Blog Gold 2010: Does your digital marketing sizzle?

In July 2009 I wrote about how I saw emerging technology bringing tremendous opportunities, choice and challenges. The ability to reach wider audiences, tailor products, services and communications, and have better visibility of what works, all make digital marketing a must for most enterprises. The last twelve months have seen an explosion in talk around how to make the most from digital marketing and has proved just how important having a digital profile for your business and yourself has become.

The challenge to companies and marketers still to embrace it is in doing it properly,credibly and in line with business objectives. Avoid ‘just doing it’ as many digital gurus may advise. Like any other marketing element, consider long term, customer focused, permission based marketing strategies which will help you use the right tools in the right way. This retains all the brand equity you have hopefully amassed over many years of successful customer satisfaction, and make taking it online a little easier.

B2C brands like Dell and Amazon have done, and continue to do this supremely well. B2B marketers can take the best from their models and apply them cost effectively to their own operations.

Planning digital marketing that sizzles hinges on how you do business and transact. So what sort of business are you?

Are you running an eMarketing program (essentially online promotion which drives customers to have to enquire, make a call, visit a store or see a salesperson in order to place an order? Are you running an eCommerce business (incorporating online marketing with transactional capability? Or are you running a true eBusiness (with the front end seamlessly linked and automated into the back end)?

Digital marketing should help achieve one, some or all of the following objectives:

1. To sell – growing sales by satisfying needs, easily.

2. To serve – add value and customer satisfaction with good delivery, regular communications and order updates and other online services.

3. To speak – starting a proactive two way dialogue helps identify and anticipate customer needs.

4. To save – doing it all efficiently and effectively, reducing overall administration, warehousing, logistics and distribution costs.

5. To sizzle – providing an enjoyable brand experience that creates positive word of mouth (buzz) and leads to return visits and purchases. This is brand building, creating an emotional tie with the customer.

I concluded with a telling summary that if your digital marketing doesn’t sizzle, doesn’t stick people to your site, doesn’t get them to talk about it, recommend it, bookmark it and return to it, you’re wasting your time, money and effort.

I’d reiterate a year on that, conversion is and should be the most important role of any website. There has to be a reason for people to bother, to keep bothering or be bothered enough to bother anyone else with it. Whether it is direct selling, information, advice, education, comparison, research, it needs to be doing something for your target audience.

Originally posted 14 July 2009. Image courtesy of BestDigital

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