I'm going to take the credit for the work I've been doing in the last ten plus years with digital marketing. Much of my philosophy and work in content-based brand strategy, I've shared here for your benefit. You should take advantage of the free information -- spread it to your team and peers.
Even if you've been thinking and saying the same things, because I wrote it, your boss will believe it. Trust me on this one. In fact, your boss will probably believe it because McKinsey is now saying it, right? Right. What is McKinsey saying about digital marketing that got me so excited and into execution mood?
In four ways to get more value from digital marketing, they write (the points in the report are in bold below, edits are mine):
[...] the most successful digital marketers focus on managing four core sources of value as they increase the percentage of marketing and channel spending that is directed to digital activities.
Take a look at your marketing materials, and you will probably see that your content is focused on two areas of opportunity. In an analog world, because of the way organizations are structured with a direct and indirect sales force -- through channels -- pre-sale or prospecting and promotion are the two most visible areas of potential impact. Which is why the organization has been investing in them.
Curating those decision points is important. However, it tends to
leave customers on their own when it comes to considering, researching,
evaluating and even validating their choice after a product and service purchase -- or during
the service experience phase.
Digital and emerging media require you to rethink the way you operate as a marketing organization -- and a business. You cannot simply tack digital and mobile onto what is being done today. Because what's required is a new way of thinking about and doing things.
How do you evaluate this new way of thinking?
1. coordinate your activities to engage customers throughout an increasingly digital purchase journey
We're not just talking about matching collateral here. From the keywords customers use to search for information about the problem you help solve, to how the same core value propositions of what you offer transpire into content used for research, discovery, validation, and interaction.
How do you make that content available is not as interesting a question as how do you make the experience integrated? Don't check the box on having the same image throughout. Think about educating, informing, being interesting in similar ways as appropriate for similar digital media.
Mobile is a lot more personal than a display in one of your brand's retail locations. Mass media gives way to massive integration down to the smallest details for the most personal experience.
What's the biggest pressure you experience in your business that prevents you from converting sales? Focus your initial content efforts there, and build on them.
_________________________2. harness interest in your brands by syndicating content that empowers customers to build his/her own marketing identity and, in the process, to serve as a brand ambassador
Reaching the people who influence buying decisions for your brand is considered the Holy Grail of any organization. Public relations and marketing professionals alike are shifting their attention to these people -- whoever they are.
That was a bit tongue in cheek, because you should focus on the people who are passionate about your product, not bloggers like me who may not even drink soda (I don't), or care about that new dating site (definitely don't).
Instead, find the existing community that is passionate about soda, or the 40-year old virgin with a great sense of humor, like in the movie, and partner with him to figure out the whole digital dating scene.
If you make this about the customer you're trying to reach you won't have to agonize so much over control, will you? Are you thinking about social search as you plan your next search campaign?
3. recognize the need to think like a large-scale multimedia publisher as you manage a staggering increase in the content you create to support products, segments, channels, and promotions
The lion share of your budget should go to content creation. Media buys will be pretty ineffective if you don't have the digital assets customers want to pull from you. Many marketers are just not capable of shifting their thinking to becoming essentially publishers and editors-in-chief.
They still bring their push mindset to new media, with lackluster results. Think how you can scale up, speed up, build momentum, aggregate, repurpose, monetize, integrate, personalize content.
In other words, think like a digital native who sees how the context changes the way you present and streamline information for maximum effect and outcome.
Your Web site should be a living destination. Does your sales team use it daily? Do customers come back to it frequently? That's when you know that it's useful.
Integrating social media to go deeper or serve an underserved niche is a winning proposition here. As long as you do have a subject matter expert with a passion for teaching what they know. Who needs another shiny channel with marketing fluff?
_________________________4. plot how to gather and use the plethora of digital data now available strategically
Truth be told, we have too much data and too little appetite for making decisions about what's important to an organization's strategy today. I'm also a big believer in not standing behind the computer screen, just like marketers did in focus groups.
Instead, your own participation is content and may provide you with greater insights. When in doubt, ask. If a customer tells me that his greatest value in working with us is our ability to help with the proper expectations setting on what can be delivered, when, I rethink the way I approach our strategy session.
Instead of diving into the service part, I take a step back and propose an audit of the tools the organization is using currently. That step could save that customer money and time. That is data. Do you capture it and change your processes because of it?
Bottom line: you need to resist the urge to dive into "how to" stuff, to build tools or outposts in social media, and spend more of your efforts in being thoughtful and strategic about how you plan that participation -- for the benefit of customers and your bottom line.
It's not as sexy as a post on 7 social media behaviors that won't win you customers, it might be the mental adjustment you need to kick your business into high gear. You'll thank me later.
I'm all for calling all of this digital media -- in fact, I'd like to stick with emerging media to capture both social and mobile. We're in it together now -- businesses, employees, investors, and customers changing roles as appropriate. Conversation agents are becoming increasingly important in this environment.
What are your biggest challenges that prevent you from thinking about, and then using and acting on this information?
Other resources [exclusive to Conversation Agent readers]:
© 2010 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.