“For many B2B companies, there is the mindset that ‘we must be doing this [investing in digital innovation] or else we’ll fall behind.’ And we [at Gartner] do believe there is a good percentage—we’re still arguing what the percentage is—of companies that will just be out of business in the next five years because they’re just not keeping up. You saw it happen in media and publishing, and you’re going see it happen in other industries”
-Gartner’s Digital Marketing Spending Survey
We’re digital marketers. We eat, sleep and breathe the world of online marketing. We’ve seen the monumental shift that has occurred in the way that companies are able to engage with their audience in the past five years. We also see the coming tide of incredible digital marketing technologies that will change the entire marketing landscape. This is why it is so incredibly frustrating to talk to business leaders who just don’t get it; they are not willing to invest in digital marketing because they don’t understand it or don’t believe in it. We can see the companies they’ve spent a lifetime building at the risk of becoming non-existent in 5 or 10 years.
Here are some signs that your business is missing the digital marketing revolution. If you have these symptoms, it might be time to start ringing the alarm bells.
1. Your Customer Isn’t Finding You Online
If the overwhelming amount of new business still comes from referrals, cold calling or personal networking, your business may be in trouble. We understand that for particular industries, these lead sources will always be higher than online leads, but if none of your business can be attributed to inbound marketing leads, you may be limiting future growth. Furthermore, a competitor may be slowly eating your market share.
Why aren’t customers finding you online? Here are a few issues:
- You don’t have a comprehensive SEO strategy, or your current one is incomplete
- You generate very little online content. Or the content you do generate is boring and not newsworthy
2. You Are Too Focused on Short-Term ROI
We understand the importance of ROI. It is a crucial metric when analyzing the impact of any marketing effort. But if you utilize short-term ROI to justify digital marketing initiatives that take months to drive impact and efficiencies, you’ll be left in the dust. Furthermore, you’re missing a vital metric that most businesses never measure. What is the cost of not doing digital marketing? What sales would we have lost to a competitor if we didn’t invest at all?
Stryve embarked on an internal blogging initiative 4 years ago that was focused on enhancing our search engine ranking. If we analyzed the impact to our business vs. the cost after 3, 6 or 9 months, we would have stopped after year 1. We knew it was an investment that would pay dividends and separate us from our competitors. Today, our customers find us online. We’ve been able to reduce our investments in cold-calling or networking and focus on building our brand.
ROI is important. But, digital marketing is not an option anymore. It is the cost of doing business.
3. Your Marketing Team Is Not Qualified To Do Digital
“Digital has to be ingrained into the agency’s culture and talent”
– Paul Roetzer, Digital Marketing Agency Blueprint
Our team at Stryve Group is obsessed with staying on top of digital marketing trends. Here are the things we need to do regularly just to keep up with the pace of change:
- We read every new digital marketing book, report, whitepaper, and eBook we can get our hands-on
- We go to every conference we possibly can on Inbound Marketing.
- We test and try all the new digital marketing platforms including Google AdWords, LinkedIn Sponsored Content, Bing, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more
- We blog every week about digital marketing
- We talk to digital marketing leaders in the tech-savvy Kitchener-Waterloo market
- We listen to podcasts that keep us focused on what’s next, like HBR IdeaCast, and Six Pixels of Separation
Does your internal marketing team do any of these? Do they even have the time? If you have an external marketing agency, are they Google AdWords Certified? What do they do to stay in the loop?
This is an all-consuming task. Digital has to be ingrained into your marketing team’s culture and talent. If it isn’t, you’re falling behind.
4. You Can’t Answer These Basic Digital Marketing Questions
- How many monthly unique visitors does your site attract?
- How would you define an online conversion?
- What is your cost per lead? What about revenue per lead?
- Does your website use a content management system? If so, which one?
- Who is your digital marketing lead? Who is responsible for keeping your company ahead of the curve when it comes to digital?
- How big is your email marketing list? What is your open rate?
5. Your Website Hasn’t Been Redesigned In 5 Years
A lot of things have changed since 2009. The iPad hadn’t even been released yet. Most people were still using a PC to browse the web. Almost a third of global Internet traffic to North American websites—31.3%—in the fourth quarter of 2013 came from smartphones and tablets. In 2009, this number was 0.7%. A website built in 2009 is not optimized for a third of your web visitors.
In addition, the advancements in content management systems, marketing automation tools and web design necessitate that a new website is in order.
It’s Time To Invest In Digital
Now is the time to invest in digital marketing. Don’t cheap out. Put together a solid team and make sure you give your marketing team the freedom and time to prove our results. Make them accountable to stats and reporting, but understand that this is an investment that will keep your company viable. You don’t want to wake up one day and realize you missed the boat. We’ve seen too many businesses get bypassed by their competition before they even knew what hit them.