With businesses of all sizes and industries embracing the digital era where technology, automation, AI, Voice and the Internet Of Things (IoT) are all being implemented on a grand scale, what could go wrong?
Laziness… and our customers are noticing.
Let’s start by saying that. I love it, and as a professional Marketer myself, I know first-hand how powerful it can be. Through websites, we can educate people and offer value. With Podcasts and videos, we can offer insight to wide audiences and become key opinion leaders. Using social media, we can keep on trend. With email and search engines, we can reach customers like never before.
It’s a pretty great time to be a marketer.
Then, why do I think it’s making some businesses lazy? Because, to some extent, it is.
How is it making us lazy?
It’s all too easy for brands to simply serve ads whenever someone searches the right keywords. With Search Engine Marketing (SEM), people are literally typing in what they want, and the digital systems help you deliver your message right to them.
Even with social media – the data that these platforms hold means that a brand can find exactly who customers are, follow their behaviour pattern and then deliver the right content. So, if we want to target a young couple looking to buy their first home, select the demographics options, and boom – your ad is right there in front of them.
While we should be using these kinds of tools to deliver really compelling campaigns to the right people for the right purpose, what is actually happening out there is that businesses are relying on digital to serve up matching customers, and then playing the odds that something will hopefully stick.
The traditional business marketing approaches – where you had to actually understand your customer, earn their trust and offer something compelling – are getting lost.
With digital tools serving the right customer up on a platter, the formulaic, repetitive approach to marketing is becoming somewhat of the norm.
When did this happen?
I worked with many companies during this time, building digital marketing campaigns designed to make communicating with both current and potential customers really easy for sales and customer service teams.
I implemented content marketing that offered customers information, and improved websites so that people had somewhere to go to digitally interview the business. I introduced automation so that my teams didn’t have to spend time on admin and acquired technology, such as iPads, to make their job much easier.
So, what happened?
The sales team went from active, daily prospecting and proper selling, to sitting around waiting for leads to come from these marketing efforts alone.
In other words, the campaigns I put in place were so effective, that the sales team stopped trying to find leads themselves, and started waiting to be ‘fed’ them.
THIS is how digital marketing can make businesses lazy.
Heck, I’ve even done it in my own business!
I was out at every conference, networking and meeting new people to discuss their needs.
I took the time to learn about businesses and meet with the right people to help them with my services.
However, when I started to focus more on practises like Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and social media advertising, I quickly found myself waiting by my emails, wondering when the next lead was coming in.
This is lazy business and I realised very quickly that this is no way to continue if I wanted to remain successful.
While I still needed my digital marketing to be top notch and working alongside my business, it certainly did NOT give me a leave pass to stop all other forms of marketing, including research, prospecting, PR and meeting with clients.
Your customer is changing!
Your customers are becoming highly educated and empowered. They’re becoming frustrated with the monotonous digital marketing being hammered at them.
We don’t have to imagine- just take off your ‘business hat’ and put on your regular person hat:
- We are tired of adverts interrupting our entertainment
- We are sick of waiting for the other shoe to drop
- We’re not willing to simply give our data away for free anymore
People are very savvy and are rebelling against the bombardment of digital marketing, which means that we need to be smarter.
As business professionals, we can’t just rely on the cookie-cutter practises that are becoming mainstream today. We can’t just be plugging in a few demographics, throwing up an advert and hoping someone clicks.
How do we become less lazy again?
We need to see digital as one aspect of marketing, and that traditional strategic marketing practises are still essential today.
Marketing needs to reconnect with the comprehensive approach, such as the customer’s journey, proper segmentation and creating content that is fresh, unique and most importantly, relevant to our audience to offer value.
We need to stop relying solely on digital marketing to get us through with a few mouse clicks, and actually start re-engaging with people again.
Sure- it’s not as easy as just being hand-fed the easy way, but taking the initiative to be better in the way we conduct business that is proactive and innovative will yield much better results.
Digital marketing doesn’t give you a leave pass to stop all other forms of marketing, including research, prospecting, PR and building long-term relationships.
Digital marketing should be supporting your overall efforts, working to augment your business, not replacing it.
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