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Digital marketing is a trending topic right now and so it is quite obvious that across all physical and digital conversations, the topic comes up quite often. If you are talking to business owners or CEO’s, they are gung-ho and are keen to use digital marketing to drive their business growth, but most of them are not sure what steps they need to take. They just end up engaging with some amateurs/firms in digital marketing, who burn their dollars and end up giving a very bad feeling. With this post, I intend to talk about the constituents of digital marketing, how you need to plan the mix for your business and what you need to put in place in terms of metrics, so that you know whether you are making progress in the right direction and at what velocity.
Before we get to digital marketing, let me briefly touch upon the topic marketing, as it has been around for several years. A simple definition – Marketing is everything that you do for your brand, products/services so that a sale can be facilitated and you can earn revenues. This typically includes the simplification of your products and services, brand communication about what you stand for and values that you deliver, awareness initiatives to make sure that your products/services are in front of your target audience at all times and specific lead generation/ promotion initiatives to ensure that you are able to engage meaningfully with people who want to do engage with you. The rest of the cycles are typically managed by sales like proposals, negotiations and closure.
If I were to take a gist of the above section, then marketing is about effectively reaching out to your target audience (at optimum budgets) and creating a positive influence enough to create an intent to buy/engage with you for your products/services. Now let us add digital to this mix to get to digital marketing. If we effectively reach out leveraging digital mechanisms, then we are using digital marketing. This could mean a mix of website, SEO, SEM, Social media, Email marketing campaigns etc. Sounds very simple, then where is the complexity?
Everything depends on what you are trying to sell and to whom? Depending on what you are trying to sell, your objective from digital marketing mechanisms will vary. So if you are selling capital equipment or large projects, then your objective from digital marketing mechanism might be just to create excitement and set up an appointment for your sales person. If you are selling hotel rooms, mobile phones, etc, you might want to go the entire distance and achieve the sale, right from your digital marketing efforts. Makes sense?
At Xenia, we have been pre-dominantly in the B2B space, so I will talk a bit more about our B2B experiences. Here are several things that you need to have in place and things that you need to consider before you put together a full-fledged digital marketing strategy for your business.
1) Simplification of your offer
As a business owner/CEO, you are the organization’s best salesperson, but can you be in front of all your customers to convince them to buy your product? Probably not and as you scale, you will employ a dedicated sales team to do this job for you. In that case, it is essential that key elements of your product/service are really simplified and are available in multiple digital and physical forms, which can be used by the sales people during the sales process. These can include digital assets like presentations, videos, flyers, brochures, e-books etc. which can be also deployed across digital marketing mechanisms
2) Defining your relevant target audience sharply
Focus is the name of the game. If you keep your target market definition very sketchy, then your efforts are going to be all over the place and efforts will take place in multiple directions, leading to frustrations. If you have a clear definition of your target market, then a variety of initiatives can be planned to start reaching them across social/emails other digital marketing mechanisms regularly.
3) Defining your digital marketing channels
It is a misnomer that digital marketing does not cost you money. It does, for sure, but the quantum is substantially lesser than traditional marketing mechanisms like media/TV ads and trade show sponsorships. Once you have defined your target audience to a level of detail, the next level of analysis that you need to focus on is how can you reach them. What mediums will be the best. Would that be across social media mechanisms like Twitter, LinkedIn or third party posts or should that be facilitated through a regional AdWordss campaign run on Google or a specific reach out campaign leveraging FB, LinkedIn & Twitter ads. There is no ‘one’ strategy that fits all. This strategy needs to be customized based on what you are selling and to whom you are trying to sell to. At Xenia, this is usually the first part of our engagement with clients, where we help them define these elements upfront.
4) Get your metrics in place
Any reach-out needs to be consistent, whether you are doing social promotions, email marketing campaigns or anything else. You will never get success out of just one reach-out. The entire strategy needs to be put in place. Also the performance metrics should be defined ahead of the campaign, so that you can track to it and gauge how successful your initiatives have been. If you cannot point to hard metrics like a qualified lead handover to sales, then focus on softer metrics, but be sure to have these metrics in place
5) Listen, Adapt, Improvise
You seldom get things right the first time. Your strategies are based on what you think will sell to your target audience. If you are not getting the desired results, spend time and effort and improvise. More you can get closer to your target audience and factor in both primary and secondary research, you will be able to pin-point themes that you can use across your content and campaigns that will appeal to your target audience.
Twist n Turn is the name of the game and I am not talking about your steps in a disco. The more you are able to listen, adapt and improvise, the better will be your results. Go ahead and put your best foot forward, track your metrics and see your digital marketing strategy drive results for you.
Of course, we are just a call away, in case you would like us to help you with crafting and managing your digital marketing strategy.
Regards - Atul Dhakappa | @xeniaconsulting