The Next Generation Type of Marketing: Looking Digital vs Being Digital

For marketing organizations to thrive in today’s tech-driven world, they need unique attributes to outperform the competition. Digital change involves a complete restructuring of an organization’s ecosystem to hone the power of digital marketing.

“Looking digital” is not enough, as digital interaction alone doesn’t make you unique. You have to rethink the way you get things done. Buying yourself a treadmill won’t get you in shape, just like installing digital technology doesn’t change how your company functions.

Even though you have to be flexible and adapt to rapid tech trends, as a marketing organization it matters to be authentic.

Many marketing companies “look” digital. Only a small number “are” digital

A lot of marketing companies today “look” digital. Very few “are”. Many use Google Analytics, and other online tools to craft beautiful marketing campaigns online. However winning the status of a digital marketing agency goes beyond using a tool to automate your processes.

Contrary to popular belief, “being digital” is not about IT. It’s a mindset. Most marketing agencies aim to attain perfection, and scarcely ever admit to making mistakes. Nowadays, leading companies acknowledge that failure can be a good thing. The secret is to fail safely and learn from the things that didn’t go as planned. By adopting a digital mindset, you create a scenario that lets your team fail safely.

Am I agile enough? Can I fail softly without having a nervous breakdown? Am I making decisions that are flexible enough? A digital-minded marketing company that makes mistakes is more than willing to accept what went wrong, make the required changes, and move on.

The importance of the digital DNA in marketing

Most marketing agencies still abide by the look digital principle when crafting a strategy. They pride with their capabilities, but they don’t show it because they don’t know how. Only a small percentage of today’s marketing companies know that being digital matters more than looking digital.

Marketing organizations have started developing their digital DNA by building digital capabilities and improving current strategies. Skill demands are changing in the marketing scenario. For an organization to preserve efficiency, it needs to tackle new challenges.

It’s one thing to claim you are a digital marketing company; and it’s a whole different thing to actually do the digital work streamlined by advanced technologies (e.g. using automation tools, adopting new methodologies, going agile and adapt to unexpected changes and client demands).

With over 13 years of experience in the marketing scenario, Pronto Marketing provides online marketing services to over 1,000 small business around the world. To keep their social media offerings scalable and increase their client base, the agency realized that “looking” digital by acquiring an automation platform and handling 150 accounts at the same time was not enough.

How Pronto Marketing went from “looking” digital to “being” digital:

Step #1 – Get organized

The Director of Client Marketing Services at Pronto Marketing, Tim Kesley, transferred all 150 individual HootSuite Accounts and set up a HootSuite Organization. He added assignments to teams and gave permissions that allowed employees to collaborate more efficiently using a single dashboard.

Step #2 – Training

Kelsey armed his team with proper training provided by the Training HootSuite University. The educational videos provided prepared the marketing team with the skills, in-depth knowledge, and confidence to handle even the most challenging tasks. Kelsey says that “Training videos explained aspects of HootSuite that would have been complicated and time-consuming to learn on our own,” says Kelsey. “The lectures have helped me train new team members to get them quickly up to speed.”

Step #3 – Cut back on the time spend on doing manual labor

The next move was to allocate a single HootSuite Tab for one client. They began monitoring the client’s social channels by tracking and monitoring mentions and relevant keyword searches. This approach is still used today by Pronto Marketing. To upload and schedule 50+ content pieces at the same time for 350+ cumulative messages, the team uses HootSuite Bulk Scheduler; otherwise, it wouldn’t have been possible to keep track of all posts.

Kelsey emphasizes that “Using HootSuite to source relevant content marketing and bulk schedule it out saves Pronto Marketing time and resources to focus on strategy, reporting, and other client services.”

The takeaway

With HootSuite, Pronto Marketing went from “looking” digital to “being digital” because the company leveraged all of the platform’s capabilities; including the learning section that helped the marketing team expand and improve their knowledge. By integrating the complete package provided by HootSuite, Pronto Marketing became a more scalable company, cutting back time and increasing team productivity.

Slack’s “secret digital marketing sauce”

The marketers at Slack, the all-in-one platform that streamlines communication and collaboration between teams, increased the company’s number of users from 15,000 in 2014 to 500,000+ in less than 1 year since launch. Their “secret sauce”: an emphasis on providing top-tier customer experiences. On a monthly basis, Slack’s dedicated customer service department responds to more than 8,000 tickets and nearly 10,000 tweets.

Lesson learned: Slack treats every customer interaction as a marketing opportunity. On the customer service side, you have to go above and beyond to exceed expectations. It’s the best option you have to make people recommend you.

From the very beginning, Slack focused on marketing a solution, not a product. The company became digital the moment they came to the conclusion that 1 positive experience can matter more than a sizeable marketing budget.

In general, larger agencies hire one Chief Digital Officer to handle all their digital issues. But that’s a huge mistake. Being digital centers on a way of thinking; meaning that the way you handle the digital is not the responsibility of a single person. It’s everyone’s responsibility. It needs to become part of the company culture and DNA so that it attains sustainability.

How marketers should respond to constant disruptions in today’s marketing scenario

Disruptions are constant in today’s marketing scenario. Evolving customer expectations, the increasing demand for top-tier content, changes in the creative process of a marketing team due to automation, mobile assets and data personalization are just some of the things that are currently disrupting the digital marketing scenario.

A lot of marketing agencies “look” digital because they pride with automated tools to gather target data on their audience. However, very few know what to do with that data. The lack of responsibility in training employees creates even more disruption.

Nowadays, paid social media advertising goes beyond gathering likes and shares for a client’s social channels. At this point, Facebook custom audiences, email marketing, and retargeting campaigns allow marketers to get an excellent return for the money a client spends on a campaign.  

How do you respond to constant disruptions in the marketing scenario? How do you go from “looking” digital to “being digital”? The media fork has changed the way marketing agencies perceive the digital. Managing digital channels and social networks looks much like a never-ending process. Advanced technology comes to the rescue, but it needs to be implemented correctly to help transform the way you provide digital marketing services to your clients.

Bottom line

Marketing is still a creative process. But you need a sensible digital marketing strategy to master the digital marketing realm. Treat it like a game of chess. The way you craft a strategy to move pawns like Infusionsoft, Hubspot, Buzzsumo, Buffer, MailChimp, Crazy Egg,*, Raven Tools, Monitor Backlinks, and others, set you on a race to outperform the competition. Using them the right way is what “makes” you digital. Owning them only makes you “look” digital.  

*Disclaimer: is a Beaglecat client

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