“They’re like one big, dysfunctional family.”
That quote from Marvel’s Avengers Assemble may sum up the current state of digital marketing. And the sure-to-be blockbuster certainly looks like a modern marketing meeting to us. Big egos, big ideas and even bigger challenges all clashing for a piece of the budget pie. Creating a truly effective digital marketing program means assembling the greatest geek heroes the world has ever known – and keeping them from tearing each other apart.
Let’s meet the heroes…
Scientist by day, keeper of big data and insights by night. The best minds in analytics instantly understand the difference between garbage metrics and useful data and understand how to make adjustments that make sense. The constant need to optimize based on hard evidence should be a digital marketers’ best friend. And when it comes time to report up the chain, data comes under direct scrutiny. Getting it right the first time may mean the difference between a fully-funded program and crisis of digital faith in the C-suite. Of course not all digital marketing decisions can be data-driven, so an analytics scientist needs to choose his or her battles wisely.
Be it search engine marketing, social network display or persistent remarketing, a digital paid media specialist looks for a target and goes in for the kill. Precise, measurable and optimized daily these ads deliver on the promise of money in money out. But only when they are being managed by the right expert. Running potentially thousands of ad variants across multiple networks is no easy feat, and this newcomer is often overlooked as a key advocate sitting at the crossroads of data and advertising. What language worked well? What language performed poorly? And how much does it cost us to acquire a new customer? These questions and more lie in the domain of a competent digital paid media manager. Beware – paid media isn’t a panacea or replacement for other forms of marketing, its simply another tool to quickly accelerate growth in the digital space.
Call them Community Managers, Brand Advocates or Social Media Icons it’s all about good feelings. Sharing relevant and interesting information, chatting it up with customers and prospects and fielding customer service issues are all part of the daily grind. Keeping people happy is important in any modern digital organization, but don’t count on social media to drive a killer ROI. In fact, don’t count on social media marketers to have a firm grasp of ROI at all. Instead allow their passion, influence and personality to pour through. As they build awareness and increase engagement frequency and quality they shed an aura of goodwill over the entire organization. Reduced recruiting costs, mentions in major publications without the aide of expensive PR firms and high quality website traffic are just some of the mid to long-term benefits of employing this valuable team member.
The hottest thing since sliced bread, mobile marketers help build apps and interfaces that catapult brands into the limelight. Ideation for that next big app, optimization of mobile website experiences and execution of coding are just a few of the skills needed to win the day. As brands wake up to a new smartphone and tablet-enabled word the realities of the fastest growing segment in digital marketing can seem like too much to take on. Having someone that knows what works, what doesn’t and how that next big idea might disrupt an entire industry is invaluable. The battlefield is littered with once great industries that failed to have this key individual sitting at the marketing table. Of course, developing that next great mobile doodad is nothing without marketers to get it into the hands of consumers.
Fresh, relevant and shareable content is the new crack of the web. Everybody wants it, few actually have it. After all, how do you make insurance or underwear exciting without a multi-million dollar celebrity-stuffed television campaign? This quickly emerging field of digital marketing gives the people what they want by adding value to everyday life through digestible, unique and timely websites, articles, videos, podcasts and more. They demand editorial excellence while managing the flow of content in the thick of a campaign. Content marketers should possess a gift for writing combined with a deep understanding of website architecture, search engine optimization and coding for the web. After all, what good is that amazing new article comparing digital marketing to The Avengers if it doesn’t garner tons of high quality traffic?
Keeping track of customers and prospects is an important function of the team. Understanding where consumers are in the buying cycle and providing the correct messaging at the correct time is mandatory for database marketing gurus. Known for results-driven email marketing, connecting relevant data like social accounts and past purchases and knowing which of those three email accounts (the average number of accounts a consumer maintains) is the real deal. While all that is happening database marketers defend the realm of digital marketing by managing list hygiene and keeping that next big email blast out of spam folders while reporting back on open rates and performance of key consumer segments. You should expect the best database marketers to build high quality lists based on experience while acting as a guiding hand throughout the campaign development process.
What would a team be without a coach? Managing the big egos, trafficking data from many disciplines of digital marketing and making the final decisions on how much time gets invested by each team member is essential to maintain marketing integrity. Is investing 50% of our time in social media really the answer if we need to increase online sales by 20% this year? Probably not, but without an arbiter to manage digital strategy an over-exuberant social media marketer might dominate the discussion and crowd out more profitable avenues. Plus this is what I do every day, and I wanted to pick Samuel L. Jackson.
If the cliché isn’t already apparent I’ll share – these digital marketing experts are stronger together than they ever could be apart. And like The Avengers, they can take down those big, hairy, audacious challenges mandated from above. But with limited budget and lack of digital core competencies brands small and large alike are struggling to put together the right team. Agencies are hired to fill in the gaps, but often bring only one or two of these must-have core disciplines to the table. That’s a financial and reputation risk that firms shouldn’t be taking.
Think we left some key heroes out of the mix? Let us know by commenting below – we’re assuming Marvel will be making a sequel soon.