Tick Yes Blog

Tag - digital strategy

How to avoid digital dead ends

Have you ever noticed that so-called ‘express lanes’ on the road or in stores are often slower than the normal lanes?
While I know it’s easy to go on auto-pilot when performing mundane chores like driving or shopping, it amazes me that people so often follow the actual signs instead of reading the signs around them.
Because we humans are inherently disengaged, conflicted or uncertain as to what we should do in many situations, we’re attracted to people and things that can give us clarity, focus and direction. This is particularly the case when we don’t know a great deal about the subject at hand.
Charismatic leaders understand this. The more effective they are at providing a clear and compelling way forward, the more followers they attract. Not that their chosen path is always a good or rewarding one as history has shown on many occasions.
Digital marketing, as a discipline is failing miserably in giving marketers a clear way forward. Or perhaps it’s the other way around.
It’s not for want of trying, however. You could spend all your time consuming books, courses, podcasts, webinars, articles and conferences on digital this, mobile that, programmatic whatever. It’s information overload, the sworn enemy of clarity and focus.
What ends up happening is that huge dollops of dollars are being spent on doing digital stuff with no clear idea as to why it’s being done.
I was in a brainstorming session a few years ago with our client and their creative, media and PR agencies. The solutions that were put forward to increase awareness and drive sales of the client’s brand were all based on just doing digital stuff. Let’s sponsor Shazam, let’s run targeted Facebook ads, let’s do cool banner ads, let’s do pre-roll YouTube ads etc. Lots and lots of stuff.
My suggestion about first creating a strategy, engaging with consumers via email and phone to better understand their interests and needs and THEN rolling-out select digital stuff was met with a deafening silence. I was obviously a buzz-kill.
It’s no wonder clients end up going down expensive digital dead ends when they consistently receive advice that amount to just doing lots of stuff. The people giving the advice often know just enough jargon to confuse the people (clients) receiving it.
This doesn’t have to be you.
Here are the four key questions you need to answer when planning and implementing your digital program IF you want it to deliver actual results beyond views, likes, clicks and opens:

What do you want?
OK, it seems like I’m trying to teach you, an experienced and savvy businessperson how to suck eggs. Sorry. But for this rant to actually resonate with you in the context of all the hot air you may have been fed, I need to boil it down to the basics.
Is your market aging and you need a younger demographic? Are your competitors doing a better job than you of building awareness / relevance in the market? Do your customers buy on price and not much else?
These are the types of grunty sales and marketing problems that you need solutions for. They’re exactly the problems you can and should be looking to digital marketing to help you solve.
Marketing strategies and digital marketing strategies are not mutually exclusive. They must be intertwined. You must know what you want to achieve commercially before a coder’s keyboard is struck in anger.
If your digital partner doesn’t get what you’re looking to achieve outside of what can be done on a computer, mobile phone or a tablet, get a new partner.
What do your customers want?
I know, it’s obvious, but why do so many digital programs seem self rather than customer serving? One of the exciting aspects of web marketing is that it’s relatively easy to find the customers you’re looking to influence. So there’s no real excuse to be inward or focus group oriented with your digital programs.
The internet is the ultimate home of people seeking answers, solutions and to have most of their needs met. As with all types of marketing, the better we meet those needs the more successful we will be.
Often, the main solution web browsers are looking for is to make a connection with others who are ‘just like me’. We’ve achieved phenomenal results by simply asking customers to – confidentially – tell us their story as it relates to the product / service we’re marketing. Usually for no incentive other than the satisfaction of being heard.
Billions of dollars of value are being wiped off bottom lines in many industries because of many companies’ failure truly understand what their customers want. The default reaction: cut the price.
Do online surveys using third party lists if you don’t have your own; send an email to your customers asking for their opinions; put on a series of wine and cheese chats in your office; do targeted Google / Facebook ad campaigns driving prospects to a survey page. Heck, get on the phone and just talk to a bunch of random customers! Or do all of the above.
Your customers don’t care about your new website, app, eDM, social media page. Unless of course those platforms give them something that they want. If you use the access you have to your customers / prospects using various digital means, any or all of these may be appropriate. But you don’t really know if you don’t ask.

Think Long-Term
Unless you have a here today gone tomorrow offering, your digital vision needs to extend beyond the next six weeks or months. Try six years – for starters.
I get that marketers tend to be career butterflies but if you do your job effectively, your brand’s customers are not. We all are looking for long-term relationships: with our spouses, friends, work colleagues and of course, brands. Those types of relationships don’t happen after a 6 week burst. That’s a start, but the true value for everyone involved only becomes apparent over the years.
The same applies with your digital programs. Companies who view digital through the prism of the next quarter or year’s results are leaving money on the table.
By all means launch with a bang, get consumers engaged and excited but make sure you have a compelling answer for “now what?”. If senior management are looking for a ROI directly attributable to your investment in digital after only a few months in most cases, you may have a problem.
I’ve seen many cases of clever short-term digital campaigns with no follow-up strategy. This is old paradigm thinking: run my ad today and watch the sales fly tomorrow. The main advantage with digital vs. traditional advertising is that it’s much easier and more cost-effective to create assets – e.g. email / mobile databases / social media engagement.
And what can assets do? Provide a return over many years. Your 2016 digital budget should be directly returning money to your organisation in 2021 and beyond.
Stay the course

Don’t get bored with your digital campaign. Make adjustments by all means based on customer feedback but resist the urge to try something new when the old way could be working just fine.
Many marketers love shiny new things in the name of keeping up with changing consumer interests and needs. Which has some validity. The problems arise when you keep having to continually start from scratch, rather than build on what you did before.
Like relationships, if it’s the right one you hang in there through good and bad times. Customers don’t care when your budget starts and finishes; if you disappear for six months, one of your competitors has probably stolen your thunder – and customer.
Invariably, there are countless opportunities in your market for you to launch successful digital programs simply because most companies are not planning and acting in a structured way like this.

Use this formula to steer a course through the maze of digital options. Don’t just ask “what are we going to do?” WHY you’re going to do it is an infinitely more important question.
When you read and understand the signs that are all around you’ll be much more likely to get where you want to go. The alternative is far less appealing.

Digital Marketing: You Know ‘What?’ but do You Know ‘Why?’

Isn’t digital marketing fun!
So many things you can do: websites to build, apps to create, social media updates to post, emails to send. It never ends. No wonder everyone wants to work in digital. You can fill your day doing the sorts of things you do after work anyway. And you get paid for it; bonus!
If playing with shiny new things is…your thing, digital is irresistible.
There’s only one teensy weensy question that’s should be asked by the buzz kill types (usually senior management): why are you doing it?
BEWARE: there are plenty of people who can tell you what you can do with digital, but far fewer who can look holistically at your brand and business and give you a commercially meaningful answer as to why you should do it. And, how digital strategies can help you to achieve your sales and marketing objectives. Which they can.
If you don’t have an integrated digital strategy – as opposed to a digital implementation plan – tread carefully. When you ‘do digital’ just for the sake, in all likelihood all that will happen is that you will deplete your budget and have nothing to show for it. Apart from the shiny new things, of course.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

Are You Digital Ready?

Damn it.
This internet thing is not going away. We’ve tried ignoring it but it just keeps growing like topsy.
I guess it means we have to do something about it now. Double damn it.
Do you know organisations where this seems to be the overwhelming attitude? Stupid question; of course you do. In fact, it’s probably harder to spot the ones that are ‘digital ready’ rather than the ‘digital denyers’.
There’s a very good reason for that: successful organisations run on successful systems. And how do you create successful systems? Trial and error, usually over a long period of time. So to introduce a new raft of guidelines to follow, platforms to maintain and contingencies to put in place is not easy. Putting it like that is it any wonder that risk averse people and organisations are late to the digital party.
But arrive they must.
(If you’re in any doubt about the enormity of the changes brought about by the digital age, check out this infographic. And here’s another sobering thought: in terms of technological and behavioural evolution we’ve only just begun.)
The evidence is overwhelming; digital is a fundamental part of the daily lives of your customers. The imperative now is to work through any fears and internal impediments and do what needs to be done to better serve customers using digital tools and methods. That really is the essence of becoming a digital ready organisation.
You don’t need to set up umpteen committees to contemplate your corporate navel. You just need to focus on what will enable the organisation to most effectively understand customer needs and evolve your systems and offerings accordingly.
An important point to remember: elaborate flow charts and PowerPoint presentations do not a digital ready organisation make. I’ve seen some incredibly impressive documents setting out what the organisation should do but then that’s where everything stops.
We’re all in the “now what?” business. So the digital plan is in place, you have the opt-in email database, your website is optimised for conversion, your Google ads are live and your app is available for download. That’s the easy part done. Now you need to implement so that your digital program integrates with your other marketing and sales activities to ensure that you achieve your commercial objectives.
In other words, the hard work starts now.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Images Courtesy:  www.wired.com/2012/07/omega-peter-hurzeler/; mwcma.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/blindfolded-people/

Vatican Now Offers Online Indulgences

The Catholic Church has always strived to keep everything traditional. Its churches all look like they were built in the 12th century, priests and acolytes still wear dress-looking albs, and priests still speak in Latin during masses regardless of their native language. In fact, the way they have reserved this unique culture has been commendable.
However, it seems that Pope Francis, the newly elected pope after Benedict XVI’s resignation, is looking to change things a little bit. Acknowledging the effect (and importance) of social media in today’s society, the Catholic Church has announced that it will be offering indulgences online.

What does this mean?
Well, for Catholics, by following the pope and Vatican’s official accounts on Twitter and other sites, they can reduce the time they spend in purgatory.
What on Earth is Indulgences and Purgatory?
Catholics believe that after a person dies, one who is in the state of grace, he or she will go to Purgatory. This place in the after-life is believed to be a place of purification from temporal sins. Now, indulgences are given to reduce the number of years that a soul stays in Purgatory.
“The notion of indulgence is that you’ve already been forgiven for your sin, because you’ve gone to confession, at least in theory, but what it does is reduce the amount of time you have to spend in purgatory after you die to work off that sin,” Patrick Hornbeck, Department of Theology Chair at the University of Fordham in New York, told CBS News.
Why would the Church even do this?
According to reports, this move is in accordance with the upcoming World Youth Day that will be happening in Rio De Janeiro. The offering of indulgences through an online platform is the pope’s way to allow people to take part in this event even if they are miles away from Brazil.
“The faithful who on account of a legitimate impediment cannot attend the aforementioned celebrations may obtain Plenary Indulgence…via the new means of social communication,” the decree released by Vatican noted.
However, it is also worth noting that this new offering is, in part, the church’s effort to draw more people into this event. By allowing the youth to take part in the activities and rewards (if you can call them indulgences) online, this unique online strategy brings in more people to – at the very least – be aware of the World Youth Day.
What can we learn from the Pope’s new groove?
While some may think it is inappropriate to look at this move in a business perspective, the fact is this service makes for a very good digital marketing strategy. Instead of spending money on campaigns that will only reach so far, why not target your market (in this case, the youth) on their own turf: the Internet. By allowing Catholics to join through this communication platform, both camps get the best out of what they have—Catholics are able to join in the festivities through Twitter, which they use all the time; and for the church, they get to reach more people and still spend less in doing so.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
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