I know what I don’t know

Lately I have been coming across well-established advertising agencies with a long list of loyal clients. While they have proven themselves to deliver results in traditional media, most continue to struggle with the dynamics of digital marketing, and how to deliver the same results.

I can appreciate that no agency wants to turn away a new account, or not be able to offer an existing account a continued one-stop shop service, however, at what point are they doing more harm than good? The best agencies know what they don’t know, and at the very least hire vendors or small digital agencies to service the growing marketing needs of their accounts.

But how do you know if ABC Advertising has gone through these lengths to insure quality or if they’re just learning as they go and using you as the guinea pig? And as a follow up, can you really afford to find out the latter is the case?

When a ‘traditional’ agency all of a sudden adds ‘Digital Services’ to their list, I recommend you have a candid conversation and find out if they are doing this ‘in-house’ or if they have partnered with a reputable digital marketer that understands what’s at stake. A second post on this topic will feature a list of questions you should ask before hiring any agency that offers digital services, for now lets focus on the basics.

The problem I’ve found most often is that the ‘soft-sell’ of social media or inbound marketing has a disarming effect and many advertisers are lured into a false sense of security. By that I mean, advertisers are ‘sold’ on the long term process that it takes for social media to deliver results, as compared to an aggressive direct-marketing campaign through traditional channels.

I have seen enough examples to insure you that’s not the case. A strong social media campaign can deliver impactful results in short amount of time. I am a big fan of Michael Stelzner writer of the Social Media Examiner blog and a new book called Launch. His blog is already over 90,000 opt-in email subscribers in just about a year!

I have met with hundreds of businesses, even the very Newspaper where I work, which is the largest newspaper in 5 counties, that do not have a list of 90,000 email subscribers. Can you imagine what that would do for your business?

This kind of success takes dedicated individuals who have a yearning to learn something new everyday, and write about it. Successful digital agencies understand the true meaning of inbound marketing, which is often very polarizing to traditional marketing messages and efforts.

The digital landscape has created a new form of interaction between client and customer. In the digital space the client is first a student of sorts, that with the right type of content will lure that student in and out of his own free will want to be exposed to more.

We realize the old tendencies of ‘doing business’ will continue to rear it’s ugly head, and traditional agencies will more than welcome the opportunity to ‘print another coupon’. The point is the approach to the digital audience is very different than the approach to the traditional audience, but the lines are starting to blur quickly.

In fact, I am a big fan of using traditional media, be it newspaper, radio, tv or billboards to drive traffic to the digital space. The key is in the message…it must appeal to the audiences appetite for information, and not to push the agenda/product/service, etc. of the advertiser.

This is a conversation not easily had with most advertisers and most advertising agenceis for that matter. If you want to be successful in the digital space I suggest you partner with an agency that understands the inbound marketing philosophy and can work with traditional media to get the best results.

Knowing what you don’t know, can often be just as valuable as what you do know!

John Garcia
Digitally Inclined