Why do so many digital marketers fail?

hqdefaultI have just been reading some of the summaries from the latest gathering of digital marketing “stars” (in their own minds) at SXSW and it’s no wonder that there is so much money that is being wasted in digital marketing.  Would I like to be able to whatever I want when it comes to marketing online?  You bet, but I understand that my client is in business to make money and I have to clearly show them that what we are doing is  driving brand objectives.

If you think that the top brand, who are doing well in digital marketing, are immune to mistakes you need to look no further than Starbuck’s “Race together” campaign which is being pulled amid a lot of consumer push-back.  According to the NY Times “The initiative, which began last week, was mocked with such vehemence on social media that the company’s senior vice president for global communications deleted his Twitter account because, as he wrote on Medium, he felt “personally attacked in a cascade of negativity.”

That is what happens when a brand feels it’s bigger than it really is.

Launching a lot of several digital marketing initiatives without a firm understanding of marketing and what today’s consumers want is like walking in a swamp blindfolded. You never know when you are going to step into quicksand. Yet too many brands are led by people who call themselves “digital marketers” when they really haven’t done a damn thing to really drive the business.  Instead, they  attend SXSW and speak to the audience like they are rock stars.

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The best digital marketers are the ones with product/brand marketing experience under their belts and have a successful track record of driving measurable business objectives.  If you want to hire someone who only knows their way around social media and the Web in all likelihood you’re going to fail.

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One of the questions I like to ask when I hire, digital markers is “tell me who you follow on social media”.  If they follow blowhards like Armano or Gary Vaynerchuk I ask “what have you learned from them as applied to business strategies online”.  If they just repeat what they have said I know they are being led by the blind who are legends in their own minds.

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