Why read this? : Digital marketing comes with many benefits. We share how to apply these to key marketing jobs to be done. Learn what functional and emotional benefits digital marketing offers, and how they can improve your marketing plan. Read this to learn more about the benefits of digital marketing.
We’ve yet to see an official update of how much time people spend online at the moment. But anecdotally, it’s clearly a lot.
Even in the Hootsuite and We Are Social report published back at the start of 2020, the average Australian spent over 5 and half hours on the internet every day. Back in the days when we could have a social life and you know, talk to people.
Without having to use a screen.
Or to wear a mask.
At the moment, it feels like at least double that number, with Zoom calls, online learning courses and of course a regular trawl of the depths of Netflix and the other streaming services to make up for the lack of live or new entertainment.
So, if you are a business leader, you’d expect to see a huge digital marketing benefit coming through, right?
The marketing jobs to be done
If you park the word “digital” for a second, think about what “marketing” needs to do you for your business.
There’s 1 overall goal – drive profitable sales – and 3 clear jobs to be done to regularly hit that goal :-
- Understand the needs of your target audience.
- Build a brand / experience that meets the audience’s needs.
- Create and run activities that keep that connection between audience and brand going.
Marketing can exist without digital marketing
So here’s the thing with digital marketing.
If it didn’t exist, you could still do marketing. And do it pretty easily, in fact.
Digital marketing hasn’t really replaced any of the traditional marketing options you had before. It’s just altered how they work or added more options to choose from.
You can still talk to customers with market research without going online. You can still build your brand identity without digital. Create advertising to go on TV, print ads and billboards. Put direct mail in the post.
Whatever it was you did before online even became a thing. All those processes and channels still exist.
And we know many classically trained marketers, who hark back to the good old days. You know, when marketing life seemed much simpler.
When you went to focus groups and sat through long and boring agency quantitative reports that drove you crazy. You did all your marketing planning, then briefed the marketing agencies to run your next campaign.
If you were lucky (or unlucky), you got media sales teams in to pitch for you business.
All good marketing stuff. Predictable. Comfortable. Fun.
But while all these classic marketing techniques and processes still add value, they’re no longer the only songs that should be on your marketing playlist.
Your marketing / music playlist
So imagine it wasn’t marketing we were talking about but music.
The types of people who hark back to these classic marketing techniques are the equivalent of music fans who tell you today’s music just isn’t as good as old classics.
The Beatles or the Stones. Thank you, Boomers.
Or U2, the Stone Roses or Nirvana for the Gen X-ers out there.
Or even our own favourite stay at home playlist of the moment from the 1980s.
But if you only listen to those classic bands, then pretty soon your music playlist never evolves and adapts. It becomes stale.
You miss out on that funky new tune that could be your new favourite. That new singer, that new guitar riff, that new drum solo or dance beat.
Now, go back to marketing. Aren’t all those classic marketing techniques, the equivalent of the Beatles, the Stones et al?
And isn’t digital marketing the equivalent of all the new bands that have come along in the last 20-30 years?
And if you don’t look at new digital marketing benefits, aren’t you missing out on the opportunity to mix up your marketing ‘playlist’? It doesn’t lessen the value of the classics. But doesn’t adding new tunes make the overall mix more interesting? It doesn’t have to be traditional versus digital marketing. It can and should be traditional AND digital marketing.
Marketing can be better WITH digital marketing
Because the trouble with classics, whether it’s music or marketing is everyone knows them. And if everyone knows them, then how do you make your brand’s “tune” stand out? Make it sound unique and distinctive?
Digital marketing benefits - functional
Go back to those 3 core marketing jobs. Digital marketing gives you new, better ways to do them.
Digital - audience understanding
Digital - brand building
Digital - creativity
In terms of using creativity to grow your business, digital marketing expands the boundaries of what’s possible in unprecedented ways.
Think how impactful something as simple as personalised emails via your CRM program can be.
Think how impactful something as simple as personalised emails via your CRM program can be. You can guide customers through a journey which takes them from awareness to loyalty with just your creative skills and your laptop.
Think about your new ability to write sales copy, edit images with Photoshop and create video content without even leaving the comfortable environment of your home office. Digital marketing opens up these amazing opportunities for marketers.
So, with all these many digital marketing benefits out there, why is it so many business still find themselves way behind the digital curve?
Digital marketing benefits - emotional
If you’re one of those classical marketers, you’ll know that benefits work at both a functional and emotional level. And this is where many of those ‘experts’ in digital marketing show themselves up to be more ‘digital’ than ‘marketing’.
Because many of those functional digital marketing benefits have unexpected emotional impact.
If you’re a classically trained marketer, it can often feel like digital marketing has come along and taken a great big dump over all your training.
Because, suddenly everything changes
Because suddenly, everything is MORE.
And everything is FASTER.
People keep talking about being agile. About sprints. Didn’t your old boss tell you marketing is more of a marathon than a sprint?
And just when you start to learn these new skills, you find out they’ve changed. And what you just learned is already slightly out of date.
Which leads us to how digital marketing benefits work from an emotional point of view.
In theory, you should have more confidence you’ll make better decisions. You have access to MORE customer information. That information is available FASTER, so it’s more topical and relevant.
Want to tell your target audience something new? Open up the right piece of technology and you can do that right now. You should feel empowered. You should feel happy that marketing challenges are now easier to solve. These are clear emotional benefits that digital marketing brings for marketers.
Digital marketing can have the opposite effect
And yet, in many, many cases, the emotional benefit of digital marketing is not empowerment or happiness. In fact, it’s often the complete opposite.
Very topically, we got an email invite from a Sydney-based educational provider today selling a course in Digital Marketing. We see tons of these types of emails. But what caught our eye was the cover note from the marketing partner who sponsored the email :-
As a marketer, you’ll know just how quickly the digital marketing landscape is changing. The skills you have today may well be rendered useless in the next few years. Get on top of the skills of tomorrow with the (Course owner) Online Master of Digital Marketing, delivered part-time and 100% online.
Read that second line again. “The skills you have today may well be rendered useless in the next few years”. Pretty scary, huh?
The digital marketing challenge
And actually, it’s the ability to overcome that fear where we think digital marketing still has a long way to go.
Because rather than confidence, many marketers now feel frozen by how much damn choice there is in digital marketing. And afraid that they’ll make the wrong choice. It’s choice paralysis.
When there were only a few well defined marketing options to choose from, marketing life was pretty simple.
And now, as we talk about in our guide to marketing technology, marketers have a choice of over 8,000 different technology platforms that could help them do their job better. Many opportunities, but many martech challenges as well.
And then there’s the relentless torrent of noise about digital marketing. What martech trend should a marketer look at today? Tomorrow? What about that one from last week?
It’s no wonder many marketers stick to the classic ways of marketing. Because they feel overwhelmed and drowning in this new ocean of marketing bullshit that digital marketing has brought with it.
Add to your marketing playlist
So, amazing functional benefits, but which leaves you feeling overwhelmed and drowning?
Now, there’s a marketing challenge for digital marketing. But if you’re good at marketing, the solution’s not that hard to work out.
And it’s as simple as this. Keep using your classic marketing techniques. They’re “classic” for a reason in the same way those old tunes are classics.
But try adding a few new marketing tunes into the mix too. New tunes that came out this century, not last century.
Give them a go AS WELL AS those other things. Like when you mix up your playlist on Spotify, some of them you won’t like and they just won’t work. But you won’t know till you try.
And among some of those new digital marketing techniques, might just be your next new favourite marketing tune.