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Simple Marketing Lessons From an Ad Man Transitioning into the Digital World

The lift slows, stopping with a methodical thud. The frosted glass doors open, and there I stand – breathing deeply, I take my first steps across the void into a new world – a world of digital marketing which, it turns out, I know very little about.

See, the thing is, I’ve been an ad agency guy my whole life. I’ve spent years working with clients to understand the nature of their offering – dipping the solution into a magical creative hat, only to reveal it lazily draped in a different outfit, sexier and brighter than ever before.

This act of misguided direction works – to an extent. But what I’ve learned in digital over the past few weeks is that numbers never lie – the true magic lies in this understanding.

So, here it is – my big reveal – two lessons I’ve learned to help marketing managers, business owners, or just those amongst us grappling with an ever-changing digital marketing landscape.


Need to know

I’ve spent hours trawling through Nielsen reports, hypothesising and speculating on market movement – grasping at straws in search of meaning.

Of course, I’ve worked with website analytics before and understand the power this metric brings. But as it happens, getting the fundamentals right in reporting just so happens to be one area I see many businesses get wrong. Here are a few thoughts to consider when looking at your reporting:

  1. Be clear in what data you need to know. Ask yourself, does this data enable me to make informed decisions?
  2. What does a conversion mean to your business? When someone finds your business, what does a conversion look like – is it a phone call, a website purchase, or someone turning up to your shop’s door? Whatever a conversion looks like, be sure you’re tracking and measuring the end-to-end process – not just part of it.
  3. What does your business need more of? Is it brand visibility? Perhaps more direct sales? Or maybe you need to promote a special? Be sure to qualify what it is your business can’t live without – then report on that.

In asking yourself these questions, I’m sure you’ll spot a few knowledge holes – perhaps areas you need to understand better with heightened clarity.

I’ve been impressed by just how seriously our team takes clients’ reporting. So, if there’s uncertainty about what’s certain in your business, then reach out.


Under the hood

You can argue that many websites look the same – a navigation bar spanning across the top of the page, a main image designed to portray a sense of professionalism blended with style, and a bold company overview endeavouring to describe the stand-out value offering. You know what I mean – the ‘same, same but different’ design phenomenon.

Another thing I’ve learned in my digital introduction is not all websites are created equal – even if they look similar. What’s under the hood will make all the difference in the world to how your website performs.

When considering search marketing – that is, the position your website sits in search results – there are over 200 specific areas that can influences this result.  Now combine this with how humans (yes, people like you and I) use a site – where we click, what captures our attention and how we navigate through all the information – and it all seems like a murky sea of uncertainty, if you ask me.

The only way to constantly stay competitive is to treat your website, and all marketing for that matter, with a fluid, month-to-month data-driven model. Having the ability to test, measure, and solve even just the fundamental learnings about how a site is performing can help grow business and brands immensely.

In this ever-heightened, complex and evolving marketing world, a strategic mix that may have worked months ago may no longer work today.

The rigour of understanding the insights our team goes to, often behind the scenes, has shown me that giving your digital marketing constant love is paramount.

I feel confident in my digital marketing leap, and you should too. The team here are the best at their craft, that’s for certain.

Now, back to the job at hand – there are sites to help rank, businesses to grow and countless opportunities to seek out. See you out there.


By Dave Ridley

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