Thanks to the folks over at Web Marketing 123 for this Infographic.
Thanks to the folks over at Web Marketing 123 for this Infographic.
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.
“Social” claims or has been claimed to do everything and it really has become quite the game changer. In fact, did you know that it can actually boil the ocean? OK, so I’m kidding, but the point is this-One thing that social media does and has done, is that it has spurred or enhanced or magnified relevance in everything that online and offline touch now.
Even if you were not relevant before, now you have a chance to be, thanks to digital and social.
But step back from every situation and I mean every situation, and it’s really less about social and more about an age of relevance. Social is just the lipstick. Chew on that a bit. Yes, we definitely live in a digital age now and yes, we definitely live in the age of social media and yes it’s definitely all about the conversation. But, what digital, social and the conversation have definitely done is that they have snapped a piece of relevance onto everything that we now come in to contact with. It’s actually a two way street. Relevance shapes our social and digital engagements and our digital and social engagements become more relevant the more hyper focused they are to what we are all about and what we want and demand.
It surprises me that others have not really focused on this. Until Now.
Accenture Interactive has just come out with a couple of pieces of thought leadership on the “Era of Relevance.” (Full disclosure-Accenture is a client of mine) Though Accenture Interactive is talking about relevance at scale for the enterprise, the underlying theme remains unchanged-when you or I are marketing, conversing, buying, shopping, or selling-relevance is the tipping point in the transaction or transformation.
I would highly recommend reading the pieces from AI because they really do focus on one of the larger straws that stirs the drink.
Last week in a very thought provoking Tweetchat hosted by Lisa Petrilli, the discussion, though swirling around how an introvert uses social media, somehow segued into driving website traffic. So my first thought was a poll was in order. But then I started to think about 2012 and the challenges that most brands will face and thus the basis for this post was born: The challenges for a digital marketer or a digital brand in 2012. What are they specifically as it pertains to the web?
1) Driving traffic– The challenge in 2011 is the same in 2012. In order for people to know that you are open for business you have to get them to your website, your blog, your Twitter account or your Facebook page, right? Whether you’re a click and mortar or a web based only company, either or requires more than just a cursory amount of effort revolved around driving traffic. So you have to think about things like:
All with the premise of driving traffic. Eyeballs.
2) Engaging that traffic-You’ve got them to your site(s) now what are doing with them? In 2011, it was all about doing “something” with someone once they had visited your site, your blog or your Facebook page. Well that hasn’t changed. In 2012, it’s imperative that we determine what engagement looks like. What does it feel like, what does it smell like? Is it conversational? Interactive? Is it wrapped around gaming? You have to test, you have to experiment and you have to understand that you have about 20 seconds to get it right.
3) Keeping the traffic-The segue from the last sentence in #2 says it all. You have 20 seconds. For some of my friends, when they are telling me a long story and I start to lose interest, I tell them to quit circling the airport, land the plane and get to the point. Marketers and brands will need to land the plane in 2012. Remember when websites were stuffed with content because marketers and webmasters thought that’s what we wanted? Guess what? The challenge now is to do more with less and strike the balance of keeping your users happy, engaged and delivering exactly what it is that they are looking for. Keep your users focused in 2012. Be iconic, keep it simple.
4) Converting the traffic-This is the holy grail of web marketing and sales. Doing something with the people that have come to your site(s). From the dawn of the internet, the goal has always been to convert the people that come to your site into either a lead or a prospect or a sale-Either for your company or your partners. This has not changed. The challenge in 2012 will be to further understand how to utilize the social tools, sites and platforms that now exist in order to convert the passive visitor into something other than a mistaken click, a browser or a passerby. In 2012 social will continue to help deliver customers to websites, but it still falls back on you to deliver on the promise of a good customer experience. The biggest issue? Brands and marketers doing everything to get to the prom but not getting the kiss at the end of the night. Why? It will always be about the customer experience. Don’t discount the importance of search in this equation.
5) Getting the traffic to return-Repeat business, Word of mouth and increased sales, this is what it’s all about. It’s why people go into business, it’s why companies sell stuff. What’s better? The one off or the repeat customer? Why will people keep coming back to a website? Because of the initial experience. How many people give a crappy website a second chance? None. They come back to good sites that are easy to navigate, easy to understand, simple to use, that are safe, secure and trusted and they can find and get exactly what they want without much more than 2 or 3 clicks. Put yourself in the place of your customer. Search for your own product or company the way they do. Do you/they find what they are looking for? Can you be found through search and social? What is your perception of the branded web experience? What are your competitors doing? What are your favorite sites? What brands do you follow on Twitter and Facebook? There’s a reason you follow them. You need to take that mentality into 2012 when it comes to marketing and branding your web presence.
Meet your own expectations as a consumer and flip them into those of your customers.
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.