Digital Marketing and Communications is Not Easy, But It’s Necessary

Jason Ouellette

A few weeks ago I came across a Tweet posted by Extreme Networks CMO, Vala Afshar. Though I've never had the opportunity to get to know – or even meet him, he is someone that I follow. I find myself paying attention to both him, and the content that he shares. He’s someone in the marketing communications world that seems to get it – and by get it, I mean that he understands what marketing, PR and social media’s role is in today’s B2B marketplace. The post that was shared from Vala was from CMSWire and entitled, “The Life of a Digital Marketer.” Take a look at just how “busy” this profession is:

https://twitter.com/ValaAfshar/status/407888926628532224

This got me thinking about what goes into digital marketing success and how busy the overall communications industry is. If you’re looking to successfully educate, influence, share and engage with your core audiences, there is a lot you need to be aware of, as the diagram demonstrates. The skill sets of today’s marketing team needs to be far reaching – from content creation to community management to marketing analytics to big data and even so far as eCommerce.

Most companies don’t have the ability to house all of these skill sets under one marketing team, so they normally– or should– branch out to other departments to ensure these skills are covered in the overall marketing plan and program. Doesn't it make sense to have those in charge of your online communities in tune with your goals? What about making sure you’re reading the analytics of your properties correctly so that you can create more (or less, at times) of what people are being drawn to? At the end of the day, everyone within an organization has an impact on the overall success of your digital marketing and communications programs, which is why it is not an easy task…

With the ever-changing needs of today’s prospects, customers organizations need to have a solid plan in place to set the stage and meet the demands of those they are looking to impact.

  • What are they searching for?
  • Where are they accessing your information and content?
  • Is the information you provide giving them what they need?
  • Who is sharing your information and providing feedback?
  • Is there a backlog of data and information for future communications?
  • Have you cross promoted your earned and owned media across your properties?

These are just a couple of questions that marketers are asking themselves on a daily basis, and there are plenty of others. You can see why this is not an easy job but one that is necessary and a key component of any organizations' success. So how do you set yourself up for the best possible outcome when entering into or building upon your digital marketing and communications programs? Here are a few pointers:

  1. Plan. One of the things that I have noticed is that a lot of people want to do these types of programs but have no plan of attack.
  2. Assess your existing content. What can be re-purposed? Maybe it is cut down and shared or turned into something larger. Regardless, there are plenty of smart, creative people in your organization that create “stuff” on a daily basis. Have an idea of what is out there and see how it can work for you.
  3. Create a calendar and stick to it. Figure out what type of material and content you’d like to push out and assign dates and owners to it. Continuously revisit and refresh. But hold people to it!
  4. Share. Don’t be afraid to send out your materials to your friendlies and ask them to share and comment. The whole reason we create content and participate in online communities and platforms is to be seen, shared and questioned. Be aggressive as you look to grow your presence.
  5. Engage. Don’t wait for the comments and shares to come. Start out by commenting on other content or sharing other ideas and material. It’s a two-way street. You just can’t expect that the gold you’ve created is going to take off and people will just find it. You need to have a voice and an opinion to bring people in.
  6. Identify Success. What is going to make your digital campaigns worth revisiting and continuing? Is it new downloads? New site visitors? New inquiries? HR recruiting? Whatever it is know it from the start so that you can set up the final piece.
  7. Measure. Once you know what these programs are in place to do, find the right platform that allows you to keep track and measure weekly, monthly and quarterly to ensure that the programs and content you have created continue to spark interest and drive new (and recurring) eyeballs.

So if you’ve had the opportunity to make time during your busy day to read this, what is your take on the current digital marketing and communications landscape? Is it a lot of noise? Do we need to get back to the fundamentals and just change our delivery mechanism? Maybe, just maybe it starts with having an idea of what it is you’re trying to do… Tweet me @jayouellette and we’ll see what others are thinking.

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