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Life Stages of Digital Marketing: Infancy to Maturity

Published: June 4, 2013

Author: Michael Yates

Having been with PPC Associates for over a year, I have picked up on the various strategies clients are using to roadmap their growth and brand awareness through starting in our Search operations and moving over to our Display channels.
Something that’s become apparent is the various ages/sizes of companies and their marketing needs that seem to mirror our own.
The first stage that clients, PPC Associates, and I started with was infancy, supported by Search and Direct Response pushes. Smaller clients can easily see results with direct response as they are placing their copy or remarketed banner directly in front of eyes that are already looking. It doesn’t take much to start in the game, and the segmentation and control of Search are quite impressive.
PPC Associates, on the other hand, started with a couple of guys consulting for clients and disrupting how Search was performed. On my own tack, I began my career in digital marketing using Search as the springboard. Once each of these three entities grew past pure DR efforts, where did we all go next?

Diversifying after Search Success

Once clients begin to see satisfactory, even impressive, growth from Search, they will usually start asking an account manager about awareness initiatives, large product launches, and how to best utilize their larger budgets. Depending on the client, of course, often the next step in this maturity cycle is testing larger Display campaigns.
If the clients already have their feet wet in Google’s Display Network, we can easily convey the value in approaching users through ad networks outside of Google’s purview.  I can imagine that a client on the upswing enjoys hearing the idea of premium buys being negotiated on the strength of their offering and brand. At PPC Associates, our Display team is growing to match the growth of our clients and our experience with branding feeding direct response. Layers of service are being built, and we are surprising clients with how holistic we are in addressing their needs.
As for myself, I learned Search with Google and Bing and found my curiosity piqued as our Display team grew. Now, I’m a relative veteran of a fast-growing team, and clients are more willing to invest in prospecting and direct buying of inventory as they grow with us.

Branding a Community

Next, and this is speculation, a brand needs to focus on interaction and community.  We have the demand generation and awareness bases covered with Search and Display, so we will then want to help create an entity that people will want to interact with and become a part of. The population loves swag from a brand they feel connected to. Creating a solid Social channel with brand managers and client services teams builds an entity that can say they are personifying a  “life-style.”
I think our next steps at PPC Associates, and really any business if you’ve followed this path by the cards you have been dealt, is being the stop where a client can grow through direct response, public awareness of value, and then becoming a name that people enjoy being a part of. Naturally, not all client needs will follow this path and some may find themselves satisfied with only one choice out of the three, but this cycle feels like a natural growth for both PPC Associates and the clients we serve.
Growth, after all, is the business we’re in. Treating it like a budding life cycle helps us see the whole picture and outline steps to make it something we can be proud of.

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Chicago, IL 60606(650) 539-4124


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