Digital marketing did not get more complicated. If anything, online marketing is easier than ever and this has opened up entirely new challenges.
About 10 years ago, the product offer of the individual channels was less broad than today. Google was known for its text ads, Facebook for image+text posts; fairly straight-forward. But as user numbers grew, so did the marketing possibilities on the individual channels.
However, it is not clear what the core strength of each channel is. While Facebook is more focused on building communities, Google is more focused on providing information. But one thing is clear: both Facebook and Google are able to capture leads, promote individual products and build communities.
Full journey‘s within one channel
The focus on individual channels rather than overarching strategies has led to more complexity for marketers. It is no longer possible to say that organic growth is better or paid search yields better results; it depends on the product you are offering and your customer segments.
Instead of focusing on channels, in 2022 marketers should focus more on customer segments (personas), understanding the customer journey, their target markets and overarching strategies.
It is not a question of which channel to use, but how to utilize the marketing-products online (social)media platforms offer to support the customer in making the right purchase decision.
Attribution modeling cannot be done on a channel level
Marketing and direct sales are often confused, because the role of communicating the product USPs and raising awareness for the existence of the product/service are underserved. When we look at why customers have purchased a product, it usually wasn‘t one particular event, but a series of touch points.
These customer touch points are vast. What triggers the sale might not have been what has initially caught the attention of the user.
In 2022, it will be common to see customer touch points spread across a wide range of online and offline channels.
Compared to ten years ago, attribution modeling has become more channel focused. This is mainly due to the fact that each channel has become its own (smaller, or larger) media-ecosystem.
In order to understand customer behavior well, marketers can no longer work with a general attribution model for the entire marketing funnel. Each channel must have an individualized attribution model because each touch point has a unique impact on the users' journey towards the purchase decision.
The attribution model must be based on the customer journey and not solely on channels or touch points (which are merely entry points).
I believe that we will experience an increasing focus on individualizing attribution models for each channel as well as for different stages of the customer decision-making process, in 2022—and onwards.
Online marketing has not become more complex, but its focus has shifted from an omni-channel focus, to single channel ecosystems (FIRST). For teams who are extremely skilled in one ecosystem, it can be difficult to value new ones, correctly.
Companies and marketing teams need to learn how to measure and report on each channel individually, as well as the customer journey taken through those channels. We now live in a world where we can use data to make better decisions and impact the customer experience and their decision-making process.
Investment will shift from channels to actual touch points – within the individual ecosystems – which means that we will need to prioritize and re-evaluate our touch points.
It's not your channel strategy that should guide your marketing decisions, it is the customer journey you should focus on, within the individual ecosystems, first. After that, you need to understand the impact of the various media ecosystems, on one another.
All in all, we have a lot to look forward to. As marketers we have to be aware of the role the various ecosystems (can) play in targeting the right potential customers, and know that it can be a viable strategy to go all in on one particular channel, too.