Liz & Sandro go over what they feel the current state of digital marketing is both for small businesses and for marketers, in mid-2018.

Episode 0290

The State of Digital Marketing

Sandro: [00:00:03] Welcome back to Liz & Sandro’s Marketing Podcast. We’re the podcast that helps your small business stay on top of what’s going on in the digital marketing world including things like SEO, reputation management, Web site design, social media and so much more. So today we’re going to have a chat about the state of digital marketing today nearly six months into 2018. .

Liz: [00:00:24] So Sandro & I just read two somewhat conflicting articles. The first one name-dropped a number of big brands like Adidas that are really questioning the effectiveness of Facebook because of price increases related to advertising, privacy concerns and the overall ability of Facebook to drive sales. Now on the flip side there was another article interviewing the number two executive at Ford Motor Company and it sounded like business as usual with Facebook. So it really got me wondering you know, where are, what is the state of digital marketing right now? .

Liz: [00:01:02] I feel like on this podcast we talk a lot about the latest and greatest. You know: what’s what’s new what’s trendy what could be the new hottest way to promote your company. Well all in all I think things have been pretty quiet to the start of 2018. You know, we haven’t, you know I guess we saw a major change to Snapchat you know but generally speaking we really haven’t seen anything new come down the pipeline. I think part of me is sitting here like “oh my gosh I have nothing new and cool to test with clients right now.” .

Sandro: [00:01:36] Yeah & one of the things you said while we were discussing this was “as the platform matures” and I feel like Facebook is what, 11 years old now? .

Liz: [00:01:44] Yeah.

Sandro: [00:01:45] So it seems like Facebook and its advertising are maturing and as such, more, more people are getting into it. And that’s driving prices up because Facebook, the amount of ads you can see on Facebook are limited. You know there’s only so much you can take and same on Instagram right so there’s more rules more regulations there’s more competition for the ad space and there’s more. So the prices are going up. So, yeah, what is a state of it today? Is Facebook’s still good? Is Facebook bad? Is it. . . are you looking at other options? Are there other options? Are we going back to newspapers? .

Liz: [00:02:18] Yeah & I think speaking about this concept of the platform maturing you know I think there’s two things that we can kind of observe from a distance you know: one people are tuning out the ads you know it’s kind of like on TV or on the radio you know as you live your day more and more with, with this channel you just kind of tune things out. And I also think that secondly you’ve got consumers who, well, let’s be honest they live and die by Facebook. They’re so ingrained with what they’re seeing in Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. They don’t want to be removed from the experience of what’s going on in that app. So . . . 

Sandro: [00:02:59] FOMO .

Liz: [00:02:59] Yes FOMO! Thank you. So I’m scrolling through and oh I see an ad for you know a great dress or a handbag but I don’t. But I want to keep scrolling. I want to see what else my friends are doing and I’m not going to click that ad because I don’t want to miss. You know what’s going on with my friends. .

Sandro: [00:03:18] It’s like that next hit of adrenaline or. . , .

Liz: [00:03:20] Well And they say that getting likes, getting interaction on social media targets the same areas of your brain that sugar and other drugs excite. So . . . .

Sandro: [00:03:30] A dopamine, another shot of dopamine. And by the way FOMO is fear of missing out. .

Liz: [00:03:36] So When you have big brands who are being quoted as saying, “hey we’re questioning whether or not any of this digital stuff is working,” what is a small business supposed to do? .

Sandro: [00:03:48] Right & before this I asked Liz: So what is the one silver bullet? Is there one thing that just works every time? .

Liz: [00:03:55] I don’t think there’s a silver bullet that’s going to work for every single business. I think it always is going to come back to your target market your best and most ideal customer. What is it that they want? Because what works for and I’ll be very drastic here, but you know what works for the J.C. Penney shopper is not what works for the Nordstrom’s or the Saks Fifth Avenue shopper. They’re two completely different markets who are going to different sources for information. They have different trust circles you know different you know people who could function as brand ambassadors. You’re not going to be able to get the same results with one channel across the board. .

Sandro: [00:04:36] Correct. And you said, “know where your customers are” and that’s where you got to be through brand ambassadors or events. If you could sponsor the Royal Wedding? . . “Brought To You By Kmart”. . . Rolex or I don’t know. Yeah. .

Liz: [00:04:50] I think I saw Cartier ads during the royal wedding. I guess technically after the coverage ended I saw some Cartier ads and our Duchess was wearing Cartier jewels so there you go. .

Sandro: [00:05:03] So know where your customers are. .

Liz: [00:05:04] The other thing that I keep thinking about every time I see one of these stories come out about a big brand that’s questioning the effectiveness of Facebook. You’ve got to look at your numbers. You’ve got to go through and understand what they mean. I mean I have so many clients who don’t understand what a clickthrough rate is that you know they don’t understand some very basic numbers. And as a business owner you should. You should know what good benchmarks are generally for your industry and for your business. Then you can look at your data and make an informed decision about what’s working, what’s not, where our time and effort and money should be spent. .

Sandro: [00:05:39] So Another thing that I know more and more people are using are ad blockers. They are effective. They. . . ads slow down Web sites or use so much of your data. If you got limited data if you’re in a third world country or you pay for a limited amount of data, ad blockers are a life saver because there’s less being used you’re not slowing down your computer or your phone as much. And there’s so many ads everywhere now we’re just being bombarded by these. .

Sandro: [00:06:05] So again we’re just like you said a little while ago, Liz, people are ignoring the ads so even if you think you found a magic bullet or something maybe people aren’t even seeing it because of these ad blockers. .

Sandro: [00:06:16] And thus I have to wonder, is Facebook, and something Liz mentioned also earlier before we recorded, is Facebook moving towards a place that is just awareness? Like, you know I think a car dealership needs to advertise in newspapers like spend thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars every Saturday and Sunday. And how many people are actually looking for a car? I think they just want to be top of mind to go to this car dealership when you are ready to buy a car. So is Facebook just a place to be top of mind? When you are ready for a pizza, go to Mama Santa‘s pizza or go to Papa John’s pizza just to be top of mind. .

Liz: [00:06:48] That’s what I think it’s moving toward. I think we’re going to have to continue to watch this. Look at our own client campaigns. See what other big brands are reporting. But that’s where I think we’re going with this. .

Sandro: [00:07:00] And if we are, is there something better? And if so, what is it? .

Liz: [00:07:04] Well and to that point I love the quote that you showed me I’ll let you read it. .

Sandro: [00:07:08] Yeah this is a 10 year old quote from a marketer that I really admired in the early days. He’s dropped out of the marketing world. Maybe he got fed up I don’t know. But he said it’s something I keep on my computer at all times. It’s something I mentioned at my very first talk to small business owners at the very end & I said: “So maybe instead of getting your company on Twitter” this is when Twitter was new “so maybe instead of getting your company on Twitter paying marketers to mention you’re on Twitter and paying people to blog about your company. Forget all that and just make awesome stuff that gets people excited about your products.” .

Sandro: [00:07:42] And I remember I was on a panel with other marketers and I said told the small business owners of a house cleaning company and as a T-shirt company has said instead of paying us to do these things for you. One of the best things you can do is just be the best housecleaner in town just make the best T-shirts. Just be the best. And word should get out there. I mentioned this when one of our very first podcasts my favorite falafel place is around the corner from me. They do not have a website. They don’t have twitter. They don’t have instagram. But they’re always busy. They make the best falafel in town. It’s a little middle eastern family and they’re always busy. I go there once a week at least. I begged them to have a website. I will build up a website for free food but they don’t. They don’t need it. They really don’t. So what works for them? Their great falafel. .

Liz: [00:08:25] And there you have it. So there’s a lot of great digital tools available but really what it comes down to is having a fantastic product or service and figuring out which of those digital and maybe some traditional tools as well, work best for driving visibility leads and sales for your company? And it’s going to be different. It’s going to be a different mix for every company. .

Sandro: [00:08:46] Yeah. And if you’re a new company maybe try a few of these out. You may love Twitter as much as I do and that’s your strong point and that’s where people know you from and that’s okay too. .

Liz: [00:08:55] I feel like the state of digital marketing right now: I would use the words “frustrating” on some level. I really would. I think a lot of people are frustrated. Frustrating and yet still very worth it. If you know which pieces and parts are best for your business. Because it’s it has been very frustrating the last couple months trying to navigate all of these privacy issues that Facebook and Instagram and Twitter are dealing with. You know I know you got a lot of your third party tools got yanked from Twitter you know you don’t have access to the data that you used to. We are in the midst of rolling out all these GDPR regulations. So, yeah, frustrating. I think that’s that’s my word that’s my word to describe the current state of digital marketing. .

Sandro: [00:09:42] If you got into digital marketing to do marketing it seems like you’re doing less of that and more of. . . .

Liz: [00:09:47] More compliance . . .

Sandro: [00:09:49] More working within the rules and learning the rules. It’s just it’s like the box just keeps shrinking on your ability to create or ability to to market. .

Liz: [00:09:58] And I don’t want to end this episode on doom and gloom because I’m still really excited about everything that I’m doing for clients. It’s just a lot to keep track of a lot of for us internally to educate ourselves on and then figure out how to communicate that to clients. It’s just a lot like .

Sandro: [00:10:16] I had a meeting with our cinema clients and they’ve got a whole month of June, are LGBT friendly films & I had explained to them. We, Facebook won’t let us target them anymore. And they ask “why?” And I just said Russia and they seem to understand. There’s just a lot more loopholes. .

Liz: [00:10:33] So you’re saying we could blame Putin for all of this. .

Sandro: [00:10:36] So yeah if things are working for you, if Instagram is working for you, if Facebook or Twitter are working for you, if they’re all working for you then keep going at them. But if you’re frustrated, know we are too as marketers. People do this every day. .

Liz: [00:10:49] And to your point, yes, it feels like that box is closing in on us. But I I want to end on a positive note and I’ll end with a quote that I’ve used several times in speeches. It’s from Jeff Charney at Progressive Insurance very well-known marketer he created I think he created the Aflac duck he created the Flo character. He always says that he can never outspend his competition but he can always out-create them and I think that’s an important piece to remember. Yes. I talk. I know I talk a lot about data and data and decisions need to be data driven but I don’t want to forget the creative piece that’s really important to marketing because yeah that box is closing in and it just means we have to get a little more creative and work with what we’ve got. .

Sandro: [00:11:33] And That does it for our episode on the State of Digital Marketing in Mid-2018. We will revisit this every six months let’s say let’s try and see where we’re at.

Liz: [00:11:42] Or sooner depending on what happens over the next couple of months.

Sandro: [00:11:45] Yes, maybe there’ll be something new. Maybe MySpace. . . .

Liz: [00:11:49] Maybe MySpace will make a comeback. I love it. .

Sandro: [00:11:53] Thank You for joining us. You will find us on all the social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Links are in the show notes as is our e-mail address. If you have feedback or question please send it our way. We’ll give you a shout out & a link on our web site. Thanks again for joining us & we will see you next time.