The Detox Plan for Managing Digital Marketing: Strategies for managing digital marketing overload
Recently, WNYC’s NewTechCity tackled the topic of tech/life balance with guest Priya Parker. Parker, and her advisory firm, Thrive Labs help people and companies kick their tech obsessions by engaging more purposefully with the technologies in their lives. This, of course, is an idea totally in line with our values, and it got us thinking about strategies for managing the marketing technology overload that we hear about so often from the companies we work with.
Whenever we end up in a conversation about inbound marketing (which, as you might imagine, is pretty often), someone invariably leans in, and in a flurry of hushed words confesses a laundry list of failed digital marketing efforts. We’ve come to refer to these as “Random Acts of Marketing,” and, as we see it, they are a symptom of an unfocused, unmotivated, aimless marketing non-plan. Not only are these random acts ineffective, but more importantly they make the actors into slaves, rather than masters of their own marketing destinies.
It’s easy enough to see how it happens. It’s admittedly tough being the gal (or fella) in charge. Everyone wants a piece of you. An awesome article in the Gallup Business Journal found that “the average amount of time that people spent on any single event before being interrupted or before switching was about three minutes.”
Now imagine adding to that the sea of new digital marketing tools and technologies that have come on the scene in the past few years. Even tools that are meant to help you manage the other tools (think HootSuite, Google Analytics, GaggleAmp, etc.) only add another login, another pile of information to process, synthesize, respond to and implement. When you look at it like that, it’s not surprising that so many of us lack the focus to make a real impact with our marketing efforts.
So how do you avoid the overload? How do you detox your digital marketing strategy and create something actionable, measurable and realistic? Like Priya Parker, we think the solution isn’t more technology.
It’s more mindfulness.
Think of the following 5 steps as a guide to turning off the Twitter alerts, shutting down the email marketing tool and conquering your inner fear-of-missing-out.
Step 1: Identify Your Marketing Goals
When you get right down to it, what we’re really talking about here are tools. Tools, which are only made useful by their purpose. So, first thing’s first—find a purpose. Take some time to determine what you really want from your marketing efforts so that you have a measure for success and effectiveness. We all want to earn more revenue…but how much and in what time frame? Accordingly, do you know the value of one lead? Do you have a sales process in place to capably respond to leads if you get them? If you do, do you know your close rate? A clear, measurable goal can help measure your progress toward dollars earned, sales closed, leads acquired, planets conquered. (Well, maybe not that last one).
2: Crunch the Numbers
Budgets should be inline with goals. If you’ve got ambitious goals and very little budget, consider where you might be able to reallocate. Typical best practices suggest marketing spend should be approximately 10% of annual revenue. If you’re not there yet, know where you are, as it’ll be easier to vet solutions in the long run.
Step 3: Timing is Everything
How quickly do you want to achieve your goals? If you’re starting from nothing and hoping to see big results fast, you may need to reevaluate your expectations. Depending on the current state of your digital marketing footprint, you can reasonably expect to see growth between 6-8 months. And beware of those who promise lightening fast results. Despite the fact that search engines are making it increasingly difficult to scam and spam the system, there are still companies out there promising the impossible.
Step 4: Stock Your Toolkit
Now that you know your goals, budget and timeline, you can easily rule out solutions that don’t meet your needs. There are SEO companies, PPC campaigns, email marketing solutions, social media tools and marketing automation software. Many of these services are free, but the skill sets to do them effectively may be beyond your capacity. Many marketing agencies can provide a host of these services, but not all agencies are created equally.
Step 5: Evaluate Vendors
Once you’ve narrowed down what type of service you’re looking for, it’s time to compare companies. Be sure you’re comparing apples-to-apples, otherwise it can be tough to gauge the best fit. The most effective solutions leverage clear strategy first, the best that digital technology has to offer, and good customer support at a fair price. Sometimes the smartest strategy is asking for help when you need it. So, you might also consider working with an inbound marketing specialist who can help you focus on the tactics that drive business and weed out the tools that aren’t the right fit.
While you’re at it, our free primer on inbound marketing can help. Get your free copy: Inbound Marketing: The Key To Accelerating Your Company’s Growth.
There you have it: five clear, actionable steps for managing your digital overload, and achieving a Zen state of marketing bliss.
Related article: *Related article:* 7 Tips to Jumpstart Your Marketing Program.