According to Gartner, 58% of CMOs are planning to increase their digital marketing budgets in FY 2014. Overall, these budgets will rise by 10%, following a double-digit increase in 2013. That’s a serious commitment that reflects how digital platforms and strategies are revolutionizing commerce.
But in the rush to leverage everything from big data to the latest interactive platform, it’s easy to overlook something very important: Who’s minding the store? Marketers need to actively monitor their digital efforts, especially those tied to social media. Direct engagement is part to the game. That means time, and time is money – it must be built into the budget. Handing the task to an intern or simply encouraging employees to write blog posts in their spare time is not enough.
Consider the impact that digital marketing can have on the business. Clearly, it’s unwise to just throw up a Facebook page or Twitter account and ignore it. There’s got to be human involvement on behalf of the brand – active, live participation, not just passive observation. If customers are having issues and venting on social media while the company remains silent even briefly, the potential for damage skyrockets. The flip side is that listening and connecting can be incredibly beneficial, because it offers instant insight into what’s working and what isn’t.
Digital marketing has tremendous potential, with its ability to target messaging, generate business intelligence and fine-tune campaigns based on outcomes. But a sound strategy should also address the inherent interactivity and speed of the digital realm:
- Pay attention to what’s going on.
- Be engaged by taking part in real conversations.
- Stay connected with your audience both wherever and whenever they choose.
- Communicate in real time to capitalize on short windows of opportunity.
- Make it part of the culture by encouraging colleagues across the organization to get involved.