In This Digital Age: Companies Need To Be More Savvy In Their Digital Marketing Execution

Wow, it’s been a while since I last posted anything. Closed out 2018 doing annual planning back at the company where I work for. What did you do to close 2018? And what are your resolutions for 2019?

Few weeks ago, I stumbled upon an ad while doing a search on Google. It was so badly executed that even a layman like me could tell where it went wrongly. I’m no digital marketing guru, but I’ve heard enough from the experts to develop some insights of my own. And then it hit me, there are companies that are still struggling with digital marketing.

The Marketing Strategy & Plan
While it is tempting to assume that digital marketing is the only way forward, especially for “digital natives”, we do have to acknowledge that there are other marketing channels that marketeers use. Digital natives or not, we all need to look up and take in our surroundings once in a while (willingly or not). And sometimes, all it takes is an outdoor poster to punch through the digital clutter.

So, the good “old fashion” marketing strategy and plan has to be established. Companies still need to know who their target customers are, segmentation, branding, and the fulls works that good marketing & brand management should be. Digital Marketing should never be viewed as a silo component, but as a strategic component of the grand plan.

Digitization and Shifting Consumer Journeys
With digitization, the job of the marketeers has become more complex (and probably more painful). Not only do they need to grapple with a new marketing channel that is a science of its own. Consumer habits are shifting as a result of rapid digitization.

The marketing funnel has collapsed and the time taken by consumer from discovery to purchase has significantly shortened. While some may get away with “spray and pray” previously, it is now much harder. Clear segmentation or personas are needed from product ideation to marketing strategies in order to capture the customers. Ability to predicting intent and being present in the micro-moments of the consumers could be the difference between a sale and none.

Then there is the whole science of search engine optimization, social media marketing, paid ads and organic ranking. Trying to beat the algorithms is one thing, marketeers still need to fight for their share of voice in the digital realms through content creation and curation. It is a war out there.

Not to mention managing the brand and other marketing channels. With so much going on, companies really need to ensure that they’ve people who knows what needs to be done, and how.

Highlights
There are a lot things to digital marketing, but below are some highlights that I could think of. And because digital marketing is such a big subject, the focus would be more on Search Engine Marketing, for today.

#1: Try not to get hijacked
Ever tried searching for a brand and then something with similar name pops up as a paid ad, but offering an entirely different thing? No matter how big the brand is, it is detrimental. Consumers who are none the wiser might associate the paid ads with the brand, and then form either positive or negative associations.

It could be as innocuous as another company with the same name, who, happened to use the same keyword, or as sinister as another company trying to leech off a bigger brand.

Another thing that is bad for business, having the competitor brand show up as paid ad when consumers do a brand search. It is much more expensive (CPC) for competitors to do competitor targeting, and the competitor has to be pretty sure what they are doing to max the ROI. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Competitors do this for a variety of reasons. To leverage on the brand to create awareness, and hopefully, make consumers reconsider their options before making their purchases. Or as simple as stealing leads.

#2: Try not to waste money (Please?)
Yes, one click through definitely won’t cost as much as say a 1 minute prime-time TVC. But that doesn’t mean the money should be wasted. I once clicked on a paid ad, only to find that the item was out of stock, and there was no call to action. It’s a 100% bounce rate with 0% ROI and negates your quality score.

For most businesses, the main dot.com page would usually be the one that is most visited and in most case, usually rank 1st organically on a brand search. Don’t ever waste money on paid search using that same link on the brand’s own keyword. Unless your company has deep pockets and is looking to max out the real estate.

Rather, spend money on keywords that are relevant to the customer’s needs and lifestyle, or tactical promotions that draws in traffic. It’ll help with your quality ranking too. It takes a lot of trial & error, A/B testing, and a lot of effort to develop the secret sauce. Not to mention that the more relevant it was for the customer, it meant higher CTRs, and better quality score.

#3: Simplify & Make It About The Customers
When I was doing my MBA, I had the privilege of doing brand management taught by one of the most prolific professors on this subject. The most distinctive thing that I remember he said in class, while we sipped 40 year old cognac and single malt whisky, was that strategy was not about what we want to do, but what we don’t want. Though it may come across as unorthodox , there is some truth in it, isn’t it?

It is tempting to go down the rabbit hole of wanting to do EVERYTHING. From SEO to Social Media Marketing, and everything in between. However, in addition to limited resources, we also need to remember that going overboard may cloud customer’s internalization, rationalization and buying decisions.

Bottomline, customers just want to fulfill their needs. It shouldn’t be complicated or confusing. Which brings me to another point. In order for digital marketing to be effective, the marketed product construct has to be simple too.

Companies need to realize that they have to make their business about the customers. While it was previously alright to make their customers jump through 10 hoops just to use their products, this model is not sustainable anymore. Any friction in the customer journey is a potential for drop off / disengagement.

So, what do you think, and what’s your experience when it comes to digital marketing?

About Kaye
Grew up in Singapore, stood on the cusp of the internet revolution and surfed it (literally). My “cloud” was made up of FTP servers, my “WiFi” were RJ-45 cables that ran across the walls in trunking that my dad hand-laid, and I coded in Turbo Pascal (if you know them, you’re probably as old as I am, or older). 🙂

I’m fascinated by all things digital and still bear nostalgia towards childhood gadgets. My first Pentium-I PC that ran on Windows’98, the comforting sound of the 56K modem, the fun I had with the Nintendo PopEye Handheld, the fights with my siblings over who got to use the land line, and my original Nokia 3310 that’s still sitting somewhere in my mom’s house. Not to mention the grande dames of the living room – the television sets that I grew up watching.

The site name originated from my mother. Every time she wanted to tell me something that I may not like, she’ll always start with “Just general talk…”. From her general talks I’ve learned, reflected, and rebutted (a lot). Caused her (major) heartaches along the way, and still inflicting some (minor ones) on a regular basis.

I would love to hear your thoughts on my articles. So do connect with me and let me know what you think of my articles.! 🙂

Connect with me:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kayehau/
Twitter: @kayehau
Email: kaye.kk.hau@gmail.com

Feature Image by Carlos Muza on Unsplash

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