September 30, 2021
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Is digital marketing dead?

Digital marketing is about promoting your brand to connect with potential customers using the internet and other forms of digital communication. This includes not only email, social media, and web-based advertising, but also text and multimedia messages as a marketing channel.

A bold statement, specifically for and from the context of Business to Business (B2B) growth businesses with annual revenues R1m-R150m

*Big brands, who can throw the most money at the platforms, tend to win in this space, and business to consumer (B2C) also has a different experience on digital.

Listen to Pavlo discuss his reasons on this podcast from The Money Show:

It’s a broken covenant or we’ve been duped by the giant conglomerates who run these platforms – Google, Facebook and Twitter

In the beginning we were told good content is king, so create good content and the platforms would support your growth by ranking you better and growing your audience and community. Your ads, if created well, would pop and generate response.

Then it all changed, after we’d invested deeply in creating content for our community These platforms listed, and turned from looking at us, the users, to looking at their shareholders, and delivering returns. And the algorithms changed to serve that audience. And for users, they keep changing. You can’t keep up.

Today, we create good content, we build our community, but discover that we’re only reaching a small percentage of our community – and to reach the rest we need to ‘boost’ our ad.

The context: A changing environment

In the old days TV really worked. In South Africa especially, there were only a few options – SABC, eTV and multichoice so you knew if you flighted an ad it would reach millions. But that ad costs millions of Rands so that was only an option for corporates.

Radio used to be an affordable and impactful option for SMEs but it has been hard hit by Covid as fewer people are in their cars, in traffic. Even before Covid,  it had taken a huge knock from audio on demand which has become accessible to almost everyone from Spotify to podcasts to youtube.

Print has been decimated by online, which allows us access to news from millions of sources.

So, who can help us?

It’s become so complex to understand the digital marketing reports and results and so we turn to agencies to interpret the stats, and act on them.

Digital marketing is a long and expensive game, and SMEs are impatient – they want to see results! So the agencies move up the ranks to serve corporates.

In addition, many of the agencies are affiliated to one or more of the digital marketing platforms, and are motivated to use those platforms for your spend.

Where to now?

There are 2 trends that Pavlo sees emerging to get results from digital:

  1. Performance pricing

If you are an agency that is confident digital works – then consider getting paid on the basis of delivering leads.

2. Relationship marketing

Migrating good old fashioned relationship marketing into a digital delivery.

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