Growing your business through digital marketing is an obvious, logical choice, but that doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to be safe or foolproof. In fact, there are so many pitfalls of digital marketing growth, there’s a real danger of doing something like trading legendary baseball player Babe Ruth.
Despite everything “The Babe” had accomplished while playing for the Red Sox, in 1920, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees for $125,000 and forgiveness of $300,000 in loans. (Some say he did it to finance the Broadway musical No, No, Nanette.)
What happened next is part of sports history: over the next 15 years, Babe Ruth had one of the greatest careers in the history of baseball. With him, the Yankees won seven American League championships and four World Series. The Red Sox? They didn’t win another World Series for almost 100 years, a dry spell attributed to the loss of Ruth and known as “The Curse of the Bambino.”
What does Babe Ruth have to do with digital marketing? Simply stated, Frazee failed to recognize the full potential of what he had and traded it away for a quick solution to a current problem. We see many smart marketers make this same mistake all the time.
Do you want to avoid getting sucked into this trap? We can help with that.
Pitfall: The Need for Speed
“Growth now!” seems to be the desire of every company we encounter. We want that for our clients, too… most of the time. However, if the desire for immediate growth becomes the sole focus of the marketing team, it can lead to unpleasant results. We’ve seen this pitfall claim quite a few victims.
A potential (un)Common Logic client was trying to scale their marketing efforts as quickly as possible. Up to that point, they had been focusing their efforts on a limited number of geographic areas. Their campaigns were running well and meeting their goals for return on ad spend (ROAS).
Following the mantra “if a little is good, a lot is better,” their team thought that if the local campaigns were expanded nationally, the trends they were seeing would carry forward. They expected the expansion efforts to look something like this:
Unfortunately, when things were rolled out nationally… the actual results looked like this:
Return on ad spend dropped from 180% to 120%, meaning that their paid search activities were barely paying for themselves and only generating a tiny profit. There were three primary causes of the decline in performance:
- Some of the ads did not perform as well nationally as they did in the local tests
- The quality of the leads dropped
- The client did not have the proper infrastructure to fully monetize the increased lead volume
The good news is that our team quickly rolled back the changes and worked through the issues above to a profitable conclusion. However, if a more gradual approach had been taken to the national rollout instead of an overnight switch-over, the issues above could have been solved in a less expensive manner.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself as you look to grow quickly:
- Are our accounts structured for growth?
- Does my team have experience in properly managing fast initiatives?
- Do we have the data to help us quickly assess if what we’re doing is working?
- Is the rest of our company prepared to handle increased volume if the marketing efforts succeed?
A “no” to any one of these questions should be a sign to slow down.