I did it. I made the jump. After 15 years in the traditional ad agency world, I went fully digital in 2009. No longer does online marketing simply mean a straight line across the bottom of a media plan.
Goodbye Blackberry. Hello iPhone. Okay, so these devices are nothing new to the online marketing world, but my expanded knowledge of the new technologies have allowed me to develop a new way of thinking about marketing.
With the ringing in of a new year, that is certain to further advance my new digital transformation, I would like to share with you the top 10 things I learned about online marketing in 2009:
- Blogging: I started blogging and following other bloggers. Now I realize blogging as a marketing practice works. It’s important to continue to be involved in industry conversation and GREAT for generating strong SEO.
- Twitter: I started Tweeting. Or Twittering? Oh geez, ok…so I use Twitter. Everyday I am seeing many marketing destinations driving site traffic and creating leads through Twitter.
- Web Design: A website is NOT a print ad. And there are still too many designed like one.
- Metrics of success: Holy crap. Everything really is measureable in online marketing. So much for the old adage, “I know 50% of my ad dollar is wasted. I just don’t know which 50%”. Feel-good ads really don’t feel good unless you know they’re working.
- There are a lot of smoke-and-mirrors in web design. Many clients don’t know what’s behind the curtain and that’s not good. The best designers do the right thing even if a client doesn’t know its necessary.
- Online Media: Ad agencies have never done online media very well because it requires specialization. Online media planning and buying are simply different than purchasing traditional media.
- Social Media: Yes, yes yes, social media is hot right now, and everyone has the same access and ability to market through this medium. What many don’t realize, however is that it requires patience and commitment. If you want to jump on board for pushing coupons to the lucky few that signed up to follow you, think again or good luck.
- If anyone says to you, “I am a social media expert” – run, and run fast. Very few can proclaim this self-title without the full-o-crap meter going off. Truth is, we’re all just learning as we go. Yes, we’re learning tricks of the trade but the oldest success story is barely even 2 years old (probably? Maybe? Ok, here’s where I’m a little green so excuse me if you have sample data from 3 years ago to prove me wrong. But you get the point)
- I’m still learning. This stuff changes a lot quicker than the basics of building a nice print ad or shooting a commercial. Today’s smart website is designed completely different than a great website 3 years ago.
- PPC and SEO: Pay-per-click ad words and Search Engine Optimization are the least sexy, yet most effective form of marketing I’ve seen in a long time.
Online marketing and offline advertising can work together with great success. But my year- long crash course in the digital world has converted me into a devout believer of the importance and necessity of online marketing. (An Amen (!) may be in order here.)
In closing, I’d like to share with you my expectations for the digital world in 2010. My crystal ball tells me this: (yep, I’ve got one):
- Facebook will cash in. Look for the IPO and jump on board.
- Websites will continue their evolution from being online brochures to becoming 24-hour visitor & brand centers.
- Online video will continue to dominate a portion of the online landscape even more so than it does now.
- Search will become a more utilized marketing strategy and increase in value as clients develop a better understanding of what it is.
- More applications. Ah, I love apps.
- Mobile marketing takes root.
As I am still learning something new every day about the power of this dynamic medium, I encourage you to share some of the best marketing tips you have learned this past year. Or better yet, tell me what BIG things you expect out of 2010. I’d like to know. I need to know. I can take it, so hit me.