Avoiding the jargon, the wannabes, the narcissists, the gurus and the algorithms
I've been prompted to write this article after (a) reading my good friend Michelle Carvill's recent article on LinkedIn and (b) speaking to another friend of mine with 20 years experience in the digital arena about the sheer amount of nonsense being pedalled in the name of marketing in 2018.
As Kevin Roberts likes to remind us, we now live in a Super VUCA world - vibrant, unreal, crazy and astounding. That's certainly true in the world of marketing where wannabe influencers and instragramers rub shoulders with narcissists, algorithms decide what we do or don't see online, brands desperately fling money onto Facebook in the hope of reaching new audiences and companies flirt with Twitch, YouTube and Snapchat to chase the Millennials and Gen Zs.
Then factor in the fact that most business leaders are in their 50s, are male and make very little attempts to understand the world around them, choosing instead to place their faith in 20-something digital 'pros' and you're heading for a perfect storm.
The simple fact is that we are all still human beings and we communicate. The manner in which we do so may be changing with the technology but are brains are still wired for conversations. So it is in business. It has always been and will always be about the customer - who are they, where are they, what do they want and how will you give it to them in the most cost effective manner.
If you want to succeed in today's VUCA world you just need to have a proper business plan. Using my DNAsix® system, these are based around 6 factors:
1. What is you short, medium and long term business strategy? This includes your customers, your staff, your suppliers and your resources.
2. What is your company culture? Are you innovative, keen to embrace change, willing to learn and open to new ideas from within and outside your organisation?
3. What content have you got? In a multi-channel world with myriad, multi-generational audiences who are hungry for something to engage with, you need to have a great reservoir of content to supply them with.
4. How social are you? Really? And I don't mean how good your marketing/PR team is or your social media agency. I mean how willing are you to engage properly on digital channels as a professional in your own right? (More on this in Michelle Carvill's excellent book Get Social). It's all about building communities of fans and stakeholders.
5. Digital advertising. Like it or not, more and more of us will at some stage need to invest some capital into some form of online advertising - be it AdWords, YouTube ads, Facebook promoted posts, retargeting. However, as with all advertising, you need to understand what you're doing, how much you want to spend and what the customer journey will be to make it work.
6. And finally, Data. In a post GDPR world all organisations need to get a proper handle on how they use this most precious and misunderstood of commodities.
So, rather than being attracted to the latest trend or YouTuber, buying digital 'snake oil' and getting sidetracked by all the noise online, why don't you just concentrate on your business and looking after your customers.
If you need help doing this, then feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll be happy to cut through all the cr*p for you!