If you know me at all, then you'll know how difficult it can be for me to make big decisions. It's not because I'm indecisive but rather because I often over-analyse these decisions by looking at each possible scenario and then try to figure out what the possible outcomes could be in each case.
Some would call it a pain but I like to think of it as rational decision-making and the benefit of this is that once I have made my decision I act fast and without regret because I know it's the right play.
That said, I'm an absolute sucker when it comes to motorcycles; a case in point is my recent acquisition of a super-sexy Ducati super bike. I saw it, I knew I wanted it, I bought it. No real further thought process went into the decision-making and today I suffer the consequences. In the three weeks that I've had it, I've spent at least one of those weeks repairing the thing, from batteries that needed replacing, fuel jets that needed cleaning and now a starter motor that is faulty. Crazy.
So what does all of this have to do with digital strategy in South Africa? Well, I like to think that companies' thought processes around digital strategy is much like my impulsive need to own a gorgeous Italian motorcycle - foolish.
Hindsight is a...
Who in their right mind invests a large sum of money into something that appears to be the thing you need when, in actual fact, it simply isn't? Sure, I love my bike and it gives me great joy when it actually works but, let's face it, a smarter approach to this purchase, along with a clearer understanding of my needs, would have been wiser. Hindsight is a bugger.
Over the last six years I've been privileged to have witnessed digital strategies, or the lack thereof, being implemented without any real clear objectives in mind. Don't for a second think that your company isn't one of them. I've seen huge public listed companies make foolish decisions; traditional agencies attempting to provide digital strategy; and I've seen small SMEs fail because no one really knows what they're doing or what the ultimate end goal is.
The problem with South Africa is that we still follow a largely traditional mindset. Every year, the marketing director sits with the agency or the strategists and they devise their marketing plan and budget for the next fiscal period. A road map is planned, objectives and targets are outlined, and people go out and work from that blue print.
This is a fantastic model and not one I'm trying to change but the issue comes in when digital is simply a line item, along with street pole ads and billboards in said marketing plan.
You need the same plan for digital
My argument, if you will, is that, just like a 12-month marketing plan, you need the same plan for digital. You need to identify objectives, goals, targets, campaigns, how you're going to get there, what you need to make it happen, who you need to hire and, most importantly, how to measure the effectiveness of the plan. Let's face it, this is the beauty of digital versus traditional media; we can measure it all the way and make changes at will.
Most people think that coming up with a digital campaign is a digital strategy - well, it's not. Digital campaigns are the line item that make up the digital strategy and should form part of the objectives which ultimately assist you in achieving a ROI.
So much money has been squandered on failed campaigns and, ultimately, digital gets the blame and the end result is budgets get cut next time around because it simply didn't work. Well, yes, it didn't work because you had no clear idea as to why you were doing it in the first place. Getting a million fans on Facebook or getting 100 000 visitors to your website are not clear objectives at all.
I can't tell you how many people have spoken to us about campaigns they want to run, websites they want to build, iPad apps they want to develop - only to realise after we've spoken to them that they really need to rethink why they're doing this in the first place. It's bad for business, let me tell you, but it's good for the industry.
Too many simply missing the point
Digital has become a vital weapon in the traditional marketer's arsenal, yet too many are simply missing the point to truly realise its true potential to annihilate the competition.
Justin, you are right. The reason for this is that the clients who do wish to go the strategic route have been burned really badly by "experts" in the digital field be it Online or Social. There are so many wannabe's peddling their wares out there, instead of trying to navigate a minefield clients would rather stay away. In saying that though we are finding that our clients are moving more and more into the strategic space with us as they starting to see the value in our offering and the services we provide. Posted on 7 Jun 2011 13:29
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