There are currently two schools of thought regarding online marketing: micro-failures and strategic planning.
Micro-failures are a way to take small steps into the online space. Pick an area of digital marketing to try, set up a test, run the test, analyse the results, draw conclusions, refine the test, and repeat. It’s what I consider the “scientific method” of marketing.
Strategic planning requires a lot of research, drawing up a plan of action, determining worst case scenarios, evaluating risk/reward, putting together the right team, and finally executing after a lot of time (and money) invested. I would call this the “planning for battle” mentality of marketing.
The thing to keep in mind before determining how you’re going to approach the digital space is how this will impact your brand. Micro-failures can be a huge detriment to brands that need to maintain a winning image. Strategic planning can kill a smaller brand’s attempt to enter the space due to high upfront costs. In either case, what works best for your competition may not be best for your company, so figure out what’s right for your brand before rushing to beat the competition.
Not long ago, e-mail marketing was considered cutting edge. Today, every teenager knows how to filter your company’s e-mail into their spam folder.
So what happened? Online media (social media) became the go-to source for information. With a quick search, anyone can find out about your company, and more importantly, how your company is perceived online.
Your web site is no longer the end all be all of your online presence. Blogs, web videos, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, Wikipedia pages, and a myriad of other content created by consumers, journalists, competitors and anyone with an Internet connection now inform people as to what your company is all about.
The democratization of the web means that your company has to take part in the ongoing conversation happening all over the web. And that conversation is going to happen with or without your participation.
So what can you do to adapt to this new way of looking at the web? The answer is: you have to monitor, converse and create. Monitor what is being said; converse with the people talking about your brand; and create engaging content in order to spread your message in a way that is meaningful to your target audience.