Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 28th 2013 Contents The evolution of the Internet,
social media, and more recent-
ly, mobile devices has radically
changed the way service
providers market to and engage
with their audiences. Today,
anyone can use many of the same tools and
techniques for their marketing campaigns that
the large companies use in their campaigns
without spending a fortune. But to do so they
must have a clear strategy for making the most
of marketing in the digital age.
Marketing used to be simple. There were
only a couple television channels, a few radio
stations, and the local newspaper to contend
with. Looking back, it seems profiling a brand
and reaching customers only required creativity
and a compelling message.
Today, the modern marketer has to compete
with millions of Web sites, hundreds of cable
channels and dozens of radio stations, not to
mention mobile apps, online ads and social
Technology and the Internet have made
marketing a whole lot more complicated, but
also a whole lot more rewarding.
New era for marketers
We are now in an era where paid advertising
can easily come across as hollow and untrust-
worthy if it is not accompanied by a strong
brand narrative on all fronts. And that narrative,
to be trusted, must now go beyond traditionally
sponsored or celebrity voices to include
employees and loyal customers that the audi-
ence can relate to.
The rise of social media platforms such as
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Quora have
amplified that voice, opinions and preferences
of consumers. Product review sites, online
forums and e-commerce feedback tools allow
them to review, critique and endorse products
and services with unprecedented influencing
Today, it is true fans---real people, not paid
actors, with real stories, not agency fabricated
testimonials---that deliver the most effective
The task of modern marketers then is to
turn everyday consumers into brand advocates
and loyalists. This requires a fundamental shift
in marketers to connect their company to its
customer base. It also requires marketers to
have a keen awareness of how technology can
be used to create these new connections.
Technology is key
Marketing in the digital age demands that
practitioners integrate a new range of skills
and capabilities. Businesses are realising that
they must redefine the relationship with tech-
nology as much as they have to redefine their
relationship with customers. Gartner predicts
that by 2017 the chief marketing officer s
(CMO) technology budget will exceed that of
the chief information officer (CIO), and that
25 per cent of enterprises will have hired a
"Digital CMO," a chief digital officer (CDO).
This is a sign of the pressure on businesses
to step outside of traditional marketing comfort
zones and invest in marketing in radically new
ways. But it is also a sign of the rewards that
await those who get it right.
Progressive organisations are taking a closer
look at the marketing tactics that drive revenue,
and finding that investment in social media
platforms drives measurable returns.
A Gartner report recently showed that 25
per cent of United States enterprise marketing
budget is focused on digital initiatives and
nine to ten per cent of company revenue comes
from digital spending.
In other words, tangible success awaits the
organisations that get it right.
Of course, this can all be downright intim-
idating to marketing officers who may not
have experience with technology platforms
and direct customer interactions. But the chal-
lenge is also an opportunity.
Here are four principles to guide you as you
chart your course to digital marketing suc-
1. Have a message
Well beyond your slogan, you should be
able to articulate the value you want to attach
to your products, your services or your brand.
What you have to say about your organisation,
how you wish to be projected and how you
want to be perceived should all be clearly spelt
out. Knowing the "big picture" message, helps
you to define your strategy for building your
brand and engaging your customers across
digital and social media channels.
2. Have a plan
Identify your channels and plan in detail
how you want your brand or product message
to be tailored for each one. Develop strategies
for translating your message into a coherent,
interactive conversation that can be heard
across various traditional channels.
Also remember, once you pick your channels,
resource them well.
Avoid the trap of starting a social media
initiative only to have it collapse because you
don t have the resources to keep the conver-
sation with your audience going. Take a holistic
approach and be sure to properly ascertain
the responsibilities for the marketing team as
well as for the entire organisation.
3. Be honest
You can cultivate your marketing message
in a way that addresses the needs of the audi-
ence you serve, and at the same time, make
it easy for others to discover that message.
But with today s empowered consumer, your
amplified voice and greater reach can be a
two-edged sword. If you are not honest in
your messaging, if the hype of your brand is
not matched by the experience of the con-
sumer, they will not hesitate to use the same
tools to highlight the difference to the world.
In a connected world, if you don t tell the
truth about your product or service your cus-
tomers will happily and liberally do so, on
4. Listen and learn
Be diligent to track and communicate the
discoveries from your marketing adventures
across the organisation.
Allow customer and employee feedback to
inform and refine production, customer service,
IT, sales and even HR. This helps all parts of
the organisation to be sensitive to your brand
messaging and its impact on your internal and
external audiences. It also allows your com-
pany s leadership team to better appreciate
and address any gaps between executive intent
and operational reality.
The companies that can transition from tra-
ditional broadcast brand messaging to the
more finely tuned interactive, multi-channelled
conversations are the ones that will achieve
marketing success in the digital age.
Bevil Wooding is the chief knowledge
officer of Congress WBN (www.congress-
wbn.org), a values-based, international charity
and the executive director of BrightPath
Foundation, a technology education non-
profit organisation. Reach him on Twitter
@bevilwooding or on facebook.com/bevil-
wooding or contact via email at technol-
NOVEMBER 2013 • WEEK FOUR www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COMMENTARY | BG21
Earned media and rise
of the digital CMO
Chief digital officers are increas-
ingly appearing on company man-
agement pages of leading
enterprises, and they are popping
up in the press because of the im-
portance of earned media.
So what is earned media? It is
social media, blogs, public relations,
and organic search. And it has be-
come increasingly the largest and
most important marketing tactic.
It's measurement tools include
tweets, likes, shares, pins, +1s,
views, comments, dialog, and en-
gagement. In turn, the metrics that
point to how this fuels business.
Earned media is not the Mad
Men era of paid media, made up of
print, television, banners, sponsor-
ships, and pay-per-click marketing.
Today it consists of an executive
tweeting an infographic to his or
her 100,000 followers, not broad-
casting a radio advertisement to
thousands of strangers.
Out of every tactic in the earned
media mix, organic search is the
largest channel. Most cutting-edge
organisations are actively measur-
ing their digital marketing returns,
and validating these findings.
Source: The Sudden Rise of
the Digital CMO, by Jim Yu,
founder and CEO, BrightEdge.
Marketing in the Digital Age
Four tips to strengthen your brand and better connect with your customers
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