When I stepped in to manage 2X’s advertising campaigns six months ago, my first assignment was to lower the cost per lead - and keep it at a stable average. This was a task which required close collaboration with the content writer, graphic designer, marketing operations manager, and data analyst.
Huddled together in the small meeting room in our old office back then, we pored over performance and demographic data to retrospectively understand what worked and what didn’t. At various points, we felt overwhelmed by the many possibilities, and went off on various tangents where the data took us. But all complex problems can be broken down into parts. The key is to begin with the end in mind.
Lesson 1: Everything is Quantifiable – A True Story
What was the best way to reach our goal? With the surrounding glass walls as our writing board, we devised a structured solution to plug cost leakages at every point:
- The ad copy / design
- The landing page
- The content offering
- The audience and placement
- The bid, budget, and other settings
However, just as we were about to implement the new initiatives, we were faced with another challenge: a client had halved our advertising budget. With $10k spread across multiple campaigns in both LinkedIn and Facebook advertising platforms, we had to work with only $33 per day per campaign.
This time, we had to rethink and identify the key metrics that mattered. It was not an easy task, but the journey pushed us to find solutions:
Are desktop or mobile users more responsive? Is our audience more engaged at certain times of the day, or on weekdays or weekends? Can we exclude low performing audiences by age groups, job titles, or industries? How can we shift ad spend around to leverage on cost-effective methods?
These formed the foundations for future advertising efforts to be truly data-driven.
Lesson 2: Always Be Testing
Today, across all marketing channels, and for all our clients, every campaign is in a constant state of testing. We do this to gain more insights on how to improve the results for our clients. Twice a week, teams meet to analyze campaign performance and share insights, contributing to the growing collective knowledge pool in 2X. Our flat organizational structure encourages access to one another - keeping doors open for cross-team collaboration, and forging paths for talents to grow internally. As our clients grow, we grow too.
A lesson I have learned in conducting A/B tests is the importance of a documentation system. For every variable change, we must start with an objective, a hypothesis, and a record of actions taken. Secondly, while it may be tempting to test multiple variables at once, caution must be practiced in attributing causation or correlation.
Lesson 3: Asking 'Why Not?'
Is it true that marketing for B2B halts during the holiday season? This is a known best practice passed down through the grapevine of expert marketing gurus’ blogs - and, well, it does make sense. I was not expecting many responses on our clients’ paid advertising campaigns, but this time, I decided to leave them on partly to see if it was a myth after all.
Within a few days, to my surprise and delight, clicks started coming in for one of our campaigns - at only $3.90 per click! This is unheard of for ads targeted at high-value prospects, and we couldn’t help but virtually high-five each other. It turns out that there are top executives at work in between festivities - and with less competition in the ad auctions, we got that chunk of the pie for a fraction of the cost.
It is discoveries like this that keep me on my toes. I am reminded that each of our clients is unique, and in order to best serve our clients’ marketing goals, we need to stay flexible and open to possibilities.
What do I love about my job? I enjoy producing quality work that adds value to our clients’ customers. I enjoy working with a diverse set of individuals who bring fresh perspectives. I enjoy the positive curiosity and humility to learn. I enjoy the ‘hackathon’ culture where if a solution doesn’t exist, we build it ourselves (or ask Sean to build it).
I enjoy mentoring others and watching them grow in ownership of their projects and in trust earned from clients - and in turn, they inspire me with new ideas and lend me courage to practice more assertiveness.
Some days, it is easy to forget that we are changing the landscape of the digital marketing scene in the States and beyond. To me, digital paid advertising is not rocket science. The challenge is in the thought that goes into each marketing tactic which makes up the sum of an integrated brand strategy; and a team that has the courage to ask, 'Why not?'