I just participated in a three day conference on Digital marketing which was attended by several digital agencies and thought leaders with good vantage points into this emerging space.

Interestingly, at the end of three days it became very clear that things are not very clear.

Multiple definitions of what digital marketing is, who cares about it, how to participate in it as a client/marketer or agency and how best to profit from it.

What is abundantly clear is the opportunity – for customers and agencies alike to change how they view their existing marketing efforts, reconfigure their marketing mix, rethink expectations of how we connect with customers, engage them, create a community and stickiness and in general, engender loyalty. This is clearly not blinding insight but I do believe there is a need and opportunity to help provide a framework to guide the efforts of various participants.

A well-defined framework would need to encompass several aspects ranging from:

  • What media do I use to target customers
  • What kind of digital ‘platform’ do I need to support my efforts
  • What is the user experience on my website and how do I enhance it?
  • How do I measure success and what tools are available for the same
  • Now that everyone has a Facebook, YouTube and Twitter presence, how do I differentiate myself and cut through the clutter
  • What is my mix of paid, owned and earned media? What should it be?
  • How do I leverage the explosion of mobile users and create engaging experiences on the phone?

There is a strong role for technology in driving the discussion and providing the right solutions. After all, this is about ‘digital’ marketing and it’s important you evaluate not just your choice of technologies carefully but also your technology provider – i.e. the agency you work with to execute the plan. However, there are some aspects that are just plain old marketing common sense. From understanding your customer, knowing what influences them, where to find them and how to talk with them. Defining clearly what behavior you wish to drive and what levers you have available. This has not changed – our options to achieve these have grown, splintered and potentially made our jobs just that little bit harder, or more interesting, depending on your perspective.

It’s critical that customers internalize this, create their strategic and marketing plans accordingly and work with partners that really get this space. Choose wisely – the old rules don’t always apply and you may need to prioritize agility over size just given the sheer speed at which things change.

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