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Digital Marketing Pains

I recently attended the 4A’s conference “From Concept to Channel: Inspired Digital Strategy,” presented by UTalk Marketing.

It was full of great insights and examples on how clients are making digital marketing more impactful and profitable, and it confirmed that all clients – big and small – suffer from the same “pains” when implementing a digital program. Some of these pains, faced by both agencies and clients, are:

  • “Shiny Object Syndrome,” which is the feeling that you should be adding things like QR codes, Facebook stores and customized apps because you are hearing and reading about these channels everywhere. But really, we need to stop and think about what these are going to do for the business. Will it add revenue? Is it on strategy?
  • Privacy control and time constraints. Do clients really want to talk to their customers? How much do they want to say? Who is responsible?
  • What is the digital goal? What is being measured?

Although all of these questions could not be answered in this one-day seminar, there were three big takeaways for me:

  • First, digital marketing is a business strategy, not a marketing strategy. This means that we should not be buying banner space and adding QR codes to plans unless we have a strong business case for these tactics. Will these tactics drive revenue or increase awareness of a particular product or service? Ideally, we should be developing new digital products or services that we can use online tactics to promote (versus simply driving customers to a website or landing page). LEGO® created an entire new service line, DESIGNbyME, which allowed customers to create their own Lego models online and customize the box. LEGO® then sent this model to the customer for them to build and then post about online. This product was developed as a new business line that was only available online and helped them create a digital platform while driving revenue.
  • The second takeaway is that we need to change our marketing lingo when it comes to digital. In traditional media – we talk about “campaigns,” which usually have definitive start and end dates. When we are talking digital, “campaign” needs to be changed to “commitment,” which represents an ongoing presence. And if you think about it, anything digital needs to be long term and ongoing:

o Updating content on your website
o Updating social media posts and real-time conversations
o Recurring newsletters
o Creating new digital products and offers
o Online advertising (continue to drive people to the offering versus short promotional bursts)

  • The last one is simple but so important: “If you don’t have a goal, you can’t optimize.” Enough said.

Do you or any of your clients suffer from “Shiny Object Syndrome?” Tell us about your experience in the comments below.



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