COVID-19 has transformed the digital market for businesses around the world, with business leaders faced with what seems a click of the fingers as the need for digital marketing surges to where experts expected us to be in 2025 in a matter of months.
This sudden and drastic evolution will mean for businesses unable to adapt and shift, that they will experience what the dinosaurs did when a great piece of space rock struck the earth, wiped by the sudden change to the business climate around them.
How do you as a business leader avoid such a climatic outcome?
The first step is to acknowledge that even though you have got your own internal team on the job, there is still a list of aspects you must keep an eye on when it comes to digital marketing.
Simply putting an ‘expert’ on the job and leaving them to it is a risky call as there is so much that goes into this form of advertising that you still need to take an active part in.
Most of that involvement will come down to purely understanding what really drives digital marketing at its most basic level.
There is more to ‘digital marketing’ than you might think
The differentiating factor between modern, digitalised advertising and traditional alternatives is that when its digital, it is on-demand and driven by data, and that it takes a mammoth amount of data to drive the very success of every single digital marketing effort.
Your job as the leader of the business is to know exactly how that data is working for you and your ROI, and what is not working for you.
The questions you need to know the answers to are:
Who do you hold responsible for championing and pioneering your marketing tactics?
What kind of reporting do you utilise?
Where do those numbers stem from?
In the digital world data is King and how you put that data to work and ensuring it is working hard for you will be the measure of how successful your efforts will be.
Reporting is your steering wheel
When it comes to digital marketing – whether you choose SEO, pay-per-click, social media, content marketing or a blend of them all – you should always be given the clarity of how your team(s) are performing towards the critical goal of landing more conversions.
Such an outcome can only come from a quality-focused reporting process.
Brands that dominate the online game do so because they have the information and insight’s they need to refine their campaigns over, and over again, until they nail it!
Once they hit that nail it then becomes a ‘money in, money out’ game, spending good money after good results.
To achieve that yourself, you need to master the art of teaching your very own internal teams how to collect and garner these crucial datasets along the way; and if you are not the person to do that, then you need to hire someone who is.
This will often be outsourced to a third-party digital marketing agency and if you take that route, then your job is to ensure you select a ‘good agency’, with the best tip I can offer being that a ‘good agency’ will know the difference between a data-driven campaign and a campaign that goes in blind, without the research behind it.
In a nutshell, you should be able to meet with your internal marketing team or dedicated agency and ask for the figures.
What I mean by that is that a quality digital marketing campaign, no matter its format, should be able to clearly define its strategy, projected ROI and success metrics.
If you cannot get a clear answer without fluff in response, then you need to head back to square one and make some tough calls on who is running your digital strategy.
Do not assume doing everything all at once is the right way
Not every road will lead you to the best destination; you are better off choosing the one, most optimised, most beneficial for your goals.
No matter who is running your digital marketing, it is important to take the time to understand your expectations. If its pure conversions you want to see out of your campaigns, then you need to accept and understand that this is often a journey, not an instant event, and is not obtainable through every single channel.
For example, running Google Ads is often quicker to reel in the conversions and sales for an event-based campaign than search engine optimisation may be.
This kind of process is crucial to the entire essence of your business and its presence online.
From brand awareness to website traffic, engagement and conversions, it is all inherited through different means, with those means coming from testing, testing some more and then testing again.
Once you have accumulated enough data, you can then understand what channel gives you the desired results, allowing you to scale upwards, without having too many eggs in one basket.
Without understanding that data drives the journey of marketing and that data relies on testing, refinement and measurement, you will find yourself overwhelmed with results that do not allow you to connect the dots.
Digital impacts every aspect of your business
It is crucially important to remember, that despite it being predominantly online, that digital seeps into the ‘real world’, that nothing on the internet exists without a physical origin.
That means that every word, every cent spent, every offer or customer review that goes live towards your online brand then becomes a part of your brick-and-mortar.
These consequences, whether negative or positive, will affect your ability to acquire repeat customers or evolve your products and services; it affects every single facet of your business model, no matter the industry.
Nothing on the internet is temporary. Every action you take online is there forever, which is why it is important to put the right person in charge of your digital marketing and that this key responsibility falls upon as the leader of the business to get it right.
Written by Ryan Jenkins.