The bigger picture of digital marketing

Posted on Thu Jan 09 2014

In my last post about the cost of digital procrastination, I talked about the reality of digital marketing not being a new phenomenon.

There is a widespread misunderstanding in the region about what digital marketing actually is. This lack of understanding is most definitely contributing to many companies failing online.

The following initial conversation I have with many people exemplifies this lack of understanding perfectly:

Me: Are you undertaking any digital marketing at the moment?
Company: Yes, of course we are.
Me: Fabulous, what are you doing?
Company: Facebook.
Me: Great, so you have established that Facebook – one element of the social media piece of the digital jigsaw – is where your target market is, and have designed your page to be a primary traffic-driving channel for your direct response website, geared to engage your potential customers when they land?
Company: (blank stare)
Me: Your Facebook page is the most effective channel you’ve identified from the plethora of social media channels out there, right? That’s why you chose it over the rest?
Company: We have 1,700 likes.

End of conversation

The role of Facebook in your online presence

Don’t get me wrong. Facebook is an extremely useful tool in your online presence and viewed as PART of it can really help get you exposure, engagement, followers, community and in some cases, sales. Used in isolation though, with a strategy that extends to increasing ‘likes’ will, in my mind, ultimately fail – only because my definition of online success for myself and my clients is the achievement of goals that actually impact your business. In isolation, a Facebook page even with 500,000 likes, which has zero engagement and no other function within your overall marketing and business strategy, doesn’t add much value. Wouldn’t you agree?

The digital marketing jigsaw

Facebook is a small piece of the social media management, social media optimisation and community management piece of the digital jigsaw. There are also 11 other pieces of the jigsaw to consider, if you want to guarantee success online.

I am going to assume that the majority of you reading this know what a jigsaw is. It’s an analogy that I use extensively because if you don’t have the pieces in the right place or are missing any pieces, your jigsaw puzzle won’t look like the picture on the box. The same applies online: if you are focusing on only one small piece of the bigger picture, you are limiting how successful your online presence could actually be for you.

The inability to look at the bigger picture, or the over-arching strategy for your online presence, is the main reason people fail online. I liken it to getting in a car and just driving. If you just get in and drive with no destination, how do you know when you have arrived? With your online presence, if there are no goals and objectives in place, no understanding of how the smaller pieces fit together, how do you know if it’s working or not? How do you know if you’ve reached your online destination?

Think about what you actually want to achieve from all your digital channels. What is the purpose of your website, your Facebook page, and your Twitter and YouTube channels? What do you want them to do for you? Once you’ve established this, you can start to research which of these channels is actually going to do what you want. You don’t actually have to be present on all of them. If you establish that Twitter has no place in your digital or online presence, guess what? You don’t need a Twitter channel.

When it comes to your online or digital presence, take a step back. Take some time to take an objective view of the activities you are currently undertaking and ask the questions: What value are we getting out of this? Why are we doing it? What do we ultimately want to achieve online? Then work backwards.

About the Author

Barry Lee Cummings
Barry Lee Cummings is the owner and digital strategist at Maximum Net Gain. He helps companies understand and implement digital strategy to get the most out of their web presence. For more information, please visit:

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