Friday, 28 February 2014

Digital Marketing and Social Media - repositioning ... so take note

There are many moans when someone mentions that the marketing bods want to get involved in designing the digital offerings of a company, not least from the developers who may well be contracted to do the job. Marketeers are pushy. They have strong self-belief. They make demands. They use stats that are hard to undermine. They talk in terms of the consumers and business returns. They have wide-ranging influence as stakeholders. They stir up the politics in a company. They make the job harder.

Well, some of those things are difficult pills to swallow but marketeers do try to understand their consumers' behaviour for the sake of the business, so they can actually act in your favour too.

We all recognise that the digital landscape has evolved dramatically since it went business mainstream through the Net. Now we have to take into account social media, mobile devices and types of use and user. The new landscape has affected delivery methods as mentioned last week. But how to tune those delivery methods to suit the emerging consumer use – now that's what marketeers see as part of their job.

Stuart Crow in B2B marketing in 2014: Predictions Marketure (31st Jan 2014), may make you quake. He summarises five trends he sees as affecting the digital landscape for the rest of the year.
  1. Agile Marketing Now this seems to advocate very fast design to be responsive without planning. Failure but cheap failure appears to be acceptable.
  2. SEO is dead: Long live the content king Search Engine Optimisation becomes Search EXPERIENCE Optimisation. He cites the changes in Google search techniques, where keywords and links are no longer used as measures for ranking but relevance to topic and not back-linking are rated more, as indicators of content becoming important.
  3. One to unite them all This looks at the trend of digital analytics companies buying up competitors to create a single source for analytics. This consolidation practice usually means that the segment of the market is maturing enough for bigger players to emerge. How do you get your analytics now and what will happen in the near future? This gerrymandering may have strong consequences.
  4. Content will do some serious harm to some B2B brands Consumers have demands now in relation to the amount and relevance of content they sign up to. Those that get this wrong will fall.
  5. Unresponsive=Untenable This echoes last week’s blog here about responsive design. Business has to address the plethora of devices used and in the manner that is suitable for their use.
Stuart is canny enough to then tell you not to trust the experts (meaning his comments), but it'll be good to see if they emerge as important and for us to consider them in the light they are given. He doesn't cover social media as such and so we'll point you to some other sites that do.

Social Media guidelines and principles for digital use are now common. They have been drafted in response to the worry that social media is unregulated and can, and has been, used negatively as well as positively. Are you having to take note of your clients' social media guidelines of use yet? Do you as a company have such guidelines? A useful starting point might be Dan Thornton’s compilation of the Best Business Social Media Guidelines (7th Feb 2014), so you know what might hit you.

This use and user focus is not going to go away. We ignore it at our peril. However, there's so much going on and at such a pace, that you won't be able to get everything right for the moving market. You'll need to adjust and make your digital applications quickly adjustable too. Maybe Stuart's epithet, 'unresponsive=untenable' can have wider meaning in our context.