How Brands like Apple Could Be driving Higher ROMI

I recently wrote an article about using call to actions to measure and track the effectiveness of marketing and to report return on marketing investment (ROMI.)

The article mentioned how marketers often omit or poorly market call to actions in their advertising,  this is particularly true in above the line marketing (ATL), such as billboards.

Recently, exiting London’s Trains Station Paddington, I noticed that Apple are running a  campaign to promote their new iPad. In actual fact, I am considering purchasing the new iPad and so this advertising was relevant to me.  They are advertising using billboards, and I have also noticed they’re running TV adverts. Not low cost.

Their advertising covers several billboards beginning from the train station exit to the main road. The imagery is great, however, I noticed they haven’t included clear call to actions on their advertising, if any at all.

“Considering the latest iPad?”

The two disadvantages here are that, firstly, they’ve lost the opportunity to capture my data as a potential customer. They could have promoted an information campaign landing page, with a unique tracking friendly url, which I could have visited as a prospect to find out more. The page could have requested my contact data and wouldn’t it be great if they could have followed up with an email to move me along the buying cycle, enticing my consideration?

They could have promoted their Facebook fan page for the UK market, had I have seen the Facebook page url I could have joined it and they could have kept me engaged and their brand/ products relevant to me with regular updates in my newsfeed.

Secondly, Apple now have no idea that I saw their advertising. Perhaps the security cameras caught me snapping up these billboard adverts with my iPhone, see below! At best I could see the words “Connect from iTunes”.

I do adore Apple’s marketing, after all, what other company can entice consumers to queue for a product? Of course they are doing extremely well as a company and perhaps they have no shortage of marketing budget. I do believe many large organisations could track and measure the results of marketing effectively by using simple call to actions, particularly consumer brands. This would also enable them to build their customer databases and improve customer relationship management (CRM).

It really is as easy as ABC to track the effectiveness of marketing. Using call to actions is a great start!




Categories: Advertising, Budgeting, Global Marketing, ROMI | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Are your call to actions delivering #ROMI? #LeadGen

What is a call to action (CTA)?

The “call to action” is one of the most important concepts in marketing and promotion.

Simply put, after you’ve established that you have something of value to offer and that you’re the perfect company to deliver it, you want to ask your prospect or customer to take the next step.  You deliver a call to action (CTA). A CTA  is the message which tries to convince a person to perform a desired action immediately —often the next step that a consumer/business should take toward the purchase of your product or service.

On digital communications CTAs are often in the form of attractive buttons. CTAs also offer methods for consumers or businesses  to communicate with a company/ brand or to respond to an advert, they’re interactive.

Why use a CTA?

Omitting a CTA from marketing communications typically leaves the target audience unclear on the appropriate next step, which results in dismal response rates and less than optimum return on marketing investment (ROMI). If you do not use CTAs you cannot take the contacts, interacting with your brand or advert, onto the sales cycle journey. You will lose the opportunity to collect data, build your marketing database and follow up with contacts or convert prospects into sales.

Fluffy CTAs

CTAs are a basic concept, however, I still see companies using them ineffectively.

It is far more easier to get people to click on CTAs on digital marketing content, and there are ways to improve click through rates i.e. by keeping them simple, placing them above the fold, making buttons attractive and using strong incentives or offers like free whitepapers  gadgets or the opportunity to attend an event online or offline.

I still find it all too common that billboards,TV advertisements and radio ads omit or use ineffective call to actions. Above the line is certainly not low cost and so I often wonder why and how a company either  is not using a call to action, or isn’t making  the call to action painfully clear on the creative, or hasn’t used a unique call to action to track traffic for that one particular piece of creative. For example, sometimes a company’s main website is the CTA, sending traffic to the main company website domain with offline ads makes it impossible to tell where the traffic has come from, it also opens up a host of other issues too, visitors may get lost on the main website and advertisers may lose conversions, data and leads.

I’ve lately seen billboards promoting company Facebook pages,  as CTAs, and Twitter hashtags, again I have issues here. You may be able to track how many new users have come to your company Facebook page since running an advert, they may find your offer/ advert on your Facebook page, however, they may get lost, the likelihood of that is high.

Twitter hash tags are great for conversations, and I guess advertisers can find out how many  people are engaging in conversations about their brands, but my query is how do you capture data for these contacts, move them along the sales buying cycle? I do love hashtags, but I’m not sure if they’re place is right in the context of advertising and as CTAs, especially if the purpose of the campaign is to drive sales. They may be great as secondary CTAs but I don’t think they work effectively for lead generation.

Effective call to actions:

Using inbound phone numbers, email addresses,  unique vanity/friendly URLS (driving respondents to landing pages) for the purpose of tracking, are very effective  for the purpose of capturing responses, leads and converting contacts into sales. It’s often effective to drive traffic to customised landing pages, contacts cannot get lost on simplified landing pages which clarify the further action users should take upon arrival, they should be optimised to ensure high conversions. Further call to actions should be above the line and offers advertised on media or ads directing users to the landing pages should be easy to find.

If an offline adverts is within a prospect or customer’s reach you could test a QR code as a CTA, they’re encoded with information which can be used to automatically trigger a range of actions on the user’s device when scanned, including:

  • Enabling a contact to view a mobile website or landing page
  • Dial a phone number 
  • Send a Text Message
  • Send an Email
  • View a message or special offer
  • Download contact details (VCARD)

Compelling offers:

In order to get people to follow your CTAs you need to use incentives, e.g. offer discounts, competitions, an event or a free whitepaper.


Responses to CTAs from various pieces of creative should be traced individually and measured for effectiveness. This can be done by:

  • Using and tracking  click to  individual vanity/ friendly urls per offline piece, which should redirect to a main landing page
  • Adding tracking code to your landing pages/ emails to determine which online advert/ email has driven the most traffic
  • Using promotional codes on creative so that when a contact follows up they can use the code either by entering it into an online tool or when speaking to a call centre agent – enabling advertisers to track where the response has come from


Effetcive call to actions and follow up should enable you to capture marketing contact data and enable you to identify the creative that a contact has responded to, you should be able to update your markeitng database with this data, which should be used for nurturing, follow up programs or lead generation


Alternatively, you may not need to nurture a contact, they may buy directly from your landing page or call centre agent, however, data should be captured and stored in any case for follow up, cross sale, upsale opportunities and future marketing.


Effective call to actions measure what’s working (or not working) and which marketing creative is generating the highest return on marketing investment (ROMI). Call to actions should not be an after thought, they should be key to the creative and the user journey. They should always encourage users to provide their data. Repeating the point made earlier, omitting a call to action from marketing communications, or making the call the action unclear, unconvincing, or using ineffective CTAs, typically leaves the target audience unclear on the appropriate next step, which results in dismal results and less than optimum return on marketing investment (ROMI).

To find out more about call to actions, ROMI and  B2b Digital marketing in a global context, you can read Emerging Business Online, Global Markets and the Power of B2b Internet Marketing an New York FT Press Publication.

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Categories: Advertising, Lead Generation | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

#B2b #GlobalMarketing localised #BannerAds and #LandingPages

black keyboard

The popularity of web banners may be declining in the US and developed markets, however, in other “emerging” global markets they still work well to drive traffic to landing pages and to generate business leads.

The integrated campaign:

Web banners should always be part of your global marketing integrated campaign, i.e launched with integrated email shots, event collateral, print ads and social media content- the look and feel of all of these pieces should be consistent. They work well in new markets by reaching and engaging new audiences. They can be used to encourage users to click through to predefined websites or preferably optimised campaign landing pages.

Banner ads can also be used on your internal site to highlight key promotions. They can be used throughout the buying cycle. They should increase brand consideration by encouraging visitors to click through to campaign landing pages for further information and the opportunity for follow up.

You should always use an offer to entice a click through. The visitor should be able to find the offer easily on your landing page, think what’s in it for them- you offer them something and they give you their data for follow up.

Media placement

Before engaging an agency to buy media placements on the web, work with partners or your local sales teams to clearly define your campaign’s objectives  the user interest and overall proposition.

Engage a local marketing or PR agency to find out which sites are the best to use for advertising to reach your local target audience. Local media agencies will also be able to advise you on costs and where your competitors are advertising, plus the traffic for various sites.

Capture contact data for follow up

Data for some emerging/global markets is still rare to acquire and so ensure you capture visitors’ data. Data-capture forms should be embedded on your campaign landing pages. Keep the data entry fields on the form limited so that you don’t lose the user, it may be the first time for them to interact with your brand. The questions on the form should be in local language and you can capture data in local characters, however, your database should be set up to capture local characters in advance. Test before launching to ensure it works well and to ensure a good user experience.

The journey

Determine hat the user journey should be, make it simple, define what the follow up should look like and how much traffic you expect to click through. Make sure you have resources in place to follow up the data before placing the banner ad, the follow – up piece of marketing content should exist and users should receive it after submitting their data. Ensure trust on the thank you page with messaging and branding – again use the local business language.

Bounce rate

Even if you achieve a high click-through rate and a high amount of traffic to your site for the duration of the campaign, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve achieved your objectives. A high number of visitors can sometimes be perceived as a good thing and some agencies will have you believe you’ve “raised awareness”, but you need to understand the contact’s interest once he or she arrives on your landing page. If you have a high bounce rate (people exit your page immediately after arriving) coupled with high traffic, that’s negative. You want them to stay on your page and follow your call to action. Take users on a journey. Plot what that looks like on paper. Take them to a data-capture form; offer a download, whitepaper, competition, freebie to entice them. Emerging markets have large young populations and so cool gadgets can entice high click through rates, however, they can also drive poor quality responses and so it may work better, for B2b products, to use something like a whitepaper, how-to guide, for example, best practice again is to localise, copy should be in local language, the message should be easy for the target audience to understand and the proposition should be right for the market.

Add contact details on your page like a local phone number to increase trust or live chat software if you have the resources so that you can engage in conversation with visitors in real-time.

Landing pages should be optimised

The landing page should be relevant and targeted to the user in the local market. Ensure call to actions are clear, do not link to your main company website or use a scroll, you want people to stay on that page and to take action, ensure call to actions are above the fold and repeat them on the page.

Ensure call to actions buttons are attractive.

Experiment with using videos on your landing page. Test different landing pages in parallel using an A/B split, one of your banner ads should send traffic to the “original version” of the landing page and another banner ad should send users to an an alternate version. You can tweak the call to action on the alternative version, or the messaging and see how conversions compare to the original version. You should test one variation on the alternative page. Measure results and use the page with the highest conversions for the full duration of your campaign.

Local sites, local content

In some countries, website owners might not accept banners that are not localised or the banner might look strange if it is not in the local language. In any scenario, images should reflect the local culture. Make sure the creative and message is accepted by the local culture, localise your landing page and use colours or images that are culturally accepted. This will increase click through rates and conversions.

Social proof in new markets

Social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, GooglePlus ,Pinterest and LinkedIn are popular worldwide, you can check usage per country for some of these tools by referring to Add those social media share buttons to your landing pages so that visitors in new markets can share your content with their peers increasing exposure for your campaign and the likelihood of conversions.

The benefits of effective web banner strategy in new markets includes the following:

  • Can reach global markets
  • Gathering prospect data
  • Piggybacking established, tested popular sites in local markets with established targeted traffic
  • Allowing your business to be compelling to local markets
  • Building brand awareness
  • Improving future campaigns based on data collection
  • Can be creative

Targeting, message and last but not least…

As with any media, make sure that the timing is right. You don’t want to buy banner space during a local holiday, for instance, when traffic may tend to dip, or during a low sales period.

To find out more about B2b Digital marketing in global markets, you can read Emerging Business Online, Global Markets and the Power of B2b Internet Marketing an New York FT Press Publication.

Hard copy:

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Categories: Advertising, B2b, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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