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Harness power, digital marketing

5 Steps to Harnessing the Power of Digital Marketing

In our latest blog, we reveal how to harness the power of digital marketing by understanding the benefits and highlighting some of the pitfalls.

Seen-it-all Si and Slick-Steve had differing views of digital marketing, but both had fallen into the digital skills gap. Wise Wendy, had highlighted both the importance of digital skills to the economy and of not getting left behind.

She now wants to share 5 ways in which you can punch above your weight using digital marketing methods to reach new customers.


Step 1: To harness the power of digital marketing:

Understand your marketing methods

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) defines marketing as: ‘the management process for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.

Wise Wendy points out that acting without a marketing strategy is acting without a strategy at all. Without a management process, fulfilling customer needs will be haphazard at best.

Si and Steve had applied marketing techniques, but without defining an aim, or understanding the tools they were applying.

Traditional marketing methods

Traditional marketing is split between above-the-line activity, which refers to brand building and advertising through television, newspapers and radio. Below-the-line refers to physical direct response mechanisms such as direct mail, brochures and flyers.

Digital marketing methods

Digital marketing has opened up access to traditional methods through the advent of digital communication – mainly through the Internet, but includes mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium.


Step 2: To harness the power of digital marketing:

Recognise relative strengths and weaknesses

Traditional Marketing Strengths:

  • Ability to reach local markets through mail shots/local newspaper advertising
  • Hard copy offers opportunity for repeat views.
  • Methods used are easy to understand,
  • Hard copy materials can produce a strong emotional response

Traditional Marketing Weaknesses:

  • High costs of access to the market – a single page national paper advertisement could cost in excess of £30,000
  • Difficult to specifically target advertising/branding
  • Slow pace of response mechanisms – and difficulty of eliciting responses
  • Extremely difficult to measure success of campaigns/ROI

Digital Marketing Strengths

  • Low costs – social media channels/pay per click advertising
  • Ease of access – anyone can post on social media
  • Versatility – advertisements, videos, podcasts, webinars etc
  • Dynamic – offers direct interaction with customers
  • Non-intrusive – audience chooses how and when to consume
  • Data easily recorded and analysed
  • Niche, targeted customer marketing
  • Level playing field – through content and SEO

Digital Marketing Weaknesses:

  • Profusion of tools/platforms can be confusing.
  • Danger of application of tools without focus or strategy.
  • Ease of access can generate high volume, low quality content.


Step 3. To harness the power of digital marketing:

Don’t always rely on traditional marketing instincts

Remember Seen-it-all-Si? He instinctively trusts traditional marketing tool, but demands high returns from digital – even though he can’t quantify any at all from his last newspaper ad.

Si’s instincts are not completely wrong – surprisingly. He doesn’t know it, but research completed by the Royal Mail has shown that people do indeed have a better ‘emotional processing’ to the physical rather than virtual.

His instinct says that a newspaper will be passed around, multiplying the readership. The trouble is that this is very difficult to quantify, In Si’s case, even more so, because absolutely no-one else touches his paper – knowing that he has the habit of taking it to the loo.

And here lies the problem; even if hard copy produces an emotional response – how do you know who reads the paper, who notices the ad and are the readers your target market? To harness the power of digital marketing, Si needs to realise that as things change, you need to change with them.

Traditional advertising tools in decline

Here is Si’s problem: print circulation by national papers experienced double digit falls in 2018 (Daily Mail -11%, Telegraph -23%) and local weeklies are in similar free-fall.

An average cost of £250 a page for a local rag with only a few thousand readers, is not a great offer compared to digital; reaching 1000 people can cost less than £3.

Harness the power of digital marketing:

Digital offers a much better deal – to target advertising at sites that target your demographic and sales market, with pay per click deals. Data from clicks are then easily recorded and analysed to see how many potential customers converted.


Step 4. To harness the power of digital marketing:

Don’t always rely on your new digital marketing instincts!

Remember Slick Steve? He loves digital, embraces it. Remember him driving around with his cool designer in his MX5, with the roof down, mid-winter? Brrr! No wonder he’s freezing cold though, he’s not even wearing any socks. Steve can’t harness the power of digital marketing because he is relying on his digital instincts, which are off key.

Steve sees digital as an opportunity to portray his ambition, rather than reality. His site shows images of glass-walled offices full of smiling people who evidently believe that work is fun, fun, fun. The staff are clearly all free thinkers, but the men have all happened to have grown beards at exactly the same time; the women are all wearing retro spectacles – without lenses. Everyone is laughing at life in their skinny jeans.

The phones will be buzzing based on these images, they tell themselves. No, they won’t Steve. Customers want great product, delivery on service and want to buy from people who are grounded in reality, not an Instagram bubble.

His Twitter feed is no better – it’s crammed with one-liner famous ‘wise’ quotes which Steve thinks will reflect well on them. Wrong again, Steve. Customers will just wonder what Gandhi or Churchill has got to do with Widgets. They want some useful product information, not quotes about fighting on beaches.


Step 5: To harness the power of digital marketing:

Raise and maintain the quality of your content

Steve and Si need to work out that above all, a major problem with digital marketing is quality. Misunderstanding and misinterpretation of digital marketing soon leads to high volume, throw away content.

They need to recognise the need for content that is meaningful, relevant and current. not follow outdated gut instincts or misplaced understanding of what digital represents.

The problem is that your content is still searchable long after you post it (unless carefully removed). Poor-quality content is rightly punished by Google and other search engines, so Steve and Si need to up their game and raise the quality of their digital marketing output.

Wendy would tell them that the power of digital marketing is released through the application of appropriate tools within a wider marketing strategy. She would say that digital needs to be used as an integral part of marketing strategy and understood within the context of the marketing mix.

For once, Wise Wendy asks for wisdom from a friend of hers to confirm her already wise advice. So, what does her chum Nigel Hollis, Chief Global Analyst at Kantar Millward Brown say as we discuss the importance of quality output?

Speaking of quality, whatever you do, don’t cut quality”.

So, there we have it, wise words indeed.


If this blog has got you thinking about your digital marketing but you’re not sure how to start, @Business_Wales offer FREE digital marketing and social media training aimed at harnessing the power of digital marketing. Have a look here and #booknow! #SuperFastBiz.

If you would like to harness the power of digital and integrate your digital tools into an overall strategy, get in touch with us, we would love to hear from you!