3 Challenges Every Digital Marketer Will Need To Overcome

1. Dataphilia

We’re all talking about ‘big data’. What was once immeasurable is now measurable, and what were once highly subjective decisions can now be scrutinised rationally through the use of data. Data removes the ambiguity and provides clarity as to what is likely to work and not work, and its application to digital marketing is huge. I’ve said before that kids these days should be learning Mandarin, really, they should be learning Mandarin and data analysis… (fortunately, at the time of writing, I’m not an actual parent).

But when we talk about ‘big data’ we are talking BIG. Far too often marketers look at data over weeks, months or years and decide that those 200 visits with a conversion rate of 5% constitutes a dataset which can be benchmarked. This is not the case.

When looking at small data sets, reports turn into a complete lottery.

“Conversion rates were up by X% after we made Y change!” would be an entirely insightless comment when using such a small data set. With room for variance, that X% ‘up’ could equally be X% down the following week.

2. Small tweaks = big impact

Conversion rate optimisation is often a mashup of creativity and past experience. This subjective approach to CRO certainly makes it exciting, but it also makes for some pretty interesting discussion.

“We can boost our sales by changing the ‘call to action’ from blue to orange!”, often followed by a citation to a blog on the psychology of colour and its ability to brainwa… it’s clearly bulshit. This is not marketing, it’s an enormous waste of time.

There are exceptions, where the likes of Google might change the colour of their sponsored ads box on search results from light beige to what still looks like light beige but isn’t quite (depending on the ambient light from the moon). This type of micro change can literally mean millions of ad dollars to the likes of Google, but this is not the reality for almost all marketers. Impacting online sales needs more than just ‘tweaks’, but massive user journey changes that are tested and analysed properly; if you have a huge user-base this is different, but generally speaking digital marketers need to be more ambitious when experimenting with sales improvements. Avoid this ‘tweaking’ as much as you can.

3. Virality

“Build it and they will come” – marketers who create content without any actual ‘marketing’ can expect not a lot back. It’s why they call it ‘content marketing‘. The phrase ‘going viral’ should be made taboo in any creative meeting, it distracts the team from thinking of something genuinely insightful or useful and defaulting to the latest blue and white/black and gold meme going.

A few people will get lucky on a global scale, usually from a key influencer that leverages the content in a totally unexpected way; but when you think how many tens of thousands of pieces of content are produced each day, it’s easy to see how pointless it is to focus on ‘viral’ content. You will either get lucky or you won’t and you probably won’t. Focus on the user and create a list of ideas that offer genuine value (and that value comes in all shapes and sizes).