As a follow up to our post on why only 2% of local businesses think pay-per-click advertising is effective, we started getting asked why are people paying so much for it?   We were asked a lot!  With costs per click continuing to go up, why spend money on advertising vs the marketing channels that were orders of magnitude more successful?   We are examining this a bit in our upcoming white paper on The Top Digital Marketing Opportunities for 2014, coming out in December.

Is It Scale?

One possible answer is the ease in scaling.   If you want to get double the reach, just double your spend.   Expand your geographies.  Bid on more keywords.  Or simply increase your bid amount.   Scaling is not as hard.   It’s just expensive and wasteful.

Is It Metrics?

Another answer is measurability.  Pay per click is more easily tracked.   The metrics are simpler: impressions, clicks, conversions, revenue (if you are an eCommerce company). The metrics for marketing are much more varied and channel dependent (reads, likes, open rates, comments, etc.).  Integrated local marketing platforms like Vivial are tying these together in new and interesting ways, but it’s certainly not as simple.

Or Is It Talent?

Another interesting answer may be the talent in your organization.   There is a saying that when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.   A recent study from the Online Marketing Institute, examined the gap between the importance of a type of skillset and the perceived strength of the organization or agency.   Interestingly, the marketing skill sets are the ones that are missing, and advertising is where there is the least amount of talent gap.  Simplicity has its advantages.

 

Digital Marketing Talent Gap

 

Why It’s Time to Close the Gap

Perhaps most interestingly, there seems to be a 1-to-1 correlation between the size of the gap and the value of the marketing channel – the skill sets that are the most valuable are the ones that organizations lack most.   It’s time that brands invest in content marketing  – in their people and in their technology – across these key channels.  A recent research piece by BIA Kelsey concludes that native advertising, i.e. content, will be the future of all social media advertising.  Traditional advertising will dissapear and all that will matter is the content you post in your stream.  In a mobile world, this is even more true.

It’s time to close the talent gap and it starts with marketing departments prioritizing the channels that drive ROI and finding the people who are experts in them.