Monthly Archives: January 2013

Will Digital Marketing become known as just Marketing in the future?

I read a piece in Marketing Week recently with this heading and thought it worth sharing. I think the topic and the informed comments on this piece (link below) make it all the more interesting.

I’m not a big fan of wordy definitions but it helps to set up a context here. Marketing is everything you can do to understand your target market, and it is using that knowledge to grow your business by telling your business story better to your customers … in a place they can find, a language they understand and a style that has impact. The place is the only difference whether communications online or off.

Your marketing – whether online of offline – should consider the following.

  1. You as business owner being insanely curious about what segments of the market convert better to what you sell and why.
  2. Cultivating that never-ending curiosity for what’s really working in your market, what your target market wants/needs/loves/hates. Trying new things, measuring their impact, adjusting, trying again.
  3. Generating interest from your audience.
  4. Even better, becoming ‘remarkable’. As in, ‘worth making a remark about’.
  5. Being clear about what it is you do, so they understand how you can help.
  6. Getting your message across quickly and in a way that has impact. This may not always be written copy, it could be expressed through customer service standards, staff training, product range etc
  7. Allowing them identify with or see themselves in your communications – getting them to think, ‘that’s for someone like me’.

Digital can’t fix bad planning. Nor can it hand you the strategy to make decisions.  It can, of course, do the communication in;

  1. a highly targeted way
  2. can do it quickly
  3. with great impact
  4. and – rather compellingly for SMEs – in a reasonable, affordable way, making it the popular choice it is today.

I predict the Digital revolution to continue to morph, disrupt and take a disproportionate amount of business’s planning time over the coming years. It is the media of the future and, however unhelpful, the distinction between online and offline options will most likely continue.

There are more important points, however, for business owners and managers to mull over. Less about ‘the where’ or communications form and more about ‘the what’ are you talking about.  Stephen Covey was a great business leader and once said ‘the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing’.

Can you explain what you do in a meaningful way in less than 60 seconds? Do you explain the problems your business solves for your customers in your communications? The benefits it can deliver them? Do you try to tell your story in a memorable way that your potential customers might notice? Do you say how you are really different from those who say they do what you do? Do you spend time thinking of how to connect more meaningfully? How could you make your messages more trustworthy, believable or authentic?

After ‘the what’ …. then it’s about ‘where’ and ‘how’ you do it. Digital marketing descriptions are broad and each lever can work differently or require different time/money investment from Paid, Search, SEO, Email, Content, Blog , Video, Audio, Social Media etc.

My background is FMCG marketing and I know that traditional marketing has peaked and had its glory days. It had become a numbers game with the bigger companies winning out due to sheer investment and oftentimes innovative businesses got left by the wayside due to lack of funds. One big positive from the digital revolution has been  the gift to every small business of its stage and it’s voice. This has been, on one hand, revolutionary …a great leveller and extremely positive for Irish industry. But on the other it has been its undoing in terms of poorly planned marketing. So many businesses clamour for a piece of the digital pie for no better reason but than that ‘my competitor is doing it’. Better for SMEs to focus less on the fact that it’s inexpensive and more on what they want to say.

Strategy, customer understanding and business story need more focus. The smoke and mirrors and mystifying wizardry of digital marketing should settle soon so that all that’s left are the basic questions of communication; who, what, when, where, why.

Online or offline marketing needs less distinction and debate, and your simple business story a lot more.


Marketing Over Coffee – Some articles, videos and blogs I’ve found interesting


Inspired Thinking

Business Storytelling



Social Media


Irish SMEs need to harness the digital revolution

As Irish consumer move online will small business benefit?

It was estimated that €420m was to be spent online over Christmas in Ireland, half of which was to be spent on non-indigenous e-commerce sites such as eBay and Amazon.

Irish businesses need to be reaping more of this ever growing online spend. To do that they need to have their website designed properly, SEO optimised, mobile friendly with slick checkout facilities if payment required.

Traditional Irish SMEs have failed to pay attention to digital economy and less than 21pc of Irish businesses having the ability to pay online on their website. Visa Europe say by 2020 they expect half of all Visa transactions to be made on a mobile device. Carat Ireland say that those using smartphones to check or source product information stood at a whopping 81 per cent! We know that well over 50% of Irish mobile users have a smartphone and this is predicted to go to 70% in coming months.

According to a recent Amarach report, the internet economy accounts for 3% Irish GDP and this is set to double to 6% by end 2016. So online spend will move from €3.7bn in 2012 to €5.7bn (that’s 7pc of all consumer spending).

Our nearest neighbours are bounding ahead of us and claim 8% of its GDP comes from the online economy. According to BCG by 2016 the UK’s digital economy will represent twice that of Ireland’s (12.4% GDP).

The Amarach report predicts this ‘catch-up’ could mean jobs – and predicted increased employment of 18,000 – if Irish society can keep pace with the digitisation levels of UK or Scandinavian counterparts.

One thing’s for sure, the Digital Revolution is here … and here to stay. The question for you – is your business positioned to reap the rewards?