Your company makes money by scaling what you do and limiting the costs associated with whatever you provide.
With any product or service, scale depends on the systematic completion of a series of tasks — think of the efficiency brought about by the adoption of the assembly line. As a result, we use technologies to assist in scalability and definition of process to ensure the consistency of delivery.
Process is great. It’s the rock in monetizing service delivery. But in interactive marketing, change is the status quo and over-developing a process can lead to competitive disadvantages through a lack of proactive analysis and interpretation.
I’m a firm believer in leveraging technology to expedite and ensure consistent delivery of repetitive tasks. But I’m also a firm believer that you need creative and expert oversight over those repetitive tasks to ensure they’re the right tasks to execute.
Too many times I see companies executing stale best practices for a variety of reasons, including a lack of internal expertise to know better or being stretched too thin to be able to audit and adjust. When systematic falls short, creativity needs to kick in.
The art behind the science is questioning and evolving the process.
At my company, one of our best practices is to re-evaluate our best practices every few months. I ask the up-and-coming hot shots to pick apart our established methodologies to get a fresh perspective and come up with revelations to startle us out of the bliss of ignorance.
What happens if you don’t stay on top of the game? Consider a few examples:
Case 1: Website Meta Data
Old school search engine optimization (SEO) involved the systematic placement of meta keywords on every page of your website. Over time, Google began to devalue meta keywords, eventually deeming them a non-factor.
Despite this evolution, companies continue to pay employees to comb through their websites and define meta keywords on each page. Depending on the size of your site, understanding the devaluation of meta keywords and the associated shift of value toward content generation would have saved a lot time and money.
Case 2: PPC Product Feed Campaigns
Prior to the rise of product listing ads (PLAs) and keyword-less ads, a common practice was to leverage a product feed to create product-level ads. Feeds would update daily and product-specific keywords and ad groups would be paused and availability changed.
A few years back, AdWords released keyword-less ads leveraging Google crawlers to cache page content and enable ads for products available for purchase. Users set ad templates and the system did the rest.
Companies continue to pay for product feed solutions when free solutions are available. Just knowing the toolset available to you for free can save you money.
Case 3: Attribution Modeling
Ad servers are selfish. Everything they touch gets cookied and credit is taken for any associated transaction.
Managing to profitability using ad server conversion data is most likely a gross misappropriation of revenue and could be potentially losing you money. Tools like Google Analytics offer custom attribution modeling to understand the incremental value of a conversions associated with a given ad server.
Companies leveraging attribution modeling tools are able to manage their paid marketing programs to a true profitability metric, whereas those still giving their ad servers 100% control are operating under a false pretense. In the example above, AdWords tracking is grossly over-representing attributable conversions relative to a more honest position-based attribution model.
In business, winning is a team sport. When all is well, everyone is happy. But losing is a solo venture — people can’t wait to point the finger at the root cause. Vetting your process doesn’t mean redefining the wheel — you just have to ask the question, “If we were going to rebuild the wheel, would we do it like this again?”
If you don’t have in-house expertise to constantly evolve your processes, it can be beneficial to get an outside perspective. Bring insight from experienced individuals from other departments into your operations. Give them the necessary background knowledge about the basics, and be open minded to their suggestions.
If you suffer from a lack of internal resources, there are myriad consultants and agencies that would be happy to weigh in. In fact, one of the more common practices for PPC and SEO agencies is to offer a free opportunity analysis or audit.
Maybe they won’t blow you away with new ideas, but hopefully they’ll get your brain churning. What do you have to lose?
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.