Why treat your Digital Advertising spend as an unused Gym membership fee?

Happy Thanksgiving 2014-StratoServeJust as the holiday season is getting underway in the US with multiple parties to attend, people are eating and drinking more than they should. At this time 2015 seems just round the corner and everyone is firming up the  "join the gym" resolution for 2015. Wait… you realize that you already pay a monthly fee for the gym .. it's just that you don't go to the gym. So you don't go to the gym even as you guiltily look at the monthly credit card statement. Savary,Goldsmith and Dhar (forthcoming Journal of Marketing Research)  call the phenomena "self signalling," where you hate to admit that you don't go to the gym to yourself. Then why continue to pay for the gym membership that you do not use ? Well, it make you feel good…

Digital advertising spend is very similar. It's really easy to set up a digital spend program be it Google AdWords, a paid LinkedIn subscription or Facebook advertising. The  DIY ( Do it yourself) possibilities of the web encourage businesses and non-profits to think that they can do digital advertising on their own. Sure, they can. After all these are smart people and given enough time and focus on a regular basis there is really no reason to hire a digital agency. Also spending on digital advertising seems to be the in-thing to do and makes you feel both high tech and good.

The problem is that folks running businesses and non-profits have two choices viz. (a) focus on achieving your mission or (b) try to do as much digital marketing as you can – without a paid agency.

We have seen numerous Google AdWords accounts that spend between $300 to $600 a month that is charged to their credit cards- exactly like the unused gym membership.  The total per year exceeds $5000 that is not paltry. Yet entire campaigns are run with one solitary Ad for months when it does not cost anything extra to try out as many ads as you like.

So here is a toast to the holiday season that is a season of giving for non profits, buying by customers from businesses and generally a time for joy and cheer for all   as 2014 draws to a close. For 2015 here are some early resolutions for digital advertisers and all the gym dodgers out there:

  1. Eat less (if possible) and show up at the gym. Once you show up, you tend to work out because everyone is doing it. Join the closest gym possible – make things easier to do.
  2. Review your digital advertising spend. You need to just look at the itemized report of the credit card you charge the spend to. Remember that it is far easier to create advertising content including web content, photos and videos today. Deploying content in digital advertising is not a hassle at all, even if you are a DIY (Do it Yourself) advertiser. 
  3. Review your campaigns every week if you are a DIY. Make it a fixed "to-do" thing on say Friday afternoons as the week is winding down. See what is working and what is not by looking at your Analytics data.
  4. If you are too busy with your organization's mission  hire a digital agency who will do the work for you. The better agencies will spend a few minutes on your campaigns and web data every day like a daily gym workout.
  5. Set up a routine monthly review meeting with the digital advertising agency, your social media and web person every month. This way content on your website can be aligned to your initiatives, any new products or whatever you are putting on priority in your organization.

If only one could hire an agency to go to the gym on one's behalf …

We wish our readers a Very Happy Thanksgiving!

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