Tips to Avoid Digital Marketing Roadblocks

Tips to Avoid Digital Marketing Roadblocks

Have digital marketers made the transition to the super-connected, mobile, digital marketplace? Not yet. According to the Adobe Digital Roadblock report, two-thirds of marketers expect their role to change over the next year, and over three-quarters expect changes over the next three years.

Marketers have shown at this day and age they must reinvent themselves! So how can you reinvent yourself and mature in digital marketing? Well some of the common themes are people, product and process. I have chosen the top 5 Roadblocks for you to avoid.

Hiring digital talent – Roadblock #1

Our enterprises must focus on digital-savvy talent in order to reinvent ourselves.

From digital social marketers, creative development and data analysts all these roles make a big impact in this industry. However, these roles are not rising to meet the demand and marketers will struggle with finding potential hires who possesses the characteristics to operate in a highly technical environment. Marketers should be looking to hire dual digital talented individuals. For example, look for candidates that are creative and analytical, possess leadership skills and digital acumen skills. You can reinvent your marketing ecosystem you just need to hire the right digital talent.

Data avoidance – Roadblock #2

If we don’t hire the digital talent to execute digital campaigns, our success will remain doubtful. We must have luminaries who understand data not just read data. Marketers tell us they believe the ideal marketer should take more risks, but by embracing the strength of data analysis, risks can be significantly reduced. We must arrange and schedule workflow to accommodate the constant feedback loops that permeate our digital world. For those seeking to reinvent themselves, embrace data!

Social media blackout -Roadblock #3

Our digital roadblock concluded that 61 percent of marketers believe social media will be the most critical marketing vehicle to deploy in the next few years. The fact that most brands are growing their social media marketing budgets, leads us to believe the future predictions that social media spend will double in the next five years is accurate.

We must adopt a social strategy and cultivate a social identity that supports that identity through a disciplined approach to audience engagement. Our enterprise must maximize ROI, be organized to leverage the speed, volume, and intensity of social media. Teams must be able to entertain, inform, educate, and persuade all at the same time, all while directing traffic to engage our offerings.

Lack of testing-Roadblock #4

Can you believe that half of the marketers stated that they used the “trusting my gut instinct” on where to invest marketing budgets. How can you rely on that? No need for gut instinct- testing allows us to approach senior leadership with quantifiable results, which may be leveraged in other business areas. Big Data is available to shape customer profiles, track consumer behavior, and monitor ROI. When we can show lift through testing based on data, we are able to justify marketing spend and improve productivity.

Technology adoption -Roadblock #5

Brands in any vertical have to embrace technology or suffer the consequences. Unfortunately, marketers tell us they are more comfortable adopting new technologies once they become mainstream. However, competition is too fierce to hold off consumer engagement.

There is seemingly no end to the integrated tools we have at our disposal such as dashboards that enable analytics, attribution, tag management, content management, and integrate marketing with business IT systems. If we adopt these tools, we can make reinvention possible.

Ultimately, our attempts to reinvent ourselves as digital marketers must point to digital ecosystem management. We must transition our brand and have the ability to dovetail creative development, asset deployment, and customer experiences with financial management. Let’s tear down these roadblocks and explore the frontier together!

Why I, As A Small Business Owner, Support Net Neutrality

Why I, As A Small Business Owner, Support Net Neutrality

This article expresses my personal opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of ATX Web Designs or anyone who works for it.

On November 21 the FCC announced its plan to repeal net neutrality. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said it was to stop the government from “micromanaging” the internet.

Look, the government is not micromanaging your internet. You can go to literally any website in the world right here from your US computer. You can do dark and evil things–for better or for worse!–and no one in the government is going to stop you. There is no micromanagement happening here.

Further, Pai stated that the repeal will allow consumers to “buy the service plan that’s best for them” which, don’t we already? And–here’s where you come in– give “entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate.”

Uh, when the was the last time you were happy that someone threw up a wall on your route to work, then gave you “technical instructions” to innovate to innovate yourself a new route to work?

Never. Because it sucks. This isn’t about small businesses being able to innovate. This is about big (ass) businesses getting even bigger and richer by making you pay for access to your consumers.

It is genius. It is brilliant. It is terrible.

You are a small business owner. You paid for your web redesign and you paid for SEO optimization. You can now pay your bills and your employees because the things you did to set your business up and get the word out to your market–they worked! And they didn’t require any technical information or innovation. You paid some very skilled people to help you get started and now you have just as much access to your market as your biggest, gnarliest competitor.

Now, conceivably, with an unneutral internet, you could grow big enough to effectively slow down consumer access to your competitor’s website (by speeding up access to your own). Like I said, it’s pretty brilliant.

Except, now your ability to reach your customers is also in the hands of a giant, extremely wealthy telecommunications company.

The (Real) Final Frontier

I like the internet. I like the organic subcultures. I love that some kids built an empire from the college dorm. I love that Ze Frank just started making weird videos one day and got people around the world (!) to make an Earth sandwich and that not only did people come together to do it but that it spawned a generation of YouTubers making great content, content that is educational and funny and creative, content that drives entire ecosystems of the internet and, in many cases, actively betters the world.

Maybe that’s not why you love the internet, but at the heart of it is the reason we’re all here: it’s a space and a tool that connects us to one another. We can use it to launch our businesses and grow our platforms, or we can keep in touch with our grandkids. We can watch silly cat videos or spend the weekend binge-watching seasons 1 and 2 of Stranger Things.

The point is: you get to decide. I get to decide. We get to do whatever the hell we want on the internet. If we want a subscription to YouTube or Netflix or HBO Go, it’s up to us. No one decides, or charges us more for wanting All The Things.

In a world where everything costs money, the incredible, unmatched freedom of the internet is literally free. If you can make it to a library, you can make it to the entire world.

What else is out there that is even close to that?

I’m a small business owner. I imagine that if you’re reading this, you are too. It’s not that we use the internet everyday; it’s that we depend on it.

And to me, that’s the most outrageous part. People with lots of money and power and influence are giving themselves even more money, power and influence–at my expense.

“And suddenly what we’ll have instead of an infinite variety of crap is a finite amount of crap. And a finite amount of crap is just crap, whereas an infinite amount of crap? Is hope.” source.

I’m with Hank Green on this one.

An Ostensibly Unrelated but Equally Important Thing: My favorite podcast ReplyAll did a show in April of this year about another FCC decision that impacts internet users. The decision allows Internet Service Providers to sell your (!) search history to advertisers. Which doesn’t seem like a big deal except that now everything you’ve ever put in your search bar is up for grabs. Like Net Neutrality, it seems like an issue that we know is bad, and we have trouble imagining just how bad it could be. Have a listen. Let me know what you think:

Want to Learn More About How Net Neutrality Impacts You?

Lots of people explain it way better than I can. I’m partial to this video analogy by Hank Green, and his 3-minute for/against debate. NPR put together this good primer article. Public Knowledge works to promote an open internet by shaping policy. To read more about it or to take action, visit their website.

The Right Social Media Platform for Your Business

The Right Social Media Platform for Your Business

How the hell do you choose the right social media platform?

Facebook has 2 billion users and offers the best ROI. LinkedIn just crossed half a billion users. YouTube viewers watch a billion hours of clips per day (!). Twitter has only (“only”) 330 million users (there are 330 million people in the United States) but half a billion tweets per day (which comes out to over 7,000 every second!). How do you possibly get your message to your audience?

Dang. That is actually a really good question! It wasn’t until I started writing this out that I realized how ludicrously incomprehensible this all is. Let’s get some perspective:

Right now, our planet has about 7.6 billion people living on it. Roughly half use the internet (official count in 2015 was 3.2 billion). And about one-tenth of those live in the United States. Which isn’t to say that all 320 million Americans use the internet–actually only about 284 million Americans do. There are 7 continents, approximately 193 countries, and most of the world’s population is on the Asian continent.

And, if you’re like me, none of this means a thing because I have no grasp of the abstract. So, thank you, Tim Urban, for creating this incredible visual so that people like me can begin to think about grasping the concept of one billion.

Wow.

I was going to get on here and tell you some good strategy tips, but if you’re reading this from Austin, TX, your corner of the internet is like sand on the beach, man. One grain of sand on a very large, sandy beach filled with sand dunes.

Which turns out to be great news, after all!

The entire world of 7+ billion people is connected by, like, 10 websites.

And you’re going to be just fine.

Here’s your job:

  1. Know your market.
  2. Work with its influencers.
  3. Be better than your competition.

That’s it! That’s your job.

Take your tiny miniscule corner of the internet and communicate with your audience. I suggest doing it directly through the influencers because they’re really good at their jobs and working with them frees you up to run your business, but whatever. The point is for you to learn your customer’s well enough that you know who their influencers are and where they hang out. If you can figure out those two things, you’re well on your way to dominating the competition.

And through it all, get on LinkedIn. It’s still a small enough network that you can really establish yourself there. Get to know people in your industry. Comment on their thoughts and posts. Share some of your own. It’s the most direct way for you to build your business and your (personal) brand.

It’s a big world out there. It’s crowded and noisy, but your business is not to worry about what other people are doing. It isn’t about the platform. It’s how well that platform enables you to connect with your audience. You choose the right platform for your business by going where your audience is and engaging with them.  Don’t look to impress everyone or get the biggest following. Ultimately the only currency that matters is connection. Connect with your audience and you’re golden.

Marketing the Millennial

Marketing the Millennial

Did you know Millennial’s spend 6 hours a day checking email? Yes, it’s true!  According to research done on CMO.com. Those results are spread across a wide range of demographics, but the numbers don’t lie. The results show that  70% of Millennials check their emails while watching tv, 50% check their emails while in bed, 40% check their emails while on vacation and 42% check their emails while in the bathroom. Their involvement in email far outstrips the usage of any other group.

I mean seriously, Millennials were pretty much born with the digital spoon in their mouth. Which would explain why millennial’s tend to create their own rules of engagement via email. Did you know a millennials believe it’s appropriate to use emojis when communicating with a direct manager? Seriously, emoji’s have meaning to the millennial. Do the older generations even find that to be an appropriate means of communication? I think not! However, as a marketer, it’s important to know that the millennial does consider it appropriate.

Let’s put some numbers into perspective so 70% of the millennials check their emails “While Watching TV” this means they are watching tv on their smartphones, tablets, and watches. Email alerts typically pop up all the time and they read them. Email is not only relevant for millennials, it also remains to have the highest ROI for direct marketers. Marketers need to keep the following in mind to ensure they grab millennial mindshare and don’t just add to the noise in Millennials’ inboxes:

  • Make sure your emails are mobile friendly.
  • Contextual email is everything.
  • Pictures are worth a thousand words—optimize emails for images and allow for quick feedback through emojis.
  • Less is more—Quality over quantity will win the day.

If you use the tips listed above, focus on the target audience and your email marketing strategy, you can really get skin in the game. After all, millennials truly are your biggest customer.

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