Crisis of marketing confidence? Take a deep breath and read this

Digital marketing has become a big headache for most marketing professionals. A recent study of over 1000 marketers conducted over August and September this year claims that only 9% of total respondents said that they ‘know their digital marketing is working.’ The study also noted that “66% of marketers feel digital is critical to their company’s success and yet less than half feel highly proficient in digital marketing.”

Commissioned by software company Adobe and produced by Edelman Berland, the report is called ‘Digital Distress: What Keeps Marketers up at Night’. The report states that the majority of marketers lack confidence in their digital proficiency and don’t believe their company’s marketing programs are effective.

If you can identify with statistics above and know that digital marketing is important to your organisation but go into a cold sweat when someone mentions social media or ‘big data’, then the following simple ideas are for you.

It’s not where your customers are – it’s what they want

Your customers no longer have loyalty to a channel. This sounds obvious, and it is. But it’s amazing how many times it gets overlooked. Marketing used to be simple. Everyone read the paper and watched TV so that where you put your messages. But today that has all changed. Your customers have endless choices when it comes to media consumption. Sure there are a billion people on Facebook but that is not remotely comparable to a billion people watching the Olympics on TV.

People move quickly through the digital space and only engage with what they deem to be valuable. So don’t start by looking at audience numbers. Relentlessly focus on what your customer wants. Design a reason for them to engage with your brand. Do more than just try to entertain them – provide real value.

If you start by saying, ‘I need to get a Facebook strategy because that’s where everybody is,’ you have failed already. If instead you say, ‘I have great value proposition for my market and now I need to work out how to make it work on Facebook,’ then you are on the path to success.

Completely ignore technology

For those out there who are technologically terrified  this will come as a great relief. The best thing you can do to make sure you digital marketing efforts work for you is to ignore technology altogether and focus on what you do best and think about the customer.

There are hundreds of  digital marketing and software products available for you to spend your budget on – and some very talented sales people willing to help you spend on their product. The best advice I can give is to ignore them. There is no magic bullet, no piece of software that will fix your problems. The only thing that truly works is spending as much time as possible getting in sync with your customers.

Digital marketing isn’t about social media, ‘big data’ or marketing automation. By themselves these things are just smarter spam.

Rather it’s about understanding how your customers interact with every digital touchpoint. So focus on your market. Understand what your  customers want. And design experiences that will delight.

 

Mark Cameron
BY Mark Cameron ON 30 September 2013
Mark Cameron is CEO of customer experience innovation agency Working Three and a world renowned digital strategy commentator with well over 400 published articles.

Specialties: Digital innovation, Digital customer experience strategy, Social media strategy, Digital strategy, Online Marketing strategy.
He blogs at markrcameron.com and tweets from @MarkRCameron.
  • Shalini Das

    Mark, thank you for a simple and beautiful article.

    The emphasis on ‘It’s not where your customers are – it’s what they want’ brings back the perspective most seems to be losing. On the technology front I’d think of it to be agnostic, so that a technology or platform could be leveraged to meet the organizations goals. And yes, there is no magic bullet, its evolving and requires a marketers attention to what, how and when of ‘customers want’.

  • Drew James

    Mark, I always enjoy your articles, however,I am struggling to understand your last section on completely ignoring technology.
    Specifically “Digital marketing isn’t about social media, ‘big data’ or marketing automation. By themselves these things are just smarter spam.
    Rather it’s about understanding how your customers interact with every digital touchpoint.”

    Can you please write an article on how we can understand how our customers interact with every digital touch point without using these technology tools and what better outcomes we can expect by ignoring them. That would be greatly appreciated.