When was the last time you got a brochure in the mail that made you want to instantly take action? My guess is not recently. (If ever.) And even if you did get a mailer for an appealing vacation resort or restaurant, I bet you did not call the 1-800 number listed on the back. Nope — you went to the website for more information. And you likely booked your vacation or dinner reservations there.
Our world today is nearly all digital — which is why today’s marketers are all digital too.
Now, you might be a marketer who is thinking, “Not me!” Maybe you specialize in product or content marketing. Maybe you support teammates who attend trade shows and create brochures and signage. You think that digital marketing is reserved for those who spend all of their time in Google, manipulate spreadsheets, and analyze the latest cost-per-click trends. But I would argue that you are a digital marketer too — all of us who work in marketing are.
I have been thinking about this lately because our team recently launched Aha! for Marketing. We talked with hundreds of marketers to understand the challenges they are facing and how they are approaching their work. One thing became clear — every marketing activity has some online component. This was one reason that we added a robust integration with Google Analytics right away.
Even if your company has not historically made online marketing a focus, you can still embrace this mindset. For example, I would bet that those tradeshow attendees found out about the event via social media and signed up for it on a web landing page. Or that your collateral points people to your site. Or even the leads you collect are entered into a customer relationship management (CRM) application. See? All digital.
Here is how you can help your team think about marketing today from a digital standpoint no matter how they perceive their role:
Know the purpose behind the plan
In order for any marketing effort to be a success, you need to be clear on strategy — this is the “why” of the work and the purpose behind it. Before you start building out your marketing plan, consider how it will serve the overall direction of the business. This is especially important for digital marketers because your work moves so fast. You need to stay anchored in the goals for your work so that you can make informed decisions.
Discover the right talent mix
No, I am not saying marketing teams need to clean house and hire only those who refer to themselves as “digital marketers” from now on. Shifting to a digital mindset is much more complex than that — it requires a variety of talent. This includes creative folks, along with data experts who can pull analytical reports. If you can, encourage a “full-stack” approach for each teammate, giving them access to data and insights to help inform their work.
Follow your audience
This advice may not feel new. You have probably always followed your audience to the channels that you know they use and trust, whether it is a specific trade magazine or podcast. And you stayed away from the ones that you knew did not yield results. You need to do the same thing online — going where your audience goes. Note that I said your audience and not everyone else’s. You should not heavily invest in a new social channel just because it is getting a lot of buzz. Research where your specific audience is online and stay true to that.
Finesse the spend incrementally
When more traditional marketing was king, you might have bought up a certain amount of billboards or traditional media. You had one big advertising campaign and that was it. But shifting to digital is different (and I would argue, better) because you are not tethered to that one big buy. Instead, you can be nimble — test, optimize, adjust your activities. For example, if a particular line of ad copy is doing well online while another is lagging, you can turn up the spend quickly.
Measure the results often
All of the above will be a waste if you do not measure the return on investment (ROI) on an ongoing basis. This is the only way to know if you are spending your budget wisely and making the most out of every marketing activity. Focus on ROI metrics that best map back to real business goals. These may include click-through rates, website visitors, and specific online actions that matter most.
Digital or traditional — marketing is still about communicating your unique product or service in a way that most resonates with customers.
This core philosophy has never changed — but the way we approach it has. You need to understand where your customers live online, meet their needs right there, and incrementally improve and measure the results.
You and your team can shift to this mindset no matter what your work has looked like in the past. Because yes, you too are a digital marketer.
How do you define digital marketing?
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