From an outsider’s perspective, digital marketing seems like a glamorous job. Teams design creative logos, unique taglines, and beautiful graphics to win over potential customers. Their days are spent bouncing ideas around in pitch meetings and watching their campaigns succeed.
However, the reality looks starkly different. Digital marketing requires an expansive knowledge of data analytics, finance, and industry-specific software tools. Marketers have to juggle a significant amount of administrative back-end work each week to keep their campaigns running. By the time you see an advertising campaign across the web, the copy, graphics, and placement have all been reviewed and approved by multiple stakeholders.
Often, this back-end work doesn’t get enough appreciation. As you evaluate your organization at the end of the year and plan for 2024, consider how much time you are allocating to these tasks and whether you can optimize them to give your team back some of their time.
Marketing teams do not operate in bubbles away from the rest of the organization. While most of your team reports to your marketing manager or CMO, their goals still need to be aligned with the rest of the organization. Specifically, the sales team and marketing department need to work together to make sure the efforts of one group support the other.
The marketing team often spends hours generating brand awareness and driving leads into the sales funnel, which the sales team is meant to close on. However, when the two teams have misaligned goals, these leads go to waste. The sales team either receives irrelevant and unqualified leads, so they can’t do their job, while the marketing team is left wondering why the sales department can’t close their deals.
When both departments work together, they can determine the best leads to attract and convert them into sales. In car dealerships, this might involve promoting specific models or types of vehicles — new vs. used, sedans vs. trucks, etc. Both marketing and sales teams also need to align their goals with other departments to ensure they are promoting the best products that can drive the highest levels of profitability.
Working as a team with aligned goals is only the first part of back-end digital marketing. The next step is to apply those alignment decisions to your marketing efforts. An effective digital marketing team will develop campaigns in a way that allows for shifting goals and priorities based on the needs of the business. Then, like a puppetmaster working a marionette, they will pull specific strings to adjust their marketing tactics to keep up with the rest of the company.
For example, your team could organize and audit your paid search campaigns so you can ramp up promotions for specific keywords while downplaying others. You could review your content assets to see which graphics and posts are ready for use or how they could be modified. Even your email marketing efforts can shift based on new goals.
Marketing teams are constantly trying to build infrastructure to make campaign management easier. SEO and social media teams have detailed content calendars and workflows that are designed to support asset creation from their initial ideas to their final approval. With a streamlined structure in place, your employees can focus more on the front-end aspects of digital marketing rather than getting caught up in back-end workflows and internal processes.
One of the most time-consuming aspects of back-end digital marketing is campaign optimization. Very few marketing tactics have a “set it and forget it” structure. Teams are constantly tracking their actual performance against their expected rates and looking for ways to reach their goals.
Marketing teams are also often challenged to do more with less. If they can get the same metrics by spending less money, they can reinvest their savings into new channels and unexplored strategies. These new outlets must also be tracked, optimized, and reported on.
There are multiple ways to optimize your campaigns, and the types of optimization you do will depend on your business model. For example, there is a significant drive in digital marketing to provide personalization and relevant messaging. This personalization ranges from retargeting potential customers to detailed email segmentation. As you look to optimize your marketing efforts, you might strive to offer a more personalized experience or reach several small groups of people instead of one mass audience.
Reporting and Analytics
Few people realize just how much time digital marketers spend tracking analytics and reporting on their campaigns. Adding real-time analytics in tools like Google can be addicting for some marketers, who obsessively track traffic throughout the day.
First, marketers often take daily and weekly snapshots of their campaigns to make sure they are on track with their efforts. This allows them to make adjustments as needed so they hit their goals. Then, teams develop monthly and quarterly reports to ensure their budgeting is on track. These high-level reports are often sent to other departments so they can better understand what the marketing team does.
The analytics reports are also the first place marketers look when something goes wrong. For example, if a department notices low ROI on its video marketing efforts, it might look at the average video watch time to ensure viewers aren’t bounding too early. The team might adjust the calls to action on these videos to see if that generates a different response.
Analytics tools demystify marketing performance, but it’s up to different teams to glean lessons from these metrics and apply them to optimize their campaigns.
The back end of digital marketing requires a surprising amount of financial know-how. Teams must track essential metrics like daily spending, ROI, profit, and gross margin. It’s not enough to drive endless amounts of traffic to your website. Today’s marketers are expected to convert customers and report on their sales.
This reporting and budget management becomes increasingly complex with businesses like car dealerships. In this case, the purchase process isn’t linear, which means a customer doesn’t watch one video or look at a single ad and then buy a car based on the information. Marketing teams need to track the overall customer journey to identify how different channels support a sale.
Along with budget management, digital marketing teams are also responsible for forecasting their spending and sales based on historical data. These forecasts are used for budget allocation and financial management across the department.
Someone who falls in love with the front end of digital marketing might benefit from a refresher course in basic accounting to keep up with their back-end duties.
Very few marketing departments operate entirely in-house. Most digital teams work with agencies, vendors, and software providers to make their campaigns more effective. This is a key part of the digital marketing back end, as your employees are the primary source of information between the company and the vendor. If a team member who works with your SEO agency fails to pass on relevant company goals or targeted keyword information, that agency won’t know how to develop campaigns that support the organization. There needs to be a pipeline of communication between vendors and clients to make sure everyone is on the same page.
It’s up to each vendor and client to establish how they communicate. This could involve weekly calls or digital reports with commentary. Some clients might want more communication with others, especially if their campaigns change frequently.
It’s up to your team to establish good communication practices that aren’t time-consuming. You don’t want your employees to be so focused on vendor management that your agencies and support companies don’t have time to do their actual work.
The digital marketing field is constantly changing, which means you can’t use tactics from five years ago to promote your business today. Effective marketers set aside time to keep up with new trends, opportunities, and threats in their field.
The world of marketing analytics is a great example of this. Google is working to eliminate cookies in the coming years and recently switched users to Google Analytics 4. Marketing teams that aren’t aware of these changes might be shocked at how their metrics are shifting because of the new reporting tools.
The world of SEO also requires constant industry education. In the past few years, Google switched its policies from punishing AI-written content to acknowledging that it might provide some value to marketing teams. This means marketers can explore AI for content creation but must do so carefully.
While curious marketers will find time to explore new trends, it’s up to marketing managers to prioritize industry education. This is the best way for teams to embrace modern marketing trends and keep their campaigns fully optimized.
Each section highlights how dynamic the back end of digital marketing can be. Campaigns are constantly being developed, launched, tweaked, and optimized for better performance. Teams work across various departments and handle tasks related to finance, people management, and operations.
There is one common trend in digital marketing, whether you work for an enterprise with 500 employees or an office with only three of you: continuous improvement. You don’t have to overhaul your marketing efforts each week completely. Instead, set a goal to be slightly better today than you were yesterday. This might involve improving your paid search quality scores or setting better audiences for more effective display targeting. As long as your team is passionate about growing, you can keep climbing toward success.
Hire a Partner to Move Your Marketing Forward
A quality marketing partner can help with every aspect of these back-end tasks. Not only will they respect your budget and optimize your spending, but they can also assist with sharing new industry insights and opportunities. At J&L Marketing, we strive to be an asset to our clients. Not only do we work to improve their digital marketing footprint, but we also serve as a support system. You can feel confident in your promotions with our team on your side.
If you feel exhausted by the amount of marketing back-end work you need to take on, turn to our team. Let us help you streamline your operations so you can focus on strategy. Contact us today.