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Digital Marketing: Spending vs Investing

James Clark, April 1, 2014

From many conversations with CMOs and Marketing VPs, I’ve found there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the difference between the value of digital marketing tactics.

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Facebook Graph Search: How Marketers Need to Prepare

Courtney Livingston, January 16, 2013

Yesterday, Facebook announced its latest offering, Graph Search. Essentially, it’s a search tool that uses your social network and interactions to produce results that are more relevant to you.

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Understanding Web Marketing

James Clark, January 2, 2008

Jeremiah Owyang has a great post on the many forms of Web Marketing. This is a great resource for someone seeking info on where to start or what to look for in online marketing.

Often times, it’s difficult for Room 214 to explain what we do, and how we do it and where we play in the web marketing realm. If it’s hard for us, heck it’s almost impossible for the client decision maker to know where to go to get strategy and services for web marketing.

Jeremiah’s post should help take one from unconsciously ignorant to consciously ignorant – a big step. Pay special attention to the Changes in communication require corporations to adapt and evolve paragraph.

Our approach is to understand what success looks like for our clients. Get an idea of what they are visualizing, then get our hands dirty understanding what resources (people and money) they have ready to dedicate to the project.

Sounds simple right?

Believe me, you really have to poke and prod a company to find out what the right strategy is. There are many subtle factors that can determine if an organization should they go out with a blog, podcast, vodcast, teleseminars, email marketing, campaign microsite, etc.

Stealing from the Grail Knight in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: “But choose wisely, for while the true Grail will bring you life, the false Grail will take it from you.”

Your 2008 Marketing Plan

James Clark, December 12, 2007

We were recently going over a client’s online marketing strategy for next year, and found that much of our initial focus was about the next big, new and different thing we were going to do to impact sales.

As we dove deeper into the process, looking back at what worked and what didn’t for this year – we were reminded of the fact that new marketing plans often don’t need grandiose makeovers (particularly if last year’s plan produced).

With this client, for example, one of our most basic marketing initiatives was to improve the shopping cart check out process early in the year (which we did). So although our other marketing efforts increased year-over-year traffic by around 15%, we saw traffic to our shopping cart pages actually increase by 169% – and our analytics proved a direct correlation of success to the changes made.

When you identify something that works in marketing, it’s easy to start looking for the next thing as opposed to continuing to exploit the strength you’ve already discovered. I’d be the last guy to say forget about trying something new, but my humble advice to marketers for next year is to first determine how they will do what worked this year better.

Who Does The Client Go To For Digital Strategy?

James Clark, June 15, 2007

Just reading through the recent issue of PRWeek where Erica Iacono is asking questions to a roundtable of New York PR professionals for the segment The Pulse of the Industry (subscription needed to review the article online).

One of Erica’s questions brings to light how PR continues to miss the target of offering online strategy: “How is the digital and social-media enviornment affecting all of your jobs? A lot of PR agencies have the capability, yet clients aren’t turning to them first to implement a digital strategy. How do you deal with that?”

No one from the agency side, really answered the question. The best answer came from Bethany Sherman, SVP, corporate communications, NASDAQ which was: “From the client perspective, it’s “tell me.” I don’t want to have to ask you.”

Great point Bethany. PR firms need to have the correct talent and resources on staff to be able to confidently go to a client and say here’s what we can do for you online. The issue is that the staff required to run online campaigns is a different talent base than a typical PR firm job. The reason the client doesn’t know is because the PR firm can’t show them the experience and data needed to back it up.

Ty Trippet, PR director from Reuters answer: “It’s all about the traffic. That’s why the online component is so big”

Misses the boat here. It’s not all about the traffic – this is the biggest problem PR has with online. It’s about the CONVERSION, not the traffic. We’ve discussed this in our paper “The Placement Crash – The Failure of PR in the Conversation World“. PR agencies take the client down the road of getting them a placement, driving visibility, but jump out of the driver’s seat of the car once the placement is made. What’s the online strategy to capture the conversation from the web traffic that comes as a result of the placement online, or offline. This is where PR should shine, but literally bails out on the client in there greatest moment of opportunity.

For PR the mindset ends at the placement. From an online perspective the program BEGINS with the placement to get the visibility, then bringing them into the conversation and providing the visitor a way to interact with the subject, company, product, etc. that eventually drives some form of conversion.

Other comments to the question were: pitching bloggers for product reviews, bringing bloggers in to cover an event. All great visibility tactics, but where’s the follow through?

I wrote the Placement Crash article over a year ago. I pitched it to PRWeek over a year ago – they never responded. It’s still obvious that PR still doesn’t get the online world or the discussion would be much different.

I love PR, am a big proponent of it’s value, but there’s so much more untapped opportunity in the online space. The only reason I can see that companies are not taking advantage of it is because they are unconsciously ignorant of the opportunity.

Bonin Bough, EVP, interactive and emerging media, Weber Shandick: “But strategically, if your dot-com is the center point for your corporate reputation, why are you using anybody other than a PR firm to do that?”

Now Bonin is on to the opportunity that PR firms have. Yes, if the talent and ability was there for a PR firm to drive digital strategy, it’s most certainly where the client should go.

Disney’s Bob Iger sums up the digital landscape, but there’s more to it

James Clark, March 29, 2007

In a two part series released by NPR radio show and podcast,Marketplace, Disney CEO Bob Iger shares his understanding of the current and future digital arena.

“Disney acknowledges the consumer power in the marketplace today. Where that puts us in terms of the rest of the world or the industry I’m less concerned. It was a real priority of ours to focus on the consumer. What digital technology has done, it’s created a huge power shift, or authority shift, from the creator and the distributor, the old world, to the consumer, the new world.” – see transcript

Both of these interviews highlight a topic that I have been thinking about a lot lately which is that the distribution playing field is as close to flat as humankind has ever known. However, it doesn’t mean an equal opportunity to gain the attention of an audience (consumer, as Iger says).

Putting brand aside for the moment, think of Disney as a startup with an immense budget and highly creative staff. The advantage that they have in gaining the attention of a digital audience is marketing. That simple.

When was the last time that you saw an ad for . . . let’s say, Ask a Ninja on television, print or billboard promoting that their next show will be coming to a theater near you? Better yet, you ever hear of NinjaLand? NinjaLand might be pretty cool, come to think of it. I digress.

To maintain the attention of an audience is subject to dollars, talent, hard work and luck. Disney and other “old media” don’t have a monopoly on any of these. They may be ahead in the dollars category but with the ever increasing new, good content coming from small and independant producers 24/7 it shows there’s no substitute for the last three of these, talent, hard work and luck for seeking profit or the ability to make a living from your digital work. But money and a marketing budget can put you over the top and make your goal a reality.

To put it another way, because the marketplace is allowing you to set up a booth and sell your wares doesn’t mean that just because you’re doors are open they will come. First someone must find you (marketing – dollars). Second they have to like what you are selling (quality content – talent). Third you need to open your booth every day with a smile early in the morning and close it after dark with that same smile, including holidays (dedication – hard work). Fourth is an opportunity that will get you closer to your goal that you wouldn’t have recieved prior to opening your booth (hard work – luck).