Failing to listen to the conversations in the crowded Content Theatre, I managed to listen to the talk by Kimberley Brind from Oracle: “My Social Journey: The great, the bad and the ugly” in the Social Media Theatre. It was really interesting and therefore I’d like to share the highlights and the key learning bytes:
1. Main challenges for Digital Marketing as a vital division within the companies:
a. Prove ROI: although this has been discussed at length, we know that as marketers this is the weakest link in the area. Also working alongside the sales department in order to probe real added value in each campaign has become the main challenge for all digital marketers in terms of conversions and cash flow for the company.
b. Work in silos: how digital marketing activities can empower the rest of the organisation and boost results is always an underlying question for Marketing managers. Very much related to the previous point, digital marketing cannot and should not work independently but should support all divisions and get ideas from other areas of the company.
c. Culture: according to recent research by Livingsocial, 68% of small businesses are failing to make the most of social media missing out on £554 million each year by not using social media tools fully. Call it a managerial gap, resistance to change or lack of digital skills.
d. Narcissism: corporate narcissism is not only a challenge but a trait that could leave companies out of the game, especially with a constantly changing technological landscape that not only generates opportunities for companies and brands but also threatens some industries and marketing strategies.
e. Content: much has been said this year about how important Content is. Nevertheless, in the most recent research from the Content Marketing institute, only 44% of marketers have a documented content strategy.
f. Skill set: undoubtedly there is a huge skill gap in digital marketing. LinkedIn first suggested that 85% of people who work in social media have been in the industry for less than two years! This alone clearly illustrates the challenge.
g. Change: on a daily basis, digital marketing platforms are evolving; new technologies, tools and even new needs shape the way marketers should solve problems and turn simple reach into profits.
2. Ten key pieces of advice:
a. Key metrics: as studied before in the Google Squared course, focus on Analytics not on reporting. Find the main KPIs and track the performance getting valuable insights to take clever actions from it.
b. Be sales-oriented and know your ROI: put the benefits in numbers and be clear with the financial benefits for the company.
c. Emotional storytelling: everyone knows how powerful a nice story in the media can be. Linking that story to all your marketing touch points is a news story on steroids.
d. Image-Centric Content: A picture is worth a thousand words and I’ll put my neck in the line to say that very soon a video will be worth a million images.
e. Demand generation tactics: for brands seeking to boost sales, receiving mentions and likes isn’t enough; how do you turn good comments into cash flow? Managing the conversion funnel, remarketing and CRM are some useful tactics.
f. Test-refine-Test AGAIN: with the digital evolution and what it implies, testing and refining are constants in the industry. Also the ability to be agile and as seen in Google Squared “Fail fast”, succeed faster.
g. Think mobile: according to the latest statistics, we spend 26% of our time on Facebook on our mobile devices. The multi-screen, multi-channel world has reshaped the way companies communicate and engage.
h. Social relation management: again, likes and follows are just scratching the surface of social media’s potential as a sales vehicle. The key is to develop pertinent content and build relationships with top influencers.
i. Humanising the brand: People like connecting with individuals, not faceless organisations. All this allows the creation of emotional connections or “lovemarks” (emotional attachment with a brand, coined by Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts); undoubtedly great campaigns are built on emotion.
j. Social is organic: business is inherently social and social technologies accelerate this nature and emphasise the need to communicate and express. The question is not “to use or not to use social”, but how to probe the positive effects these activities are having and providing credibility and trust for the industry.