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“Today’s marketing world might as well be Westeros”

With an ever-growing demand for consumer reach, today’s marketing world might as well be Westeros (GoT fans, you know what we’re talking about). Competition, treachery, and earning loyalty are all at the forefront of our industry.

Competition is scary. There is always a risk that someone will do what we do faster and better, becoming so powerful that they take control over the King’s Landing of marketing. But even if you are a lone Targaryen or a privileged Tyrell or Lannister, there is always a way to turn your e-shop into a moneymaking empire with the right technologies and strategic planning in performance-based marketing activities.

#1 Winter is coming – competition is a natural way to develop your business

Do not rest on your laurels – the primary rule for building any empire. Thinking you are safe is as dangerous in King’s Landing as it is in performance marketing. Growing a business today requires a lay of the land, command of innovative technologies, and new strategies that adapt to the digital world.

By keeping online business in a perpetual state of the Stark’s House Motto “Winter is Coming”, owners can retain a competitive edge, benchmarking business performance to operate at maximum. In order to make strategic moves that will give you a sustainable competitive edge, there must be valuable information that you can analyse.

The Night’s Watch in Game of Thrones serves the purpose of watching over Westeros’ greatest threat, and alerting the kingdom to any threats such as the White Walkers. In digital marketing, there are similar tools that help identify the potential threats and opportunities, allowing business owners to react to changes in their market, audience or competitive pressures.

But is your marketing safeguard a Samwell Tarly or a Jon Snow?

Competition within your own business providers ensures the best results. There are a ton of marketing and remarketing solution providers out there, but an effective Night’s Watch means you have all the cards in play and know how they perform.

For instance, multiple retargeting and social retargeting are just some of the new ways to ensure your campaigns work to their full potential. When using multiple retargeting strategies, all of your providers must focus on delivering transparent and effective results. With additional data streams, you can benchmark the average effective costs of sale (COS) between the service providers, as well as other measures.

#2 Choose your alliance wisely – make your activities more goal-oriented

When competition is not present, we often resort to laziness, which can be destructive to our motivation.

Robert Baratheon’s storyline is the result of laziness creeping up, as other Lords sit and wait to usurp power. The candidates to the Iron Throne boost their strength by banding together with the right allies (House Baratheon-House Lannister or previously Lannister-Tyrell, just to name a few), while identifying – and crushing – the competition.

In the real world, you also need good allies to succeed. Whether these are vendors, technology providers, or consultants, your success relies upon people outside of your company.

Modern companies use a multiple-strategy building alliances wisely with many tech providers. They focus not only on a short-time perspective but also a long-term approach to remind old visitors (brand awareness) or to bring back visitors during peak sales periods (seasonal purchasing). It helps keep a brand top-of-mind as users browse the Internet, and likely keeps those visitors coming back if they did make a purchase in the past.

When considering what allies to choose, remember that different retargeters offer different flexibility in your goal strategies. You can have different short-term goals determined by your mid- and long-term display marketing assumptions. Making deals with more than one, and having many alternatives brings better results.

#3 “Once you have accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.”

In the Game of Thrones, only Jon Snow gets a second chance at life. When a potential customer is dropped from targeting, or when you are not optimising your digital campaigns, you are slowly losing them to competitor marketers that are faster and smarter at reaching them. By mastering multiple-retargeting strategies, you can cover your weak spots and stay at the forefront of commercial competition.

Today, almost every e-commerce player uses retargeting as a way to multiply their revenue. But it comes down to how smart your approach is. Because every retargeter is different – they may use completely different algorithms, user segmentation, and unique creatives – they bring wildly different results.

One tool may be better in reaching a certain group of users, while another will be more effective when appealing to another group of potential buyers. It comes down to algorithms in the end, so mastering a multiple retargeting approach (or at least using two) will ideally yield results that do not overlap with the first provider, while covering the weaknesses of the other.

#4 “Every flight begins with a fall.”

Crafting a retargeting strategy that beats out the competition is not easy. It takes weeks or months of iteration, data analysis, and some failure, to get to the point where optimization finally becomes possible. Once those painful points are overcome (and they can easily be beaten), your business will experience hyper-optimised revenue growth without injecting any more ad spend or budget towards your goals.

The author is Daniel Surmacz, COO, RTB House.

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