I want to talk about three actions for digital marketing: control, alternate, and delete.
Control. We must control our appetite for the excessive reinvention of new terminologies.
Over the last two months, I have been over-killed by the term "big data." I read articles about the war between the CMO (chief marketing officer) and the CTO (chief technology officer) or something like the CMO is the future CTO. Certainly we don't need to push the marketers to a farther technical edge, nor does this world need one more war!
As a marketer, I am lucky to have a technical background. However, using data for digging marketing insight isn't about technology. In my recent ClickZ Training in Shanghai on web analytics, I asked a simple question, "Do you have a full-time staff dedicated for web analytics?" The majority in the classroom said no. To be honest, if you don't have at least one full-time personnel sitting in your marketing department who can dig into analytics, then you can forget about the benefit of big data. The technology is not going to do the work for you. The spirit of big data is about how much insight you can generate through analyzing your marketing data, not how much data you should be collecting.
Alternate. Marketers today have many alternates to engage, to converse, and to convert before even understanding how to measure.
Speaking of measurement, I am a big opponent of the analytics dashboard because I believe that the dashboard weakens our consciousness and limits our desire to pursue unique insight. Bottom line: while we are using different alternates in our marketing mix, we shouldn't keep one single constant view to interpret our marketing result, not to mention to apply it across all the scenarios.
For example, for a regular website, the top five landing pages or top five keywords will always be the top five. The social referral traffic will always be lower than the search referral traffic. You don't need a dashboard to tell you all these. However, we should look at the long-tail engagements or total number of engagements that we have over a period of time and then zero in on the long-tail engagements for some surprising or inspiring discovery.
Seeking alternates to enrich our marketing mix is a right thing to do as we digital marketers are living in a constant and ever-changing marketing evolution. Nonetheless, knowing how to retrieve actionable marketing insight instead of vanity metrics is crucially important to get our jobs done. If you analyze before taking action, the insight that you generate from the marketing data should be powerful enough to lead your action and won't become a self-defeating decision.
Delete. As a marketer, we must be capable of learning how to add new tactics in our advertising plan. But at the same time, we also should be able to eliminate the unnecessary components.
The world has enough forms of advertising. We don't need something called "native advertising" to underscore the importance of making good content for better audience engagement. Mobile advertising doesn't make sense because it isn't truly mobile but only sits inside the small screen. It is just fine to call it small-screen advertising. Indeed, we unnecessarily put channels or tactics in the marketing plan only because they look new and trendy.
Learning how to control, alternate, and delete are important steps for making optimal marketing strategy. Throughout every step, you must make use of your analytics to guide you for making informed decisions. It is OK to fail and learn from the mistake and then start over. Just like rebooting your computer, all you need to do is to learn when and how to use CTRL+ALT+DELETE to reboot your marketing plan.
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Eddie is the founding partner of Frontiers Digital and the Executive Director of Milton Exhibits Group. Although Eddie studied classical theory of sociology in college and has a MBA, technology always has been a passion with him. He believes that a combination of technology and communication is what the modern marketing is heading towards in the future. Eddie is a member of Search Engine Strategies Global Advisory Board.
March 19, 2014