Where to spend marketing budgets online – Big Questions

At the start of the Internet revolution there were limited choices for website surfers. Yahoo, Netscape and in 2004…Google peaked with 84.7% of all search engine requests. How times have changed.Facebook now claims 800 million users with 50% checking in every day. Recent reports from Pew show that 83% of all Americans own a cell phone and 51% use their phones to gain instant information. By 2012 one out of every two cell phones will be a smartphone. A recent study by Webtrends suggests:

…social and mobile networks will dominate the online traffic landscape in a big way…The game is no longer about the comforts of your website’s ‘Walled Garden’, but about the risks and rewards of arriving on the social network.” Webtrends -article.
So what does this mean for your website presence? Where do you allocate your budget and resources? How is it possible to have a share of voice in social media, mobile, search engine optimization and paid search at the same time? 

As the Internet continues to explode and fragment, it is more important than ever before to ensure your company has a solid footing in all of the channels [as mentioned above] or risk loosing branded website traffic and new visitor website traffic. It is not just traffic you stand to loose…it is sales, conversions, leads and return on your online marketing investment. How can you gain footing in all of these spots without taking away from others? The simple answer is you cannot. 

Budgets need to be reallocated to target the online markets. Your target market is already online by means of cell phones, tablets, portables and yes, desktops. Where is your budget? Take a look at your traditional media spend and revise your plan to include more online opportunities versus less track-able forms of branding and advertising. 

There is no perfect solution to finding your audience and converting them into a sale, lead or other metric. But the fact is the Internet is where the money, people and opportunities are. If your site, company and brand are not online in mobile, social, SEO and other forms of paid advertising…you simply do not exist. If the current trends continue it is very possible that your company may cannibalize itself into nonexistence. Why would this happen? By not paying attention to what and where your audience is…the chance of eating yourself from within due to inaction increases exponentially. 

So what can you do to work within these spaces and attract your audience? Allocate the resources or perish. Find someone within your company who can work on your social media and communicate with fans and followers. Work on your website with new and fresh content [no excuses] by way of blog entries and new articles. Use paid search and “click to call” to target both search engine results and the mobile audience. Of course all of this depends on what your key performance indicators, goals and company objectives are.

I’ve long said, “Situation dictates situation.” Deep analysis, accurate tracking and resources all play a major role in how you attack the ongoing shift in the online realm. The fact is you can no longer ignore the online space and allocate less to these online channels. More than 10% of big brand budgets are now allocated to online marketing efforts. I would recommend more than 20% to 40% should be dedicated to Internet efforts. Again, situation dictates situation. The facts are clear ~ take on the online space, measure, improve and succeed or risk being eaten up internally and by your competition.