5 pointers, Before you even start your digital strategy

The alternate title for this post is essentially ‘the most important things I learnt in school this year’ so it’s fitting that my first, and overriding theme comes from my digital marketing professor, Joanne Tombrakos.  All these ideas have been strong currents running through the course, and I’m so glad I have this foundation now, before delving further into the techy stuff. And that is why my title stresses that these are things to note BEFORE putting pen to paper, or hand to mouse.


1. All the technology in the world means nothing without the intersection of humanity

SEO, Mobile, Attribution, UX, Algorithms, Big Data and Analytics may sound intimidating, but they are all just vehicles for connecting, and ultimately people will decide how effective they are.  It’s an old adage, but one that I don’t think has changed: ‘The customer is always right’.  Your metrics might tell you when a strategy is not working, and the best way to understand why is to look beyond the numbers and put yourself in your audiences shoes.

2. Inbound-Marketing-David-Meerman-Scott

What has changed with digital, is that push marketing is no longer as effective.  Having worked in media selling advertising space, this certainly requires a shift in perception, but the poor performance of online and mobile banner ads speak for themselves.

Living in the always-on digital space, it’s easy to see why customers object to interruption techniques, and prefer useful interactions with brands.  As Jay Baer says, the future of marketing could be in Youtility content.

As marketeers today, we are selling to the educated consumer, so understanding their real needs is the key to offering them an engaging and meaningful experience, thereby pulling them into a relationship with your organization.

3. TL DR

I’m sure you have a ton of things you want me to know about your product, but unless I’m specifically looking for details at the time, you’re probably wasting your digital breath.

And it’s not just the millennial in me that wants you to keep it to 140 characters.

The good news is that we’re consuming more media than ever before, but as a result we’re facing information overload, and dwindling attention spans.  We have multiple screens, streams and social platforms to keep up and as a result, we scan online rather than read. So again, know your audience, and keep “TL;DR” (Too Long, Didn’t Read) in mind when crafting messages and writing copy that fascinates.

4. Listen

We’ve all been told that we have two ears and one mouth so we can listen more than we speak.  And we should be eternally grateful that digital platforms allow us more listening tools than ever before.  Companies who take advantage of these insights and instant feedback channels will benefit from far better relationships with their community – and you never know when you might need them to come to your rescue.

5. Be Agile

The need for agility has become more important than ever before in digital marketing.  As new technologies and platforms emerge, our communities evolve and consumer needs change.  And in the meantime, marketeers still have to be monitoring, adapting and optimizing campaigns as they happen.  Real-time marketing is now just smart marketing.


Technology cannot replace human and cultural insights…yet.  So until it does, marketeers still have the bulk of the work to do in authentic storytelling and sharing meaning with audiences.  The digital platforms and techniques you use will get you there, but not without these key concepts as your foundation.