A 7-Step Battle Plan for Small-to-Medium-Sized Agencies
Takeaway notes from an AMA sponsored webinar. By Aliza Bornstein, copywriter, Melissa Data

The online marketing and advertising world continues to grow at an extremely rapid pace, and marketers are continuing to migrate dollars from traditional forms of media into online. This is driven by marketers and advertisers wanting to use a more effective type of media, in addition to consumers—where consumers are spending their time, and how they are consuming media today.

Agencies—small and regional—are in a great position to take advantage of this growth, but are also presented with a unique list of challenges:

• Tasked with broadcasting a brand or message around ongoing corporate initiatives or new marketing launches, etc.
• To a variety of outlets and targets.
• Using various methods, resources, and technology.
• Proving effectiveness of approach and good ROI.
However, with so many options, today’s marketers need to leverage agencies that understand the complicated landscape and new platforms that now make online advertising a cost-effective part of this landscape.

There are many different strategies and channels that can help your clients succeed online. Here are seven of the most promising and easy-to-implement approaches:

1. Display advertising
This is bought advertising where you actually pay for what you get. This includes online display, PPC, video, and mobile. It’s a form of Internet marketing that appears on Web pages in many forms, including Web banners.* These banners can consist of static or animated images, as well as interactive media that may include audio and video elements. Adobe Systems Flash or .gif are the preferred presentation formats for such interactive advertisements.

There are many benefits to the client and agency including:
• Create brand awareness.
• Scale with your business.
• Can be easy to create—just like search ads.
• Deliver measurable results.
• Offer powerful targeting capabilities.
• Make your search ads work better.
• Can be changed and optimized in real-time.
• …and more!
As Internet usage grows—and it continues to grow every year!—there’s more and more inventory available for this particular medium. There’s also more targeting availability.

2. PPC
Paid search is an Internet advertising model used with search engines where advertisers typically bid on keyword phrases relevant to their target market.* It has become like the new Yellow Pages and is also a form of bought advertising. Three huge players—Google, who has the lion’s share of the market; Bing; and Yahoo!—make up the majority of all paid search advertising that you can do in the market today.

Benefits of PPC:
• Most targeted form of bought media available.
• Generates traffic immediately.
• Is easy to set up and implement.
• Is extremely flexible (keywords instantly adjusted, added, or deleted).
• Is typically very economical compared with more traditional advertising strategies.
• Easy to track performance and adjust as needed.
• Doesn’t require big investment in creative or come with high media minimums.
Limits of PPC:
• Can be expensive (top keyword on Google=$100/click!).
• Often “over credited.”
• Can be competitive (“coats” has 909 advertisers bidding for it; only 10 results on page 1).
• Limited scale (percent of time people search versus visit to Web pages).
• Little brand impact.
3. Video
Video advertising refers to advertising that is served either before, during, or after a video stream on the Internet.* The advertising units used in this instance are pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll, and all of these ad units are like the traditional spot advertising you see on television, although often they are “cut down” to be a shorter version than their TV counterparts, if they are run online.

Benefits of video:
• Rank well in search engines.
• Stand out from the competition.
• Create interactivity and user interest.
• Let others advertise for you by Word of Mouth (WOM).
• Instruct and educate.
Limitations of video:
• Challenging DR performance.
• Creative costs high.
4. Mobile
Mobile advertising is a form of advertising via mobile (wireless) phones or other mobile devices.*

More and more consumers are getting their interactive content using a mobile device. The amount of time consumers spend on social networking sites and other site-related content on their PDA’s is growing at enormous levels. As these PDA’s get larger and larger screens, the use of graphics and mobile ad units is growing every day.

Benefits of mobile:
• Campaigns are relatively easy to create and execute.
• Are effective with high open rates.
• Can be personalized.
• Are complementary to other types of marketing.
• Encourage viral marketing with links to social networks.
Limitations of mobile:
• Limited calls-to-action.
• Limit standardization (different platforms, handsets, etc.).
5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a Web site from search engines via “natural” or un-paid (”organic” or “algorithmic”) search results, as opposed to search engine marketing (SEM), which deals with paid inclusion.*

Benefits of SEO:
• Very high return on investment (ROI).
• Long-term positioning (versus ongoing cash outlay).
• More sales from visitors.
• More targeted traffic.
• Increased brand visibility.
• Faster Web site (validated and optimized files).
• Improved usability.
• Increased accessibility.
• More “crawlable” by the search engines.
Limitations of SEO:
• Takes a long time to build organic traffic.
• Hard to move the needle quickly.
6. Email
Email marketing is a form of direct marketing which uses electric mail as a means of communicating commercial or fundraising messages to an audience.*

In its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing. However, the term is usually used to refer to:
• Sending emails with the purpose of enhancing the relationship of a merchant with its current or previous customers, and to encourage customer loyalty and repeat business.
• Sending emails with the purpose of acquiring new customers or convincing current customers to purchase something immediately.
• Adding advertisements to emails sent by other companies to their customers.
• Sending emails over the Internet using network email and wireless network email.
Benefits of email:
• Allows for tightly focused targeting.
• Is data-driven.
• Drives direct sales.
• Increases sales conversions.
• Generates repeat sales.
• Creates up-sell and cross-sell opportunities.
• Builds relationship, loyalty, and trust.
• Supports sales through other channels.
• Let’s you gain valuable feedback.
• Drives offline purchases.
• Quick and cost-effective way to test market messages and offers.
Limitations of email:
• In-house lists are very limiting.
• Lots of laws and regulations.
7. Social Media
Social marketing is a term that describes use of social networks, online communities, blogs, wikis, or any other online collaborative media for marketing, sales, public relations, and customer service. *

The four main aspects of social media are:
            1. Advertising on social net sites like Facebook and MySpace.
            2. Content creation on social net sites like Facebook and MySpace.
            3. Blogging.
            4. Twitter.

Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, Wikipedia, Orkut, and YouTube are all common social media marketing tools.

In the context of Internet marketing, social media refers to a collective group of Web properties whose content is primarily published by users, not direct employees of the property. (e.g., the vast majority of video on YouTube is published by non-YouTube employees.)

Benchmark and evaluate your messages and your competition’s message. Respond with proactive brand management (both positive and negative); immediately address what others are saying; win fans, customers, and advocates. Contribute by being a thought leader and starting the conversation around trends, technologies, ideas, etc.

How do you make sure your agency “gets it?”
            1. Understand the focus areas and benefits.
            2. Understand some of the key players in all major areas.
            3. Formulate an approach that aligns with your agency philosophy.
All definitions with an * are provided by Wikipedia (

---Source: American Marketing Association webinar Mar. 10, 2010 ( Keynote speaker Jamie Lomas is the VP of Sales and Client Services at AdReady. Reach him at

Melissa Data

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