Digital is Not a Strategy

Customer TouchpointsFirst of all, a Happy Thanksgiving to you all. I apologize that it has been two months since my last blog. It has been a busy couple months working up marketing strategy for 2010. Lots of discussion about all the things that could be. I’m especially looking forward to 2010 as a marketer in light of all that has changed in the world. The words “digital”, “social media”, “SEO” and the like have become so ubiquitous that I think many marketers have lost sight of what exactly those things are – they are tools. That’s all. They do not define marketing in its entirety. For tools without a strategy, without a coordinated multi-faceted customer approach are just noise. And quite frankly I believe that most of what is out their in the digital landscape is just that – noise.

Take twitter for example…I’d venture to guess 90% of tweets come from 10% of the Twitter universe. That’s a lot of people who like to hear the click-clack of their keyboards. I’m not here to undermine the value of Twitter or other social media. There’s no denying its significance in the way people obtain information. This is more of a alternative response to a blog post from @hubspot, whom by the way, I’m a huge huge fan of.

http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/5334/Fortune-500-CEO-Warns-Vendors-Via-Email-Outbound-Marketing-is-Annoying.aspx

The blog above is an insightful look at one CEO’s view of outbound marketing. S/he does not dismiss it, but she certainly does not endorse it. Basically the person is not a fan of outbound marketing. But at the end of the day who is? Yet, outbound marketing remains a viable COMPONENT to a marketing strategy. In my view it comes down to relevant touch points. A marketing strategy must be built on a purposeful multi-touch agenda that includes both digital connections, traditional media and outbound tactics. Especially if the following apply…

1) Your target is not digital media savvy. The referenced CEO may consider herself digitally in-the-know, and some CEOs are…but my observations are that the vast majority of executive decision makers aren’t. Lets face it, if you market to C-level executives, you’d know this is a group that has been somewhat slow to adopt the web as a source of information beyond the occasional Google search.

2) Your target may not know what they’re looking for. The web is an abyss of data. Customers may not even know they have a problem, much less that there’s a solution to solve that unknown problem. So how are they to know what to look for?

3) Your industry, product or service is very specific in the needs it serves, making it very difficult to get noticed through the clutter of all the other information that’s out there. And again, it’s not like executive decision makers are getting RSS blog feeds to their desktop for their most important key words.

So are digital connections important? Yes. Should they be the lone weapon in your marketing arsenal? Definitely not. It should be part of a coordinated effort to touch your customer multiple times in an effort to build awareness and acceptance, which will hopefully drive lead generation. Complimentary outbound tactics like email, direct mail and telemarketing will continue to be used because they serve as measurable returns on marketing investment that enable targeted 1 to 1 touch points.

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