Today’s digital marketing environment often seems to place more emphasis on the “digital” rather than the “marketing,” according to Nick Simard, co-founder and chief marketing officer at Ridgefield-based IMG Digital Inc.
“Now, there is a lot of do-it-yourself capabilities because of the SaaS environment, with all of the different marketing apps that are available for $10 or $20 per month,” Simard observed. “Business owners can do a lot more on their own with this technology.”
However, Simard cautioned that “do-it-yourself” is not necessarily synonymous with “do-it-correctly.” And this can be especially worrisome for small-business owners with minimal experience in digital marketing. As a result, Simard has authored “How Do I Build a Digital Marketing Team?” It is a free 33-page e-book available from IMG Digital that is designed to explain the concepts of this pursuit.
“Over the last five years, we’ve seen this awareness curve and education curve for business owners who now know they need digital marketing,” Simard continued. “And it can be overwhelming for a lot of companies.”
Indeed, Simard’s e-book contains the acknowledgment that many business owners believed their companies were more successful in the pre-digital marketing environment that thrived before the Great Recession, where a set level of Yellow Pages advertising guaranteed customer inquiries and sales. Even at this late date, Simard encounters his share of Luddite entrepreneurs.
“Many people say to us, ‘We don’t want anything to do with technology,’ ” he continued, adding that his agency is recruited to handle the digital marketing tasks for these companies. “They say, ‘We have goals to meet and we want you to do all of that.’ ”
While Simard appreciates new business for his agency, he nonetheless recognized that many prospective clients need to be brought up to speed on digital marketing. With his e-book, Simard presents what he dubbed as a “soup-to-nuts breakdown of what you need to do as a business owner or a marketing director in a company.”
Among the subjects covered in the e-book are inbound marketing, content strategy, the pros and cons of organic and paid distribution strategies, social media marketing and managing results. Simard also provides advice on outsourcing and vendor management while noting that some business owners might overcome their initial apprehension with a new surge of confidence and opt to handle some or all of their digital marketing in-house.
“The e-book is an effort to open conversations with small-business owners and marketing professionals that are looking to hone their skills or build a team within their organization,” Simard added.
In viewing today’s digital marketing environment, Simard believed that one of the main problems involves businesses that have not been able to gain complete visibility to their data.
“There’s no excuse not to have that today,” he said. “You need to be able to answer questions such as where did the click come from? What did it cost? It got to my website, but where did it go? When they left the website, did we follow them through retargeting? You have to complete this entire cycle of all of these different touchpoints. That dataflow didn’t exist so cleanly a few years ago, but now it can be accomplished through many off-the-shelf SaaS apps.”
But Simard warned that not every digital solution is a winner.
“There are large publishers who I won’t name that got into digital and they created a model and sold digital solutions to their client base, and the client base was substantial but didn’t know what they needed,” he continued. “And they were doing a cookie-cutter solution that didn’t have transparency and the depth of detail that you would need to understand what was going on. So, a lot of people got fleeced over the years. Twenty to 30 percent of the conversations I have are with business owners and managers who are skeptical about getting into another relationship for a longer time because they’ve been burned in a big way.”
Simard reported that the e-book has brought IMG Digital several new clients who were impressed with the text, and the agency is planning to adapt it into a series of videos to offer more depth on the topic with the goal of encouraging more business owners to venture into digital marketing.