A few years ago, I was on a conference call when I started to feel uneasy. I suddenly realized that I understood almost none of the conversation. Geotagging? Ad networks? Ad retargeting? What's all this talk of data? I thought I'd gotten into marketing!
I would assert many marketers have trouble making the shift. Maybe you’re a private person, and now you’re living in a time when privacy is a thing of the past. Maybe you still don’t understand the value of sharing a picture of your breakfast. Or you are struggling with the onslaught of data. It takes a shift in mindset for those of us not born in a digitized world. If you need a little help getting started, here are a few tips I've learned along the way:
Get Analytical: Have someone show you the tagging of websites and walk you through a digital dashboard and how it can inform your marketing. It all starts with the data, and as marketers, we need to ask ourselves what data we’re capturing and how we’re using it to drive segmentation. Try an ad retargeting or media attribution pilot. It will open your eyes to the art of what's possible and give you a bird’s eye view of how your customers are reacting to your marketing campaigns.
Get Social: It's not enough to read about social media. You need to walk the walk to truly understand how it's being used. Join all the social communities—not just Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, but also Pinterest, Triberr, Snapchat, and Tumblr. I ask my babysitters what new tools they’re using, and there always seems to be something I’ve never heard of. In order to create campaigns, you need to be an expert-level user of social media. It’s that simple: Everyone, from the CMO right down through the staff. Marketing is social, so get social. Pick a few role models who are using social effectively and follow them actively. Mine are people like: Jay Baer, Ted Rubin, Brian Solis, Bryan Kramer and Pam Moore. First identify people who you find captivating in social forums and then find your own voice and the method of engagement that works for you.
Get Going: I sense there is a lot of stagnation going on as marketing organizations wait for the dust to settle on all these new trends and technologies, but in reality, the bar is rising higher and higher. Start with small, targeted pilots that get it right and then scale them appropriately. Failure is inevitable, but it’s also valuable. The time is right to reward your teams for innovation and to use failures as a guide.
So cheers to the digital age, to the younger generation, and to marketers of every age for working together to take it to the next level. After all, it's a digital world—lets embrace it.