Thursday, May 31, 2012

Digital Marketing Is Marketing

Digital publishing is not just about pouring the physical book into a digital container, or even about redesigning the content so it digitally stands on its heads, does a twirl and explodes in a sea of multi media. It is about revisiting everything from its creation and acquisition to its death, which in digital, could mean eternity. One of the latest areas to raise the noise levels within the market, is concerning how to market in the digital age. This is not just about marketing digital works, but all works be they physical, digital or hybrid. Here again the various sectors and genre are diverging often in different directions and at different speeds and what is clear today is that there is not one shoe that will fit all.

Today, the haystack of available works is getting bigger by the day. Not only do we have the book in print, but conceivably every book ever published and every aspiring work now being published directly by anyone wishing to express themselves. How do we find that needle in this haystack? How do we validate it? How do we value it?

Marketing a book in a mass market environment was often down to throwing money at the wall and hoping some sticks. Yes there was often some great marketing promotions and creative materials, but at the end of the day it often came down to that old retail adage, ‘if it ain’t on the shelf, you can’t sell it.’ The internet changed that and created the virtual shelf. Now the problem was not getting it onto the shelf, but making it visible on the shelf, getting it to the top of the pile and ensuring that it was suitably tagged to respond to searches. Customers also wanted to touch , feel and value inside the cover. Customers suddenly became known on the internet and their habits and likes were trackable, making direct marketing and upselling feasible. However, the customers were owned by the retailers and the publishers were somewhat kept at arms length so remained blind and locked into a mass market. Now we have social marketing, which differs from mass and direct as it is viral and can have a life of its own. It allows everyone to be known. 

We now have three marketing tectonic plates colliding each with different drivers, audience focus and potential results today and tomorrow.

The point that readers are often very eclectic can’t be forgotten. Not only do they often read a wide range of material, but they often do so in a inconsistent manner. We often look for different material according the role we are playing at the time or the need we are seeking to satisfy. The teacher will look for, validate and value course material differently from theirown leisure reading – same person, different roles. The student will look for, validate and value the same course material differently – same material, different role and values. These different perspectives of need and value are what makes marketing difficult and the ‘one shoe’ approach often unrewarding to the one person that matters – the buyer.  

The latest buzz word is ‘discoverability’. It as if we believe that correctly tagging and referencing material will make it discoverable and therefore a success. Suddenly, many believe everything will become simpler through technology  As we all discovered, merely piling money into schemes such as  Adwords may have got us to the top of the pile but didn’t guarantee a sale. Getting ‘liked’ in Facebook may give us a recommendation, but actually says little other that it was like for some reason. A Twitter recommendation is limited by its characters and often is like scattering gains into the wind. A lot of the social networking marketing appears to be more about ‘mass recognition’ than mass validation. Perhaps that is the answer, if we can get enough people to say they like it we all believe it has real value?

It would appear that the bottomline is that there is no right or wrong way to market a work. Like all marketing it is about understanding your audience, how to reach that audience, how to ‘connect’ with that audience, how you measure performance and ultimately where the money is today.  The challenge is how do you organise yourself to do this allowing the core to remain whilst experimenting and measuring the different approaches?

4 comments:

marketing mix said...

Also it needs to be validated with information on others sites to build up a back link database. With the growth of information, search engines need to have this validation to stop the growth of search hijacks and misinformation displayed in its results to the user.

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Sonu Nilam said...

Wow...This is really true globally. Spends on digital media has been increasing rapidly. I've been going through portfolio of few agencies like ibs, Communicate2, etc. and the work they have done reflects many of your thoughts. Thanks for sharing this article.