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Digital marketing and brand marketing have a lot in common. They both aim for the same results, follow similar processes, and share the same mindset. To help our clients succeed, we need to embrace digital opportunities together.

Where do we start with strategy development?

Understanding the business, its nuances and audience – ultimately, who are your customers? This can include everything from demographics, interests, search intentions and keywords to what they are in the market to buy online. Add in the rise of predictive audiences and you’ve got a melting pot of factors to consider.

This will result in a well thought out SEO and paid search keyword strategy, plus an audience strategy which takes into account how the two services can and should complement each other.

Maybe SEO will focus more on broader keywords we wouldn’t consider including in our paid search keyword strategy? Paid search could be geared towards transactional keywords which are too challenging to rank well for organically? Identify keywords which have high cost-per-clicks (CPCs) and look to be unprofitable, to see if it’s possible to focus on these in the organic search strategy. This approach minimises cannibalisation and should change as the landscape evolves to ensure PPC & SEO remain working in tandem.

Content & UX: Brand versus digital

We can’t talk about SEO without mentioning content. If you want information on any given subject, you may read an article, watch a video or all manner of other things to find the answer. Let’s avoid the famous “content is king” phrase, and instead think about this; “useful, relevant content which answers my questions is king/queen” instead.

One of the cornerstones of a strong SEO strategy is a content plan, and a sensible one at that (not asking you to write 50 articles a month!). Using the aforementioned keyword research, we build a plan that ensures there is relevant content to match those keywords and the user’s intent.

Any time an SEOer wants to review some content, I hope it doesn’t put fear in the hearts of brand marketers. It really shouldn’t. Ultimately, it’s about users – not search engines. Being respectful of brand guidelines and creating content which is in-line with these is crucial to success. Balancing quality content and a user-friendly website is challenging, but possible.

Add to this demonstrating expertise and authority and your brand can quickly become a trusted source. This is especially true in restricted industries such as finance and healthcare.

Take Airbnb – you visit this website to book somewhere to stay. There is minimal content, and what is there is to the point, useful and relevant to what you are researching. It might feel simple, but that’s clearly purposeful.

A new perspective on insights and performance

Naturally, clients want to boost sales, income and profit while being super-efficient with the spending. As digital marketers, it’s sometimes hard for us to strike that balance but it’s a necessary balance to find. With more privacy changes and automation in our day to day, the platforms require a lot of data to make the ads perform. Sometimes, to grow your campaign performance, you must sacrifice granularity.

But you want to find out which message works best for which audience. Which audience is bringing you more valuable sales for your business? How can you do this if you have only one strategy? Finding the optimal trade-off between achieving client goals and insights from is difficult and it’s important to recognise that.

Adapting to ad policies

Ad policies are guidelines that regulate the content and location of ads, and they are sometimes a pain for Paid teams to navigate, especially as the policies differ from platform to platform. It’s essential to know these ad policies to make sure we cooperate with them, not oppose them.

This is also a great opportunity for SEO to step in. For instance, there might be keywords that a brand wants to target, but ad policies prevent us from doing so. We could try to rank for them organically instead!

Data, data and more data (please?)

Marketing activity must be driven by data. No debate.

Data helps marketers make decisions based on evidence. Data can show marketers what works and what doesn’t, and it can help them adjust their campaigns accordingly. Digital marketers should be open to sharing their insights with brand marketers as it can help them shape or refine their brand strategy.

It may seem like data is becoming less valuable or inaccurate, as third-party cookies are fading away and more people are aware of how companies track them online. That’s partly true. Sure, cookies are not as common as before, but big players like Google and Meta will use methods like data modelling to create audiences and insights so digital marketers can still access a lot of useful data to fuel their ideas – it’s just processed differently.

How do we measure success?

Before we get to that – the first step is to understand what success looks like for the business. It’s vital these conversions happen right at the start of the relationship. With this information, we can create goals which are much more applicable to their overall vision.

There are many ways to measure the success of a marketing campaign. It’s important to choose the metrics that are most relevant to the objectives of the campaign and the overall goals of the business.

There’s often a debate between volume and return. Do we want as much traffic as possible? As many impressions as possible? Or maybe we want to generate the most leads or sales possible. It’s important to find a balance between volume and return that works for the business and ultimately, their vision.

Experiments, brand lift surveys and incrementality testing are all methods that can be used to measure the success of a marketing campaign. Experiments can be used to test how effective different marketing strategies are. Brand lift surveys can be used to measure the impact of marketing campaigns on brand awareness and perception. Incrementality testing can be used to test the validity of different marketing channels.

Avoid assumptions and test everything

One of the biggest mistakes we can make as marketers is to rely on our gut feelings or intuition. We might think we know what our customers want, need, or like, but we might be wrong. For example, you often see people place generations all under one stat. “76% of Gen-Zs like tomato ketchup on their chips”. But just because you’re within the same age bracket, it doesn’t necessarily mean you like the same things.

That’s why we need to use data to validate our hypotheses and guide our decisions. Data can help us understand who our customers are, where they are, what they do, and how they respond to our marketing efforts. We can use data to create customer personas, segment our audience, optimise our channels, and measure our results.

We can also use data to test different variations of our messages and designs. We can then refine and improve our marketing campaigns based on what works and what doesn’t.

Let data decide, not your gut.

Balance volume and return

Another challenge we face as marketers is finding the optimal balance between volume and return. We want to reach as many customers as possible, but we also want to make sure that our marketing campaigns are profitable. That’s why we need to use ROAS (return on ad spend) as a key metric to evaluate our performance.

ROAS tells us how much revenue we generate for every £ we spend on advertising, whether that’s on Facebook, Google Ads or anything else.

However, ROAS alone is not enough.

We also need to consider the margins and profitability of the products or services we are selling. We might have a high ROAS but a low profit margin, or vice versa. We need to find the sweet spot where we can maximise both volume and profit.

Collaboration between digital marketers and brand marketers is key

Both specialisms require differing skill sets, but we work so well together. Digital marketers are skilled in using data and technology to reach and engage with customers online. Brand marketers are skilled in creating and delivering compelling messages that resonate with customers emotionally. By working together, we can make a brand sing.

We can leverage each other’s strengths and overcome each other’s weaknesses.

We can make each other’s jobs easier and who wouldn’t want that?