Awareness – Identifying where you are at is the most important part of where you are at in your companies digital transformation, if you have recently found yourself saying the following, you are at the beginners stage:
“We’re doing some digital marketing when we can but we’re too busy focused on the day to day…”
“Our competitors are doing it so we’ve set up a social media page and we’ve just launched our new website but I’ve no idea where to start”
“We’re familiar with the language a number of acronyms keep cropping up like SEO, CRM, SEM, we’ve tried google ads but we’ve no idea what we are doing or where to start”
“Our competitors are ranking better than us on key digital channels, such as search engines, their social media accounts, we feel like we are falling behind”
At this point you are typically at the beginners early stage of your organisations digital transformation I recommend the following three pathways to get your company moving in the direction of success:
- Employ a Digital Marketing Manager and a team of specialists – Digital is a global affair, this person must be a global thinker aware of industry changes at scale which can be drilled down and brought home to your market. They must be given the space to focus on the role in order to be successful. There is multiple different routes to market on digital so be aware it is likely that your digital success is not a one person job. The whole organisation needs to be involved!!
- Employ a digital Marketing Agency who has experience in strategic digital marketing, they will be adept at analysing your market in a digital context, they will also have specialists in multiple areas, including (yes here comes the acronyms again..) Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Paid and Organic Ad Campaigns, Targeting, Market Segmentation, funnels, CRM Systems etc. You will be able to work with them to identify and focus on specific areas for growth.
- Employ/transfer someone without experience into the role. I would employ this approach with caution, and qualify this by asking yourself two questions:
- Is the candidate passionate about digital marketing?
- Is the candidate a creative and strategic thinker?
- Has the candidate experience in management level reporting?
If you have answered yes to the above questions then this might be the right fit for your organisation. You will need a robust training programme to support their development and growth in the role, it is typically a significantly slower path to growth but might be the right one for you.
The Digital Marketing Accelerator..
You are a digital marketing accelerator if you identify with one of the following three points:
- Your organisation is ready for digital success, when you talk to your family and friends about digital marketing and their eyes glaze over and you know they can’t hear you anymore.
- You’re a digital Junkie immersing yourself in the latest trend, and campaign that is gripping the market, you get super excited about discovery calls with software providers because you are dying to learn about a new tool that is going to make your life easier, you have a minimum of 10 data tracking apps running on your phone at any one time.
- You know what your Facebook and Google account manager did at the weekend.
- Sometimes you struggle to see the bigger picture because you are so immersed in the day to day job of delivering the digital campaigns and when you do get a chance to step back and see the bigger picture you realise there is so much more that you want to do and you worry that the organisation is missing a trick on your watch.
What is your next step?
Well done, you’ve realised the potential in digital markets, leads and sales are coming into the business like never before from places you never imagined possible, it has become a solid and growing revenue stream for the business. You know you are only touching the iceberg… and you know enough to know there is still so much out there and so much more to be done, but where should your focus be, you are juggling a billion things along with multiple dashboards which are continually going through an update or a change, you are no longer getting to focus on the specific areas you wanted to focus on and so much is falling through the cracks…
Firstly, well done to you and your team for getting this far. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so first things first, outlined below is my top tips on how to take your organisation to the next level:
- Identify and pin point where the organisation is in its “overnight success” story!!
- Microsoft – Bill Gates founded Microsoft in 1975, 6 years later he secured a contract with IBM, it took another 5 years before Microsoft went public in 1986,
- Facebook – In 2003 Mark Zuckerburg created facemash, the platform was later rebranded to Facebook and in 2005 Facebook was still showing loss’s some three years later it became an overnight success
- Apple – It took Steve jobs two decades to perfect the Mac, a company established in 1976 but who really only came into their own in the 00’s.
- Google – Larry Page and Sergey Brin were developing google since 1996, few people had heard of it in 1999 and it wasn’t until 2004 until it went public.
- Amazon – Jeff Bezos took amazon to success in three years the strategy was more effective than the business plan expected. Strategy was the key to their overnight success. This is rare but with the right people around you and the right strategy not impossible.
Are you there yet? If no, then let’s keep going…. If yes, then congrats I run a global leading digital marketing agency and I would love to have coffee and learn from you DM me at https://www.linkedin.com/in/helen-gavin-77859895/
- Reviewing the strategy at this stage is paramount, you are working with bigger budgets and it’s all about optimising the Return on Investment (ROI). Review what metrics you are using to determine your Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and your Return on Investment (ROI). It is so important you are measuring and tracking the right figures for success and for each industry and organisation this can differ. The rule of thumb I recommend is to align the KPI’s that have the most impact on the overall vision and mission of the business. As an old lecturer of mine used to say “what gets measured gets managed” but the bigger question of course is what are you measuring and why?
So now you have a strong revenue stream from digital. How does the new revenue stream affect the future growth strategy for the business as a whole, has this now changed the business model for the organisation? Has it impacted the vision and the mission? Should it? Could it? where are the opportunities?
- Is your brand now fit for purpose? Have you analysed the digital data in depth? Listen to the Market, listen to yourself, and your team. Recognise the wins that brought you to this point and the losses. Review the Customer journey and the buyer behaviour and patterns, what is happening? Do you know what drives your customers to purchase from you? Is it your brand or is it something else? These are complexed questions and they are sometimes more difficult to answer when you are in the organisation. All of my friends who work in this industry say the same including myself, we become blind when we start looking at our own, but fear not the data will unravel a lot of these questions.
- Review the organisational behaviour and culture. We often find the biggest challenge to growth in digital markets for medium to large organisations is a resistance to change. The more online sales grow the more pressure it puts on other areas of the business, the marketing department depends on product development teams, operations, production, sales and multiple additional teams which may now require enhanced systems, or resources in order to competently continue to deliver the service. Resistance to change within the organisation is extremely challenging and every growth company has experienced it, so stay focused and work with empowering your management team, to deliver practical solutions in the short, medium and long term. You will be thanked for it in the long run…. Ultimately the market is demanding businesses deliver more online, loyal customers who were previously protected by geography from competitors are now vulnerable to a far bigger competitive environment. This change is seen in all sectors across B2B and B2C channels.
- Add the sauce – Be selective with your channels, effectively segment and monitor the various market segments, monitor the KPI’s religiously, be creative, be brave and be human with your campaigns. If you find you are hitting a wall in some areas don’t be afraid to bring in fresh eyes there is tonnes of amazing agencies and consultants in the digital space (Yes including us!!) it’s always good to get a second opinion.
- Make a technology development plan as you continue to scale you will need additional features and systems to manage andß integrate your data with other parts of the organisation, most likely across multiple departments. Plan ahead for these as they will require buy in from multiple departments and these could also impact your campaign planning so timing is important.
- Continuously adapt and respond to the Market. Capturing market trends as they develop should form an active part of your ongoing strategy. The forced lockdowns during the pandemic instantly impacted consumer behaviour. Buyers now found themselves relying on online shopping for all non-essential purchases, customers who were previously terrified or sceptical of online shopping became confident users of multiple platforms. The market at large consumed content that distracted them from Covid-19, leaning more towards infotainment which increased audiences for online platforms like YouTube and a significant rise in the impact of influencer marketing. Information such as this can heavily impact where you spend your budget and increase the returns you get from it so stay tuned in.
- In the words of Nike “Just Do It”
The Digital Marketing Master….
I’ll tell you when I’m there… and if you get there first please share your thoughts we are always learning.