The Three Tragic Flaws That Might Spell Curtains for Your Digital Strategy

Are Three Tragic Flaws Threatening Your Digital Strategy?

Digital strategy. It’s the “how am I going to accomplish my objectives” part of your digital presence. Which is why it’s so important to get it right. Because if you are building processes and plans and measurement around a digital strategy that has fundamental flaws, well, you are setting yourself up for tragedy.

But what are those three flaws? What can turn your digital presence into Hamlet instead of the Sound of Music? This webinar will clarify how a critical flaw in your approach to mobile, social, and video can potentially leave your digital presence the victim of hubris rather than exalted by the gods of Olympus (or all your customers, whichever is more important).

Below is a recorded version of the webinar, the original slides (from Slideshare), a slide-by-slide explanation, and even some of the Q&A from the webinar.



And here’s a REALLY cool rendition of the webinar in colorful markers from MarketingProfs. They really do rock.

Slide-by-Slide Explanation

Slide 1. Self explanatory

Slide 2. You probably already have a digital strategy. In fact, you might already in the throws of implementing it. The stage is set for your digital marketing greatness.

Slide 3. Hopefully that means you are getting ready to tell a new story, something that sets  your company apart from your competitors in the crazy digital world we live in.

Slide 4. And that’s lead you to here—connecting all the pieces of your digital strategy together.

Slide 5. Houston, we have lift off. You are launching your digital marketing efforts and it’s going to be awesome. Or so you think.

Slide 6. Is your digital presence in fact, fundamentally flawed? Are you destined to the pages of some terrible tragedy like Hamlet?

Slide 7. The problem is that you may not even realize your digital strategy is flawed. That means all of your digital marketing efforts, all that money and time, could be resting on a house of cards.

Slide 8. We learned about dramatic tragedies in school, about how some heroes (maybe like your digital strategy) are doomed to failure because of flaws like Hamartia, Hubris, and Anagorisis. Sometimes the flaws aren’t apparent or we fail to recognize them. But your digital strategy is no different than a dramatic tragedy, doomed to failure, if you don’t recognize the three flaws that may undermine it—treating mobile separately, publishing video just to YouTube (or other sites), and that social is just another channel to broadcast your message.

Slide 9. Mobile.

Slide 10. When you think about mobile as separate, you create multiple workflows, multiple processes. Everything you think about doing something on your site you have to rethink how to do that on mobile. That’s bad.

Slide 11. That creates more work for you. No one wants that.

Slide 12. But more than just more work, it means a complicated workflow when you have to publish content to more than one place differently. That makes it longer for you to get your content, your story, your digital marketing to your audience. And, of course, it means more elements to manage.

Slide 13. Ciena—a great example of a B2B company not treating mobile differently. It’s an integrated part of their strategy.

Slide 14. How did they do that? By defining a mobile experience that leveraged their existing content and by using a tool that could automatically create that mobile experience as part of its normal publishing process.

Slide 15. A little confused? It’s not, really. Trust me.

Slide 16. Ultimately, you have to stop thinking about mobile as a “device” and start thinking about mobile as a “behavior. When you do that, you get less concerned about screen sizes and content conversion and more concerned, like Ciena, about making a mobile experience (which can be automated through the right content management system).

Slide 17. So how did Ciena do it? They focused their workflow on creating content, regardless of channel, not converting it and selected a tool that enabled them to automate the production of that mobile experience. Ultimately, they realized they had to answer the question, “what kind of content do people want to see when they are not at their computer?”

Slide 18. Video.

Slide 19. When you publish your video just to other sites you are sending your audience away from your website (which is where you want them).

Slide 20. And that means you are disconnecting your audience from your story.

Slide 21. So what can you do? Simple. When you are publishing to YouTube, you can use their features to reconnect your video to your story. That means you get the benefit of YouTube traffic (to discover your video) but can ultimately get everyone back to your website.

Slide 22. Annotating your videos in YouTube is easy. What’s an annotation? An onscreen bit of text that you can link anywhere (cough cough to your website).

Slide 23. A great example of annotation as a call-to-action at the end of a viral video published by 3 (a UK mobile provider). They used an annotation to drive people to a site where they could engage directly with the story (of the dancing pony, yeah, don’t ask)

Slide 24. But annotations aren’t the only way to connect your YouTube videos to your story. This is GoDaddy. They have used the video description to not only reinforce story elements but to also drive users to a specific website.

Slide 25. The result of all that? You get more traffic at your website. That’s home base, just in case you don’t get the image. With this kind of strategy, you can generate a lot more runs!

Slide 26. Social.

Slide 27. Social is not just another channel (and especially one on a TV that old). You can’t use social networks to just broadcast your message that is the problem with digital marketing—it’s so easy to enable bad habits. Marketing is changing. It’s evolving from broadcasting a message to engaging with users.

Slide 28. What can you do to take advantage of that evolution? Two things. First, keep your social media in context. It has to be relevant to the expectations of the audience for the social network in which you are communicating. Second, you have to be like your audience.

Slide 29. Keep it in context.

Slide 30. The problem with old-school thinking embracing the new methods and opportunities in digital is the tendency to employ those new methods with that old thinking. That’s the trap of consistency. Because old school marketing, broadcast marketing, is all about volume—the same message in more places with more frequency will increase the chances of your audience acting on it. Uh, not in the digital world.

Slide 31. Context is changing everything. Technologies are emerging that make content relevant to the behavior of the individual audience members. That means you can target your messaging specifically to social networks AND individual users!

Slide 32. And the digital world, with all its devices, creates challenges for contextual targeting.

Slide 33. Because, remember, it’s not about the devices themselves. Mobile is about behavior. And the behavior with a device is different in different contexts.

Slide 34. In short, the social networks are not the same, especially across devices. Expectations of Facebook on a computer are different than LinkedIn on a mobile phone. How can you keep your content contextual? Look at how users engage with your content in each of the social networks. What are they reading? When are they reading? What kind of content, at what time of day, garners the most engagement? And, of course, fit the format. Don’t post 140 character updates in Facebook when users expect more. Finally, make it relevant. If you are just reposting content from other places, what’s the point?

Slide 35. Here’s a great example from Microsoft’s Facebook page. They could easily just show their products and post stats and details. Instead, they are posting content that puts their products in context. Take pictures with your windows mobile phone. Check out the Xbox gaming event. In short, social media is all about people and relationships and engagement. Not about products.

Slide 36. Be your audience.

Slide 37. What does that mean? It means you should be part of the conversation you are trying to start. Coca Cola does it right on their Facebook page. They are engaging with users not about customer service or products. They are engaging about their brand. In this case, their polar bears.

Slide 38. But British Airways? Not doing it so right. They are focusing their engagement entirely on customer service. Although it’s not bad to provide service through social media, they have started really awesome conversations about destinations and traveling and then let their audience to the talking. They need to be part of that audience (like Coca Cola).

Slide 39. In short, you can’t engage if you are observing. You can’t be like Coca Cola if all you are waiting for are people to post customer service issues.

Slide 40. Get plugged in. Get engaged.

Slide 41. But even companies doing it right on one social network may be doing it wrong elsewhere. Like Coca Cola on Twitter. They are just using the channel to publish messages. There are no re-tweets. No mentions. They are not engaging.

Slide 42. But McDonalds is. Notice all the re-tweets. They are actively engaging with users who are mentioning or engaging with them. It’s a conversation. An active and on-going one.

Slide 43. So how can you avoid the flaws?

Slide 44. By making mobile, social, and video part of your digital DNA. They can’t be just parts of your strategy. Just different aspects. They have to be part of every aspect, of the very way that you approach your audience in the digital world.


What are your favorite services/tools that automatically convert to mobile?
It seems that this feature is becoming integrated more often than not with service providers. So on the video side, Limelight Orchestrate Video, Brightcove, Ooyala, Kaltura, Sorenson Cloud, even They all automatically convert video to mobile devices (some better than others, some more automated, etc.). On the content management side, Orchestrate Content Management can automatically convert webpages to mobile. Not sure on competitors like Sitecore and Crownpeak.

Do you know any user friendly (easy) editing tools for video?
I promised I would look through my notes to find this. Yes! is an awesome online, collaborative video editing tool. Really spectacular.

Do you think that we are seeing a kind of “social media bubble”, like the real estate one? Isn’t it possible that in a couple of year´s time the social media marketing will settle down with a different tempo and/or intensiveness?
It’s absolutely possible. I think right now, companies are feeling, “hey, this is easy to publish so publish more.” That’s old-school thinking—all about volume. So yes, as marketing continues to evolve away from broadcast-messaging and to engagement, the way marketers publish and use social media will change.

Can you talk more about LinkedIn? As a financial services company, our biggest presence is on this site rather than on FB or Twitter.
This is all about your audience. If you are finding it better to engage with users through LinkedIn, then that’s where you should focus your efforts. Obviously it is more “business” oriented and so may favor certain industries like financial.

What is a better alternative to posting your videos on youtube?
Well that’s the funny part, right? There isn’t. You should post there BUT you should also post on your own website. Many video management tools, like Limelight Orchestrate Video, Brightcove, and Ooyala allow you to publish to multiple places like your website, YouTube, Vimeo, etc. Don’t limit yourself. But also don’t just publish to those external places. Make sure you use features like YouTube’s annotation (and the video description) to tie the video into your story.

Coca Cola, British Airways and McDonalds are B2C companies. How can B2B companies advertise and promote themselves on social media?
You have to remember that all your B2B buyers? Yeah, they are consumers too. They go to grocery stores and book stores and gas stations. They are people. Connecting with your customers through social networking is less about connecting with them as customers and more about connecting with them as people.

What content do people want to see on mobile?
That depends on the type of content that you publish and who your audience is. If you are a networking company, like Ciena, they probably want to see a different kind of content than if you are a financial services company. The best thing to do is to survey your audience. Get them involved. Use social media. Find out what they want to see when they are interacting with your brand and company while mobile.

Are you saying you should have different information on mobile vs. a website?
Again, it depends on your audience. In some cases, yes. The expectations and desires of your audience may be to see different content when they are mobile. In other cases, it may be the same. I would conjecture that it’s a combination of content—part of your core messaging/branding (like product information) along with content that is more germane to mobile.

Can you engage consumers on your website or is it only mobile and social that provides this experience?
Today’s websites (and all the technologies we integrate into it like Marketing automation, blogging, etc.) provide ways to engage directly with users through your website. And when you consider that you can integrate the social experience directly into your website, it’s possible to create an entire experience around engagement right at home base.

One of the problems with Linkedin is everyone is ‘selling’…. thoughts on creating conversation?
LinkedIn provides an awesome “group” feature. As a moderator of a group, you have the right to limit, expunge, or promote messages from group members. So if a member posts something that solicits, you can either boot the message or move it to a specific part of the group expressly for solicitations. You are in control.

How long will the trend to drive rankings using Press Releases last?
Honestly, I was unaware that was a trend. Press releases are definitely undergoing an evolution themselves as the web disintermediates companies like PRWeb. Why is PR so effective in driving traffic? Simple—the distribution service publishes a text-based post rich with keywords all over the place that gets re-posted by news services. It’s like instant networking. So long as that system stays in place, marketers will use it as one of their entry-points to awareness.

I am able to provide useful content for my audience; but unless I am directing them to my website as a landing page for content, wherein, it borders self promotion. How can I bring people back to my website when posting indirectly related content?
Again, that’s an old-school mentality. When you publish “in-direct” content, it’s not about you. It’s about your audience. You are giving them something they need, not selling them, not telling them to come back to your website. You are creating an indirect connection between your brand and the audience. Don’t sully awesome content like this by connecting it to you at all. Your audience will connect you with it themselves, don’t worry.

How do you respond when people say they need to be able to measure ROI on digital?
I kiss their feet. No, really, we HAVE to measure the digital on ROI. We just have to understand that digital marketing is very complex. It’s not a 1:1 relationship between activity and lead generation. Some digital marketing activities like creating thought-leadership content and building a trust relationship with the audience through engagement, is not going to produce leads tomorrow. Different success metrics have to be developed for different kinds of activities.

What do you recommend for automated marketing software?
Ha, what everyone uses! Marketo and Eloqua.

- Jason Thibeault, Sr. Director, Marketing Strategy. You can connect with Jason on Twitter @_jasonthibeault.

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