Marketing needs to reconnect with the digital opportunity

This recent piece from Matt Holt in UK blog ‘The Wall’ from Haymarket Publications is interesting in that it is a reminder of the enormous digital opportunity when certain rules of engagement are applied…


The ‘D’ word. At its mention, do your eyes light up or do you recoil?

Certainly no one can argue with the potential value of digital. It has transformed businesses – companies that ‘go digital’ are two to four times more valuable to investors than those that don’t(1). It has transformed countries – in the past five years the internet has accounted for 21% of GDP growth in mature markets (2).
And of course it has transformed consumer behaviour – how we research, how we shop, how we engage. But let’s ask ourselves this. Have we seen it transform marketing in the same way? Have marketing folk truly realised the potential of digital?
In a recent CMO survey, 40% said they thought their marketing was ineffective(3). Given that a lot of marketing is now digital, what is that saying about the state of digital marketing?
There is more evidence than I can cite here; all pointing to one simple fact. For too long digital has operated under different rules to the rest of the business. Which means it has lost its way.
It’s time to reconnect marketing to the enormous digital opportunity. Here’s how.
From extensive experience in the space, we’ve identified five main areas of digital disconnect. Brands must focus on these if they are to realise the full potential of digital.
1. Innovation – there is often a disconnect between the promise of digital innovation versus the reality. Brands who are systematic about innovation are the ones that tend to profit most from it.
2. Vision – how often do digital marketing projects get canned when they get shared with the wider business? Far too regularly and that’s because too often there is a disconnect between the digital strategy and the wider business strategy.
3. Audience – there is often a gap between the perceived digital behaviour of a brand’s target audience and actual digital behaviour. 82% of chief marketing officers (CMOs) cite reaching their customers as the thing they are most concerned about4.
4. Channel – traditional marketers are often slow to realise that significant numbers of their target audience exist on digital channels, especially on those that are rapidly emerging.
5. Effectiveness – in a recent survey, just 9% of CMOs strongly agreed with the statement, “I know our digital marketing is working.”(4) How on earth can CMOs hold their own in the boardroom with chief financial and operating officers if they can’t justify the value of their digital marketing activities?
Given the challenges, only by being systematic will brands be able to realise the enormous potential of digital, winning more customers and unlocking total customer value in the process. Then – and only then – will marketing thrive in the digital age.

Read more from Haymarket:

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