The Yin & Yang of Digital Marketing
I sat through a presentation yesterday on SEO & digital marketing that was both helpful & made me uneasy. I admit to having looked at websites from the bottom up for a few years now & much of this information wasn’t as new to me as it was to the rest of the audience.
The framework was D-E-A-L: Discovery, Engagement, Acquisition, Loyalty which is, by & large, how customer relationships go. It really helped that the presenter explained how digital tools fit into each of these.
Discovery :: Being found on search, in directories, by referral, through advertisement
Engagement :: Social media, refreshed website comment, email, newsletters
Acquisition :: Online purchase, subscription, enrollment.
Loyalty :: More social media, sharing, posted reviews, endorsements, backlinks
you get the idea.
It makes total sense that a lot of these were presented in the manner of making customer service, sales, PR easier. Digital is faster, doesn’t weigh much, is sometimes more fun, & you don’t need an envelope & stamp.
But it was right about there that it started feeling creepy. The company isn’t creepy, no, & their strategem for getting these folks (okay, the audience was wineries) on board with managing sales in a business when there is always so much more to do wasn’t covert or slick.
But the appeal for genuineness was missing. I hold out for that.
When we started working in the digital realm, my, it was so. . . easy! Remember? In theory there was going to be no more cold calling, no cycles having to be spent on relationship-building, you could just - bam! - appear in their email box or pop up on a webpage. Instant visibility! It was not, unfortunately for some, instant engagement. It quickly turned into instant turn-off. Along came spam filters, pop-up blockers, pleas to be unsubscribed, as poor internet readers tried to shield themselves from this. . . crap deluge of instant intercourse called ‘online marketing’.
In came the CAN-SPAM Act, email etiquette & a host of other do’s & don’ts that attempted to keep things real in this plastic mode of communication we’d invented.
People want nice. They want real. When they opted to interact with your brand, they wanted to speak to it, have it listen, have it respond. And not in whack-a-mole style, either.
Google (yes, Google, the folks who read your email) has started to champion this, by high-ranking page content that is relational, & low-balling sites stuffed with fake keywords & fast links to eCommerceland.
Facebook has always had (in theory) a keep-it-real model; it’s why you can’t request friends with a business page, why you can’t sequester your handily acquired Likes into lists, why your event invites must be for everyone. Even their attempts at various forms of commerce have wacky caveats that keep one from going too far with the sales-y thing. They’re holding out for real.
I’ve been working in digital for over a decade, and in digital media almost as long. I remember being so excited as these new technologies evolved because, even as streamlined as they made many processes, it also had a taint of, “This is real. This isn’t a magazine and this isn’t television advertising. This is much more personable.” Imagine my chagrin.
To be frank, there isn’t any other mode of communication I can think of that is more transparent than digital media, for revealing inauthenticity.
That’s my schtick & I’m sticking to it. It’s my soapbox in my workshops, it’s my coaching in branding exercises. Digital tools are great, but they shouldn’t replace all customer interaction, they shouldn’t become the sum total of your marketing efforts, & they had better not ever replace your genuine voice, your story, your passion.What do you want to say today?