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Posted on June 13, 2017 | Angela Shugarts
In our 16 years of business, we’ve heard our share of marketing misconceptions. Three especially stand out, for both the frequency with which we hear them and the direness of becoming their next victim.
We want to bust these misconceptions right where they live. After all, our firm is dedicated to shaping thought and we wouldn’t be doing our job if we let them continue to undermine the work of paradigm-shifting marketers such as ourselves.
The Value of Digital Just Isn’t There
Actually, it often is, so long as marketers and business owners treat digital advertising with the same level of investment they would a paid television ad or print ad. Remember the days of Yellow Pages? Clients used to spend thousands of dollars on a full-page Yellow Pages ad and were comfortable making that investment in an eight-inch-thick book of phone numbers and addresses more often used as a booster seat for kids. And clients rarely scoffed at the “value.”
However, as soon as digital enters the marketing conversation, there tends to be skepticism. We hear questions like “Why does this campaign cost so much? Is anyone going to actually convert? How will this positively impact my sales?” and the winner “Can we do it for less and get the same results?”
All legitimate questions, but the same should be asked of every marketing effort. And when you compare digital and traditional efforts, a few things quickly become apparent:
- First and foremost, most digital marketing has a higher ROI—cheaper per impression, more likely to lead to action and conversions/sales—with email marketing taking gold as the best marketing investment money can buy
- The average American spends 1/7th of their week online or on their phones, why purposefully avoid them there?
- It has the capability to address all stages of the marketing funnel from awareness to purchase, and its ability to track the customer journey from start to finish provides a level of transparency that traditional advertising does not
- The data gleaned from digital campaigns allows marketers to test, adjust and make sure the campaign works for clients
Businesses would be remiss to not integrate the strategy into today’s campaigns. After all, how do we make buying decisions today? We google information, we read online reviews, we visit websites, we ask trusted friends and family on Facebook, etc.
For all these reasons, digital marketing should not be treated like a cheap investment—even though monetary flexibility is an option. Make a serious investment to start, then use the reams of data to determine where you found value.
Marketing Should Drive Immediate Sales
Not necessarily. We believe marketing and sales should complement each other. Our favorite argument: Without brand awareness marketing to get your brand “out there,” people won’t know you exist. If people don’t know you exist, they can’t be “sold to.”
But this isn’t math, a ≠ c and brand awareness doesn’t immediately equal sales. In fact, most marketing doesn’t pave a direct path to sales. There isn’t always an immediate return on investment. Think about how you make buying decisions. As we alluded to above, you may google a brand, read an online review, ask your friend, read an article about them in a magazine, and see a billboard ad as you drive by on your way to work. All those touch points take time and influence your decision whether you consciously or sub-consciously realize it.
There are numerous studies that prove consumers need to see an ad/message 7-20 times before taking a next step. Bottom line: it’s part frequency, part stepped-out messaging that gets people to take an action you want. No single marketing effort or tactic will equate to an immediate sale. This is so important to remember!
Social Media is a Lost Cause
Our experience tells us otherwise. Consumers and businesses play in the social media sandbox every day. And depending on the platform, B2B and B2C audiences use social media as a source of information, news, professional development tips, and to make purchases. You may be thinking: there are so many brands on Facebook, so many millions and billions of Tweets and YouTube videos, it must be impossible to stand out to overwhelmed consumers, so why invest the money, time and energy to post anything? Again, a legitimate question.
The reality is social media is a key communication tool used by billions and if your brand/business isn’t playing in that sandbox, you will never know what impact you can make. Our friends at Content Factory articulated it nicely, noting, “At this point in the game, not having an active social media presence is kind of like pulling out a flip phone at a business meeting and then not understanding why your boss keeps giving Brad all the new accounts.”
We’ve seen social media work for many of our clients, most recently local artist Drew Sarka. We used a creative mix of organic and paid posts on Facebook to increase his reach by 1136% from the previous year, and saw a 568% lift in total post engagement (likes, comments, shares). All of which, contributed to an uptick of 43% more art sales for the premier Western artist—his best year yet.
Facebook’s hyper-specific targeting gives us accurate estimates of reach and impressions (how many times someone sees an ad/boosted post). Its ability to hone an audience group by income level, interests, demographic and geographic information allows marketers to put your brand/expertise in front of people who are most likely to take an action (e.g. register for a webinar, attend a conference, buy a product or invest a service). It’s probably one of the fastest ways for us to learn about your target audience’s behavior and engagement level online.
To wrap up…
First of all, if you actually read this entire blog, you deserve a gold star and a free coffee date with us to talk about marketing strategies that will work for you. Today’s attention economy is anything but long, so, kudos for you!
If you were to take just one thing away from this blog, it’s this: Seek out marketing experts who genuinely care about your business and want to see it succeed and take their expertise to heart.
We value the expertise of doctors when we visit them, and we trust that they have our best interests at heart. A motivated marketing agency with expertise coming out of their ears (not necessarily a “big-name” agency) should earn a similar level of trust, because they’re looking out for the health of your business.
- Angela Shugarts