How we can be better Digital Marketers in 2015?
By Dave Thackeray
I spend too much time voluntarily chained to a keyboard, my eyes straining to the beat of ever-changing pixels.
What my professional lifestyle depletes in social competency, it strengthens in opportunities to act the smart arse when conversation turns to the hysterically fast pace of change in how we do business.
I can compete with the finest when it comes to handling matters of digital marketing. Worse yet for my smugness quotient in the eyes of my more normal pals, I've been known more often than not to figure out what's round the corner when it comes to technology and paradigm shifts in business because of it.
But irrespective of whether you'll buy me a Christmas drink in a bar of our mutual choosing or not, I do hope what I'm sharing with you below in the shape of half a SWOT analysis (see, Carol - I really am learning my way to success in this CIM course!) is wisdom-building and gives you a snapshot of what digital marketing lacks right now, and how it should adapt to embrace its potential into the future.
Fragmented audience across many communications channels.
Segmenting, targeting and positioning becomes ever more complicated and time consuming with the dawn of every new social network. Android is another great example of digital fragmentation - developers struggle to create a one-size-fits-all app when many millions of users aren't able to use the latest version of the mobile operating system. This leads to dilution of effectiveness.
Ignoring relationship-building benefits of social networks in favour of pure sales focus. At the moment internet marketers are giving social networks a bad name with their $97 sales antics.
Authenticity of customer identity.
Think about TripAdvisor. I work with many clients in the hospitality industry and a high percentage have been victims of attempted blackmail by users threatening bad reviews unless they receive payment. Until all such social networks use a secure authentication system - Facebook Connect being the most ubiquitous, but not necessarily the best - this will continue to blight digital marketing
110% confusion among the majority of vendors.
Digital is new. Digital is raw. Thus many, many businesses fall victim to predators, otherwise known as internet marketers, who capitalise on their rampant naivety by selling entirely unuseful and incompatible products and services that give digital marketing a bad name.
Peerless customer service.
The secret of successful digital marketing is not in sales but in the AIDA model. And being there when your customers are. And helping when they need you to (great read here is Youtility by Jay Baer)
Everyone talks about Big Data but it's doing the best with what you got. Resources and people. The vast majority of business can garner incredible intel from Google Analytics. There are an increasing range of cost-effective solutions helping even luddites get to grips with the data generated by their organisations - and quickly.
There needs to be a great deal more training on the simple side of digital marketing to get businesses savvy. Thankfully Google is taking the lead by producing a varied range of training tools ranging from AdWords tutorials through to a mobile app focusing simply on the basics of digital marketing (Such as Primer which is available on iTunes).
Standardised set of solutions.
Even just a couple of years ago it was difficult to find the right things to use to complete simple digital marketing strategies online. eCommerce was a costly business. But now we are reaching a point where with a small amount of education the business owner can get up and running in a few hours. Tools like Shopify and Stripe combined can get any bricks and mortar store into the digital realms; Squarespace is another great provider of transactional websites ready in moments. The team over at Stylefactory have written some great comparison blogs for the out of the box eCommerce options which are well worth a read including this Squarespace vs Shopify comparison.
The right fit.
You are correct in saying it's difficult to see how digital marketing integrates into a business when you're accustomed to doing things the old ways. But you can teach old dogs new tricks when it comes to digital - we're not doing anything differently, just swapping pens for pixels.
I'd love to hear what you think are the challenges and opportunities for digital marketing for 2015. Let's carry this on over at the Professional Academy LinkedIn Group...
You can learn more about the changing world of Digital Marketing via The CAM Foundations Digital Pathways. For more information you can speak to a qualification advisor or download a copy of our Digital Marketing Prospectus today.
Former journalist, editor and company owner Dave is now the web and social media officer at WLCT, a charity operating leisure services for councils. After years making his way through the marketing maze he decided to go back to basics and learn how to do it properly with Professional Academy and CIM. Follow his progress on this blog and feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter to ask about his experiences.