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Banging the digital drum but to the same old beat!

james smee

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Banging the digital drum but to the same old beat!

We’ve been banging the purestone drum in recent months on a new business drive in an effort to build on a really positive performance in 2011. I’ve played my part as one of the purestone evangelists stepping up to stare the cold face of business development in its ever scrutinising and critical eyes. It’s been very, very interesting so far. I’ve met prospective clients from some pretty significant brands across a host of vertical markets – retail, legal, financial services and technology.


As you’d expect these initial meetings have been exploratory in nature as we’ve metaphorically ‘felt each other out’ to establish potential fit. Along the way I’ve been privy to a host of marketing ailments that are afflicting marketing departments – some of them are high level and deep seated in nature (acquisition, retention, brand engagement) some are tactical and specific to a comms channel (mobile, SEO, website, etc). Layer onto this the inevitable nuances and quirks that individual vertical markets exhibit (everyone naturally thinks their industry is the quirkiest and most uniquely challenging) and you have a tricky landscape.

Marketers are having to bring down and tame the fundamentals that make up solid marketing strategy but with a far greater, diverse and changing mix of comms channels to consider. This is a double edged sword. It’s great that the armoury has been extended but due to the digital nature of most new channels it’s inevitably a 2-way arsenal i.e. your customers may choose to use these new channels even if you don’t (and your absence will be noted). Failure to identify the correct channels may lead to missed opportunities, brand damage and a blunt, slightly rusty sword. Those marketers out there who are nailing it will be able to deliver fluid, joined up conversations that traverse the channel mix and ultimately deliver exceptional results. That said, my new business related travels have proven there’s really not many people out there firing on all cylinders. It’s tough. It’s challenging. It’s undoubtedly exciting.

OK, so what’s my point? Well, it’s an obvious one but one that (I feel) is worth stating… Despite the climate still being tough, despite the diversity of the channel mix, despite the uniquely unique challenges (and quirky quirks) your industry throws up it still all boils down to one common factor… PEOPLE. Most importantly your ability to understand, engage, influence, motivate, provoke, evoke, entertain, inform, educate and impress them. There’s a load of other adjectives I could also add to this list but I’m sure you get my drift.

Nothing’s really changed once you get down to brass tax. Granted, digital can be complex and highly technical at times but don’t lose sight of the end game and that is to deliver a communication that will engage a human being. They may experience this through a host of different devices (tablets, mobile, desktop, print) across a mix of channels (social, search, web) but it’s still a conversation. Make sure you keep your emotional intelligence honed. Climb into the skins of your audience and ask yourself the tough questions. Ensure you’re not treading the same, well beaten path every other brand in your sector is trudging down. Change up the conversation! OK, enough said and apologies if I’m stating the obvious but based on the conversations I’ve had in the past 3-4 months it’s clear that marketers are being worked and stretched harder and further than ever before and as a result are struggling to see the wood for the trees.

marketing strategy•customer engagement