Posts tagged with ‘Tools’

Digital Marketing is Still Marketing

I’m about two beats away from ridding our Digital Marketing company of the “digital” prefix altogether. There seems to be this expectation that the marketing we do is somehow fundamentally different in its approach than any other marketing activity, simply because it’s digital. But it’s not. In fact, digital strategies that are not solidly rooted in Marketing 101 basics fail the test every time.  Our roots are solidly planted in the deep soil of all the best marketing knowledge to come before us.  Remove the word “digital”, and we are still a marketing company.

Digital marketing is a useful term, but only insofar as it describes the medium in which we work. We still need to understand market segments, demographics, psychographics, and the common human experience in general. We need to know what the triggers are for people in a specific market, and we need to find compelling stories to tell about why one product or service is better than another in the same market. Our clients know we will take these fundamental understandings and employ solid strategies in the digital space. It’s not magic just because it’s cutting edge. We still have to do our homework the same as any worthy marketer.

We reach people in different ways today, but the essential work of finding them and reaching them still looks much like it did in a previous era.  My bookshelves are filled with marketing psychology books and marketing management courses, all of which do not mention the internet or email, or web sites, or Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.  They were written before those strategies existed. Does that mean that the concepts within them are outdated? With few exceptions, they still hold true today.

The exceptions are notable, of course. The savvy consumer of today doesn’t tolerate the old “buyers are sheep” paradigm any more. They are exercising full control over their choice in the marketplace, and that’s a great thing. Does it change the buying triggers? Not really. Good marketing doesn’t always have to create the desire, so much as tap into the desires that already exist in the marketplace. The work of marketing is primarily concerned with ferreting out those emotional and logical justifications, and aligning the product or service in a way that gives the consumer the ability to purchase from you.

I do not always see those in the “Digital Marketing” camp talking about basic marketing principles. perhaps it’s all a foregone conclusion that any discussion of digital tools and tactics takes into account the rudiments of marketing best practices, but from what I read, that’s not always the case. Too often, the justification for the use of a digital tool or platform comes more from a sense of what is possible (i.e. provided features) and not from a solid understanding of the more human triggers of desire, belonging, need, opportunity, knowledge or advancement. That’s a shame. The digital space is a fun playground for marketers. But we squander our clients’ resources when we do not start at square one in building an understanding of their products, services, customers, prospects and marketplaces before we go out to play.

What is the Goal of Digital Marketing?

Recently I was with a group of business owners who were talking about different “marketing tools” they were using for their businesses.  There seemed to be a rabid desire among them to learn about some “Holy Grail” new tactic or technique they could use. But as I started asking them how they would use one particular tool or another, their answers started sounding more like the feature lists these tools use to market themselves.

  • “It lets me add all my contacts and manage discussions in one place.”
  • “I can see results from my email campaign in real time!”
  • “I can post to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, all from the same program.”

Not to belabor the point, but these stated reasons for using a tool aren’t reasons at all. They don’t identify the one crucial element every marketing activity must possess: The Goal.

So what is the goal of any marketing effort, digital or otherwise? It’s simple: To increase revenue and profit.

Any tool, tactic or strategy must be able to demonstrate how it will help you hit this goal, or it’s nothing but a waste of time, money and resources.

Lately, it seems like many respected tools and tactics cannot seem to quantify any bottom line objective.  I guess that’s what makes us different from other creative digital agencies. We genuinely think that if a service can’t justify it’s price, then neither can we.

Are you asking the tough question about your marketing efforts? Or are you wasting precious resources without a strategy that moves you closer to your revenue or profit goal? Either way, you should know and be able to quantify how each new tool or tactic moves you closer or farther away from revenue and profit. To riff on an old axiom, “Experiment, but verify.”

6 Little Known Things You Can Do With Google

Like many of you, I have the Google search bar installed in Firefox, and I use it a LOT during the course of a day. And like many of you, I have come to take Google for granted as an integral part of my existence, the Keeper and Dispenser of all Relevant and Timely Information.  But did you know Google has a few specific types of common searches available right from the query line?  A few of them are particularly useful for freelancers. Check these out, and then head over for a more comprehensive overview from – wait for it – Google (who else?).

  • Math – Just enter your formula (ex. 120*16) hit enter and get the magic result. Note to students: do not try entering things like “A train leaving Boston at 5:30am and  another in New York leaving at 6:59 pass each other outside of Piscataway at 7:38. How many words per minute was each train conductor texting on average during the trip?”
  • Definitions – Need to check the definition of a word before you embarrass yourself in a blog post? Just type define: the word or phrase. Google spits out a full page of definition results immediately. (ex. define: video production)
  • Weather – You’re about to head out to make that big proposal, and you want to know if you really need to take along a heavy rain coat, because your girlfriend kindly told you last week how dorky you looked in it, and you’d rather not make that kind of impression on the company who stands to make your year, if things go well. Google to the rescue. Just type weather proceeded by the location you want to inquire about, and you’ve got a pretty good chance of getting the answer on the first line, complete with pretty little graphic aids. (ex: weather Nashville) Note: despite Google’s legendary algorithms, it is no better at making accurate weather predictions than that guy on channel 5. Remember, Google only shows you what it thinks you WANT to see…
  • Shipment tracking – I just tried this one out by accident, only to find out it’s a real feature! Half-slain by sleep deprivation, but still eager to find out where TigerDirect was in the process of getting me some new toy I’d ordered, I copied and pasted a “onezie” (all UPS ground tracking numbers start with a 1Z) into the google search bar. Two clicks later, I was looking at my package online!  Try it!
  • Area Code Lookup – Couldn’t be simpler. Just type the 3-digit area code into the search bar, and you’ll immediately know what part of the country it belongs to. Now you can know where that mysterious number is calling you from before you even send it to voicemail!
  • Time – I frequently need to talk to people overseas (India, Sweden, France, Spain, Uzbekistan, to name a few) and trying to remember the time differences at any given point in the year is an embarrassing nightmare. Good client relations are not served well by accidental 3am calls. No problem, just enter time followed by the location in question, and you’ll have your answer, including the date, in case the time zone is over the International date line. (ex. time sweden)

So there’s six quick ones, and I have not even touched on the search modifiers like site: or link:, which are incredibly useful as well.  Let me know what other ones you regularly use!

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Tricks of the Trade – Online Stopwatch

(NOTE: For video editors and production personnel) The process of timing script treatments and voice overs to match image sequences has been laborious and frustrating for me, mostly because keeping a stopwatch handy has proven harder than you might imagine. I’ve had at least a dozen, from the Sports Illustrated freebies, to magnetized kitchen varieties (until it corrupted a floppy back in the late 90s) and wristwatches. Dead batteries, chronic “borrowing”, stuck buttons, and tiny controls – these reasons and more have kept me hunting for better solutions.

A rock-solid clock is impossible to find in your typical NLE, which, in the typical work environment, is nothing close to real-time sync, what with all the rendering going on on the fly. Even when it looks pretty solid, it’s not. In a pinch, I have been known to throw a CD into a portable player, and use the time readout and play/pause controls to good effect. That is until I have a sequence with a total time of 00:07:53:00 and a CD with song times not exceeding 4 minutes. Stuck again. I’m a musician with decent rhythm, so I’ve even tried tapping seconds out with my hand, but try doing that while reading a script in a normal cadence, and you’ll understand why asylums were built.

Anyway, I Googled the term “online stopwatch”, and what do you know! Here’s the one that I have fallen in love with, for it’s simplicity, and the fact that it can operate both as a stopwatch and a countdown clock.


Accessible as an online version and as a downloadable Flash .exe, I find myself using it for a whole lot more than video work. (meeting clocks, get-up-and-stretch reminders, etc.)

It’s a freebie worth grabbing!

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