Success in digital marketing requires a healthy dose of reality
3rd January 2015

reality2Managing expectations is a large part of a digital marketers job profile. Expectations from clients or bosses or other divisions. Whenever we start any digital marketing campaign we always start with a whole lot of assumptions, many of which don't pan out. Many times it becomes a case of throw things at a wall and see what sticks! On the flip side clients and managers are always trying to pin down the digital marketer with solid facts and figures. They want the known. Fluid situations make them nervous. They want accountant like precision about what will be spent, on what, by when. However digital marketing rarely works like that. It's dynamic! As a digital marketer here are a few things i would love clients to understand:

Some will, some won't, so what?

Some campaigns become blockbusters, some die without results and most end up giving you average or slightly above average returns. You can't win them all. You have to be prepared for a few things to not work as anticipated. Clients get upset at ad spends that don't provide good returns which is the most common form of digital marketing failure. They then lose faith in the initiative or in the digital marketer. The reaction can be sometimes knee jerk which is a bit like throwing the baby out with the bath water. Digital marketing success needs a long term view and a thick skin to take the failures with the wins.

Don't have high expectations from your target audiences

I am amazed at how realistic clients are about their own company's support for the campaign and how naive they are about the support from external audiences. Many beautifully thought and executed campaigns have sunk because too much was expected from their target group. Peoples lives are busier then ever and it's very unrealistic for you to expect them to give you a chunk of their time. This is why the Facebook 'like' is such an excellent idea, all it asks for is a click. If you don't give your audience a very good reason to spend time with you they definitely won't.

Just because it worked for them does not mean it will work the same way for you.

Every campaign is unique, every client is unique. Clients are eager to see what we have done for others and if it will work for them as well. They want to know what has worked in the past which is again no guarantee that it well work in the future. Studying competitors is a good idea only if you don't start imitating them, rather you need to see the deeper lessons from their successes. Insight will rarely appear on the surface and certainly not in another company's tactics.

World domination requires a strong budget and a lot of patience, especially with your vendors.

If you want your brand to be known the world over you should be very prepared to fight a war rather than a battle, and wars cost money and take time. Patience is a virtue in digital marketing. You need to be like a general carefully marshalling your troops. Attack where your chances are best. Choose the weapons that will do the most damage. As in every area whether business or war you need to trust your lieutenants, in this case your vendors. If the relationship is simply of supplier or vendor it won't work. It might work in other fields like manufacturing but it won't work in digital marketing. Here you need a true partnership. You need to be able to trust, listen and at times forgive as well. Using the new age technology to promote your business in the ever shifting sands of the internet is extremely difficult but realistic expectations can go a long way to make it a productive endeavour.



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