We are being told that anyone can do it and that endless fortunes lie just beyond the hills. The difference between property and web marketing is that all you need to invest is time, not cash. Is digital marketing really an over inflated populist bubble or is it a new marketing paradigm where the old rules of marketing can be ignored? It all feels very 2007!
I think we are experiencing a digital marketing bubble with a frenzy of investment in time especially in social media. The reason is because it’s free and we have been mis-sold the conception that more ‘likes’ or followers lead to more sales. However the vast majority of the time it doesn’t.
According to E-Consultancy’s July 2012 Internet Statistics Compendium, global web usage grew by 9% in 2011. Web agencies are popping up like a game of whack-a-mole and it seems every self-employed individual is now a ‘social media strategy consultant’.
Wahoo! It’s like a Wild West gold rush. It’s like the 2007 property rush all over again. Get on your saddle, fire up your laptop and start banging that keyboard. There’s gold in them thar ecommerce hills.
But is the web activity we partake in actually paying off?
I know you just got on your horse on my command, but dismount for a moment. I have somber news. Most Irish business web activity is misplaced and failing. And there is good reason. We are ignoring marketing theory and instead focusing on marketing tactics.
Here are a few examples of where our misplaced desires misalign with marketing theory and fact.
“We are going to create an app that integrates your location with your Facebook presence and tells you about where your local pub is and the special offers in your area and allows you to share them with others”.
That’s a great desire but does the customer really need your app to find a pub or special offers and is it so wonderful that they want to bore their friends with a 10% discount, on social media?
“We have some good news about our latest bid win and we are going to put that on our website”. Is that really what the customer wants to see? Google Analytics tells me it’s not.
“We shall be #1 in Google for Hotel Rooms Belfast” – but here’s the rub, that’s not a term used by customers who book hotel rooms. In fact, people who buy hotel rooms don’t Google by generic terms at all. They research first on third party hotel sites and then Google by brand.
So what’s the common theme here? It’s that most of us are creating digital marketing plans that focus on what we want, not on what the customer wants and we pay no heed to what’s already in the marketplace.
We have been mis-sold that more interaction with more people on the web leads to more sales. In most cases it doesn’twork like that I’m afraid and many of us are wasting time banging keyboards and failing to align our activity with management and marketing strategy.
So what’s the solution? Put down the tools and use traditional marketing theory mixed with digital evidence to create a plan that stands up to scrutiny.
At the heart of any good marketing strategy, we must first recognise that what we want must align with what the customer wants and it must have some level of unique marketplace currency. There must be a clear benefit to the customer and preferably there should be pent up demand.
I predict that the enthusiasm will deflate as businesses start to ask questions around what activity is working and what’s not. Is the investment in digital marketing tactics being driven by true market demand and are our time investments actually producing more business? If the answer is that you don’t know, it’s probably not.
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