Friday, November 22, 2013

A digital strategy isn't a commodity

A digital strategy isn't a commodity, yet in my 10 years’ experience working with many different agencies (B2B and B2C) so many agencies treat a digital strategy like a commodity looking at it from the most simplistic outcome and goal.

Why is this? As indicated by Digiday here, and with ClickZ in an interview with OMI here there is a significant shortage of digitally savvy people at agencies.  The result is people that view a digital strategy in the simplest way they know how, cost.

This is further compounded by marketers having limited faith in their own skills as highlighted in this MarketingProfs post. Because of this marketers are relying on agencies to help guide strategy, yet we know there is a skills gap there.

Marketing is amidst an evolution, marketers agree that in the past 2 years marketing has seen more changes than the past 50 years (Adobe Study). This mindset of being focused on cost will drive limited reach, engagement, brand impact and limit the scope of executing a smart strategy. A smart digital strategy is about understanding goals, tracking, testing, optimizing, all while understanding that marketing is a long game.

So what is a marketer to do?
  1. If you are working with an agency – have they proven themselves as a thought leader? Do they understand content marketing, agile marketing, data driven marketing and analytics, marketing automation/nurturing, mobile, social, etc. or are they just media buyers? Talk to them and understand the skill sets and where they bring value to the table.
  2. Take a step back and understand what your goals are. Are you tasked with X number of leads per quarter? Ask why that number, how was that number determined?  What other metrics are you aligned with? Engagement, reach, conversion, sharing, these are examples of other metrics you might be tasked with or should consider. If it’s simply leads, is that volume reached by backing out from sales conversion rate and sales goals? A better digital strategy (and not one based on CPLs) likely means more effective conversion rates which can change your goals if they are based on solely on lead volume. Take time to ask these questions and explore here.
  3. Find a trusted resource. Identify which of your trusted resources are the experts in digital tactics and learn from them. Who has done the research, who has proven experience in a smart integrated digital strategy? Use those proven partners to help guide and structure your digital strategy.
  4. Bring the passion back to marketing. This evolution and these changes are exciting and open a huge opportunity to learn and grow careers.  The CEO of my first job taught me something I still find true to this day, there are 3 things an employee needs to be happy in their career, first to be challenged and learn, second a good company culture, and third respectable compensation. As said in the ClickZ video “learning is happiness”.  Use this huge shift in marketing to learn, grown, and bring back the excitement to marketing. 

A digital strategy isn’t a commodity; it’s a commitment to smarter, more efficient marketing. It’s not about doing more with less; it’s about getting more out of what you are doing.  

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