I recently had a meeting with a prospect regarding their digital strategy needs for a particular project. I sat in a room with 5 people from the organization and knew that, with regard to branding and most offline marketing capabilities, I was out of my league. Fortunately, that’s not why I was asked to be there. I was there to talk about my side of the ledger, the digital marketing world.
What I found fascinating in this talk was the realization of just how critical it was to understand and truly own the fact that digital strategies are not flat. What do I mean by that? Branding campaigns traditionally are about the, you guessed it, brand. It is a singular focus and the information is pushed out to the consuming public. it is difficult to get difficult nuanced messages out to folks in that environment. it is so difficult in fact that many people don’t go that route.
With digital though it is a completely different mentality and approach. In the Internet and social media marketing world your brand is just one slice of the total message. How can that be? it’s because the online world is one of two way communication and a brand is not a communicator, a person is. As a result, the scope of digital marketing efforts quickly expands far beyond what many are prepared to even consider let alone execute.
The trick is to get past this “digital shock” feeling that comes with the overwhelming volume of digital marketing options is realized and the complexity of the space is put into focus. Fortunately, just like most everything else in life, it is not necessary to be involved in everything related to digital communications (although it is getting increasingly difficult to live without most elements, which is a problem for just about everyone). What is required, however, and is in very short supply is people who are educated enough in the entire space to be able to recognize when it is tie to be involved or get out of a particular online marketing vehicle. It is important to keep pace with the ebbs and flows of the constantly changing Internet and social media marketing landscape.
So what do I mean by multi-tiered? It’s like this. In the online space there is your brand message then there are the people who carry that message both as internal message generators and external message influencers and enablers. The latter are those that you are equipping so as to obtain scale that you normally could not in traditional marketing environments.
Digital marketing is not simple but it’s not hard either. What it is is labor intensive. That labor is required to be more and more skilled as the market evolves and there is a severe shortage of true practitioners. It’s because there are so many layers of communications available and not one of them contains all of any company’s target market that your efforts must be multi-tiered or multi dimensional in order to even stand a chance in the online world.
Are you versed enough in the many areas of Internet marketing that you feel like you can take full advantage of the online opportunity? Be honest because there has never been a more important time in business history to admit what you don’t know and then fill the void. It’s OK to be ignorant once but getting caught a second time is just plain stupid.