How deliberate is your digital marketing?
Channel, proliferation, dynamic, agile, storytelling, content, AI, trends, SEO, mobile, video, lead generation, acquisition, analytics…marketing has become something of a hashtag party with every element vying for your attention in CAPs.
Or, if you prefer a sports analogy, marketing can be a bit like trying to combine rugby, cricket, tennis, chess, hurling and Fortnite players into a cohesive team to knit a personalised woollen blanket.
We all realise the significance of digital marketing and the importance of adapting to stay in touch with consumers. In our June breakdown of The CMO Survey® we saw that most marketers use social media to accomplish key strategic objectives. The recent August survey restates the growth in digital marketing and building capability remains a top priority for CMOs.
The challenge for modern marketers is increasingly complex and what makes it even harder is that the period in which best practice remains at its best has significantly diminished. What remains constant is the importance of good questions and applying an iterative cycle to learn, adapt and constantly improve.
To simplify the approach to build an effective digital strategy we can cycle through three key questions.
- How well do you know your buyers journey?
- What are your audiences social behaviours and motivations?
- What channels should you use that suits your audience and takes them along the path to purchase?
As a start point, there has to be a need, or a want, or some desire on the customers part to have something better than they have now. The need might not be clearly defined, it may even be subconscious, but they are open to something new. Understanding how and where people take inspiration is an important first step in understanding the buyer’s journey.
In this stage people have a better sense of what they want. They’re looking around and wondering what’s right for them. Here we want to know their selection criteria, their triggers and what is off limits.
Your audience knows what it wants and is now deciding where to get it. Will they buy from you or someone else? If you’re the best choice for them, have you made it easy for them to buy?
To match the three stages of the buyer’s journey with your sales funnel consider content in three phases.
- Content that attracts the right audience.
- Content that engages them around your strengths.
- Content that sells your product or service, and addresses any barriers to purchase.
There has been the temptation (has happened plenty of times) to take content from traditional channels and simply boost it in digital channels. Although this approach is not entirely ineffectual, we know consumers are increasingly avoiding advertising (47% of internet users globally use an ad-blocker – GlobalWebIndex 2019). Therefore, forcing traditionally structured ads on them in a digital environment isn’t necessarily going to generate a positive outcome for your brand.
In social, where the main drivers are around building relationships, defining a sense of identity or seeking a sense of belonging, it is particularly important to tailor your approach and the content you create. Social listening tools such as Brandwatch, Hexagon or Sysomos can be helpful to generate insights around brands, categories or audiences. Following a few category hashtags can also be useful and there is plenty to be said for learning by trying…as long as you ensure you include the learning part.
Each digital channel fulfils a different role in people’s lives…or in some cases they fulfil multiple roles in people’s lives.
Hubspot Research in partnership with the University of Virginia published a framework on ‘How Consumers Want to Engage with Brands on Social Media’ (Dec 2018). The research categorised consumer motivations into Bridging (connecting / discussing / networking), Bonding, Communicating, Discovering and Taking Action and then ranks the main platforms by their ability to deliver against these drivers.
It provides some guidance around how the platforms can be used by brands and includes good questions to help get into the mind of consumers.
To build a content framework that’s right for your brand and your audience it’s also worth going back to why each platform exists, who uses it and how they’re using it.
We’ve conducted a review of the primary digital channels included:
- Search, including voice search
- Messaging Apps Messenger and WhatsApp
For the time being we’ve omitted Pinterest, Podcasts, Blogs, LinkedIn, Slack and Display Advertising.
Purpose: To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
- Google is responsible for 94% of total organic traffic (Web Presence Solutions 2017) and drives 96% of mobile search traffic (Jody Nimetz Co)
- By 2020 50% of all online searches will be voice searches (Wordstream, 2018)
For: Being found and guiding people to the right digital hubs.
Purpose: Give everyone a voice and show them the world.
- The 2nd most-visited website in existence, according to Alexa (Hootsuite Jan 2019)
- 1.9 billion monthly active users (Omnicore 2018)
- Sometimes described as the world’s second biggest search engine
- 70% of views are on mobile (Hootsuite Jan 2019)
For: Discovery, education, entertainment and cat videos.
Purpose: Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.
- 1.59 billion daily active users (Facebook June 2019)
- 2 million business use Facebook for advertising (Hootsuite 2018)
- Despite rumours to the contrary there are still young people on Facebook. 26% of users globally are 18 -24 and 32% are 25 – 34 (Sprout Social 2019)
For: Participation, sharing and calling people to action.
Purpose: To capture and share the world’s moments.
- 1 billion plus monthly active users (Instagram 2019)
- 500M+ daily stories (Instagram 2019)
- 71% of user are under the age of 35 (Statista 2019)
For: Sharing our best brand lives, imagery over words, behind the scenes and calling people to action.
Purpose: Empower people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world and have fun together.
- 203 million people use Snapchat every day (Snapchat)
- On average Snapchatters use the app over 20 time a day and spend on average 30 minutes on the app creating 3.5 billion Snaps
- About 45 percent of Snapchat users are 18 – 24 years old and 71 percent are under 34 years old (Hootsuite 2018)
For: Playful visuals, participation and getting down with the kids.
Purpose: Empower and share the world's imagination, knowledge, and moments that matter.
- First launched in September 2016, it already has 500 million active users worldwide (Datareportal 2019)
- The three most popular content categories are currently comedy, sports and pets
- It was the third most downloaded app in Q1 2019 with 188 million new users (SensorTower 2019)
- 41% of users are aged between 16 and 24 (Globalwebindex 2019)
- Average users spend 52 minutes per day on the app (BusinessofApps 2019)
For: Short form mobile video, creative expression and responding to challenges.
Purpose: For what’s happening in the world and what people are talking about right now.
- There are 369 million monthly active Twitter users (Statista 2018)
- In the UK in 2018 the most popular conversations were #Heatwave #RoyalWedding #LoveIsland and #ItsComingHome…in this case I believe ‘home’ is France
- Twitter accounts for 16% of referrals to longer articles from social sites and 14% for shorter news articles. (Pew Research Center, 2016)
For: News, opinions on news and directing traffic to digital hubs.
Purpose: Grow your customers love…well, that’s how Mailchimp describes their platform.
- There are over 6.69 billion email accounts in the world (Radicati Group, 2018)
- 91% of shoppers want to hear from companies they do business with via email (Sleeknote 2019)
- Marketing and advertising companies have the lowest email open rates. (HubSpot, 2018). If you’re reading this then you are a unique individual
For: Sharing more with people that want more from you.
(Messenger and WhatsApp)
Purpose: Let people communicate anywhere in the world without barriers.
- There have been over 4 billion downloads of messenger apps. (HubSpot, 2016)
- The most popular mobile messenger app globally as of July 2018 is WhatsApp (Statitsa, 2018)
- 1.3 billion people around the world use Messenger every month
- WeChat (China) have 889 million users (Statista 2019)
For: Sharing short messages and conversations with consumers.
Okay, so there’s a lot to take in and most human minds can’t remember everything, let alone get everything right on the first go. Fortunately, the consequences of mistakes in digital marketing are significantly less than traditional media. Make a mistake in a TV commercial and it costs a fortune to repair. Miss a typo in your outdoor campaign and that too is costly to fix. Stuff up something online and not only will you know about it pretty quickly, you’ll be able to fix it just as fast. You’ll also learn. Which is why we like a dynamic and iterative approach to setting and refining a digital strategy.
The strength of this model is that it puts the consumer at the centre of every decision, sets a path to deliver commercial results and, not only allows for adaption and improvement, it demands it.
If you’re not already being deliberate with your digital strategy or your current approach isn’t working, give Dynamic Digital Strategy a go. Try some things, make a few mistakes and learn. As Einstein once said, “The person who never made any mistakes never tried anything new.” I wonder what he was like a knitting woollen blankets.