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What drives me mad about digital only marketing

Digital is an important part of the marketing playbook – but is not the playbook itself.

I’ve recently spent around $30,000 on magazine advertising for a product. That is a hefty part of my marketing budget to be spending on a year of advertising with one title. In 2021. Magazine advertising isn’t dead. Why did I make this decision? Because after research I know who my customer for the product is. And I know this magazine, by paid subscription where it is mailed pout to people, was reaching my target customers.

I think that digital marketing heroes, and there are a lot of them, are more skilled at giving a shallow self motivational speech with some flashing charts, pictures of people on their phones, and hypothesising a 10,000% or more growth in sales from a $50 ad on search or social media post.

They make bold statements like ‘no one watches TV’ or ‘no one reads magazines’ or ‘no one listens to the radio’. But what do they base this on? Their own viewing habits. I find that ‘digital marketing experts’ with no formal marketing qualifications who tend to reside at SEO agencies or web development houses confuse communications and tactics with real, revenue generating marketing strategy.

Radio advertising still exists, while people listen to the digital radio broadcast in their cars. TV advertising still exists with digital catch up apps. Just because the Generation X and Z think they only watch Netflix, doesn’t mean they do. Billboard, and outdoor advertising. Might cost $100,000 a month but can be positioned to be seen just as your audience will see them on the way to work. Of course the digital markets will say they can deliver over a billion visits to your website for that money, they can’t tell you what happens next. How does that web traffic convert to sales?

Digital is a marketing tactic, part of a wider marketing strategy, and should not be considered the strategy in and of itself.

Lets go back to the marketing funnel here: I agree digital marketing can create a touchpoint to create awareness, and bring people back at the consideration, preference and purchase stage with a clever combination of different types of ads, and Google remarketing ads, and email blasts. But I have rarely found a digital marketer skilled enough to understand the marketing funnel and apply digital marketing technologies to it.

In the Youtube description for this video, GaryVee says It’s simple. People are spending $80 billion dollars on TV commercials that nobody is watching. If you want to succeed in marketing your business in 2018, you have to be looking at where the attention is, which, as I see it, is in Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram ads.

Notice he says “as I see it”. Digital Marketers like GaryVee are all about getting your ad seen where they are looking, and ignore the viewing, readership and listening habits of what the research says about your customers.

Hypothetically, lets say you have a new home lighting system to take to market. It looks beautiful. The Digital marketers probably strategy will be to say lets SEO it with some digital ads and drive traffic to your website. Then it stops. The skilled marketer will identify this product is suited to those upgrading their home or building a new one, so will realise their audience is more inclined to watch a renovation show, buy some magazines, and visit some home hardware stores as well as online research. So a skilled marketer can pay to have the product on the home renovation show, where it will be shown in its best light, invest in point of sale displays, and print ads as well as several in market digital ads so we are reaching our target audience on every possible touch point.

Don’t believe me this could be effective? Well, a Nielsen meta-analysis of 29 campaigns across TV and Facebook showed that dual exposure using both TV and Facebook leads to a higher lift in ad recall than TV-only or Facebook-only campaigns.

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