Digital Marketing Lessons
3 digital marketing lessons I learned in 3 months at Linkmedia 360
For context, or in case you really wanted to know, I’ve been a digital marketer for the past five years. The abridged version (short of you visiting my LinkedIn page) is a start with an eCommerce tech systems integrator before moving to interactive and digital marketing agencies, all for which I’ve focused on communications and solution marketing for those brands. In other words, my employer has always been my client; although I’ve never worked directly on accounts, I’ve had to be as competent as the strategists and specialists in order to effectively communicate value. Additionally, I employ many of the same strategies and tactics as they have and do, because just as B2C customers have journeys, so do B2B clients – it’s always been my job to guide them through the awareness-consideration-conversion-retention process. It’s a lot of learning on-the-fly, as well as continuing education, but after five years of experience I’d believed I had a decent handle on this whole digital marketing thing.
And then I started working here at Linkmedia 360 and was surprised to learn from the team that I’d been missing a few pieces of the digital puzzle all along, and depending on your role or brand’s spot within the digital marketing maturity model, you might be as well.
The Spectrum of Digital Marketing is Larger than I Understood
I’ve spent the majority of my time in the branding, user experience, and interactive marketing space. These types of marketing programs generally include the following:
- Brand: Generating awareness around tone, voice, imagery and copy, or what the user sees and hears to gain a better understanding of your organization. These are colors, copy/content/taglines, logos and style, the aesthetic elements of who you are to your audience.
- User Experience: This is how easily a person visiting your website or interacting with your brand, whether in-person or online, can have questions answered, get in touch with you or find what he or she needs. This can be achieved through web properties, apps and traditional means of communication. Essentially, it’s how touchpoints and engagements are designed in order to acquire, convert and retain customers.
- Interactive Marketing: If you’ve ever seen a social media post, promotional email or website feature that just compelled you to click or engage – that’s interactive marketing. The idea behind this is to entice the user, to get him or her to think, or act.
I’ve written about best practices, implemented some of the tactics for our own audiences, but above and beyond content, social, brand and interactive, I didn’t see the relevance or importance of other activities.
But I was overlooking two major components of a solid integrated strategy:
- Local listings management, and
- Search experience
What I Didn’t Understand About Local Listings Management and Search Experience
Beginning with keyword research, local listings management is the process through which a multi-locational organization builds and maintains a geo-specific user experience. In addition to improving visibility through higher rankings, which in turn generates more, better qualified leads, the accuracy and consistency of a brand’s locations in search results, directories, on social media, and physical locations speak to a business’ commitment to customers. The amount of effort that goes into maintaining an enterprise level local search client is fascinating – I truly had no idea. Seeing our strategy in action, it’s no surprise why leading retailers and hospital systems with hundreds of locations task us to manage their local presence.
Search experience is the backbone of all digital marketing in that every asset can be keyword-optimized. A combination of organic results and pay-per-click advertising, search experience solution propels clients to the top of results pages – driving more and higher quality site traffic by exceeding user expectations with timely, engaging information across every screen and device.
These two digital marketing facets are essential in getting web properties and brands found first and fast, something I think I assumed well-written content, social engagement and clever campaigns would achieve on their own. But there are so many nuances I hadn’t even considered, which leads me to my next revelation:
Boutique Agencies Are Just as Powerful as Your One-Stop Shops
Having previously worked with an incredibly large agency, I suppose I was impressed with sheer numbers. I took for granted the fact that we could devise any solution for any digital marketing client simply because we had the manpower to design, consult, strategize and develop, and that our teams didn’t need another agency to augment services.
I’ve learned this isn’t exactly accurate.
Turns out, I’m seeing that it can be an advantage to the client to work with multiple agencies who have true niche expertise. Take for example if you had to visit a doctor: you could see a general practitioner who may provide some level of success, or you could visit a specialist for each of your needs.
Devise an integrated team approach during the pre-strategy development and implementation phases. In working with multiple agencies, everyone needs to be on the same page, striving toward the same goals.
Analytics and Evolution are Key
Many marketing activities of my pre-Linkmedia 360 life consisted of things that were subjective. Take brand or interactive marketing: what I find aesthetically pleasing, thought-provoking or enticing may vary vastly from that of my peers. I may also be fiercely loyal to a brand despite a poor experience, or find humor in a post that others find offensive. Linkmedia 360’s strategies and practices, however, are always tied back to clear statistics on conversion and ROI. It’s not simply blogging for content’s sake, or blanket PPC campaigns – but rather, proven strategies that are regularly checked and adjusted for optimal performance (not simply interwebs magic).
I’ve learned so much in these past three months – more than I could have imagined. If you would like to learn more about any of these topics, our programs or our successes, subscribe to our blog updates on the right or contact us to talk shop.