Those of you whose careers have traversed the glory days of traditional marketing would best appreciate how digital marketing has revolutionized the world of big businesses. Back then, the Internet was primarily a system that connected government agencies and institutions. Websites were recognized only as virtual marketing brochures.
Businesses that wanted to market and promote their products and services relied heavily on printed collaterals, various publications on newspapers and glossies, and lavishly produced content for mass media. Creating these materials was very expensive. They are also difficult to track and inefficient in terms of distribution.
As the Internet evolved, marketers have started to shift their focus to the virtual world. People and businesses have discovered the world through the Internet. By the year 2002, interest groups were sprouting up as virtual communities. These provided forums for sharing content, opinions, and ideas. These social communities became an innovative means for people to connect without the need for interstate travel.
It wasn’t long before these communities flourished and presented new opportunities for growth for businesses. Websites were also in a state of evolution. Its development corresponded with the changes in the virtual landscape. Websites were no longer just virtual marketing brochures. They became an integral part of the business development strategy of companies that wanted to capitalize on the vast market available on the Internet.
Slowly over time, the right components started to fall into place, and digital marketing was born!
Many businesses discovered a marketing method that was not intrusive. Digital marketing encouraged people to discover and explore potential solutions to issues and problems that concerned them.
The latest statistics on digital marketing clearly shows how it has benefited businesses. However, digital marketing has downsides, which are largely a product of small business owners and entrepreneurs who have not done digital marketing before.
1. Lack of Experience and Training.
According to a study conducted by Profoundry, only 8% of entrepreneurs outsource their digital marketing programs to an agency, and 65% never receive formal training in digital marketing.
Entrepreneurs are risk-takers by nature. They want to take the bull by the horns and take control of the most challenging situations. However, there are times when the challenge can be beyond your capability. This is why, sometimes, the bull wins!
Despite the availability of technology and access to resources, digital marketing is an endeavor that requires both skill and experience. Obviously, you should have technical and fundamental competencies to understand and utilize all the online tools at your disposal.
However, there is an intuitive component to digital marketing. You should have a feel of the market—an intuition to how the buyer persona behaves online. You can only develop this level of emotional connectivity with experience.
Entrepreneurs often find their days packed with various tasks and responsibilities. Not all of these tasks are essential, but an entrepreneur may choose to manage them because he or she may have tight constricted budgets.
Some entrepreneurs think that the work on digital marketing consists only of posting blogs on social media every few days. Blogging is just one aspect of digital marketing. In fact, blogging is just a component of a digital marketing branch called content marketing process.
A poorly designed digital marketing campaign is doomed to fail. Developing an effective digital marketing campaign requires experience, expertise, and commitment. You must dedicate time and resources to make your digital marketing campaign yield positive results.
A good option for entrepreneurs who are on a tight budget is to hire a virtual assistant with experience in digital marketing. At present, many virtual assistants with vast experience in designing and managing digital marketing campaigns are available.
Hiring virtual assistants can hardly move a needle on your budget because their rates are affordable and they are paid via productive hour. You can find good, qualified candidates in different freelancing platforms, such as Upwork, for $5 per hour. Digital marketing work usually needs 20 hours per week. Your monthly budget would be $400 or roughly Php 18,400 per month.
Virtual assistants are self-employed; you do not pay them benefits and they are responsible for their costs of business. For you, this means you don’t incur additional costs for rent, the Internet, and utilities.
2. Planning is Focused on Long-Term.
Entrepreneurs tend to plan 9 to 12 months down the road. This is because traditional management school of thought prescribes breaking down targets into short-, medium-, and long-term goals.
The problem with this kind of thinking is that the business environment is no longer passive or predictable. The evolution of technology, the growth of the Internet, and the popularity of social media are factors that have made information highly accessible.
Markets have become increasingly dynamic; buyer personas can change and be influenced by a blog, a post, or an image. A marketing plan that is predicated on long-term goals will constantly find itself underperforming because variables identified as critical in 9 months can be obsolete after six months.
The Internet has more than 3 billion users every day. Think about that figure for a moment: 3 billion represents almost half of the world’s entire population! Of the 3 billion people that scour the Internet daily, 2 billion are on social media, 1.59 billion of which are on Facebook!
With more than half of the Internet’s daily population on social media, the amount of information, opinions, and ideas that are shared must be tremendous. This creates a very dynamic environment where you should not expect markets to remain static for a long time.
There are many influencers on social media. They use different avenues to distribute contents. The content can influence your current market and the audience they come across. You should never assume the persona of your buyer or the demographics of your market to remain unchanged for long.
A long-term digital marketing plan assumes a static market where changes have an inconsequential effect on conditions. Digital technology, the Internet, and social media prove this assumption wrong in the worst and most painful way.
In this age of digital technology, your digital marketing campaign must focus less on strategy and more on implementation. It must be predicated on flexible and mobile provisions and not rigid, highly structured ones.
3. Using Too Many Online Tools at One Time.
Seasoned digital marketers know that their digital marketing toolbox must be packed with the right equipment to get the job done right. Their arsenal may include the following:
- Search Engine Optimization or SEO
- Social Media Marketing
- Lead Generation Techniques
- Content Marketing Process
- Link Building Strategies
- e-Mail Marketing
- Website Auditing and Redesign
Just like a surgeon, an experienced digital marketer knows which tools to utilize after dissecting the campaign and after developing a keen understanding of what needs to be done.
A new entrepreneur would leave nothing to chance. His tendency would be to use every online tool at his disposal. After all, the more tools you use, the greater opportunities you create right? Wrong!
These online tools have been proved effective in carrying out a digital marketing campaign. However, utilizing them requires a high level of understanding of the theories behind the concepts. Some of these tools, such as SEO, need specialized learning.
Social media is another effective online strategy, but not all communities function or behave the same way. LinkedIn is one of the most popular social media platforms. LinkedIn currently has 414 million members, which is one-fourth of Facebook’s entire community.
However, unlike Facebook, LinkedIn is used primarily as a platform to build connections and to find business opportunities. You will not find anyone posting a picture of his or her lunch in LinkedIn!
Using all of these online tools without a proper understanding of their functions will only serve to disrupt the message of your digital marketing campaign.
4. Lack of Comprehensive Research.
When you receive a flyer from a restaurant inside a mall, what are the chances that you will patronize this establishment? How many times have you thrown a flyer inside a trash receptacle?
The problem with traditional marketing methods is that the content is generalized, and the distribution is random and often poorly executed. Digital marketing effectively addresses These flaws. Campaigns are directed at identified buyer personas.
To identify the buyer persona, you have to conduct research. Many entrepreneurs do not allocate enough time to conduct comprehensive research because this can be quite exhaustive.
Digital marketing research seeks to do a deep dive into the personas of the prospective market. It not only involves acquiring information on who they are but also solicits inputs on their ideas, viewpoints, and perspectives on current concerns, issues, and areas that pique interest.
Methodologies can range from conducting online research, surveys, interviews, and old-school legwork to attending focus groups, seminars, and trade shows.
The study is condensed in a document called “The Creative Brief,” which outlines the strategy to move the persona from acquisition to lead to a sale.
Without The Creative Brief, your digital marketing campaign may lack focus. Your delivery and content distribution channels will be inefficient. For the most part, it will be a hit or miss.
5. Insufficient Funding.
A digital marketing campaign may be more efficient and more effective than a traditional marketing campaign, but it doesn’t mean that you should not invest enough funds on it.
One of the key aspects of a digital marketing campaign is that it can be tweaked and revised when needed. This aspect is important because markets are very unpredictable; tastes, preferences, and demand patterns can change without notice.
Digital marketing techniques, such as SEO, content marketing, and social media marketing, constantly evolve. Marketers find new ways to optimize these processes to stay ahead of the curve and to present innovative strategies.
You have to regularly set aside sufficient funding to keep your digital marketing program on course.
Let’s take websites for example. In 2013, industry analysts were already foreshadowing the fall of desktops and the dominance of mobile technology. By 2014, 60% of all online traffic originated from mobile gadgets. The rise of smartphones coincided with the consistent fall in sales of PCs.
However, as of 2015, studies have shown that only 11.8% of websites are mobile responsive. If your website is not mobile responsive, you can be losing 25% of potential sales. A transition from a desktop-responsive website to a mobile-responsive one carries a cost, but it is an investment that you should take if you want your digital marketing campaign to yield dividends.
You may wish to consider the services of professionals that have built a solid reputation in helping websites deliver content efficiently, such as MaxCDN.
Remember that you are not the only business that applies digital marketing. Many other businesses use digital marketing programs for their enterprises.