The Digital Marketing Dilemma

To buy or not to buy your way onto the scene?

Brand marketers are mobilizing themselves to “get digital.” I hear it every day. The bosses are all excited.  Marketing managers are frenetically meeting agencies.  HR is trying to find and/or hire digital talent. IT managers are being harrassed for more bandwidth and access to previously “forbidden” sites. Bloggers are being recruited and, in some cases, clients are being listened to. It’s quite a revolution that companies are undertaking.

Driving Traffic

Notice the red lights… traffic leaves too

Yet, in the rush, there is also the pressure to perform (which is perfectly normal). Drive that traffic, get those numbers up!

The pavlovian and very easy answer: Throw money at Google, Facebook and mass media ads to drive online traffic to a Facebook page, blog, eCommerce or main website. There is in truth, not much easier than getting traffic to your site, providing you have the money ready at hand. The problem is that this traffic is likely to come… and go. The challenge then becomes the transformation rate. With shotgun marketing (albeit with ever more precise targetting), you are going to draw traffic, a certain type of audience, that is attracted to ads. And for those that do come, what about the destination is so alluring that it will keep them coming back (without the advertisement)?

Happy Anniversary

Not so Happy Anniversary

And, the following year, when it comes time to anniversary that traffic (which will surely become the way marketers are meassured), the company will be obliged to throw even more money to replicate the traffic (a web 1.0 KPI). The problem is this is not the way to build a sustainable long-term profitable brand. It’s like trying to buy word of mouth. The consumer just doesn’t believe it. And, if he/she is duped into coming and the experience on the site, in the store or on the phone is not up to expectation, the boomerang effect could be sharp.

So, brand marketers are going to have get on the social marketing bandwagon which takes time, experimentation and the right to make mistakes. These are not characteristics easy to conjure when one is used to make decisions based on studies.


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