What’s the Biggest Mistake Digital Marketers Make?
What’s the biggest mistake digital marketers make? Not realizing that we need time and patience to get the job done properly.
For years, prior to joining Cable ONE as Director of Digital Media, I had the entire U.S. as my market—literally anyone with a Social Security number was a potential customer for my former employer, LifeLock. It was the definition of a shotgun approach, with about 1.1 billion impressions each month.
Cable ONE, the 10th largest cable company in the country, is quite a different animal. We operate in about 40 systems, mostly mid-level markets such as Boise to Biloxi; we’re not targeting marquee markets like Los Angeles or San Francisco. As a result, our approach is all about sharpshooting, with impressions numbering in the millions instead of billions.
What do I mean by needing time and patience? After all, digital marketing is far faster, more nimble, and has broader reach than print media or TV advertising. You can, and often do, change on a dime. But there are several key elements that you can’t rush:
Arming yourself with several layers of information. Advertising research data, website data, and user experience data will tell you everything you need to know, from impression to click to buying to using the product. Those numbers and trends, in turn, drive your digital media placement and strategy, as well as the development of customer portals, shopping carts, or new landing pages. You need patience and time to find out when something is broken from a tech standpoint, or even an image that turns people off. But from the broad to the granular,http://burick.com/main-feature/research-67-of-companies-implement-unique-landing-pages/ the data is there and you just need time to read the tealeaves.
Developing partnerships. Relationships with our affiliate partners, digital ad agency, Google, and social media vendors have taken years to mature–with them understanding our business model, and us maximizing their capabilities. The benefits are enormous, however, such as having Google enhance the visibility of our local presence within our markets—which perpetuates the truth of our hometown presence. Facebook enables us to better target our geo areas and find people who are like-minded to our current followers and customers. Video pre-rolls (the 15-20 second ad clips) on YouTube and Google Videos allow us to cross-channel the ads created for the cable network and broadcast advertising. Geo-targeting and behavioral targeting technology continues to do a better job of honing in on customers who are within our serviceable area.
Enhancing/improving technologies. Not only do new platforms take time to create, they take time for users to adopt. For example, we re-launched our mobile-optimized site in 2013, and the number of people using it for purchases continues to grow–particularly in phones rather than tablets. That patience has translated into mobile sales growth of more than 400%.
The final aspect of learning the importance of patience was personal. As the digital media guy, the biggest mistake I could have made on day 1 would have been marching in to senior leadership, announcing “Digital is the way of the future,” and forcing the issue. The fact was that online media was a far smaller part of our sales, and it was unrealistic to come in and expect change to come too quickly. At the time, customers still wanted to use the phone for comfort, or the website wasn’t fast and easy enough.
Even with today’s advanced technology, the complexity of digital media options can sometimes pit us against traditional marketing, sales, and operations departments. You need to win the hearts and minds of your internal stakeholders, which takes a track record of results. In my case that came in the form of increasing sales and decreasing cost per acquisition, and that took time.
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