Digital marketing: More than just about the numbers

  • For brands, the digital realm needs to be more than just a numbers game
  • Success should be measured bu real impact on lives of a brand’s online community

Digital marketing: More than just about the numbersAREN'T we all fascinated with numbers? They mean so much, yet most of the time we don’t have any idea what these numbers tell us. Even worse, we see increasing numbers as progress, yet don’t read deeper into the reasons behind the increments and try to understand the why, who, what, when and how of they came along.
I’d like to summon the courage to say: “Numbers mean jack if we don’t have a heart.”
When did we start forgetting that digital media, and especially social media, is more than just raw numbers? An increment in ‘Likes’, ‘Followers’ or ‘Fans’ does not reflect a positive increment in the bottom-line of businesses. It does not reflect the fact that your fans have an affinity to your brand. It does not necessarily translate into sales or brand loyalty.
It’s about time we relook the way we engage and operate online. Here’s what I keep in mind when we try to establish a good foundation for any brand going down the path of digital and social:
1) Establish a BIG GOAL

Jim Collins in his book Built to Last used the term BHAG (bee-hag), short for Big Hairy Audacious Goal. In it, he wrote that a true BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as a unifying focal point of effort, and acts as a clear catalyst for team spirit.

What is your BHAG? Is it to serve as a beacon of knowledge for a particular industry, product or service? Is it to enrich the lives of the customers with whom you’re engaging? Is it to become the best at helping a particular community? Get that right and everything else will fall into place.

2) Plot milestones within a timeline

To find out if you are getting closer to your Big Hairy Audacious Goal in digital marketing, milestones of little successes should be created. Instead of just numbers, these milestones can focus on little successes such as your first sales lead from a social platform, first true inspiring story shared by a fan, or first negative experience from an online customer that you’ve turned around.

Success metrics should emphasise emotional and positive actions made by fans within the online community. The more, the better.

3) Focus on people, not numbers

We’ve moved from traditional to digital. Now suddenly everyone is an economist because today, it’s all about the numbers. While numbers are important indicators, the relationships that we can build within our digital and social communities are priceless.

It really doesn’t take much effort to just be nice and as helpful as possible. Let the project managers, web designers and developers worry about building the campaigns. If you’re a community manager, your job is to nurture relationships and create value out of them.  

Based on my experience, the brands that have had the most success out of social and digital are the ones that say, “I know the numbers are important, but I want to know how much we know about our fans and whether we have enhanced their lives as part of our digital community.”

It does take a tremendous amount of effort to humanise online engagement, but I believe the long-term value is well worth the commitment.

Alex Ooi cuts the digital clutter at PR Labs. Here’s how to connectconnect & connect with him.

Previous Installments:

What is your digital real estate?
Making marketing sense of social media

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