Being a Director of Marketing in the Digital Age – The Toughest Job on Earth
Being a marketing director as late as the mid-1990’s was a pretty cushy job. Approving and rejecting creative, calling your yellow pages and newspaper rep to place your print buys, and maybe some TV and billboards thrown in as well. Choosing an audience was all about reach and frequency, and most media reached a significant enough portion of the population to make an impact. Working with your agency to come up with a snappy tagline was the biggest challenge on your plate.
Then came the internet. Audiences fragmented at an alarming rate. Marketing channels multiplied like a virus. The low barrier to entry for starting a “digital agency” (that’s code for “2 guys in their mom’s garage”) made it nearly impossible to know who to buy your media from as there were a million of these guys running around. In addition, everything was painfully difficult to quantify; How much is a click on a banner ad worth? What is a click to my website worth? Does my website just plain stink?
The newest age of Social Media and mobile phones have only exacerbated the problem. All of these media must be measured independently, but also holistically, and making sense of it all is a mess. Worst of all, it seems to change every year. If you received a Bachelor’s in Marketing in 2005, you might as well toss that bad boy in the garbage because it is nearly worthless, (on second thought, you need something to show for that student loan debt so don’t throw it out just yet).
We at Utah Digital Services (UDS) have decided that is officially indisputable: Director of Marketing (DOM) is the toughest job on Earth.
So if you’re a DOM, where do you start? I believe there are a few key pieces that can make a huge difference for every DOM in this new age:
- Find someone, or an agency, who really understands data and analytics – In the digital age, quantifying your return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) is difficult. Hire someone with 3+ years of full-time Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics experience. They should live for this stuff, not just dabble in it. If you can’t afford the hefty price tag of hiring someone in-house, make sure the agency you choose has at least 3 of these people on staff. Ask to interview them and see if they really know what they’re doing. Better yet, ask them to do an audit of your Google Analytics setup, and your site, and ask for recommendations on what they would change. If they can’t do this, get rid of them.
- Start with your website – Are you proud to send clients to your company site, or do you avoid the topic at all costs? Is your site mobile-responsive? If the site needs work, make it a priority. Think of your website like a second storefront for your business. If it isn’t up to snuff, put that on the list. A bad site can make all your other advertising weaker. 81% of shoppers will research products online before making a purchase online or offline (Adweek2014). What will they see if they research your site?
- Get your Paid Search humming – 61% of people will use a search engine in their purchasing journey (AdWeek2014). If you’re not maximizing your return on Google first, spend there. Paid Search gives you the ability to target the right customer and only pay when click happens. Don’t be afraid to outsource PPC either. I recommend finding an agency that is capable of effectively running each part of your digital campaign instead of using multiple agencies. It keeps your campaign cohesive. This takes time to find the right agency, but it is worth it in the long run.
- Your first stop with Display Advertising is always Retargeting – You’ve spent a lot of time and money to drive people to your site; why would you not want to keep them coming back? Retargeting allows you to ‘continue the conversation’ with a potential buyer long after they have left the site. It is worth every penny!!
- Now, get your Paid Social on – Facebook is certainly the best place to start. They have the most dynamic targeting capabilities, the largest user base, and honestly they have the best ad placements. If your only Facebook strategy is still to post organically on your own Facebook page, you’re behind the times. Chances are that less than 10% of your followers are actually seeing the posts. It’s a pay-to-play game with Facebook these days.
These 5 practices will be a tremendous help in making that Director of Marketing job less daunting. Nailing these 5 will ensure you are able to show your boss that you know how to market in the Digital Age, and you understand how to show a ROI. Hang in there DOMs!