Your business and digital marketing
Whether or not your business is suited to digital marketing depends very much on the nature of that business, where it is now, and where you want it to go in the future. If, for example, you’re a dairy farmer in rural Ireland, have a fixed contract to supply milk to the local co-operative, and have little, if any, scope or ambition to diversify and grow your business year-on-year, then digital marketing probably isn’t for you. Likewise, if you’re a local butcher with an established client base in a thriving market town in the English Peak District, and simply want to maintain the status quo, then again you’ll probably do just fine without digital marketing.
Defining your digital marketing strategy
Once you’ve decided that you do, in fact, need to pursue some form of digital marketing, the next step is to actually sit down and define your strategy. Unfortunately, there is no ‘one size fits all’ strategic panacea here. We don’t have a magic recipe to ensure your digital marketing success, and neither does anybody else (despite some of the online hyperbola you may read on the subject). Basically, every business needs to ‘bake’ its own unique strategy based on its own particular set of circumstances. While the available ingredients are the same (and we’ll cover the major ones later in the book), the resulting strategies can be radically different.
Laying strong digital foundations
The good news is that you’ve almost certainly already started the process of defining your digital marketing strategy. Before even picking up this book you’ve probably been thinking about digital marketing in the context of your business, about what your competitors are doing online and why, about how your customers and prospects are integrating digital technology into their lives, and about how you can best exploit these new and exciting digital channels to foster longer, more productive relationships with them.
Understanding the digital consumer
There is a notion that pervades marketing circles today, a notion of mysterious ethereal creatures who exist in a hyper-connected, multifaceted cyber world of their own. They are an enigma: they speak a different language, communicate in ways we don’t understand, and they are turning the world of marketing on its head. These are the ephemeral, wraith-like ‘digital consumers’, who slip effortlessly through the marketer’s grasp. Digital consumers are different, we’re told… but are they really?
The digital consumer revealed
The first thing to realize about digital consumers is that there is basically no such thing. The customers and prospects you encounter online are the very same people who walk into your store every day, call you on the telephone, or order something from your mail-order catalogue. There’s nothing dark, sinister or mysterious about them. They are people – like everybody else.
Key traits of the online consumer
We are all familiar with the old road-rage analogy of the congenial, neighbourly man or woman who suddenly becomes a raving speed demon when they get behind the wheel of a car. Well, there is something about the immediacy and anonymity of the digital experience that has a similar effect on people.
Mind your Ps
You might be asking yourself how all this newfangled digital ‘stuff’ fits in to the traditional marketing mix: the venerable four Ps of Product, Price, Promotion and Place. Well, it breaks down something like this.
Let’s start with the obvious one: it’s the internet. It’s the 2.4 billion plus people around the world who have decided it is better to be connected… whether it is accessed through a computer, a mobile device, internet protocol television (IPTV) or whatever else might come along. That’s really it.
Pricing is critical online. You have to be competitive: this is the internet, and pricing is transparent. You don’t necessarily have to be the cheapest – but to compete you need to make sure your overall value proposition to the customer is compelling. Overprice your product and a host of price comparison sites will soon highlight the fact, as will the countless peer review communities where consumers actively debate the relative merits (or otherwise) of everything from financial products to wedding stationery
Effective digital marketing is about boxing clever. You pick and choose the elements that are specifically relevant to your business. Going through the process of defining a clear strategy, based on a thorough analysis of where your business is now, and where you want digital marketing to take it, puts you in the ideal position to know what is likely to work for you, and just as importantly, what probably won’t.