Out with the old in with the new

Jacqui Hewett, General Manager, Tonic International, tells TMN what she thinks about the evolution of the region’s marketing industry from traditional to digital and offers some rules to help marketers through the transitional phase…

To say that we are spoilt for choice nowadays when it comes to marketing solutions is an understatement. In fact, the abundance of choice can be totally overwhelming for marketing professionals, especially when they are looking to transition from the traditional marketing space into the digital marketing space.

“Marketing plans now need to be multi-faceted, linked to real business deliverables and agile whilst always being consumer centric.”

Long gone are the days of the four P’s directly translating into a cookie cutter solution, agencies have been peddling with the usual suspects of below-the-line marketing (BTL), TV and some additional out-of-home advertising (OOH) support. Marketing plans now need to be multi-faceted, linked to real business deliverables and agile whilst always being consumer centric.

With this in mind, there are four rules of thumb that I like to focus on with clients that are making the sometimes-daunting transition from traditional to digital marketing much easier:

Keep it simple

Consumers have short attention spans and are spoilt for choice – just because you can use every new digital platform and technique to execute your campaign doesn’t mean that you should. I have a test that I run with clients and colleagues when we are crafting the big idea into an executional plan, if it takes you more than two minutes and more than two slides to explain the concept and how consumers will participate, the idea is too complicated. When an idea is too complicated, consumers lose interest – marketing directors need to encourage their agencies to design campaigns that are simple, engaging and responsive.

Measure the right things

We all know digital is exciting because it’s so measureable, this is one of the main reasons clients are shifting focus away from traditional into this space. However, too much of a good thing can have a negative effect and one of the most common mistakes clients make is to want to measure, investigate and analyse every single metric. This inhibits the process and usually translates into agencies spending more time explaining which metrics are important and which are not versus spending time optimising and adjusting the campaign based on the key result factors. Clients need to be thoroughly involved in setting up the measurement plan so that it links directly to their business key performance indicators (KPIs). They also need to ensure they understand clearly what metrics are significant and why, then focus their attention on those metrics.

Work with experts

The shift from traditional to digital marketing usually means that clients are learning new skillsets, techniques and mediums quite quickly. This can result in feeling a bit like a jack of all trades, master of none — take the time to select your agency partners carefully. You do not need to be ‘all knowing’ across digital, but you need to trust that the agencies you have supporting you are experts in their field. Look for partners who come recommended for solving your particular problem, ask for specific case studies and client references, and understand from them what kind of results can be expected prior to launching.

Don’t be afraid to fail

Even writing the word ‘fail’ is scary — especially when your marketing investment usually represents a significant portion of the company’s revenue. The advice here is ‘NO’ to bet it all in red, and hope for the best. What clients need to do is test, test and test! Set aside testing budgets not just at the beginning, but also across your campaign so that you have the flexibility to explore different techniques whilst isolating any loss of opportunity. If you don’t give your campaign and your agency the ability to seek out new ways of doing things, eventually growth will stagnate.

In conclusion, change is good and evolving your marketing strategies will only ever reap rewards in the long run. Embrace the change and don’t be afraid to ask questions — the digital space is here to stay so marketing directors need to understand and benefit from it.