Q&A with Danielle Walton: Co-founder of Digital Marketing Agency, Adept Marketing
In this month’s partner Q&A blog series, 4-Tell’s marketing team sat down with Danielle Walton – Co-founder and Lead Strategist of a digital marketing firm, Adept Marketing. Named one of the fastest growing companies by Inc 5000 List of America’s Fastest Growing Companies, Adept Marketing has earned its reputation for being a ‘growth activation agency’ by executing campaigns with discipline and real-time data to deliver quantifiable sales growth.
You may be asking how our businesses are connected. Once Adept Marketing has identified the mix of strategy and tactics that will drive achievement and growth for their clients, they introduce 4-Tell’s personalization solution as a critical way to improve the online user experience and drive higher conversion rates.
Considering Danielle’s experience in digital marketing and wealth of knowledge about what it takes for merchants to be successful in today’s hectic digital landscape, we wanted to hear her take on the current state of digital marketing, common pain-points that merchants are struggling with and predictions about what’s to come in 2020.
1. We are halfway through 2018 – what popular trends are you seeing among the merchants you work with? What are some key focal points for their 2018 digital marketing strategy?
We are seeing several 2018 trends for which we planned. As is typical with digital strategy, there are many trends that run across channels. These include:
- Google Shopping continuing to dominate the SERPs (search engine results pages)
- The relevancy of good, usable content driving organic results (seems simple, but it’s amazing how many people think it’s still about gaming the system)
- The impact of Amazon, and the fact that it’s another distribution channel that needs to be planned and accounted for
- The continued impact of email (an old channel at 20+ years of age, but still a high revenue driver if utilized properly)
- The importance of conversion optimization and testing for a better web experience for customers
- The continued transition to purchasing higher-priced, luxury items on mobile devices
2. What area of digital marketing are merchants investing in the most? In your experience, what digital marketing activities have the best ROI?
This is an important and telling question. There is an assumption baked in here that retail merchants are currently effectively measuring their digital marketing activities and are able to clearly attribute revenue to the appropriate channel and ultimately make their marketing investments based upon the channels that produce the highest ROI.
To achieve this, it is critical that merchants have an effective measurement program, and that their analytics platform is accurately measuring all of the data properly in order to make the best decisions based upon ROI. Often, when we start working with clients, the tracking and measurement of their data are not accurate, and it’s the first place we start.
We see merchants investing heavily across all digital channels including paid search, shopping, search engine optimization, email, conversion testing and optimization and data analytics. This is where we see the best ROI. Of course, other channels such as social, display and retargeting are invested in as well, but it’s more challenging to see direct ROI.
3. Using real-time data in your campaigns is an integral part of how you fuel growth for your clients. When merchants first partner with you, how many of them are harnessing data to drive campaigns? How much does it impact their bottom-line once they do start using data to drive processes?
Accurate data is the foundation upon which we build all digital marketing strategies and tactics. When we start working with merchants, the majority of them are trying to use data in order to drive their decisions. However, it’s not always clear to them what data they should be utilizing, how accurate it is, and ultimately how they should base decisions upon it.
Once we work with them to clearly identify their goals – what they are really trying to accomplish with their business – then we can ensure that we are tracking all data points and metrics accurately in order to measure what is working and what isn’t. And then, we can finally make intelligent decisions about where and how they should be investing their dollars to get the best return.
The beauty of digital is that the channels can be measured accurately to know this information and make critical decisions as a merchant. The impact is massive once a merchant begins driving business and marketing decisions based on accurate data.
4. When you first start working with clients, what are some common pain points they’re looking to solve? What challenges are they trying to overcome?
It is very typical when clients first come to us that they are trying to solve what they believe is a tactical issue…such as “I want a better return on my paid search” or “My email channel should be driving more revenue than it does now” or “My website should have a higher conversion rate”.
While those are problems we can easily solve, we often uncover that these are simply symptoms of larger issues such as product/market fit, or truly knowing who their customer is, or what their broader strategy is for driving revenue growth.
We partner with clients to identify those larger challenges so that we can develop a holistic strategy that drives a higher level of growth that is sustainable beyond small tactical changes. Because our goal is to drive massive growth for our clients that is proven, measurable and sustainable.
5. When do you typically introduce 4-Tell’s solutions to your customers? In your experience, how do you see 4-Tell best deployed by merchants?
Once we have worked with a client to understand their goals, we identify the mix of strategy and tactics that will drive achievement for those goals. The mix of strategy and tactics that we recommend for e-commerce merchants typically includes the recommendation of 4-Tell as a critical way in which to improve user experience, drive higher conversion rates and allow for a more “shoppable or browsable” experience online. It’s truly a smart way to browse e-commerce sites.
In our experience, we prefer utilizing the best practices of the 4-Tell team and platform, combined with our knowledge of user experience and data analytics to ensure that we are getting the absolute most out of the platform. We have been very pleased with the results that have been driven by the 4-Tell platform for our clients.
6. Look into a crystal ball. In 2020, who are the successful merchants? In terms of their digital marketing strategy – and the overall customer experience – what specifically are they doing to be successful?
This is a great question. And I truly wish I was a future teller! Based on what we are seeing today, I believe that the most successful merchants will be those who are clear on what their goals, strategy and position for their business are. They will have a true product-market fit, and they will have a clear brand that aligns with the needs of their customers. They will understand who their customers are, what those customers want, and they will develop their products to meet those needs. On top of all of that, they will have a holistic digital strategy to ensure that their brand and product are everywhere their customer is. And on top of that, they will be driving a more personalized experience based upon the data that they have on their customer.
I recognize that is a lot, but I believe doing the items above will truly set the successful merchants apart from the mediocre merchants. Consumers are getting smarter every day, and their expectations continue to increase. Merchants have the opportunity to meet the needs of their consumers, and those that do will win.
To learn more about Adept Marketing, visit their website www.adeptmarketing.com