9 New Year’s Resolutions for Digital Marketers

The beginning of the new year is a good time to reflect on the changes we would like to make, and digital marketing should be no different. But before I list nine digital marketing New Year’s resolutions for 2011, remember that while 45 percent of people usually set New Year’s resolutions, only 8 percent of people are successful in achieving them, according to Opinion Corporation of Princeton, NJ.

Noting the futility of the exercise, let’s get started on our list of resolutions:

1. Spend more time with family and friends… on Facebook and social media sites. All our friends and family are there in force already – therefore we as marketers should be there too. According to TNS Research, 97 percent of the 450 million Internet users in China have used social media, 80 percent of Internet users in India, and 90 percent in developing Asia, with Indonesia having the second largest number of Facebook users in the world. If you are wondering where this marketing budget is going to come from, this recent Search Engine Watch article suggests reallocating 10 to 20 percent of your search budget to Facebook – and specifically points out Asian results: “Facebook was consistently strong [in our tests compared to paid search on Google, Yahoo, and Bing] – and, in fact, even stronger within APAC countries.”

2. Fit in fitness – through using analytics from your campaigns – and get attribution right. Note that the new analytics do not just use the old “click through rate” stats – people can read your ad without needing to click on it, mouse over it, or “linger” on it. Use the poll ad function on Facebook ads to measure brand awareness and recall, or if you are an offline retailer or FMCG, just take a poll in the store when they are buying – “Did you use the Internet to research this product”? Or just start selling online – even Armani is selling online in China as of last month. Straight through purchase is the easiest metric to measure, but make sure that proper attribution is given to online for phone and offline sales. And keep in mind that 80 to 90 percent of purchases are first researched online before buying offline.

3. Quit smoking the stuff that makes us think the Internet is just for teenagers. According to the TNS Digital Life study published last October, in Asia (China, emerging and developed Asia), for those who have Internet, it has become the primary media channel. In Hong Kong, 80 percent of Internet users (which is nearly everyone) use the Internet daily, while only 57 percent watch TV daily. In China, 56 percent use the Internet daily, whereby only 39 percent of the same people watch TV daily. The implications there are astounding. And while Facebook was created for college kids (by college kids), the fastest growing segment is those aged 55 and older.

4. Quit drinking the stuff that makes us think social media and Internet marketing is just for B2C and not B2B. At our agency, we do social media monitoring for a number of companies, and the interesting thing we are finding is that it’s not just friends and family online chatting and socialising – more and more, its business users discussing critical topics to their business amongst themselves. Whether its engineers trying to find technical solutions in China, SMEs trying to understand importing restrictions and immigration laws in Australia, or even us digital marketers grappling with the latest trends, we’re in forums, Linkedin Groups, and BBS services discussing issues. B2B brands should have a social media plan in place, even if it’s just for monitoring and potential crisis management.

5. Enjoy life more, capture it on video, and upload it! Along with social media and mobile, video is the buzzword of 2011 – mainly because it’s so much easier and cheaper to produce and share than even before. With broadband and the accompanying sites coming into their own in China (YouKu, Tudou), and Youtube throughout most of the rest of Asia, it’s time to get to know video and how to optimise it best. Again, it’s like going to the gym – start with light weights and work your way up.

6. Learn something new, online. Do something different each quarter and be prepared to fail. While it’s a luxury to have, marketers really need a “test” budget – a lab budget to try new things and see if they stick. If you do have access to such a budget, make sure you make the time to use it – and don’t wait until December 15to start – divide it up into quarterly initiatives so that there is something to build on throughout the year.

7. Resolve to take baby steps and set goals and budgets. Above I cited the article that recommended allocating 10 to 20 percent of your paid search budget to Facebook this year. Actually, this is still too low, given that PPC should be around 50 percent of your digital marketing budget, and digital marketing is likely 10 to 20 percent of your total marketing budget – doing the math, that’s just 2 percent of your total marketing budget at best, even though people may be spending 20 percent of their media time on Facebook (now you see why its valued at $50 billion). At the same time, at 2 percent, it’s so low you’ve got nothing to lose! Start with this baby step first and build on it, as discussed in Resolution 6 above.

8. Volunteer your own mobile phone to your IT department or vendor for UAT purposes to ensure that your site can be used in at least the basic iPhone (iOS), Android, BlackBerry, Windows 7, and Symbian mobile environments. This is critical in Asia where the phone is fast becoming the primary way to access the Internet on a daily basis. Forty percent of Chinese and 32 percent of developed Asia use the mobile phone to access the Internet monthly according to TNS. This is the baby step. When you have this mastered, look into how a mobile app may help your brand or your business.

9. Resolve to improve your career by keeping all of the above resolutions – good luck and let me know how you are coming along!

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