Down with digital marketing? Leader from Professional Marketing magazine

Posted on: June 16, 2014

I wrote the leader in this month’s Professional Marketing magazine http://www.pmforum.co.uk/magazine/view_article.aspx?id=4294 and have reproduced it here for ease of reference

Down with digital?

Enough already about digital. This is not heresy. I’m as reliant on databases, analytics, social media and technology as the next marketer. Perhaps more so. And I’ve just finished a review of various digital marketing courses that you can attend either as a new marketer for your basic training or as a traditional marketer needing to keep up with the digital revolution.

But I have to ask whether, as we embrace digital, we have lost something along the way? Digital transformation continues at a pace. It’s clearly here to stay and a major part of our world. So why not ditch ‘digital’ and just regard marketing in all its glory – integrating the digital and non-digital bits? Digital is the new normal.

But to show that I’m not a digital rejectionist, here’s a reframe of some of marketing’s key principles with some digital buzz words to comfort both digital natives and digital immigrants:

  • Content – Whether we are talking products and services (where digital may play a major role) or the words about them they need to be on brand. We need to create content capital to attract people and content currency to promote conversations. We need a strong reputation for curating credible content to become the ‘go to’ source. Content maketh the conversation. And paraphrasing The Stranglers, we’re in danger of “No more experts anymore”.
  • Community – Segmentation is still vitally important. And we still have to attract and engage people – but we can’t dominate any more. We have to join the conversation, make a connection, facilitate networking, add value, form relationships, share stuff and promote others as much as ourselves. It’s got to be on their agenda or they’ll leave the community. Paraphrasing an American president “It’s about the experience stupid”.
  • Creativity – Somewhere in the digital love-in the art of strategic insight was lost. The wealth of data will never remove the need to come up with the ‘big idea’ that will be the spine of a campaign that holds it all together. Compelling propositions that ride high above the sea of commodities don’t just leap from the screen. Creativity needs bravery and risk-taking. It is something that digital just can’t do for us on its own.
  • Conversion – Great analytics can help us increase the right amount of traffic to our web sites but ultimately there has to be a conversion of an interested contact into a client. Conversion is key whether it’s from hits to hangouts, from likes to listening, from engagement to enthusiasm or from comments to cash. Whilst automation may help with opportunity and pipeline management, it will never be able to replace the face-to-face personal selling which remains the predominant method of conversion in B2B business services.

Kim Tasso Editorial consultant in chief

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