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Advertising is based on one thing: Happiness

You have settled into 2011 and gearing up to implement the marketing plan you completed in 2010. But hold on! The Internet has changed again!

This is a fast paced digital world we live in – but perhaps we need to take a queue from Don Draper, our favorite MadMen Ad exec when he says “Advertising is based on one thing: Happiness.”

Why is this relevant now in the age of an exploding online medium?  Let’s just take a breath, re-group and bring it back to basics. There is content coming at us fast and furious – whether its Mobile Apps and Tablet Marketing, or Viral Video’s, or Facebook, Twitter – and what about YouTube and Foursquare? How do we really make consumers happy now?  Is it still as simple as delivering on a promise and providing a product or service that makes your customers happy?

If so – how do we engage with consumers who are changing their online user behavior as quickly as Facebook changes its profile layouts?  I have had numerous conversations with clients who are second-guessing where they allocated their marketing dollars because of the following:

FEAR of missing the next big thing.
RESOURCES – both financial and human.
CONFUSION about what tactics to focus on as the online world shifts again – and again – and again.

My advice? Bring it Back to Basics:

1. Know Your Customer (and make them Happy)

• Check your website analytics for top referral traffic and focus on building on them and building more target referral traffic.
• Use a social media monitoring tool like Radian 6 , Revinate or free tools like Google Alerts, Twitter Advanced Search or others to listen to your customers and understand how to make them happy.
• Allocate time and resources to understand changes in how your target audiences are researching and transacting online.  Read and educate yourself about digital marketing tactics that work.
• Most importantly, if you’re taking the time to ‘listen’ to your customer’s online behavior – be sure you act on that information. Simply monitoring the conversation without adjusting your strategy will not help you understand how your consumer wants to receive your messages now and in the future.

2. Keep Your Eye on the Prize. Understand Your Objectives

• Are you looking to increase sales? To build a new audience? Launch a new brand? Increase brand engagement?
• With all of the new tactics available to marketers today, it is more important than ever to set specific and measurable objectives for campaigns. (It makes me nostalgic for the Mad Men days really)

3. Stick With What Works
• If you have already developed an active Twitter following and you’re seeing ROI (in sales and or website traffic etc) keep going!
• Roll it out across your other brands, build a team of Tweeters to help in building and engaging your audience further – think about what would take a successful campaign to the next level.
• If Google AdWords campaigns worked well last year to drive targeted traffic during need times, or to sell specific packages or products – build on it and do it again with a new twist, or put more dollars towards it perhaps instead of a tactic that did not perform as well.

4. Don’t Forget About Search

• Although Facebook has surpassed Google in user time spent online, the World Wide Web is a complex Ecosystem that is constantly growing and changing.
• Focus on making sure you have a strong web presence across all online channels that help to guide your consumers to transact.
• Ensure you have taken care of the basics like search engine optimization, good creative and content, Google Places optimization, a good mobile version of your website etc. and then you can focus on other channels to build your traffic.

5. Integrate. Integrate. Integrate.

• Make sure you integrate your campaigns online and offline.
• Your brand’s digital footprint should have a consistent tone, creative brand message, and should always drive your target consumers to transact.
• A Facebook page with 2,000 followers is only successful if it allows you to drive transactions and build engaged followers. Consider a contest through a customized tab, or a strong call to action or offer for your Facebook community only.

5. Measure + Measure + Measure and then Adjust

• Measure against successes from 2010. Make sure you have defined Key Measurables in place (such as increases in unique visitors, increases in time on site and pages visited or increased sales.)
• Did you launch a new Blog that has increased traffic by 20%? How do you grow it from here or how do you encourage more transactions on the website as a result of the Blog traffic?
• Have your efforts on LinkedIn increased leads to your sales department?
• What can you do to ensure you grow these successful marketing channels?
• Do the tactics outlined in your Marketing Plan work to build on what you have already started? (Perhaps you have allocated budget to building a linkedIn Company page or display advertising campaign to further grow and engage your base of followers, or you have allocated more resources to Blog more frequently.)

Keep it simple – stick to the tactics that will help you achieve your objectives and don’t worry about all the noise.

It can get overwhelming to look at all the marketing tools and tactics that are available to us today. If you execute marketing programs efficiently, with the proper focus on measurement of ROI, (very do-able in the age of digital marketing) you may have the confidence and extra resources to be able to adjust and try new things.

To take a lesson from Mad Man, Don Draper – Budget + target demographic + medium = time for a scotch.  Just make them Happy!

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