A whopping 73 percent of enterprises failed to provide any business value whatsoever from their digital efforts, according to an Everest Group study last year. Furthermore, 78 percent failed to meet their primary business objectives. Over 92% of companies underperform in basic lead generation and sales growth via digital marketing and operate their marketing campaigns at such high waste levels that costs are often much higher than returns. This is horrific. Why does this happen?
Every modern business knows that the success of their company will depend on their digital marketing efforts, and companies are investing more and more in campaigns in an effort to drive results.
Digital marketing is complex; while the term “digital marketing” is familiar, this is actually an umbrella term, encompassing a variety of different techniques designed to catch the eye of customers and improve sales. While the complexity of digital marketing is to its credit – the array of techniques encourages experimentation and innovation, while also ensuring that there is surely a strategy that will work for almost every type of business – the same complexity can also be problematic for those engaging with digital marketing efforts for the first time. Digital marketing campaigns fail when they don’t include sufficient resources–money and expertise across multiple skills, including design, copyrighting, and monitoring–that might ensure success.
Where there is complexity, there is confusion; where there is confusion, mistakes tend to be made – and these eternal truths definitely apply to the very modern world of digital marketing. Many business owners have experimented with digital media campaigns without success.
Attention Interactive, Inc has eliminated this complexity by creating an all-in-one comprehensive package that covers all aspects of digital marketing including website development, landing page development, advertising, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, content development, A/B testing, optimization, and data analysis. We market it and sell it at a fixed price and we call it Attention Ecosystem®.
The reasons why most digital growth initiatives fail which Attention Ecosystem® solves are:
#1 – Inexperience
There are a plethora of online guides designed to help people conduct marketing campaigns for their business, which are undeniably useful but are also somewhat problematic. Most are superficial and self-serving, designed to convince readers to hire the company that produced the guide or subscribe to their service. Plus, no guide replaces actual experience. While it is theoretically possible to create a digital marketing campaign without any prior experience, it is far from ideal, especially given the fact that people will be competing against experienced professionals.
#2 – Hiring the wrong team
There are multiple awards, badges, and other superficial visual elements available for less experienced agencies and freelancers in digital space to purchase to make themselves look experienced. It used to be harder to get these awards, but now with the proliferation of awards websites whose survival is based on getting paid for award submissions, it has become easier to obtain marketing phrases such as “award-winning” and use them throughout their marketing materials. The best way is to ignore this and ask for relevant Google data from the actual marketing campaign where you can see yourself the success of the campaign yourself. Top performers present their results – not their purchased awards and “excellence badges.”
#3 – Too many cooks in the kitchen
Even if you lucky to choose the right professional for each marketing channel, the risk formula for your digital growth hasn’t changed much as these professionals need to be properly coordinated, evaluated, and brought into a whole. If you had “a friend” or your IT department develop your new website and you find a top digital advertising guy, he will most likely have to build you a new website with new messaging, conversion funnels, add landing pages, etc. This is because IT departments don’t know how to develop websites for marketing and conversions. IT departments are good in technical delivery, but lack experience in the front end nuances needed to make a website profitable. As you try to bring in a web person, content person, social media person, search engine person your team grows, the level of meetings and communications increases, and the percentage of your project becomes an administrative and non-productive burden.
#4 – Lack of testing and analysis
Digital marketing campaigns fail when not monitored effectively.
Digital campaigns are often time-consuming to set up, so it’s understandable that many people choose to do the work and then simply try to forget the campaign itself – especially if there are numerous other areas of their business that demand attention. However, digital marketing campaigns rarely perform well if they are left unattended for long periods of time; in the worst-case scenarios, a neglected campaign will fail to produce results at all.
#5 – Wrong mix of paid and earned media
We live on Facebook and Google world, and they want to monetize. The days when your company could rely on organic reach to connect with customers on Facebook and Google are long gone. Distribution and amplification of your message will need paid advertising and the proper balance between paid, owned, and earned media to accelerate your growth.
More than 2 decades into the digital marketing era, most companies still don’t fully get it and this is where Attention Ecosystem® comes in – to simplify, integrate and offer predictive cost to get started with the smallest possible risk.
#6 – Lack of up-front commitment
Consider what happened at a global company undergoing digital transformation. The firm was successful in its Phase 1, in which we developed its website, lead generation funnels were creating leads through the 1st marketing channel we were able to refine. The foundation of the ongoing growth transformation for the company was set up. However, the CEO stopped the broader initiative from continuing to Phase 2, where the exciting new digital marketing channels should have been added and the system would function as a whole. He could see the need and benefits of moving forward with developing the entire ecosystem which will serve the needs of his company in the long run.
This is a common failure point. Understanding and agreeing to the concept and vision for your company’s growth and transformation is not the same as committing to do what it takes to succeed. Company leaders can have a great meeting and talk about the need for change. But if they don’t commit to the massive change – what is necessary to achieve the vision and strategic intent – the initiative will fail.
Lack of up-front commitment is one of the hurdles Attention Ecosystem® cannot solve for its clients – clients must bring this to the table before they talk to us. Leaders agree for different reasons and have conflicting visions of the end state. They commit to what they think the future will be, based on their own experiences, which vary greatly. In addition to leaders, managers, and employees at every level must accept upfront their personal ownership of the transformation’s success. Leaders need to build a collective vision that is deeply felt and understood, even though the specifics of how to achieve it may not be known upfront. This is easier said than done. We recommend to our clients to go slow at first. Building commitment takes time. If you start down the path of trying to enable the change before enough stakeholders understand where the project is going, why the change is necessary, and that the change is possible, you will run a very high risk of debilitating, passive-aggressive behavior.
#7 – Failing to take an iterative sprint approach
Companies that try to plan every detail of their growth via digital ahead of time, spend more resources on planning and “what should happen” than doing actual work have a very high proportion of failures. Companies that create a detailed waterfall plan before all the factors were known for a multi-year digital growth journey from vision, to funding the business case and detailed plan are always left behind.
Attention Ecosystem® solves this problem by offering comfortable predictability of what comes next and breaks the project into short-term projects and goals that can deliver measurable results aligned with the vision and strategic intent. We call these Attention Sprints.
The clients can control the risk by funding the journey per sprint. If you build in your learnings from each sprint, your company will get faster and faster at unlocking value. This will give your employees and leaders more energy, momentum, and support to keep going. Structuring the journey into smaller sprints makes the changes more manageable, helps maintain momentum, and avoids fatigue.
You need to let the digital marketing journey unfold and evolve flexibly. Don’t build a detailed long-term plan without enough known factors and let the sprints happen.