Are you making any of the six most common digital marketing mistakes?

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Assuming you have answered positively to the long-standing debate as to whether digital marketing is the new norm, you finally accept that online marketing is overpowering offline brand building. You can therefore appreciate the existence of a well-defined digital strategy. From online campaigns to social media and e Commerce, digital marketing has become an integral element in the way consumers operate day-to-day. Below is a guide to the six most common mistakes companies make, which prevent them from excelling in online brand building.

1. Don’t get seduced by fancy digital activities

digitalDigital marketing is relatively new for many companies, offering various different tactics that need to been digested and mastered. Some of the available digital vehicles out there are fancy and cool, therefore there is a high risk that you can been distracted, instead of focusing on the fundamentals. Why bother doing a boring search campaign, when you can develop a cool application that will do ‘X’ for consumers? Do you really need a content strategy or experiment with ‘Snap Chat’, ‘Yik Yak’ or ‘Shots’ that are lovely for the “Justin Bieber” market? It’s often that marketers are seduced by the fancy nature of digital vehicles, which are unable to meet the brand’s key objectives. Implementing unnecessary strategies will result in wasting your budget without serving your company’s requirements.

Make sure you have identified consumer behavior, consumer needs and how to best serve them. Maybe it’s only about implementing three or four of the endless options available out there, but execute them well. Establish goals, develop plans, and research available technologies prior to adoption. Stop jumping on new trends and focus on initiatives that deliver value to the consumer and impacts positively on the brand.

2. Drive sufficiency

OK… you have done a really good job on understanding consumer needs, putting together a digital strategy, defining the goals and deselecting the fancy digital vehicles that wouldn’t serve your core objectives. Now you will focus only on some methodologies in order to understand how you can add value for your target audience. However, the key question is ‘Are you really able to support sufficient implementation for your chosen vehicles?’

Even if you have discarded another 20 options, is your budget big enough to drive reach and frequency to the degree that is needed in order to break the clutter? If not, then it is better to be decisive and focus on fewer online tactics, but in a manner sufficiently in line with industry guidelines for the selected mediums.

3. Place the brand in the center

Most brands believe that the ability to post and share content across channels means they must produce an endless flood of information. However, you should only post engaging content that demonstrates the importance of quality over quantity. Engaging material has the power to strengthen customer advocacy, while mediocre work will likely have the opposite effect. A key principle to take into consideration while designing content is that you should have enough branding, early on (e.g. if it’s a video) in an intuitive manner for the consumer.

How many times have we seen amazing, funny or inspiring ads, but forgot the brand? Or think of ads that had strong branding, but were insincere and off-putting. The right balance of branding is crucial for a positive consumer experience. Remember that even if you have the best digital strategy, poor branding can make you waste your budget with no returns.

4. Ensure integration between online and off-line campaign

A brand’s digital plan is easy to view as a separate discipline, but misses the bigger picture. Even within the digital world there is a wide range of vehicles (e.g. SEM, SEO, social media, e Commerce etc.), increasing the risk that you work in isolation and don’t integrate them well with offline activities. Therefore you need to be very conscious when it comes to optimal integration, in regards to design but also execution. Consistent branding and messaging is important, but also integrated media plans and frequency of communications etc. are crucial in order to ensure you maximize the campaign’s impact.

A good way to think about traditional marketing is that it presents a highly effective way to reach a broad consumer audience. On the other hand, digital marketing can be used to be more targeted and to create a deeper, more relevant relationship with the consumer. Additionally, traditional marketing is generally considered to be passive, while digital marketing actively involves the target audience. This really allows the two techniques to complement each other, working together to achieve the company’s intended objectives.

An example of a company who uses multiple channels to their advantage is Coca Cola. Their campaigns are usually being rolled out across outdoor locations (e.g. billboards, print), but also supported by digital, experiential and point of sale activity.

To conclude, integration among online and offline aspects is crucial. These should not be treated as two different ecosystems, as we don’t live in the era of the linear consumer journey anymore, but in a cross-channel world. Companies should further focus on creating an organizational structure that encourages integration and avoid dividing marketing teams between traditional and digital channels. Ultimately, such integrated teams should leverage historical data captured by traditional means over the years to guide digital initiatives, while also leveraging digital marketing to test new approaches and programs before investing in traditional media.

5. Design consistency is key

Despite some integration between online and offline aspects, when it comes to execution, there is poor consistency in regards to design and branding. Think of it like visiting ‘Zara’ shops around the world. Let’s assume that they are well integrated when it comes to operations, so you can find the same clothes in London or in Paris, for the same prices. However, the branding is different. Different logos, different colors and different advertising campaigns. Would it be the same brand and same consumer experience? Certainly not…

Therefore, it’s important to respect and have clear, consistent brand guidelines on how the brand comes to life in different vehicles. It’s not necessary that the offline and online content be exactly the same, but it should remind the customer that is from the same campaign/brand. On the contrary, you should not use exactly the same assets, as the medium has its own nature and should be adapted to fit intuitively.

6. Measure & optimize

One of the key benefits of digital vehicles versus traditional ones is the ability to track your campaigns and quickly assess their efficiency. From Google Analytics to KISS Metrics you can establish a tracking dashboard cheaply to understand how each digital asset performs and its contribution to the end goal. However, what will kill your marketing campaign is if you identify the incorrect metrics or measure too many metrics making it impossible to act on. Don’t get lost in a sea of unnecessary data and track every imaginable point. Take small steps to determine which KPIs truly impact your goals. Ensure you have the right capabilities in place to track and regularly optimize your plans based on the results. This way you will understand the role of each digital asset with regard to how they individually and collectively impact the broader campaign and maximize your investment.

Elena Sava Elena Sava

Brand builder with solid expertise in digital marketing, communication and advertising. A digital evangelist leading projects across majority of digital tactics, and hands on experience from strategy to implementation. A creative marketer, that makes things happen, having worked in large multinational, global and regional roles, client and agency side. Ex journalist, but always passionate for media, I currently contribute to GBN in regards to topics related to (digital) marketing.

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