Digital Marketing Agencies: If they aren’t in the Marketing Business, What Business are they in?

SEO, Keywords, Clicks, Views, Email Campaign, Brand Image, Community, Cloud, Web Presence, Mobile, Apps and all those other words are things you pay a Digital Marketing Agency to do for you. They must be about better lead generation or shorter sales cycles, or higher margins, right?

Maybe!?! The most famous quote about marketing and advertising comes from John Wanamaker: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” How does that apply to “Digital” Marketing? Or is what we call “Digital” marketing at all?

So many different things are attributed to marketing. It is no wonder we don’t know which parts work and which don’t. Almost anything we don’t know how to categorize, we call marketing. Today, technology has brought us websites, mobile apps, YouTube, and Twitter and we need a place to put them. So, we put them in marketing. Since they were “Digital” we branded them as “Digital Marketing” and a community of “Digital Marketing” professionals and experts sprung up to help us search for “which half” works, while providing us a whole new group of services.

The 21st century demands we move from “half” to a much higher percentage of success with our marketing investments or we risk becoming insignificant and potentially disappearing.

The army of Digital professionals and experts are highly excited about what they do and have found many ways to monetize their words and works that make us glad we compensated them so highly for things we don’t really understand and can’t or just don’t really measure as monetized business outcomes.

How about we go back to The Revenue Game (which is made up of things that we really do understand)? Those who “win” The Revenue Game figured out years ago to stop paying for and measuring activities alone and pay for “outcomes” that measurably move the business to accomplish the strategic revenue goals.

Marketing in general, and those who are in the “Digital Marketing” business, can be the cavalry riding over the hill to save the day if they are willing to get past “half” as being good enough. The digital standalone activities may create important outcomes or important outcomes may occur while digital activities are going on or important outcomes may occur in spite of digital activities. The 21st century demands we know which is which.

Great cavalry like great marketing is a disciplined organization with a clear strategy, aligns their activities with that strategy and then, keeps measuring the impact on the goal.

Today’s digital work is measurable. The measurement is meaningful only when aligned to the Revenue Strategy goals. The measurement must show the return on the Revenue Resources Required for the whole “Revenue Generation” process and organization. Additionally, the metrics for each part of the revenue process have a measurable impact on the next stage of the process. This impact will hurt or improve that next stage and consequently, the whole “Revenue Generation” process.

Digital Marketing activities can (and should) support identifying the ideal potential customers from the market. Those ideal potential customers will advance because they were compelled or because they “opted in” to the offer. There will be two other groups. The first, may “opt in” someday and the second, will never be an “ideal customer” for this offer. Companies like Marketo www.marketo.com are managing all four groups today for those who want more than “half,” so it is possible.

Once those “ideal customers” have been compelled or “opted in” and advanced to the sales team, it is the sales team’s job to do a next level of qualification. This next level determines if this highly qualified suspect is appropriate for the investment required to secure a client.

For those highly qualified suspects that sales qualifies into the selling process, digital marketing can support that process and measure this phase of the selling process based on the “quality” of the “ideal” leads that marketing passed to the selling function. From this measurement, the lead gen process can be improved to help sales have more valuable prospects that result in long-term engagement models that benefit both the buyer and the seller.

As business leaders, we are responsible for getting more than “half” from our marketing. We must apply the discipline to have a Science-based Revenue Strategy for “Digital Marketing” to align. If we don’t require monetized aligned metrics as outcomes, Digital Marketing will keep giving us activities, technology, cool new words. and about “half.” I don’t want that to be you.

Create your Science-based Revenue Strategy and then go find those great Digital Agencies who will help you increase that “half” by a whole lot and hold everyone and everything accountable by measurable outcomes to produce aligned outcomes.

What do you think?
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