Often, it's a daunting task to find the optimum digital channel mix because of the size and breadth of the channels and the numerous targeting options available within each. Advertisers are actually spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting digital marketing channels. 

The channel allocation challenge is often exacerbated for smaller clients because, often, they can only afford to run marketing tests in selected channels and only on a small portion of inventory available within those channels.

The channel mix that brands should opt for depends on the following:
  • the size of the brand's business
  • the goals that the advertiser wants to achieve
  • the area of the marketing funnel they want to focus on
A smaller online retailer with a limited budget wanting to grow sales could consider a search-driven marketing approach and capitalise on search queries where users are actively looking for the products carried by the business.

Medium-sized retailers should expand their search marketing efforts to all available search queries where a positive return on investment can be made. Paid search channels can then be supplemented with organic search — maximising their total coverage on all products that are selling well online.

It's a good idea to leave a small portion of your marketing budget available to test different channels and events, such as Christmas, Black Friday or product launches. This is because stores will most likely experience different sales peaks and valleys throughout the year.

Before embarking on any new marketing campaign, start with a win or learn mindset before implementing a test. Adopt a low risk, high probability marketing approach to discover the channels and products that will drive sales.

Agencies and advertisers can then gain access to the data so that better decisions will be made in the future. Ultimately, we learn through our data. Larger retailers should focus on a full omni-channel strategy to get the most out of their digital channels to drive maximum customer lifetime value.

At this stage, it's vital for the advertiser to have the following:
  • a full tech stack integrated into the business
  • a complete understanding of the value of their own customers throughout their buying lifetime
  • a firm grasp on how different marketing channels affect their revenue
This is sometimes easier said than done, as some channels function better as support to others — driving assisted sales rather than direct revenue. 

Ultimately, different sized businesses will each have unique performance metrics that they need to focus on. As the business matures, so should the metrics, goals and objectives.

Allow your overarching strategy to dictate your channel approach and the performance within those marketing channels will crystalise and shape your budget allocations for you over time.

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