How important are your digital marketing tools?
Too much digital marketing activity focuses around technology, platforms and tools. Of course they are important, they are how we get things done. But it is so easy for them to become an end in themselves, for our mastery of the new, the latest, the most important to take over our working hours. Just look at the Gartner Hype Cycle for digital marketing and see how we all rush like lemmings to look at the new shiny thing, mostly just as it falls off the edge of the cliff and we follow it down to oblivion.
Focus on the customer
What we should be focusing on is our customers (yes, yawn, yawn, another marketer saying customers are at the heart of what we do). But clichés become clichés because so many people say the same thing. Often because that thing is true. Like this one is. Customers are the focus of what we do. Happy customers buy more, more often, and they tell their friends what made them happy.
The happiness factor
Wouldn’t it be great if we thought about our digital marketing tools and platforms, about all the great technology that the clever bods are coming up with, as potential ways to make our customer happier? If we decided whether or not a new tool or a new platform was worth testing out based on its potential for making our customers happier? I see a lovely spreadsheet of criteria, visualised as each tool having more or fewer happy faces (preferably the ones wearing sun glasses) alongside it, to show how much happier our customers might be if we went that route.
Avoiding peer pressure
This is not an easy thing to do. We tend to be fixed in our ways of working, using tools we are familiar with. We are all subject to peer pressure, just as much in the digital marketing community as we were in the playground.
My dad used to say, in exasperation when I had done something daft and tried to excuse myself by saying everyone had been doing it, “If they all ran in front of a bus, would you do that too?”. Now is the time to think for ourselves, to stand up for our customers, and re-assess what would be best.
That might mean exploring some new opportunities, it might mean taking a tough look at existing practices that seem to be serving us well, and it will no doubt mean some hard talking with colleagues to get a shared view of what is best.
But if we don’t think about digital marketing like that – who will?