Starting your digital strategy from scratch is, in some ways, a far easier thing to do than to continue to productively plan, optimize, and enhance an ongoing program. However, not many businesses are in possession of a clean slate anymore. The number of those who have yet to enter the digital marketing game in at least some fashion is clearly dwindling both because, over time, many have recognized the efficacy of the various interactive channels and because some percentage didn't and may not be here to compete anymore. New businesses and new-to-digital businesses have a unique opportunity to craft and hold to a digital marketing strategy that is devoid of the baggage that comes with experience.
We often tout the advantage of digital history and experience. Digital marketing history and performance data can tell you a lot about what works for what goals with what audiences at what cost in what circumstances at a particular point in time. It's a backwards-looking snapshot of the opportunities and competitive situation of that moment and doesn't tell you if you maximized those opportunities even if you are meeting your stated goals. The incremental optimizations within channels and across channels, on site and off are the everyday chances to test your programs and to bring them closer to your ideal. The problem is that all programs, especially successful programs, bring their own baggage. If you're not diligent, success can weigh down your digital programs, making them sluggish and plodding. Eventually, probably quickly, you will end up with a less competitive and less effective program.
Here are some things to watch out for:
Using periodic external audits to get a non-biased but expert opinion can be another good way to shake up the current state and avoid gridlock in your thinking. Often a leadership change occasions such a fresh look, which may partly explain why CMO tenure is reported at an average of 18 months. I'm afraid that's not often enough for most businesses to exercise their change muscles in digital marketing. While we continue to value and mine the information available from historical performance, we need to also recognize that historical performance data is necessary but not sufficient in itself to fuel our strategy. We must continue to look and plan forward, not backward, if we are to succeed.
Meet Your Favorite ClickZ Contributors
Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
Robin is the CEO and cofounder of NetPlus Marketing Inc., a top 50 interactive agency established in 1996 to focus exclusively on online marketing and advertising best practices. Robin brings innovative strategy and a depth and breadth of marketing experience to the agency's practice and management. As one of the industry's pioneers, she is a driving force behind NetPlus Marketing's ongoing success with a diverse and discerning client base that considers online results critical to their business success.
Robin is a frequent speaker at national industry events, including ClickZ, internet.com, OMMA, Ad:Tech, SES, Online Marketing Summit, and Thunder Lizard conferences and is a sought-after resource for industry and business publications for her insight and advice on such topics as digital strategy, social media marketing, and behavioral targeting.
March 19, 2014