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Don’t be fooled into thinking marketing tools are “marketing solutions”

Navigating new digital solutions can be mind-boggling for marketers so how can you start to make sense of it all?

“The first distinction to make is that they are not all solutions, they are really just tools” said Dhiren Amin, general marketing manager for Heinz ABC Indonesia. Marketing spoke with Amin about bringing digital strategies back to basics and cutting through the clutter.

According to Amin, a lot of the confusion marketers face first stems from the way digital is framed, the jargon attached to the technologies and in particular the habit of labelling them “solutions.”

“The minute you start calling them solutions then it seems like everything on digital will give you a solution, which is simply not true,” he argued.

[More from Amin and other senior digital marketers at Digital Marketing Indonesia 2016 on 24-25 November involving two days of insightful presentations, case studies and discussions with over 300 marketers on the future of digital in Indonesia and the region.]

Amin said the best way to start is to take time to see past the glittering promises and “evaluate each tool for what it really is.”

But this evaluation process has become more pressured. He said:

The bigger problem with digital now is not the lack of tools but the rapid rate at which new tools are being introduced.

“Dealing with the pace of change and the explosion in the number of tools is the real challenge. You have to determine much faster ‘which will work best for us’? and ‘where should I invest?’”

Amin said regardless of industry while digital marketing is measurable it still doesn’t correlate to actual business outcomes.

“As much as you would like to believe it, there is no direct correlation that exists between digital media and sales. At the end of the day you’re measuring impressions, views and clicks but these factors can’t be linked to profit.” However, it does allow for better monitoring of impressions versus views and views versus engagement but these remain only input metrics, he underlined.

And there’s no doubt marketers are now asked more than ever to justify the value of and the manpower needed for each new digital investment.

“The issue with digital is the effort and media ratios. Working on digital videos, banners, posts and interactive experiences takes a lot of time; arguably close to 50% of the time a marketer spends on creative crafting but the spends don’t currently justify the efforts. This remains a conundrum to solve,” Amin argued.

Another issue is that digital is still often understood through a very singular lens. Amin said it should be viewed in a similar vein to the traditional ecosystem with many assets.

“Digital is often seen as one touch point but in reality, it is a connected world of consumers that we are trying to enter. It is an entire eco-system of media.”

All these tools despite the confusion are allowing for greater experimentation to improve targeting and create more relevant engagement with users online.

Everyone is looking for ways to embed advertising into social conversations.

Amin underlined the rate at which people today are using messaging systems such as Whatsapp and LINE is rapidly increasing but brands’ ability to have meaningful conversations in these environments is very limited.

“Even on Facebook, how do you enter a person’s private page without being a blind spot because you are an advertised message? The answer to this is not to give up on branding.”

Amin said the only way to do this is to listen and then make your content compelling enough that people will want to engage with it in their own spaces.

“Digital has allowed for what was originally water cooler chats at all times of the day through messenger platforms,” he said.

The challenge is how do you enter a two-person conversation without being seen as an intruder? Brands have not made it into this space yet in a way consumers are willing to expect or trust. That’s the next step.

Catch Amin at Digital Marketing Indonesia on 24-25 November where he will share more understanding the changes in digital tools and how these should impact brands’ strategies.

For more information about getting involved with the conference please contact Daing Hazran on +65 or hazrand@marketing-interactive.com.

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