Making digital marketing work

Much of the digital marketing I see is a bit tragic.  Tragic for the businesses  who are investing hard won income into campaigns that might not deliver a return on investment.

Some of it seems like self-indulgent twaddle done by creative types for their own amusement.  Other times it seems that the marketing manager has signed off on a campaign that they like and suits their needs rather than think for two minutes about the consumer.

Often it is difficult to work out who it is aimed at or what the message actually is. Then I start to question how valid it is for some businesses to create their own social networks or even their own Facebook pages for various brands or products.

It seems that we sometimes forget the basics when we fall in love with new technology. Also the new technology associated with digital marketing means that there is a lot of data available.

Yet many organisations are still grappling with how to filter, interpret and manage the firehose of data gushing their way from these digital marketing activities.

Just because we can do certain things with technology is not necessarily a reason to do them. The fundamentals of marketing still apply!

  • Who is the target consumer? Think about marketing to a single person or series of people, rather than assuming a huge old-fashioned style audience as a blob.
  • Where can I find these kinds of people?
  • Why is my product relevant to them?
  • How can I explain it to them effectively?
  • How can we translate knowledge into action by consumers?
  • How we can we measure effectiveness of our digital marketing activities?

The four foundations for success in digital marketing activities are:

  1. Start with understanding the customer – effective research is the cornerstone.
  2. Set an overall strategy and allow it to be the guide.
  3. Chunk the strategy up into campaign elements for tactical execution.
  4. Define the metrics at the start and then track them relentlessly – use them to work through the four steps to recalibrate activity (the day of set and forget marketing is over).

The other critical element is to realise is that consumers are changing.  There ways and places of consuming media are shifting.  It is no longer safe to assume that traditional media solutions will continue to work as they always have in the past.  For instance we are seeing a continued decline in newspaper circulation.

Digital marketing is not just about buying banner ads and setting up a Facebook page.  It is about creating real value for customers, shareholders and other stakeholders.


3 thoughts on “Making digital marketing work

  1. Hi Kate,
    A timely and insightful post. In particular, I like your assertion that “the day of set and forget marketing is over”.
    I’m trying to convince digital marketing teams that their website should be viewed as a dynamic and adaptive customer community rather than a static and siloed IT solution.
    But maybe playing with the new exciting tools is more attractive to many, rather than getting the basics right by building personalised websites that engage and delight customers and prospects.
    As more marketing spend migrates to Digital from traditional media I really hope to see a renewed focus on the the media assets that companies actually own – that is their .com sites.
    All as part of an overall strategy as you outline so clearly in this post.


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