By Luc Wade, Marketing Director at Hive Business.
I wholeheartedly agreed with Samuel Scott when he wrote this on TechCrunch the other day:
“Marketers in the high-tech world who use phrases such as “social media marketing,” “Facebook marketing” and “content marketing” do not understand the basic difference between marketing strategies, marketing channels and marketing content. And Google Analytics is to blame.”
Google Analytics has been around for 10 years, spawning an industry of “online marketing experts” whose remit begins and ends there. That’s a serious problem for businesses relying on them because if you aren’t an experienced marketing professional commissioning online marketing as part of a wider campaign you will have no idea what they are doing, and neither will they. They can only possibly relate to your business through the limited prism of unique clicks, retweets and views.
Clicks can deliver new patients but so can signage, banner ads, building wraps, newspaper and magazine ads, old fashioned human marketing (where your receptionists are so good they turn walk-in enquiries into new patients every time) and self referrals through word of mouth. And then there’s practice décor, team attire, opening hours and treatment modalities.
Everything your patients and potential patients are exposed to by your business is marketing, in fact. In a successful practice all these things will complement each other; obviously if your promotional tweet last weekend offering a free facial aesthetics consultation in return for a retweet bagged 150 retweets that’s great, but you have to be able to service that demand in a way that complements your brand, otherwise get ready to watch your retweeters turn on you in real time and publicly warn others away.
The problem goes deeper though, as Scott says, because not only is everyone fetishising the online marketing channel, they are confusing it with a meaningful strategy — which is highly risky. He clarifies the problem by describing what should happen:
“When marketers brainstorm campaigns, they typically ask these questions, in this order:
- Who is our target audience and what are our goals?
- What is the best message for that audience?
- In light of our goals, which strategies within the Promotion Mix — advertising, direct marketing, sales promotion, direct selling and publicity — should we use to communicate that message?
- What are the best online and/or offline channels for that strategy to reach that audience?
- What marketing collateral and creatives should we create and transmit based on the answers to the prior four questions?
- How can we measure the results based on which metrics are relevant to each strategy within the Promotion Mix that we will use?
OK, that was a bit dry — apologies — but clearly, as anyone who has any serious experience in marketing knows, the strategy, message and marketing collateral matter more than the channel. Using a channel like social media before you have carefully considered what you’re really doing with it is madness.
Could it be that the rise of Google Analytics is responsible for this madness? Of course it is, and most websites using it have it as their only source of marketing data. I must admit I find this incredible. And shocking.
If you’re serious about business success you can’t let this happen to you. You are already taking risks as a business and you simply have to manage risk in your marketing just as you do in compliance and customer care and other areas — by managing it properly. The best online marketer can’t deliver marketing success for your practice in isolation; they need to be directed by someone with a comfortable overview of what your business needs on a strategic level.
Don’t give your website to someone cheap with no strategic overview of where your business is going. Don’t hand your business to a “social media expert” who has forgotten the tried and tested principles of marketing. They can’t succeed, and when they fail it will cost you in wasted money, time and reputation.
People have probably been talking to you about their specific segment of marketing for too long so it’s understandable you’ve begun to approach it in segments, thinking; “I’ll do some social media here with this guy, go with that company for SEO and PPC…” That’s all back to front. For success, invest in a joined up approach to marketing and get your communication plan nailed down so that if you do want to use different “online marketing experts”, at the very least you’ll be able to coordinate them properly and give them something meaningful to do.
Let me know if you need a hand, call on 01872 300232 or email us at email@example.com.