More than a one night stand

 

I have to admit that I was never comfortable with a one nightstand. Or a short-term relationship. Especially when it comes to Digital Marketing and working with a client or another group within my company.

Many of my internal and external clients think of social media in terms of a single campaign or program. While that might move the needle a bit, it will only lead to short-term bliss. Instead, it’s important to establish an ongoing program that focuses on ‘continuous improvement’ (cause in this agile world, it is relatively easy to make changes to your site, your facebook page, etc.) and ‘continuous learning’ (which can be channeled either back into the organization or into your product development.).

But most companies fear making a six month or one year commitment to a digital marketing program. Some of reasons include:

– “This is just another way for my agency to make a buck”

– “We don’t know what our budget will be next quarter”

– “I don’t believe and am not sure this is digital stuff will work”

– “We don’t have the staff to support this”

Let me address the first point. While I always hope that my clients will work with me as a true partner and make more than a one month or one program or one trick pony commitment, a good consultant or agency should assist you in such as way that you eventually will have the option to take over the day-to-day management of your programs. Companies can eventually bring everything in house. Even the strategy! Instead your agency should help you keep moving the ball forward, presenting new strategies, new tactics, new platforms, etc.

A good agency will help define your initial strategy and also even be your guide, training train your staff to take over the day-to-day work. Training could include: how to use Radian6, how to extract learning’s from a GetSatisfaction service, etc. In addition to help you look forward and identify new trends and ideas, your consultant/agency should become your ‘bull pen’ of handy helpers if you need assistance. And of course, they can continue to help you with strategy, etc. Unfortunately, I am not sure what to tell you about the second obstacle. It’s important for management to think of all this Digital Stuff as more than just a direct response piece. It takes time to build up ‘trust’ and ‘engagement.’ After all, how are you really going to get to know a person or build a relationship with that customer, if you just go out with them once. If you don’t ‘engage’ with them over time.

Next, lets look at the issue of having enough dollars set aside for more than a one month or one quarter program. As with any marketing effort, you should make a significant time commitment to see if your Facebook page, your SEO strategy really works. Especially with good disciplined A/B testing. When I worked at American Express, we did A-B-C-D-E and even F testing with the intention of always challenging and beating the control. Yes, all of this takes dollars and people, but if you really want to create a great product or even a great stream of communications, it takes time. It requires experimentation — on an ongoing basis… constantly fine tuning your ‘stuff.’

If your management doesn’t believe in ‘digital or social media stuff,’ (we know that almost 50% of management doesn’t) then tell them to look outside the company and see what other leading Fortune 500, Inc. 1000, and others are doing on the Web. Obviously, it’s not good enough to say that everyone is doing it. However, it is important to say that Social is a key part of your marketing, customer service and product development mix. And there are lots of success stories on the web.

Even though Digital Marketing is both an art and a science, it is up to the drivers (people responsible for owning and implementing marketing) to show some ‘net gain’ and ideally some positive ‘ROI.’ Unfortunately, obtaining a clearly defining ROI is not always easy. So at a bare minimum, establish some concrete benchmarks and (hopefully) show continuous improvement against those benchmarks and continuous learning throughout the organization.

Explanation: This blog post was written while the album (Yes, I still listen to albums) “One Night Stand” by Harry James. Old school stuff!.

 

Note: This post was created while listening to some smooth Jazz. Specifically “One Night Stand” by Harry James

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