeting people with 9-to-5 desk jobs. Those people are still researching, both actively and passively, at all hours and on all devices.

Get yourself in front of them any chance you get — including on mobile.

3. You Have All This Amazing First-Party Data And Don’t Know What To Do With It

Let’s say you’ve got a super-robust CRM (customer relationship management), a healthy base of customers, beautifully segmented email campaigns — and you’re not spending much on Facebook, Twitter, video or display.

Maybe you tried one or more of those channels in the past, and they didn’t perform well. Maybe you’ve saddled yourself to a last-click model, and you’re just leery of anything that’s not at the very bottom of the funnel.

It’s time to rethink: You’re sitting on a gold mine of data. The targeting options available to you have exploded — for example, think Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences, Google’s Similar Audiences, and Twitter’s Tailored Audiences, where you can go prospecting for folks who look a whole lot like your existing customers.

And if you are wedded to the bottom of the funnel, you’d better be using first-party data on some powerhouse RLSA campaigns.

4. You’re Targeting Leads, Not Paying Customers

Lead gen companies that aren’t optimizing against paying customers — rather than just leads — are missing an opportunity. Tying your CRM to your marketing campaigns will help you weed out sources of junk leads and identify which channel’s leads are paying off most handsomely.

The bonus here is that you can refine your first-party data to paying customers, not just leads, which makes options like Lookalike Audiences, Similar Audiences, and Tailored Audiences even more on point.

5. There’s A Hot New Channel To Try!

I’m sure Pinterest advertising is going to be a highly effective channel for lots of visually friendly brands — but I wouldn’t advise most brands to pour money into it just yet.

Yes, you should always keep your ear to the ground for new advertising options. But in many cases, we’d recommend being in the second wave of adopters.

New channels are often buggy, with unrefined reporting and even fraud (remember how Facebook’s stock tanked initially?), and if you don’t have unlimited budget, you might as well let the brand monoliths invest and surface the issues before you dive in.

That said, the newer the channel, generally the cheaper the CPCs (cost per clicks); there are some huge advantages to being an early adopter. The trick is to find the balance of being early — but not too early.

6. Your Competitors Are On More Channels Than You

Nothing prods companies to action quite like the knowledge that their competitors are doing something they aren’t.

And while we wouldn’t recommend building an entire strategy on copycatting, it’s not a bad idea when you’re doing media planning — especially if your competitors are targeting the same demographics.

7. Some Channels Were Built With You In Mind (But You’re Not Using Them)

If you’re a B2B and you haven’t at least dabbled in LinkedIn ads targeting by industry and job function, well…you might want to check it out.

If you’re pitching a highly visual product or brand and haven’t explored Facebook or Twitter video, YouTube, Facebook’s multi-product ads, and Pinterest’s Buyable Pins (once they’re more widely available), I’ll say the same thing. And if you have a big, sprawling catalog of products and you’re not on Google Shopping, that initiative should be at the very top of your to-do list.

Of course, there are many, many more indicators that your media mix needs a refresh, but the above list should be a good place to start. Happy diversifying!

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Scott Rayden is the Chief Revenue Officer for 3Q Digital, a Harte Hanks company, and is responsible for leading marketing, sales, and the overall revenue growth of 3Q Digital nationwide. Scott spent the past 7.5 years as the Founder and President of iSearch Media, a leading digital marketing agency focused on consumer behavior, search marketing, analytics, and data visualization. iSearch Media was acquired by 3Q Digital in 2014.

Scott brings 14 years of experience in digital marketing, management, M&A, and business development to 3Q Digital. Prior to founding iSearch Media in 2006, Scott worked at Quinstreet and LeadClick Media (acquired by First Advantage for $150MM), two of the largest digital marketing agencies in the country

(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)


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