Why no digital marketing strategy is the best digital marketing strategy.

Digital marketing isn’t about long-winded word docs, spreadsheets, meetings and printed minutes. Oh no! It’s an adventure into the Wild West, it’s about walking into the night with a six-shooter holstered and only a destination in mind.

Onward to greatness! Saddle up partner, you’re a Cowboy now.

The prospects of a dazzling digital future have captured your imagination and you’re off to stake your claim. Look at you go as you ride the great ridges and valleys of Google Ads, or over the mysterious plains of Facebook remarketing with only your trusty ‘pixel’ for company. Or for the truly adventurous, why not try a few nights at the Last Chance Advertising Saloon aka ‘Snapchat’… ?

…Okay, so maybe it is possible to stretch a metaphor too far. 

What we’re trying to say is this – digital is a forgiving medium and a little bit of budget allows you to try a lot of things before deciding on what’s best for your business. With the plethora of tools at your disposal and the data that can come from experimentation, you owe it to yourself to try new things. Refine and then try more things, or if you know of a great agency (ahem!), getting them to do it for you.

So, saddle up my newly initiated prospector, we’re going into the digital space…

(Full disclosure – digital marketing is surprisingly clinical, very numbers based and the aforementioned excitement and adventure may be seriously lacking moving forward – but hey, you’re still here reading this so we must have done something right).

Ditch Traditional Rigidity – Be Agile and Responsive 

Launch, learn, and re-launch – this is a pared-down version of the agile approach. This process of ‘permanent iteration’ is a perfect fit for digital. You will have to engage with your data to make sure tracking is in place but because the data is live, the results are known almost as immediately. If something isn’t working, the data will show you quickly. This allows you to change it up a bit – swap images, switch audiences, spend more money, spend less money, go for phone calls over form fills or just let it go and start again. Now you know what doesn’t work, which is a beautiful and often undervalued thing! There’s a tonne of insight to be gleaned from a little bit of data and we challenge you to find a comparable ad spend that allows such insight and experimentation.

The tools make it easier. Learn them. 

As an aside to the above – It’s worth noting that most digital marketing tools have adopted an agile approach and now offer flexibility out of the box. A/B split testing is fast becoming redundant as platforms have begun relying on sophisticated algorithms and dynamic creative to show best performing ads. Look out for Facebook dynamic ads, Google responsive “display and search” and Audience matching tools. Can any print media, radio or television campaign offer you all the advantages of trial-and-error on the ground floor? You can also learn from any number of wiki’s, support channels, Facebook manuals, YouTubers and even platform-hosted training and tutorials like Google’s Digital Garage. 

Digital marketing is forgiving, gentle and accurate… soft hands too. 

For the above reasons, digital marketing is forgiving, the budget is clear from the outset and turning it on/off is up to you. For smaller budgets or businesses, digital marketing means you can get a feel for the space and its capabilities, without being punished for missteps. And it’s a fun place to play! Having an agency on board as well will ensure ‘bang for buck’ as you’re benefitting from the training and guidance of practised hands. 

Conversely, traditional media is expensive and can be very unforgiving. We’ve known our fair share of miss-prints which have slipped past several pairs of diligent eyes (here’s looking at you ‘Class Of 2018 and the Senior Leadership team’). You also can’t try new images, voice-overs or trial opening your TV ad with the drone footage instead of that smiling family…(Well, you kind of can but expect your production cost to sky-rocket). Also, the inaccuracy and ‘fudgy’ numbers quoted by television, magazine and radio ads tend to look great. But the stats are usually from broad numbers, average readership, delivery radius/ listeners and the life cycle of the medium. They get a little too ‘general’ for us. Digital marketing has some very homed-in targeting – with your ‘no strategy approach’, you can try a targeted audience vs a general audience, pick a winner based on numbers and the rest be damned.

Learn the tools or employ people who know them

We touched on this before and here is our pitch – we’ve been doing this for a while now and we’ve learned from our failures as much as our successes. We’ve tried multiple approaches and we know our catalogues and shopping campaigns from our forms fills and automated email integrations. There are millions of online tutorials which you can get up to date with all of ‘this stuff’ but it’s important to bear in mind that someone has to spend time learning. A LOT of time learning. Let’s just say that represents a maturing investment – it will bear fruit long after the fact. But… if you’re looking for ideas and near flawless execution, then an agency like We Are VA can provide a level of expertise that ensures success from the get-go.

And lastly…. 

Don’t jettison traditional media, just make it count…

We Are VA are a full-service agency, filled with creative designers. While much of the above could perhaps be seen a bit of rant against traditional advertising media’s mainstays, we recognise it would be a gross disservice to them and you to simply write-off print, billboards, television ads, car/bus wraps, radio etc. Just as digital has evolved as the ‘Big Mac and Fries’ staple of media advertising, it has pushed traditional media into another category – a higher one that requires a bit more thought, a bit more planning – a strategy, if you will. Our advice for traditional advertising – make it count. 

Need a hand as you rove the digital plains six-shooter in hand? We’d love to meet you – get in touch today

Useful links

Facebook Dynamic Ads
Google Responsive Display Ads
Google Responsive Search Ads
Learning Online Marketing with Google

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