STOP Digital marketing and Advertising. It does not work
Yes, that’s right. I heard it too!
Off late, there have been articles and posts about:
- Why digital marketing sucks?
- Why social media is a complete failure?
- Why nothing works and why the entire system stinks?
- Why targeted ads do not deliver? and the list goes on……
And each time you read one of these articles, you will find the author’s of the posts use “ONE BRAND’s Failed attempts” and experiences with digital advertising and or social media marketing, on which the entire post would be based on.
The general arguments that I have heard across some of these blogs usually are that:
- Their Social media did not deliver actual SALES for XYZ Brand
- Their digital marketing backfired and cost the organization millions!
- The digital advertising metrics cannot or do not measure or reach demographics or targeted users and the brand says, digital has failed us.
- The data available does not fit with the budget that we propose for the said campaign to be implemented so the metrics and analytics clash with the campaign.
- They are not economically efficient
If you read these type of posts closely, you can find words or phrases in the posts like: “the brand assumed, the organization’s marketers presumed, they thought this would work, they thought of trying the targeting ads but it failed, etc…”
At the same time, if you look at their conversations across public platforms shared online too from their end, most of these conversations emit tremendous negative aura of why digital is a failure in advertising and marketing!
Some of their most common arguments of why digital will fail according to them would be as under:
- You are contacted without permission by these online stalkers which is ridiculous
- Your time and money is wasted on these sites which take up your bandwidth and do not even offer much value in return
- No one clicks on ads, they just like it and leave it so you do not even get visitors on your site. What a waste!
- You are forcibly shown ads and content that do not interest you. Such a shame
and again…. the list goes on……
Few things to keep in mind while working on a digital campaign:
Do not deal with digital marketing in isolation:
The very first thing that marketers need to understand is that, one cannot deal with social media or digital in isolation. For eg. You cannot try one target marketing ad or one promote sponsored post and blame the entire system for it. Yes, sometimes things don’t work out, but there could be so many reasons for it. Simplest of all being, a campaign’s success requires multitude of information to work in sync at the right place, across right demographics and at the right time. Data is the heart of a digital marketing campaign and content is the soul of a brand. So ensuring the right metrics across targeted users would definitely work wonders. Also, the brand message that you as a digital marketing professional or a digital agency would design would be a great deciding factor for the success of the campaign.
Let’s look at few simple examples of failed digital campaigns which I read online on why digital will fail:
An organization recently was blaming digital online saying traditional worked better for them because they posted ad on multiple online sites but got no response but got better response through other traditional media and it was way cheaper too!
So on similar lines, I browsed trough few other such campaigns where few companies and or marketers had written negatively about the impact of digital on brands.
I browsed through few of their online ads and the reason for their failure using digital for their campaigns was very simple:
These are some of the campaigns that I saw or read about Online and these were being used by few bloggers as an example of why digital does not work or deliver. So I thought of sharing detailed highlights from my observations on what probably caused the failure.
CASE 1 – FAILURE: They were into mental health care and wellness. And their ad focused on words which were asking users if they faced mental health issues like depression, stress, etc and if they did, they could use the upcoming offer of the brand and avail free consultation.
Now, when I read the actual ad posted online and it’s wordings, there were so many elements that were wrong, politically incorrect and straight up offensive!
Treatments and services like mental health care have to be modeled with great care and caution. It deals with sensitive issues which people would not be under any circumstances comfortable discussing on a pubic platform.
So asking users to AVAIL this as an Offer is Ridiculous!
I spoke to the company and told them about how offensive this concept and insensitive their ad was and enquired who the staff or agency was behind this ad. After few followups I found out that their new digital head was handling digital marketing roles at a retail brand prior to this job. So my guess is, the said individual applied what works with retail, “AVAIL OFFERS NOW” to an industry like health and wellness too!
Can you really blame the digital industry here?
CASE 2 – FAILURE:
The digital strategy used was focused towards selling or generating enquiries for “Housing & Infrastructure industry – Promoting and selling 1 & 2 BHK Homes in India”.
Majority of their ads that ran online using digital marketing and social media influencers were sharing emotional triggers in the following way:
- Get out of your lazy zone this weekend and start looking for a home to make you feel luxurious!
- What are your weekend plans? Mine are to buy a home and I am leaving right now on a Saturday morning.
- Wow, a new home, that will fulfill all my dreams of life. Thanks, I am going to look for the house right now.
- A dream home with best amenities and luxury, now my family needs this. We will go right now.
Now, need I even mention what’s wrong with this strategy?
Firstly, it’s a home. It’s not something you shop online or purchase from a shopping retail outlet like an FMCG product.
Secondly, buying a home, is more about an emotional connect than anything else. It’s about one of the biggest financial dreams for every user. It’s a commitment for a lifetime to build your dream home and it has so many psychological factors that go into the decision making process along with the financial decisions.
Now getting digital influencers to tweet about this with words that sound like you are ought to buy yourself a fancy scarf or movie tickets is just plain ridiculous.
CASE 3 – FAILURE:
The digital marketing and social media campaign was promoting an upcoming Training workshop for an e-learning company. They were organizing an event and this was followed by a workshop.
It seems, the company could make only 14% of their targeted bookings! Whoa, now that’s a real sad turn of events.
So, here again, I looked at the posting for these campaigns online. I checked their blog post promotions, their facebook sponsored ads were visible too and their tweets across digital marketing social media influencers who were hired to do the promotions.
My take on this campaign was as under:
- When I looked at the Facebook ads designed by the digital team in-house or an external agency involved, they looked fantastic.
- Then I read through few of their blog post articles about the same and they too were insightful, engaging and wonderful.
- Finally, I looked at the tweet promotion activity by social media influencers hired for this campaign and the 18 users whose tweets I read, all of them, were doing a remarkable job. It was right on target. I loved the work these guys were doing either as an in-house marketing team or a digital agency. I loved it!
In fact, everything that these guys were doing with the digital media was superb.
But then, why did the results not happen? Why were there no bookings or 14% bookings?
I asked myself, “Could it be that these haters who post that digital does not work be correct?”
Nah! Like I said, never look at digital campaigns in isolation.
So I called up the phone numbers that were promoting this event, dropped an email enquiry to know about this event, because it really sounded interesting. And I was actually keen on even attending it. (I did not attend though!)
No one responded on email, 7 days had passed by!
As for the phone call, my call was shuffled between four persons who were in a rubble with few simple questions that I had posed about the event agenda.
It turned out, they had no idea about what was really happening at this event. To add to this agony, 2 out of the four people I spoke to were just plain discourteous.
I was obviously put off!
So here is a case where the digital team handling the campaign, did a great job but did not get the backing and or support they deserved. At the end of the day, they took the brunt for the failure of the campaign.
It’s really a small world. Why? Because after about a week from my above enquiry, I ran into an old friend of mine. As we kept talking, this friend happened to mention that they were handling the said above mentioned campaign’s back-end and traditional, mobile and print advertising. So I enquired on how things were working out and whether they were facing any issues and which campaign was doing well, traditional or digital.
His immediate response was, “Why, of course, traditional! Digital cannot survive here” he added.
Now his arrogant and ignorant response told me that he did not know what I did for a living even though he was an old friend and an older ex-colleague of mine. He was under the impression that I was in finance! So much for being an old friend! Anyways, this also helped me understand that he did not have a very informed background, as in, he was not much in sync with what was happening in the digital realm and most importantly, he was not interested. He has been in traditional media for the past 2 decades….and his views had not changed a bit!
So then, I shared with him what I did for a living and asked him what was happening with the campaign after sharing my experience with the same. He responded, “Wow, ok. That was surprising. Look, ‘ll be honest. Our business gets affected if these digital guys take over, no offense. So my tele-call team has clear instructions not to entertain users who come enquiring through social media channels. So we take down their numbers and after few days call from our end with a better offer as if we are calling them for the first time, for eg. if social media booking offers 20% off, we offer 30% off and we make sure to tell those customers to enter our OFFER code in their bookings. And they do, they want a great deal, they don’t care whose calling or doing the work. I will tell you why I do this too. I don’t want my boss standing on my neck breathing down and telling me that if a person sitting behind a computer can bring so many enquiries and sales, what am I hiring you and your team for?” This was his convenient excuse to his utter unprofessional behaviour!
My expression, I guess made it clear to him that I was far from being impressed. My frustration towards this friend of mine was not because he did what he did. I understand, he was just trying to protect his job and pay scale. I got annoyed because he was so low on ethics. Now that’s something I can never forgive.
But can you really blame him too entirely? Not really, he is just looking out for his job now isn’t he?
I told him that I would be writing about this experience in the next blog post and his shaking knees and beady eyes were wondering if his name or the brand’s name would crop-up in my post and as an old friend, I guaranteed him, that ‘I would never do that’ even if he had not requested me to, I make it a policy that I don’t “name names”.
My idea of sharing my blog posts is not to expose people for their way of work. Plus, I always give people their space and a benefit of doubt for why and what reasons could have pushed them to behave in this way. We all make mistakes, some grave and some minuscule, but we do, from time to time, at least I do… I am just a man! There’s no point in holding a grudge on someone for life for a mistake now isn’t it?
But you see, my job through this blog post is also to ensure that I inform and educate my dear fellow readers of what’s transpiring in the world of marketing today, across traditional and digital realms. So as much as my heart supported me in not sharing his name or the company’s name, my conscience did not allow me to keep quite. So I spent the next week searching for users posting negative comments about campaigns and digital marketing and did a lot of follow-ups, research and thought of a simple way of sharing this via a blog post to spread the message about users who claim “DIGITAL does not deliver…..and they share such case studies as examples of failure”. Now that’s not really nice!
The success of a campaign is not merely about the right tools working or the right set of offers or data and metrics alone, it’s a combination of so many things that go into designing a social media digital marketing campaign for a business successfully.
We as a digital agency have shared so many of our successful case studies on digital marketing social media ROI across industries and countries for users to download for FREE over the years and at the same time have relentlessly worked towards producing content that is both relevant and sincerely adds value to our readers.
Some campaigns work exceptionally well and sometimes you have lost social media marketing when you fail to use the right elements. The point is, it’s not a war. It’s not a fight between whose better. I started my career in advertising and marketing working with traditional media more than a decade ago. I loved doing that too!
It’s not personal, it’s strictly business!
I don’t think Traditional media should be replaced and for that matter, I believe that the best campaigns are the ones that bring about a synergy between the best strategies in traditional marketing integrated with the new age media tools of digital and social media marketing.
I am 100% positive that each time a campaign does well, it’s a joint effort of teams working together without “ego” and with a simple goal to deliver their best as a brand.
So the next time you feel digital marketing does not work when You have worked with someone else or tried it on your own, feel free to reach me across my professional services contact form link here and I will, with my digital agency work towards building a campaign that performs and delivers for your brand. Professional services, of course!
- It’s all about preparation:
2. Don’t work on a campaign thinking Traditional is Good or Digital Is Good, traditional media is gone or dead and digital marketing is a failure: Believe with the right team, anything is possible towards a common GOAL.
3. You have to move ahead with the world: Don’t be rigid to the extent that you lose out on the wonderful things that the new era has brought with it. Change is inevitable.
4. If you have results, if you have done exemplary work, there is nothing wrong in sharing it with people online. Just ensure, your head and feet are still on the ground!
Do share your comments and or views, Would love to hear from you.
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