How Much of Your Budget is Digital?

In December of 2016, just 25% marketing budgets averaged 70% of their dollars to digital efforts. 11% of those polled responded their budget less than 10% digital. Yet nearly half of the marketers cited content development as a leading tactic in their marketing.

80% of marketers in North America name lead generation and brand awareness as their top reasons for content marketing. But it isn’t enough to develop compelling and engaging content if you don’t take steps to bring your audience to it.

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Ensure that your website is mobile friendly. The smartphone is the preferred access point for 87% of users. If your site can’t be easily viewed and your content easily found while in line for coffee, the site and its architecture needs work. You must build the foundation for your business first, and that foundation is your website.

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Use pixels wisely. A re-messaging pixel is simply a device for finding someone that visited a page of content a second (or third) time. What you re-message these visitors with should be consistent with content they read, and over time introduce new topics and calls to action. These re-messages can drive your audience further down the funnel, introducing concepts or products that will pique interest. But don’t lean to heavily into this budget. Dial the re-messaging up too high, and your audience may be served multiple messages from you on the same page—wasting your precious dollars.

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Social Media is a great place to start if you haven’t dedicated much of your budget to digital. With it you’ll learn how to target an audience, set a budget, and even list-match. These concepts can be expanded more broadly in digital display messaging, as you (and your budget) are ready. But don’t expect to “post and run.” Social media is a long play: you can’t disappear for weeks at a time. You must pay to play in this space, though you can start very small.

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Open the digital floodgates. Sync your social media efforts with your digital display ones, using your learnings about what is most engaging. Segment audiences that you know have a propensity to convert, and experiment with frequencies to influence them to do so.

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Whatever your budget, recognize that when used properly, digital can dramatically reduce the amount of waste in your marketing spend, by highly targeting your exact audience and serving messages in their natural internet travels. Lower cost per acquisition? Check.

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Transitioning Marketing Tactics or Agencies: A How To Guide

Every campaign has a season, and a ceiling. It’s unrealistic to believe that a marketing tactic, piece of creative or strategy will never need refreshing. Even those that measure the outcomes of their efforts diligently eventually reach a point of diminishing returns. As you transition from one tactic to another, or in some cases from one agency to another, you may want to keep this in mind.

To eliminate disruptions to services and outcomes, consider keeping existing active campaigns live until the new material is launched. In this way, you won’t have a period of “darkness” where your constituents aren’t hearing from you.

Use goals to establish new tactics, not gut or the proverbial “squeaky wheel.” This will inform strategies to optimize campaigns, close segments or tactics of a campaign that are underperforming. Measure, and measure again. Then optimize. Repeat. Don’t believe the anecdotes you hear from stakeholders unless they can be proven by your data.

Think about the macro versus the micro goals. Macro: more visitors to the site. Micro: inquiry form fills. This will help to prioritize the frequency required, and which groups you must influence to generate that activity. Clearly articulate these goals among your existing team and your agency team. It will dramatically refine your relationship and your partnered activities.

Put your old and new agencies in touch with one another. These are professional adults, and should be able to work together to maximize your transition. Both parties have or have had your best interest in mind, and the more visibility you can offer the new service providers into the old strategies, the better.

Whether you are simply adjusting your marketing goals, changing channels or introducing something new, have a new partner to bring on board, it’s important to keep these elements in mind.

Retailers: Use Your Owned-Data to Improve Results

It’s easy to overlook the value of your Point of Sale (POS) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems when assisting a guest in your store. Seeing others requiring your attention — whether staff or client — can seem more important in the moment. But using your own customer data, you can finely tune the message to your existing clientele, dramatically improving the yield from relationships you already have.


Using your own customer data, you can finely tune the message to your existing clientele, dramatically improving the yield from relationships you already have.

You know intrinsically which SKUs or inventory items are most popular. You probably have a sense of the profit on these items. But would you know the characteristics of the individuals that purchased these, in order to create more clientele that are looking for similar items?

With data, It’s possible.

What about direct marketing efforts that could anticipate or even suggest that a client you know will make a visit to the store?

Understanding your Client List

Trends can rapidly become apparent when you study reports from your POS or CRM. Understanding the characteristics of those individuals making the purchase is what will make your marketing work better. The more you can build creative messaging and marketing placements around the most popular pieces of inventory, greatest profit margin items, or personality type of the purchaser, the more effective it will be.

The more personal information you have on an individual client, the more readily available they will be to you in the digital space. With a name, email address and phone number, Facebook and Instagram can find and message that person. As you act on growing your client base, these segments can be used to find audiences that share characteristics with those you already have, allowing you to message those that “look alike.”

Just like revenue is grown one sale at a time, a great marketing strategy is grown one data point at a time. It is crucial that you fully understand your audience targets, their behaviors and motivators, media consumption preferences, and predictive performance metrics. To do so, insights gathered from your data should be used to inform and guide the entire strategy. The end result is a strategy aimed at the right people, at the right times, in the right places that delivers on your goals.

Priorities of B2B Marketers

If your B2B company is like most, you care about lead generation, return on investment (ROI), or brand awareness when developing marketing strategies. In fact, 67% of B2B marketers cite lead generation as the number one priority of their marketing spend, but only 39% of those same companies have a formal marketing plan in place in 2018.

How are your tactics measuring up? In 2017, 205 respondents representing business-to-business marketing professionals named email as their top lead generation tactic.

Efforts Named Most Effective For Lead Generation

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With pay-per-click (PPC), print, retargeting and “other” representing the bottom of the list.

With the top three tactics correlating directly with content development (or enhancing the search path to that content), and 31% responding that email was the single channel driving the most revenue growth, developing relevant and engaging content should top your list of priorities.

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2018 Digital Marketing Trends

Who is your most valuable audience? Your digital strategy should lead them directly to you. But the landscape changes quickly. How do you keep up? Here’s our take on actionable insights you can (and should) incorporate into your marketing strategy, including advances in online display targeting, content marketing and video.

Technology Changes the Nature of Online Giving

Understanding your audience is the sacred piece of any puzzle. Who are your donors, and what drives them to engage with your organization? What characteristics can you count on your donors to have, and how can you strategize to find more like them? As the digital agency of record for a large mid-west nonprofit organization, Advance 360 began with these questions.

But there were real goals to solve. Donor relations is becoming even more important, but with resources waning, the hand-to-hand nature of these relationships is being eclipsed by a desire to drive transactional gifts. These automations, when done well, can still feel personal, allowing staff the time to concentrate on the kinds of relationships that might still require them to be present.

Such was the case for our client.

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This activity was generated in Q4, 2017, and compared to the same periods of the prior year.

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Creative Strategy

These results represent a creative shift as well. With the personal connections missing, it became increasing important for the creative to generate the emotion that might have been conveyed by discussion. Stories about how contributions served individuals in the community became the currency of the engagements. Multiple stories were tested, and determinations made on the value of each based on their conversion metrics. Optimizations were performed in accordance with the best performers, amplifying the work of single stories and pieces of creative over time.

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As is often the case in nonprofits, budgets must be fluid based on audited revenue from previous years. In Q4 2017, the organization needed to decrease spending by 20% over 2016. Even with this decrease, the Return on Investment (ROI) improved by 2.8 times.

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Essential Tools for Marketing Managers

Marketing Managers have a lot to juggle when planning and executing their business strategies. From developing content marketing to managing campaign schedules, developing quality creative and tracking its performance, campaigns can become overwhelming, fast. Use these tips on ways to streamline these efforts and keep your project management affordable.

Creating Engagement Through Content

Content Creating Engagement Through Content

In digital marketing, the best way to sell your product or service is by not “selling” at all. Instead of always asking your customers to buy, you can become a resource for them, by sharing valuable information or just something fun. For example, a car dealership could produce a used-car buying guide, or a dentist office might distribute kids quizzes on how to prevent cavities.

This information is called “content” and whether delivered through a blog post, social media update or video, it’s the heart of any successful digital marketing strategy. Consider that 50% of consumers report that a company’s content has a positive impact on their purchase decisions.

People spend more than 1,000 minutes per month watching online videos with the 18-24 and 25-34 age ranges leading the pack. Video consumption continues to rise, to the point where video social media network YouTube has become one of the leading search engines on the web. Educational institutions need to understand how their audience is consuming content online, and the fact is that more people than ever are watching videos for both entertainment and education. And with video content being among the highest converting metric, can you afford not to utilize the power of video? (Read on about video content marketing here, with this article from Advance Ohio.)

Nearly 90% of all brands use some form of content marketing, according to the Content Marketing Institute. Whether a mom and pop shop or Coca Cola, businesses recognize that this vital marketing resource helps them connect with their customers, generate more sales leads and grow their business.

Smartphones Take Over

Smartphones have transformed us. We are anxious, even edgy, if we are without our phones, panicked over the potential to be disconnected. We use these devices for the functions once performed by specialized technologies: music players, e-book readers, cameras, and gaming devices. Smartphones have shifted our culture, changed our behavior, and connected us globally. We reach one another differently, manage our personal lives, and share ourselves with others using this device.

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