One of the greatest challenges that I face as a marketer is the task of convincing business owners that the key to success in marketing their business is understanding the fundamentals of marketing on a conceptual level. They all want the secret sauce and a fast pass to skyrocketing their sales, but if you have been in the game for more than a minute, you know those are all just cheap marketing fairy tales.
The advantage of understanding marketing on a conceptual level is simple. You must learn how the system works as a whole instead of understanding what each button does. The basic idea is that you learn the fundamentals and focus your resources on the core, not on the small details. When you think big, you think about scaling, you think about massive growth. Scraping that extra dollar from one “secret hack” won’t get you very far. On the other hand, once you see how the market works in cooperation with the system and not against it, you will find it easier to produce growth and success.
So what is conceptual marketing understanding anyway?
In short, it’s about being aware that the real value lies in the knowledge of how advertising platforms work and the basic logic that they all share. From there, you can use that knowledge as a base for action to produce powerful marketing strategies and campaigns.
Second, you need to understand how dramatic changes made by advertising platforms (led mainly by Facebook) have shaped the way you buy media in the 21st century.
Here are the core fundamentals you should be aware of:
- Marketing is objective-based from the start. This means that by implementing pixels on your website and tracking every single step or event, marketing platforms will be able to optimize and adjust the performance of your ads strictly based on your goals. This means that anything but your final objective becomes irrelevant.
For example: If your objective is to get purchases, the cost per impression or per click is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is your cost per purchase and your return on every dollar spent. You wouldn’t care if a click costs you one dollar or ten cents if it brings you ten times the return on investment, right? Of course not – it’s the same thing.
This also means that your objective remains the same from day one. You don’t start your campaigns with the objective of raising awareness and then circle back to the same users with a purchase objective. It will only harm your performance and will end up costing you more. Objective-based marketing is designed to target your main goal from your first ad.
- Targeting happens behind the scenes and is automated. On most platforms, even if you don’t select any target, your ads will be targeted towards people who are likely to be interested. Stop spending hours on trying to create over-sophisticated structured campaigns. Less means more. Big brands that spend millions a day use very little or no targeting at all. Understand that the algorithm on most major marketing platforms will work better with minimum human interference. Today’s marketing platforms thrive when they get as much freedom as possible. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes. Every segmentation or change you make just gets in the way of optimization and performance. If you have confidence in your product or service, trust the algorithms to find your audience, and focus your time on the offer and creatives.
- Creatives! Within the next few years, advertising will be done with the click of a button. In the span of a second, you will simply push the launch button and most marketing platforms will create a ready-to-go campaign that will laser target your exact audience. The only thing that platform won’t be able to auto-produce for you is creatives that sell. Creatives will always be the most important factor.
Our only advantage over machines is our ability to dream and be able to produce stuff that other humans will desire.
Just think of how much of a difference you can make with an engaging creative that will bring more people to your website for the same cost.
- Understand the value of the entire user journey. Most advertisers think that all they need to do is create a campaign and push the launch button, and wait around for results to come. Think of how many steps a user needs to take to complete a purchase or sign up for a service. Getting him to your website is only a small part of that journey. Every step along the way needs to be optimized. This means that product pages, click-through pages, checkout pages, and every step in between needs to be improved for best results. Most advertisers underestimate the impact a single improvement can make at each step of the funnel. Understand that every part of the funnel will directly impact your final cost per acquisition.
Modern marketing is objective-based, which means to measure its success, the only metrics you should care about are your cost per acquisition and your return on ad spend. Marketing platforms are data-driven and automate your entire targeting based on people who are likely to be interested in your offer. Create simple campaigns with very little restrictions, and focus on your creatives and your funnel.