You have worked hard to create and sustain your brand. You instinctively know how to promote it and to whom it’s aimed. If you have been successful in applying these principles to your off-line activity, then trust the same instincts when planning your approach to your digital marketing. In essence be led by clients, not tech giants.
Marketing was in its ascendency back in the 80’s when I did my undergraduate. We left university as fresh-faced marketers-in-training under the assumption that customers were there to be marketed to and brands were there to be advertised. Of course we knew the value of being consumer-centric but really as far as we were concerned this was just a testing process – create, test and adapt. Much of this was conducted from the inside-out, thinly veiling an all pervasive sales culture prevalent in most companies designed to ostensibly push things out into the market. For many businesses who could not afford expensive consumer research, putting messages, products and services into market was the testing! For many it still is.
The internet and social media are changing this culture, democratising it if you will, and the game is now inexorably moving towards being conducted from the outside-in as customers take incremental charge of the brands they have a relationship with.
This shift allows businesses of all sizes to engage and involve their audiences much more profoundly in how they develop and manage everything from R&D, product creation, to communications and advertising, brand advocacy, issue resolution, policies, service and delivery systems, pricing and so much more.
There are real financial benefits for businesses that understand this shift and who re-engineer the relationship they have with their customers accordingly.
Over the last decade digital marketing, particularly social media marketing, has become an essential part of the marketing mix for businesses small and large and digital marketing has assumed, in many instances, its own internal leadership and requisite skill set, plus a plethora of agencies and service providers selling their wares, along with a language that confounds most people.
“In 2015 Gartner suggested that by 2020, 85% of a customer’s relationship with a brand will be managed without talking to a human. Marketing technology is offering brands and marketers more opportunities than ever before.” Digital Doughnut
In this environment digital marketing can very easily foster an insular technology-led culture, one that can’t resist advocating for the latest over the most relevant. Ultimately, a concerning disconnect can begin to take hold.
A unified approach to marketing strategy and all associated business activities demystifies the sometimes techy nature of digital marketing and it mitigates the adverse impact of the following issues:
• Digital marketing initiatives that aren’t well integrated and aligned with overall marketing and business plans
• Conflict in messaging across off-line and on-line channels
• Missed opportunities that come from coordinating offline and online initiatives
• Inefficient or ineffective use of resources
• Investment in digital marketing platforms and systems that don’t adequately represent your target market and/or deliver a weak ROI
• Squandered consumer insights that can mitigate potentially negative consumer experiences
Marketing is just one endeavour that gives your brand meaning. Your digital marketing – particularly if it’s being developed by an agency – needs to be in step, always.