Education drowning in the digital marketing revolution
Perhaps the greatest challenge for Australian education marketers, along with ever-increasing competition, has been the shift away from traditional media to a growing reliance on digital marketing channels.
There is no doubt digital marketing is incredibly powerful, offering as it does the seductive benefits of instant, measurable results, informative data and improved ROI.
But is the digital revolution living up to the promise and hype?
The unsettling truth is that for many marketers, reality falls a long way short of the promised marketing Nirvana. Despite all the technology and wonderful data, we’re still living in a world where marketers aren’t sure which half of their advertising dollars are being wasted.
When consulting to education marketers, I hear the same questions again and again: How do I know which channels should I be using? How much spend is enough? What is an adequate CTR or ROI? What should we actually be measuring? How do I make sense of the data?
The reality is that the multi-channel, multi-platform world of digital is incredibly complex, and is becoming more so at a breathtaking pace. You can never be on top of it all.
But from my perspective, most of this angst can be traced back to one thing: the lack of a strategic communications plan. Too often, marketers are not clearly articulating the specific roles advertising will serve in achieving their business goals.
Many time poor marketers simply treat digital advertising as a ‘bolt on’ to their other activities. This entirely misses the point. Effective digital is all about integration and user experience.
A modern integrated campaign requires time to pull together intelligence, do analysis, develop an overall strategy, design user experience and build quality assets. Digital marketing campaigns, when not built on these solid platforms, can only ever deliver sporadic, limited results.
From our experience, the most successful marketers by far are those who take the time to develop a strategy. It does not have to be a ‘perfect’ strategy either. It is always a work in progress, a priceless benchmark and springboard to help refine and improve future campaigns.
We always advise our clients to take the 70/20/10 approach to their media planning and budget allocation: 70% to proven effective channels; 20% to new, but measurable tactics; and the final 10% to the ‘moon shots’ – new and risky punts that offer something new and transformative, but can afford to fail. You must be inquisitive and comfortable to try new things and accept a few failures in this new world of disruptive change. The bigger risk today is being left behind.
Are you struggling with your digital marketing and advertising strategy? Here’s a super simple checklist to help you optimise your business outcomes.