Need help with your digital marketing? Caveat Emptor!

What does the term digital marketing strategy mean to you? Is it about one aspect of your business, or maybe a lens through which you can view the whole thing? 

The old saying 'the more things change the more stay the same' is completely true. At Real Inbound we've more than 60 years of experience between us all. And so many problems that we've always faced in marketing and in business for that matter, we still face today.

I think you'll find it's more complicated than that...

It's really important to be aware that your digital marketing strategy actually covers the entire process of getting your product or service to the market and sold to your customer. Most of the digital marketing services you will see advertised today are actually individual aspects of the digital marketing strategy. And it was ever thus...

Whereas years ago, people would only look at their press advertising, or only radio or only TV. Today we see people only taking into account social media, or only paid social or only PPC (Pay per Click). 

It's quite right that you employ a website specialist to help you develop a website or a paid media specialist to navigate Google's algorithms. But it's quite another to base your entire sales, marketing and customer service performance on just one expert's perspective. When it comes to marketing there are so many things that you need to consider that it's actually really hard to capture when talking to one specialist business or another.

But help is at hand. At Real Inbound we get really concerned when a client tells us about the quality of some of the advice they received regarding their digital marketing. It usually comes from a good place. But when you have somebody talking about individual aspects of digital, like just social media, or just lead funnels, its worrying.

All of those things need to be accounted for in the one plan. You cant really break them down into separate plans or look at them one at a time. A proper digital marketing plan covers off everything from customer persona, buying journey, content strategy which includes web, video, social and so on. And maybe your PR strategy, and of course how you'll look after the customer after the purchase, your returns policy, your data strategy, marketing technology... the list goes on. 

But there's another, even more pressing issue

Marketing has a dirty little secret.

Most of the people who run businesses aren't digital marketers. Even if they are entrepreneurs, or great sales people or creative people, they are rarely all those things. So they look for advice from digital marketing people. And when it comes to the quality of the advice, those who aren't clued up may not know the difference between good advice or bad.

The dirty little secret is that the vast majority of people working in digital marketing today don't have the first, faintest, foggiest idea of what they are talking about. This leads to them giving bad advice and getting worse outcomes. They aren't necessarily doing this on purpose of course, it's more to do with their lack of experience, or the lack of a broad experience in any case. 

A responsible digital agency will provide you a strategy that encompasses all four P's of the marketing mix (I know, there are more depending on who you talk to, but 4 P's is plenty, trust us!). A responsible agency will work with you to identify your customer persona the buying journey that the persona will travel, their motivations, likes dislikes and the jobs that they need doing that mean they will turn to you for a purchase.

What should your agency be able to help with? 

They will help you understand your customer in intricate detail not just a segment or a job title. And help you build a virtual picture of the customer.

Where does your website fit in? Do you even need a website? Should we be using social media, if so which social media channels are the right ones? What is it we actually want the people we are marketing to actually do? And why should they do it?

There are so many aspects to digital marketing. It's really dangerous just to focus on the functional speciality of one of the experts you find on Facebook. (And where are these experts coming from in the first place? A lot of people working as a 'digital marketing agency' were selling the service they now specialise in for a corporate previously.

That's not a bad thing and good luck to them. They are some of the hardest working entrepreneurs around today. But that doesn't mean your business should bear the cost of their training and ongoing development.

Some final tips

When you're considering looking at a digital marketing agency to help maybe it's worth having a look at the other things they do as well as just the speciality you might be interested in. There's nothing worse than going off in the one direction with one media or channel, Only to have to unpick it all when you decide to bring in the next strand of the plan.

Even worse viewing your business through the lens of just one speciality is very shortsighted and can lead to further problems in the long run.

Make sure the agency or the marketing people you work with have the experience to be able to overcome all the niggles and wrinkles that occur in all digital marketing plans. Worst case scenario they will need to be able to deal with a plan that completely fails in its first iteration!

The last thing you need is an agency that cuts and runs halfway through trying to get something right because they are out of their depth. It's much better to have people working with you that have been through the fight many times before and are used to looking around and innovating for the best solution to the least obvious problems.




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Tony Dowling

FCIM | HubSpot Platinum Partner | Revenue Consultant | HubSpot Certified Trainer | South Wales HUG Leader | | 07812 582213

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