Since the dawn of marketing, all businesses have been trying to do the same thing, get a potential customer's eyes on their brand, and keep their brand in front of them. Modern marketing may have started with a booth at fairs, print ads in newspapers, and 30-second TV spots, but today's advertising is very different. The Internet requires a vastly different approach to traditional marketing.
Recently we caught up with Brian Carr, who is a Business Brand and Development specialist for several industries and the sports world, on this very topic. Here is what Carr had to say: "Today, sales and marketing have integrated into business development. The relationship is the performance of creative engagement of the physical with digital experience.
" With the advent of the Internet came the beginning of big data, and marketers have learned to use all of that performance data to influence clients' decisions. "Much like sports, where we keep a 'score', marketers now have a similar score board," said Carr.
So, how has the rise of big data helped marketers substantiate their marketing efforts?
"What's great about harnessing data is that it is a visualization for how a strategy within a format is performing and being used. For example, every major professional and collegiate organization as well as apparel manufacturer utilizes this to enhance the fan experience. Bringing that data to your client demonstrates just how effective their investment is," says digital marketing professional Brian Carr. "Data dashboards were not available just a handful of years ago. This data approach has also made it possible for individual marketing firms to be compensated based on their performance. Much like the game of football, we always know down, distance, time, and score as well as the personnel and units performing. This opens a lot of doors; it is making it possible for a lot more opportunities."
Is all of this data a good thing? Isn't it overwhelming, or too much noise?
"Yes, absolutely it's a good thing- as long as you know what to do with that data and navigate it once you've collected it, it is absolutely a good thing. Years ago, it was less of a good thing, because marketers didn't know what to do with it," Carr explains.
How a marketing campaign is performing is the benchmark metric in today's modern online advertising world. Performance-based marketing, or advertising in which the client pays when campaigns achieve measurable results - instead of simply buying ad space and calling it a day - has been on the rise over the last few years. This was the birth of affiliate marketing. When it's easy to measure user actions resulting from advertisements, a performance-based structure simply makes more sense.
Brian Carr and other industry insiders know that affiliate marketing is one of the most effective performance-based marketing styles around.
Affiliate marketing essentially involves websites advertising a business for a commission; the affiliates are then paid based on the performance of the marketing efforts. This usually amounts to visitors (potential customers) brought in by the affiliate. Most affiliate marketing setups involve an affiliate network that manages offers for the affiliate to choose from.
Another type of performance-based marketing that is gaining traction is content marketing, or "a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience, with the objective of driving profitable customer action. The key here is the execution of distribution strategy.
With traditional, in-your-face hard sell advertising becoming less and less effective in the fast-paced and instant attention getting world of the Internet, content marketing has emerged as an innovative way for brands to reach their target audiences.
And it's not just about reach, but also about influencing and gathering information on customer behavior.
That's where the actual content comes in. A banner ad that tells people to shop at a hardware store is obtrusive and oft-ignored. But if that same brand were to publish a piece of content in an article, white paper, infographic, or video (such as creating a tutorial on a branded YouTube Channel) that discussed summer home improvement strategies and tips, then you would have content marketing. "This is what I call relationship engagement, whereby the advertiser becomes a resource to the customer and creates a client who returns for more information/education and follows with more product and/or service purchases."
The most important thing about content marketing is making sure that the content is both high quality, relevant, timely and informative. The best content marketing transcends advertising, and can simply be seen as good content. That's the end goal.
In the past, one of the drawbacks of performance-based marketing was confusion between brands and publishers regarding the performance metric itself; in other words, disagreement over the analytics.
But now that those systems have improved and marketers know what to do with all that data, experts like Brian Carr assert that performance-based marketing is fast becoming a preferred method and will accelerate in the future.