Rocket Agency co-founder, James Lawrence (main photo), argues businesses should never solely rely on a single tech giant for their marketing…
Many business owners, and plenty of marketers, had sleepless nights when it looked like Google and Facebook might take their bat and ball and go home. In this guest post, co-founder of Sydney digital marketing agency Rocket, James Lawrence explains why skimping on channels is never a good idea.
Circa late February, I noticed clients were becoming far more receptive to my arguments against relying on one or two channels to market their business.
Suddenly, the usual protestations about limited time and resources and “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” exhortations were replaced with nervous claims that it was impossible the 800-pound tech gorillas would abandon Australia to stop politicians in North America, Europe and Asia getting any wrong-headed ideas.
At the time of writing, Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai, Rupert Murdoch and Scott Morrison appear to have established a modus vivendi. The temptation for some businesses and marketers will be to continue with their simple (one or two channel) way of doing things.
There are two reasons that temptation should be resisted
- The tech giants can’t be relied on
Recent events have demonstrated it’s possible Google or Facebook (or Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, TikTok and Clubhouse) could abruptly exit the Australian market. Yes, they’d take a financial hit. But they could easily absorb it and may decide a scorched-earth strategy down under is justified if it wards off heavier regulation and taxation elsewhere in the world.
Even if that doesn’t happen – and I accept it’s unlikely – these companies have form when it comes to the single-minded pursuit of their own agenda regardless of any collateral damage caused. Just ask any small business owner who’s allocated their entire marketing budget to SEO only to go broke due to an unexpected and unexplained algorithm update.
- Multiple channels are now required to cut through
For the sake of argument, let’s assume Australian businesses will always have the option of investing in tried-and-tested Facebook or Google ads.
It remains the case that in 2021, hardly anyone makes a purchasing decision as a result of only seeing something advertised on Google or Facebook. The average person now needs plenty of prompting before they will decide to act; the Online Marketing Institute says it takes 7-13 touchpoints to deliver a qualified sales lead.
Some of those touchpoints may be more impactful than others, but they all play some part in closing a sale. That can seem counter-intuitive, but I’ve seen it proven many times over. For instance, a business that embraces a multichannel approach will often observe that almost all their leads or sales appear to be coming from one or two channels. They will sometimes make the rookie mistake of culling the poorly performing channels to redirect resources to the channels generating conversions. The high-performance channels will almost always then stop performing so well, making it clear the ‘underperformers’ were crucial touchpoints in the buyer’s journey across a collection of channels.
The more the merrier
A business will usually get some ROI if it devotes resources to just paid search. Or paid social. Or email marketing. Or display advertising.
But, when working with Rocket clients, I’ve found that investing in at least three different channels typically generates the most impressive results. And it’s not only our clients who’ve benefited from the channel diversification I’m championing. Apple, Starbucks and Airbnb, as well as Mercedes-Benz, Heineken, Land Rover and Under Armour, have all enjoyed well-publicised successes by embracing a multichannel approach.
In marketing, whatever the question, a single channel is never the answer.