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Online Marketing Research Framework

Online Marketing Research Framework

The shift to digital marketing has created an explosion of data. Whereas with traditional advertising we might have a longer feedback loop with less granularity into what is working, digital gives us near instant results. The tradeoff for this can be a firehouse of data streaming at the digital marketer.

The tools and concepts we’ve covered in this section can be overwhelming. Let’s take a step back and provide a framework for how to leverage this data versus drown in it.

Getting Customer Insights

The crux of online marketing is empathy. Know your user and what their pain points are and you can develop content and social media activities that speak to them. Ignore this simple idea and it’s likely a huge waste of time and money will be the result.

Tools: User Persona, Social Technographics

Understand Why People Go Online

It has been said people go online for two simple reasons: to answer a question or get an update.

For many brands answering a question is a tremendously powerful way to engender loyalty by educating them and providing value up front. This typically happens on-site and the device of the user may be a smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer.

For the user scenario of getting updates, this is where Social Media and Email Marketing can serve a valuable purpose. Use the Social Technographics tool to set expectations here.

It All Starts with Keywords

Think back to ZMOT and the rise of the amount of searches people make prior to a purchase. Being present at the ZMOT in the search results is consistently one of the most cost-effective ways to acquire customers today. Here again, the user persona helps guide what content needs to be created to earn this engagement.

But as we’ve seen, just putting up a website doesn’t guarantee traffic or engagement. The Beginner’s Guide to SEO showed us how important things like links and optimizing each page for search is critically important for climbing in the rankings. The Long Tail approach to picking keywords is particularly powerful for driving up traffic across a plethora of keyword phrases.

Tools: Google Keyword Tool, Google Trends,, Open Site Explorer, SEOmoz toolbar

The Foundation

Digital marketing is inherently driven by technology. Technology can be expensive (but is always falling due to Moore’s Law). However, custom-built technology requires highly-skilled labor which is very costly. Doing our homework upfront helps ensure we don’t custom build an online brand experience that nobody will interact with. Facebook, Gmail and Twitter are very real competitors for anybody online as they suck up so much of our time.

Our next section will deal with Strategy and by doing our Research first, we’re in a great position to make calculated guesses for acquiring people’s attention and hopefully converting it into revenue (the whole goal of marketing, same as it ever was regardless of the technology involved).