Thanks to the folks over at Web Marketing 123 for this Infographic.
Quick hits on Social Media, Marketing, and Technology
Let me give you a few real world examples that happen every day. You’re at a stop light for all of 30 seconds and you start to get antsy because the light hasn’t changed. You are going to make a right on red and there is someone in front of you who does not turn right away, and you lay on the horn. You’re in line at the store waiting to check out and it’s taking forever. Forever being about 3-4 minutes.
Why are we so impatient?
Maybe these examples will help. You’re surfing the web and a page doesn’t load quick enough so you try another website. You want to buy a product online so you do a search and you click on the first result and it doesn’t load quick enough, so you go to the second result. You load an app and it takes forever (10 minutes) and you immediately start thinking of your next computer purchase with more memory and more processor speed (whatever that means).
What’s happening here?
The web has conditioned us to want everything quicker and faster. We are become a bi-product of always on. Meaning that when we are on the web, we expect the delivery of the experience to match the level of our expectation. The result? That expectation starts to bleed into our offline universe. Our consumer experience is on hyper please
Everyone suffers. Think about it like this. The more it takes to satisfy us, the more we need- and the less it satisfies. In a sense we’re becoming junkies for a good web experience which again as I said earlier is starting to bleed into our personal offline lives. Is that a good thing? In a sense it is but it’s also unrealistic to think that waiting at a light for a whole 1-2 minutes is unacceptable. Just as it is unreasonable to think that just because it took 15 seconds for a page to load-is a bad user experience. The web experience, and I’ll include mobile in this, is now as much about the pulleys and levers as it is about the finished product. So how do people respond to a bad online customer experience? They click and go somewhere else.
Too bad for the visually appealing site that is hampered by it not possessing what the user wants- Be it access to the proper social channels, free stuff, or the right check out page, or access to a contact page that provides a direct link to customer service. If you don’t have that, you’ve crashed and burned before you’ve even taken off! Consumers indeed.
According to a recent survey published by eMarketer, four in five North American brand marketers considered brand lift to be the most important metric for evaluating the success of their online branding efforts. But is brand lift the right metric at all? Vizu which partnered with DIGIDAY on the survey defines brand lift as the following:
Brand Lift is defined as the percentage increase in the primary marketing objective of a brand advertising campaign
But does that definition correlate to digital correctly? Should it? Marketers consider it to be the one worthy metric. Given its pure definition however, brand lift would or could always be loosely defined in the digital age as a percentage increase in followers on Twitter or Likes on Facebook, if it’s part of the marketing objective. In digital we can’t construe brand lift as the number of eyeballs, the number of likes or the numbers followers without any type of sales or action or in fact, a long term measurable return on those efforts.
The problem though is that marketers might be still associating a hollow metric (one of many in digital) to brand lift.
Consider this quote from eMarketer analyst Lauren Fisher:
“Digital’s legacy of direct-response metrics has caused many to fall back on measures that drove the first wave of online advertising—clickthrough rate and pageview.”
She’s right. A pageview and a clickthrough, though they can be construed as a positive, or as “effective” digital branding, can sometimes mean absolutely nothing. Same with Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and traditional blogs. Brand lift metrics in the digital age are, in my estimation,”one off’s. ” Indeed, marketers must break old habits of using single measures of success.
The static website is dead long live the static website
According to a study from Accenture, comScore, and dunnhumbyUSA aimed at helping consumer packaged goods (CPG) marketers, visitors to CPG brand websites buy 37% more in retail stores than non-visitors to the brand site. The study also concluded, that to maximize impact, website content needs to be updated regularly and contain brand value messaging that both engages visitors while also providing compelling reasons for them to purchase the brand at retail. Without sounding too much like Captain Obvious, here’s what retailers need to remember:
The study found that visitors to CPG brand websites are valuable and frequent buyers of the brand in retail stores, completing 41% more transactions than non-visitors. So it goes without saying, incent and enrich the online experience and tie it into the store experience and sales go up and buyers return.
I coach. I’ve coached for a number of years spanning every sport from basketball to baseball and I have to say with utmost confidence that most of my teams have had winning records and most of my players have learned something and have had fun along the way. But…There are always those teams and those players that either don’t get it, didn’t get it, or don’t want to get it. “It” being the magic that is winning, learning, growing and having fun. Success.
It happens in sports. It also happens in the business world. I for one love sports and business analogies, so for the sake of this post I’m going to draw some quick parallels between the success of a team and the success of a business, but I’m going to let you connect the dots.
Why do teams do well?
1) Constant communication with everyone. Whether they were the worst player on the team or the best, players need to know that you know them. One on one is critical. Believe it or not, you will have players who think that you don’t care about them, don’t like them, or that you don’t even know who they are, all because you have not talked to them in any capacity one on one.
2) Provide feedback on how they can get better. There’s a reason we all practice every day. It’s so we can get better. But in order to get better, we have to know where we can get better.
3) Put people in a position to succeed. Sometimes you don’t know what you have until you see it happen. Give everyone a chance, they will appreciate it and you’ll gain insight from the experience.
4) Reward simple behavior. Sometimes it’s an encouraging word, a pat on the back, a simple thank you, increased playing time or just letting them know that you see that they are trying. But acknowledging to your players that you see them, that you are aware of what they are doing, can sometimes be the catalyst for excellence.
With this simple formula, your teams thrive and there are never any mysteries. In sports and in the business world, things are earned and hard work is rewarded, but employees and players still need to managed and coached. Believe it or not, most coaches(the good ones) see everything. They see who works hard and they also see who does not. But players are also watching the coaches. Coaches are held to standards just as managers should be and thus the same holds true in business. Treat your employees with respect and your organization will reap the benefits.
As a business owner, at the end of the day, you’re in business to sell a product or service which means that you may know that product backwards and forwards, but does that mean you know how to market it? Maybe. Does it mean that you know digital marketing/ social media marketing? Does that mean you know e-commerce? Maybe not.
Some SMB’s prefer to do it all. Some can, some can’t. Some try, some fail. Enter the third party.
I’m having a conversation with a friend right at this moment in which he’s saying that the only thing constant in life is change. I agree, especially in social media. His point? People who run companies cannot do it all. But they try, they struggle, they dabble, and thus think they have it under control. Perhaps everyone needs that extra set of eyes on some aspects of what they do. Business owners need to understand that having another set of eyes is not necessarily a bad thing. The key is knowing when you need them and swallowing your pride to admit that you need them.
At the end of the day, you need to do what you do best. If you’re a doctor, asking you to market your product was not part of what you learned in medical school.
Social changes every day, so being an expert is a tall task. Being an expert in what you do takes time, takes effort and takes commitment. Can you be an expert in everything that you do in your business? For digital marketers, being connected to your network at least allows you stay abreast of what changes daily in the space. You take what you learn daily everywhere you go. Translation-How can you run your business and being effective with digital marketing? Especially if you’re a click and mortar business.
Beyond digital and social media and taking a broad lens approach to life, and knowing that we are all in some sort of bubble begs the question. Doesn’t having another set of eyes help you? Well there ya go…
In the game of basketball there’s something that really can separate the good players from the average players. A lot of players do not do it and yet they would be better served and more successful if they did do it. It’s fundamental to the game and yet a lot of coaches do not coach it or preach it. I’m not going to tell you what it is yet.
In digital marketing, social media marketing and any type of integrated marketing communications plan, we can create a strategy, design the tactics to use for that strategy and then we can implement. Then we wait. We measure. We tweak and we rework, redesign and we retrench if necessary. But if instead of waiting for things to happen. What if we made things happen? What if we created opportunities for ourselves?
Remember the movie Field of Dreams and the famous line, “If you build it, they will come”? In marketing, especially in the web world, there’s a sense that all we have to do is create a website, add that transactional back-end, create a Facebook page, a Twitter handle, and a blog site-and they will come. When what is really necessary is a lot of OFF page SEO work, a lot of content creation, content curation, and content consumption and commenting. You have to be proactive in this new digital paradigm. You can’t wait for it to happen or you’re done.
Back to the hoops analogy
In basketball, the more you stand around and watch, the less you are part of the action and the game. If you expect to get the ball passed to you on the wing just because you happen to be standing there, well it’s not going to happen. The defender is not fooled and you’re less of a threat because he doesn’t have to worry about you, he can see you. He can literally defend the basket and you at the same time because you’re not doing anything.
If you move without the ball, then you create more opportunities for you to get the ball, to score and to win. If no one moves-you don’t win. Simple as that. In digital, if you want to just build stuff and wait for people to find you-you won’t win. Simple as that.
The easy answer on why digital strategies fail is that technology is changing so quickly that once an organization has decided to implement one strategy, it’s time to alter course and develop a new one. And to a certain extent that’s partly true. It is very difficult to stay ahead of the curve, especially now.
But the real reason a lot of digital strategies fail isn’t because of a dearth of good ideas or talent, it’s because of 5 things inherent in a lot of organizations. They are in descending order of importance.
5. Turnover coupled with leadership vacuum.
4. Red Tape/Politics/Hidden agendas
3. Lack of belief or Buy in from Leadership
2. Poor planning and Bad execution
I suppose that we could easily expand this discussion to include other aspects of a business that fail instead of just digital strategies because of the above mentioned bullet points, but these 5 seem to occur moreso than most around aspects of digital.
For example, if we’re to believe the Gartner Hype Cycle, which I do, we’re approximately 2-5 years away from mainstream adoption of social analytics. That’s measuring and monitoring and analyzing the biggest technological and cultuural phenomenon to hit the globe since the internet first came on the scene, and we’re 2-5 years from mainstream adoption. It’s not a technology problem.
It’s tough to stay ahead of the curve when some struggle to just get on the curve. Why is that? Your number one answer? Culture. We have to get out of our own way.
Do you ever hear anyone after a huge win, a major client victory or a momentous occasion within an organization say the following? “Without the short cuts and the corners we cut, we would have never made it…”
In the world of digital, there exists the potential to aggregate your activities and consolidate your digital streams so as not to duplicate work. That’s not really a short cut. THAT is much different than buying followers on Twitter. Additionally, creating an editorial calendar for when you are going to blog and what your topics will be and what the content might be is a lot different than paying someone to load you up with bland, link baited light on content,articles to fill your blog with.
Furthermore, taking the time to develop a database of customers that you curate and nurture along and turn into brand advocates that you can send targeted emails and Facebook offers and coupons to, does not resemble buying a used, stepped on, non-qualified list of names that you can email blast to without permission.
“Just” throwing up a website pales in comparison to taking the time to find out from your audience what they want and making sure that what you sell or offer online is meeting the needs and expectations of your buyers, customers and prospects. We don’t live in a brochure-ware web world any longer.
Last point. Don’t discount new technologies because you don’t understand them and because you don’t want to take the time to understand them. That’s not hard work. That’s saying, “It’s too hard for me to understand and it probably won’t benefit me…”
You need to know that there are basic steps here in every digital channel that you need to do and do right if you want to be here next year. At every digital juncture you have the potential to make a choice. A short cut or hard work? Believe it or not, your audience knows the difference.