Avoiding the 7 deadly traps in the digital world

Digital is no longer an option, it is a must.But as marketers move in the digital direction, many are still searching for the right trigger to achieve their targets to fully integrate online and offline. Risks in the digital space are many given the multitude of emerging tools and technologies.

But how can one see beyond the hype and jargon to harness the power of new technology to deliver these business goals? Madhav Nayak, marketing director of Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand at Unilever outlined several deadly traps in the digital world and ways to avoid them.

1. The leap-before-you-look trap
The output of a campaign can be views, shares, visits, likes or things that happened as a result of something you’ve done.

But what really matters for the business is “outcomes” such as brand recall, brand preference, new customers and sales.  Nayak said sometimes it’s not easy to separate output with outcome. Yet being able to differentiate things between output (things that happened) and outcome (what really matters for the business) is really important before you start any marketing initiate or campaign.

He said marketers need to clearly know each campaign objective and be able to explain the business outcome of any intended activity without using the marketing jargon– before embarking on  any marketing campaign.

2. New toy trap
Marketers love new play things be it a new technology, platform or medium. But with budgets getting tighter, investing on a new tool might not always be the answer. Instead, utilise what you already have, explained Nayak.

Can you describe what your brand and business objective is and how this new tool will help? If you can, it probably has a meaningful role. If not, give it a pass.

3. Fake-it-till-you-make–it trap
Brands and marketers see their stories playing a big role in connecting with consumers. Everyday a new content marketing agency, promising to solve your brand woes, comes up. But coming up with a brand story is very different from making up a story about the brand to connect with your users. He added:

Consumers are already questioning and noticing brands for things they do. Acting like someone you’re not, saying something when you mean something else, doing something fake is not seen as authentic.

Quoting a recent study by Cohn & Wolfe, Nayak shared that only 22% of consumers see leading brands as open and honest. Meaning most consumers don’t trust brands still. He added:

That is really something for us to reflect on. This happens when marketers don’t have something genuinely interesting about themselves. If you genuinely don’t have anything interesting or purposeful to say, don’t say it.

As such brand owners need to ask what’s your brand’s true story before embarking on the next campaign. Being authentic also means being honest. Avado’s consultant Richard Pester reminded marketers and advertisers to be transparent to consumers about “why you need to use their data.”

“Be prepared to use all sources of data at your disposal but also beware of privacy and ethics. You need to become bilingual in date and marketing,” he said, adding users’ trust matters.

4. The “advertising-is-dead” trap

A lot of news headlines today say that advertising is dead – it’s a graveyard.  According to several researches online, digital advertising rose 25% last year and it’s expected to grow faster at 16%. But just because there are new platforms everyday, it doesn’t mean old ones will cease to exist, said Nayak.

“It’s not always the case of advertising versus content, traditional versus digital or mass versus personalised – companies have to find a balance. And it doesn’t necessarily need to omit one element to adapt to a new concept,” Nayak said.

5. The pretending to listen trap
Many brands are not in tune to what customers are expecting despite plenty of social media monitoring and listening tools being available. Quoting Sprout Social Index Q2 2016  Nayak  said 89% of social messages have been ignored and brands actually take 10 hours to respond when the maximum response time is expected to be within 4 hours.

“Brands need to listen to identify consumer queries they didn’t even know they needed to answer. This helps in discovering more about their audience’s demands,” Nayak.
Chris Tew, EVP of APAC at 3radical said marketers need to improve their digital moments strategy and communicate on a personal level.

“When somebody comes to your website, you have to respond to them immediately. It’s critical to be personal, otherwise you’ll fail,” Tew said.

6. The “can I have more data” trap
The answer to “Can I have more data?” is always a yes but brand marketers need to also understand what value  the data is adding to their decision making. They should not concentrate on what volume of data they can get.

Charlie Baillie, regional director of Southeast Asia at Radium One said that there is an immeasurable amount of data present today. Social sharing is more direct now and less about broadcasting and “if you can capture all the social sharings in one standalone capture page, it’ll be quite powerful.”

“Sharing has become a very valuable marketing currency and gives of specific signals. Plus, 82% of content sharing is happening on dark social channels,” he added.

7. The overnight digital expert trap
“If you search online, there are 1.73 million digital market experts and 3.64 million leading digital agencies – plenty of choices but – are you looking for a one­night stand or a long­term relationship?” said Nayak.

Brands need to be careful of who they  are sharing their intimate data with especially given the rise of ad fraud in the world of digital today.