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What should Digital Marketing 101 consist of?

digital marketing classYesterday I had the pleasure of presenting a lecture on digital marketing to students in Event & Tourism Marketing at William Angliss institute. Amazing how quickly these guys picked up the concepts of campaign measurement and improvement and asked great questions along the way. It was fun to spend some time with tomorrow’s tourism marketing leaders!

So what did we cover?

This was a really good exercise, because preparing some slides to only talk for an hour, you do start asking yourself – what is the most important thing about digital marketing? It’s not just a question of what is the most basic thing to learn, but what is most important.
On a high level, I think these are the most important concepts in digital marketing – they are not only steps to success but also reasons why digital marketing is so exciting to use:

Choose your media wisely

The success or failure of your campaigns can depend entirely on which media you choose for them. In some cases, Facebook is not a great option for identifying and targeting your buyers, even though it’s a perfect media for others. In other cases, Pay-Per-Click Campaigns won’t return a positive ROI because of the costs vs the return on a sale – that’s not a criticism of PPC advertising, it might just come down to the $ value of the product you’re selling. The message here is that it looks different to every business/brand being promoted out there. So this is a scary prospect to start with, but the next 2 points make this less daunting.

Numbers are everywhere!

The beauty of digital marketing compared to a lot of traditional media is the amount of data you have available to drive your decisions, and to judge what’s working and what’s not in your campaign. In the lecture we went through a few hypothetical examples of email marketing campaigns. Each of them started with “we emailed 1000 people” and ended with “we didn’t get a lot of sales”. But when you use the available numbers, you can find out where the drop-off happened and take very different corrective action based on what you find. For example, is the list out of date? Or can the subject line be improved? What about the email to encourage click through? Improve the offer? Is the landing page made for conversion? Are your employees who take and convert the lead to a sale well trained? This is a really clean case of where the analysis has a really direct link to improvement, and the students quickly saw those.

Start Fast, Learn Immediately

The beauty of a lot of ad platforms or campaign management software now, are that you can start with as little as $5 (or free in some cases). Compare this to traditional media where you needed a solid plan and a high confidence of success because it was all-in from a budget perspective (or it would have seemed that was for a small local business). Also, if you think about adwords, facebook ads, mailchimp or twitter ads, the platforms are really designed for a new user to walk up and start using them. So in true lean-startup fashion, I’d always recommend to start trying some campaigns and learn what works and what doesn’t – since the cost to start is so dam cheap!

Anyway, lot of case studies and ROI analyses later, the hour was gone in a flash. So what if you were talking to a room of future marketers? What messages would you want to pass on to them?

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