Money … and time
With people running around trying to eke out an extra ounce of productivity in every breathing minute of the day, I often hear people say “I don’t have the budget for digital, yet…” It is a most common refrain. Much like the statement (dare I say, cop out), “I don’t have the time to….”, the issue at hand is about strategy. The irony about digital marketing and, more specifically, social media marketing, is that it is most emphatically a question of budget AND time.
Marketers and managers who are maxxed out in time and budget and who, therefore, are choosing not to allocate more resources to digital marketing need to readjust their objectives and strategy. Why? First, with regard to objectives, the chances are that they have not put “make the client happier” as a first choice. Secondly, the objectives are probably just based on the history of the previous year: +x% growth (when it comes for revenues) and, wherever possible, cost cutting below to drive margin. More for less, and since digital appears as an additional cost, then the easy answer is not to invest.
Splicing in your digital initiatives
Rising above the objectives story is another layer which is working on the de facto values of the brand, but I will save subject that for another post. Here, I wanted to focus in on the need to choose to divest certain older habits and find ways to splice into the mix some new digital marketing initiatives. Granted, digital marketing is not for everyone (see here on the 9 1/2 reasons when that is perfectly valid). However, for the vast majority of companies, it is hard for me not to find a viable reason why digital, with its three prongs, Social-Local-Mobile, should not be a centerpiece of the 2012 marketing strategy. Lest it be misconstrued, is about winding in digital into an overall marketing mix, not completely transplanting ‘traditional’ marketing.
Don’t fixate on the exact level
One other point: it is not about reaching a certain percentage of spend. Setting a level is like saying the score of a game without knowing who was playing, must less who will win. Meaningless. Moreover, pushing to a number leads to shortcuts, such as buying clients and fans via Google ads, Twitter promoted tweets or Facebook ads… The issue then becomes, what to do with them? More painfully, the following year’s anniversary of when these fans were acquired means having to ante up again with the same partners, and the price will surely be more expensive as the demand for these services continue to grow exponentially. The key is to consider what you want to achieve with your business and then to figure out how digital can do this more effectively and efficiently.
Starting from scratch?
Final thought: Review your newly minted 2012 budget and imagine whether, if you had had a clean slate and no 2011 numbers to compare against, is this the way you would ideally spend your money to drive your business? And for those of you whose companies are more advanced in digital marketing, my question is: do you have a specific line for social, local and mobile?
As always, happy to have your feedback!