I’ve been a None Executive Marketing Director and marketing Consultant for a number of years and its been my privilege to have worked with a wide range of companies, all have very different issues, ranging from growth and scale through to efficiencies of scale or exit strategies. What ever your business need, there are some recurring themes that I have encountered, so over the next few weeks I will cover these through a short number of blogs. I hope you find them interesting and welcome your feedback.
Is digital marketing such a management problem?
I’ve worked for over 20 years within the marketing industry and I’ve seen a number of innovations come and go. However I think that you would agree the impact of digitisation has had the most profound effect on how business is run and continues to accelerate our understanding of current and future market dynamics.
The increasing market volatility in terms of possibility, speed and impact of so called ‘disruptive technological innovations’ can perhaps be more clearly seen by looking backwards rather then stargazing and trying to be too prescriptive about what the future may hold. A business whose strategy does not place agility firmly at its core is subject to huge risk.
With digitisation I believe the role that technology plays within the business spectrum has had a significant impact. Marketing can be more precise and targeted and perhaps more importantly be measured in a way that we have not known before. The learning that can be provided and incorporated back into the business in order to improve performance can often be more challenging as this requires the analysis, skills and culture in order to maximise the benefits.
Digital marketing - it’s the sum of it's parts!
I have also witnessed an increased specialisation of digital marketing mix functions. We have SEO, SEM, PPC, Social Media, Sales, Data, User Flow and Web Developers to name but a few. This often bewildering range of service providers face a number of issues from a company perspective. The first issue is understanding exactly what each will do and perhaps more importantly what they will not do. This issues strikes much closer to home, most companies I have worked with do not want lots of technical services they simply want an improvement in there marketing. An ever increasingly important tool within this mix are their digital assets, often managed slightly haphazardly, this can be costly, time consuming and provides little or no business performance return.
So how do you get a more comprehensive digital strategy? Well there isn’t a simple answer but I would offer two key points 1. Be very clear what part digital could or should pay in your business strategy and 2. How is this best achieved?
I think this second point is often harder then the first, most agencies that I have dealt with on a clients behalf do not take a holistic perspective of the business needs. Understandably they often have a vested interested in a narrow aspect of the digital spectrum of services, whilst they often have great technical skills in this area the second and third knock on effect of what one company does can not be ignored.
A simple example may well be an SEO strategy with many target key words that drive traffic but have a negative effect in terms of quality scoring of your key paid advertising pages. This need to be evaluated through the conversion funnel backing into sales, acquisition and CRM systems that determine the through life value of the customer.
Keep focused on the point of digital marketing?
So I think its very important that early on in the process you determine the key aim of the activity and then build a capability (in or outhouse) that can provide the dynamic activity to provide the attainment of the strategic goal. Key to achieving success in this ever increasingly complex area is astute and informed management – you need to make sure that you are on the right track. Have effective management reporting that informs the business board of what is being done and what effect the development work is having.
Technology has an essential part to play in this process with ever increasingly sophisticated analytic tools (not just the Google suite). Greater insight can be gained as to performance tracking and improvement opportunities, combined with effective competitor analysis this approach would put your business in the top 20% of businesses in your competitive landscape and provide significant opportunities for the future.
I think that I have already gone on too long, more to follow in the coming weeks, I’d appreciate your comments and if I can answer any questions please send via our blog form or contact me directly.