Digital Marketing’s Biggest Problem

“Traditional marketing is dead!” This ad for a new marketing book fascinated me because it appears that information is kinda old news, right?  Some of us have been “doing” digital marketing since the 90s—so what exactly is this definition of “traditional” marketing that now is apparently dead?

I spend a lot of time thinking about marketing, which is a really big, wide word that encompasses quite a lot. Seth Godin hit on this in a recent blog post called “The Marketing Department.”

He says —The marketing department — That’s the first part of the confusion. It’s a group of people who can’t decide what the thing they do is supposed to b. Is it: Advertising, Publicity, Increasing retail distribution, Direct and measured response, SEO, Making the logo pretty, Wholesale and trade relationships, Maintaining the status quo and not screwing up, Keeping the website running, Positioning, Creating network effects, Community engagement, Strategy, Listening hard to market desires, Customer service, Customer delight, Quality metric, Mass market promotion, Branding (whatever that is)And seven other things we could name and argue about…

Seth gets it. You can’t be CLEAR when what you do is called ONE thing but is in fact, a whole BUNCH of things.  It’s a problem and a question along the lines of “what would you say you DO here?But wait, there’s more!

The rise of digital marketing gave us SO much data. And then marketing got a taste of that sweet elixir and wanted SO MUCH MORE! (And at any cost!)But customers generally do NOT like to be tracked or bothered.

In fact, advertising is so poorly thought of that streaming companies will charge you less money just to sit through it. Ad-free is a premium option because people HATE advertising THAT much!

So…How do we reconcile this one?

I think it begins with the MESSAGE. People are most interested in THEMSELVES and THEIR problems. So, when you make the marketing message about that, you’re inviting them into a story where they get their problems solved.

That is ALWAYS going to work out.  And from there, we’ve made them CURIOUS and now it’s about ENLIGHTENING them with our content, our valuable insights and again, all about them and THEIR problem.

Finally, when THEY are ready, they move to COMMITMENT and BUY from us. Now, we can still screw this up by over-communicating during or after that purchase. But assuming we stay back, the cycle can be complete and we’ve done that crazy little thing called marketing.

It’s ironic that digital marketing’s greatest question and problem comes from the very data it longs for to continue to justify the investment in…digital marketing. Yes, there’s a great story in there somewhere.

P.S. — If you want to do marketing better, it’s starts by getting an assessment and report of where you stand.