I have noticed with keen attention the sudden interest from a lot of organizations in Digital Marketing. It has to be said that this is indeed great news to the extent that at least these organizations can now see the need to digitize their customer engagement and journey. Every day, I wake up to see a dozen vacancies for digital marketing experts; analysts, associates and directors. It is more surprising that these vacancies cut across various business sectors from agriculture to financial services to real estate and not just limited to advertising agencies or marketing consultancies.
While this is a great development within the marketing communications industry, the current practice, sudden craze and assumed need for digital marketing needs to be thoroughly scrutinized for the creation of real value for both the customers and organizations alike. This reminds of the evolving mistakes made with brand building and marketing where both are assumed to achieve the same objectives. The prerogative for most organizations is profit but we must ask if the strategies adopted are short-term or long-term.
As we continue to encourage forward-thinking organizations to adopt the latest technologies and evolve alongside consumer culture, the most important thing is understanding the context for such adoption. Creating a memorable brand experience should be the most important goal for every business organization. This should be the umbrella for every marketing initiative undertaken as it guides the expression of the brand via digital or any other traditional platform.
A brand is a strategic cultural idea and the brand promise / experience should be the focal point for any consumer interaction. It must be understood that digital marketing is only a form of brand communication which is one of the vectors of a brand experience. There are other such vectors as the identity, people, environment and more. These must all work in a systemic and aligned manner with the business strategy.
If this brand focus isn’t understood as a foundation then the efforts via digital marketing can only be short-lived and might even become more of a burden for the business. As David Ogilvy said, “advertising a bad product only makes more people know that your product is bad”. I must recommend that as a business, before even deciding on any particular communication strategy, you need to first establish and define your brand and the experience promised to your customers. Digital marketing without this foundation and in isolation will definitely do your business more harm than good.
Written by: Mobolaji Caxton-Martins (Brand and Innovation Management Specialist)
Mobolaji Caxton-Martins is a brand management professional with a leading merchant banking and asset management firm in Nigeria and also a facilitator of brand storytelling and innovation at Orange Academy; Africa’s first practical school of brand advertising. He has enjoyed a rapid and aligned career in branding advertising and consulting.
His footprints can be trailed to such brands as etisalat, Unilever Lifebuoy, Samsung Mobile, Skye bank, Moneygram International, Wema Bank, Keystone Bank, Haier Thermocool, Airtel and FBNQuest. He has an undying commitment to sustainable innovation for Africa leveraging the millennial generation and its occupation revolution. He enjoys listening to afrobeat music, playing table-tennis and wine tasting.
He is open to connecting with anyone who isn’t enslaved by routine or conventions and has an independence of mind towards life.