Digital Marketing Gone Stupid
Shane O'Neill, Vice President
Digital marketing; the greatest marketing disrupter in decades is stupid. It’s a ridiculous waste of money and no one ever comes in the store because they saw a post on Facebook. It’s all one big smoke and mirrors scam with a bunch of gobbledygook industry jargon like CPM, CPC, CTR and so on. Yet, everyday businesses throw money at it like a two-year-old at the dinner table. No, I’m not done yet… because I cringe on a daily basis with what I see going on in our industry. “Digital marketing is going to change your business and drive sales”. No, it’s not… because it’s stupid.
Stupid Is as Stupid Does
Let’s take a look at diving. That’s a pretty simple process. Jump in, swim and breathe from the tank. You could do this in a pool without any training and think you can dive. Heck, you can visit a dive shop, take a 30-minute instruction class and go on a discovery dive. However, that dive is limited to 40 feet and you must go with an instructor. If you want to dive deeper or without an instructor, you need to get certified and even then there are different levels of experience. Why is that? It’s not because the idea of jump, swim and breathe is difficult to understand, it’s the intangibles of everything else. The deeper you go the more nitrogen accumulates in the body. As a result, a diver needs to stop for a series of decompression stops to allow the body to expel these gases in order to avoid the bends (decompression sickness). It’s also about the ability to understand and assess your situation while under water. What will you do if something goes wrong 100 feet underwater? You can’t just pop straight up to the surface. How will you react? Will you panic?
Now, imagine if you could grab a scuba tank and go diving without instruction in the ocean. Not knowing how deep you can go or what to do if something goes wrong, how to read air levels or read your compass, among other things. That would be… stupid, but rest assured people would do it because they don’t know what they don’t know. This is the problem with digital marketing.
Access Shot the Sheriff
Since the digital revolution took hold, digital marketing businesses have popped up all over the place. You don’t need to be an expert. You could create a digital marketing company in about an hour. Media options like Facebook advertising or Google AdWords are such mainstream buzzwords that it’s hard to not see that as a business opportunity, whether you really know what you’re doing or not. In fact, a number of businesses think they can just do it themselves. Others just see it as another revenue stream to complement their business; web companies, organizations, and brands all offering paid search, Facebook advertising, etc., but none of them are marketing companies. Without a marketing strategy and deep knowledge of the platforms, most are simply placing less effective media and paying more for it. Most companies who manage their digital marketing in-house are not experts and blindly pay more, all the while thinking they’re saving money by doing so. Even retailers who use companies, whose core business isn’t marketing, are doing the same. Why? That’s simple; access. There are no gatekeepers to the most commonly used types of digital media. Anyone can do it at any time. As a result, most digital marketing has become stupid. Dumbed down because of the lack of experience or strategy. The “dive” shop is open and everyone is jumping in and swimming around. Some try to dive too deep while others forget to even breathe. Everyone seems to think they understand digital marketing, yet rarely do they understand the intangibles. They don’t know what they don’t know, things that professionals do know. It’s a shame that this is so widespread in our industry. Jewelry businesses are experts in jewelry and marketing firms are experts in marketing. It’s pretty clear. Yet, it doesn’t always work that way. It’s no different than why consumers should buy a diamond from a jeweler vs. going at it alone and buying it online. Service, experience, insight, etc. They may think they understand how to by a diamond and are saving money, but I bet a jeweler would beg to differ. Stick to what you do best and let the professionals handle the rest and let’s smarten up this dumb digital.
As a wise man once said, “And that’s all I’ve got to say about that”. Anyway, I’m off for vacation. Going to enjoy a little Caribbean food, drinks on the beach and do a little diving. There’s always another shipwreck to check out. Oh, don’t worry, I’m a certified diver and still go with professionals…I’m not stupid.