At times of crisis, marketing often feels the flack. It’s one of the first budgets to be cut and one of the most visible faces of a brand: get the communications wrong and the world will notice. At the same time, it’s also a function that, delivered efficiently and effectively, helps businesses bounce back in better times. A recent article I wrote for MartechSeries examined just how advertisers can prepare now to build business resilience in the future.
It’s vital that marketers take steps today to ensure that they remain relevant tomorrow and there is one tool in a marketer’s armoury that is all-too-often overlooked that can help them do just this. Feed management.
Getting the Digital Basics Right
It’s not the most glamorous of strategies but feed management is one of the most effective and deserves to be far higher up the value chain – if employed rightly. If feeds are something that a brand has ignored or let slide down the priorities list, then it is essential to get it back up and running as soon as possible. It’s vital that we get the digital basics right, particularly as consumers are migrating online at a faster pace than ever.
Post-COVID, it’s likely that this pace will slow, but new consumer behaviours are being consolidated: we’re all e-buyers now, as the UK’s Office for National Statistics stated in May, online accounts for one in every three pounds spent. As for those two other pounds, often the path to purchase will have started on a phone, laptop or tablet.
Your data feed should be the foundation of all campaigns and automation, so this is where you should start.
At its simplest, feed management is the building and optimisation of data to drive automated ads in the relevant channels and ad formats. The key ad formats that use feeds are Google Shopping, Dynamic Social and Dynamic Display, although realistically it is anything where you want to advertise on an individual item. This can be taken further by ensuring ads are always accurate, relevant and targeting the right audience irrespective of the channel or ad format.
Quick and Easy Wins
There are some easy wins to make your feed management more successful. One problem we often find is that disconnects between the teams managing the feed and the media make for miscommunication and, often, the spending of more money. Cutting out the layers of administration also allows brands to move to a more sophisticated set-up more quickly. Data maturity pyramids allow marketers to make more of the information that they have, particularly the increasingly valuable first-party data available, while creating a feedback loop of performance data into your feeds can enable you to make decisions at scale across channels, and the benefits will be iterative.
Once these strategies are set in stone, brands have the chance to do even more with their feed management. Third-party data can be onboarded to automatically change bids, budgets and ads, for instance. Think weather, pollen, fantasy football ratings, sports fixtures (now they’re back up and running) or social triggers – the list is endless.
These, and other suggestions which I outlined in the article ‘An unattractive marketing strategy that matters the most during the pandemic’, are simple, business-building measures that can be made with relatively little effort or budget. Times might be tight, but there is so much that businesses can be and do.