Gini Dietrich

Fifteen Reasons Digital Marketing Works for Us…and Not For You

By: Gini Dietrich | June 6, 2013 | 
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Fifteen Reasons Digital Marketing Works for Us...and Not For YouYou know what sucks (besides spin, of course)?

People who think a communications firm isn’t a real company.

People who won’t invest in your success because they don’t perceive your multiple sale rate to be as large as, say, the newest tech idea.

Media outlets that won’t consider your leaders for awards such as Top 40 Under 40 because you do PR for a living (which, apparently, isn’t a real career).

New business prospects who want a bunch of stuff for free – including your high-level thinking on a business you don’t yet know intimately – before they decide to hire you (or not).

But you know the one that kills me? The one that really, really gets to me? People who say, “Of course all this digital marketing stuff works for you. It’s what you do for a living.”

I swear, if I hear that one more time, the poor soul who says it is going to get a piece of my mind.

The Shoemaker’s Children Have Shoes

Yes, content and email and social and mobile and on-page search engine optimization and integrating all four types of media (earned, owned, shared, and paid) are what we do for a living.

Yes, it does come more easily to us because we do it every single day.

Yes, in this case, the shoemaker’s children do have shoes.

But that doesn’t mean those are the reasons it works for us.

A Real Company

Just like most organizations, we have to hire and fire, we have to mentor and coach, we have to keep a pretty balance sheet, we have to improve margins each year, we have to create process and procedure (which, for this type A personality, is super, super painful), we have to grow revenue, we have to target the right audiences, we have payroll and benefits and quarterly incentives, and we have to carefully position ourselves in a market.

As it turns out, a communications firm is full of people and – just like every other organization – you have to motivate and inspire them to move toward a common vision.

We have the same issues, challenges, and concerns as every other organization…we just happen to be very, very good at marketing and communications.

But that’s not the reason this digital marketing stuff works for us and not for those of you trying to do it yourselves while you also do all of the things I mention above.

Fifteen Reasons Digital Marketing Works for Us…and Not For You

The reason this digital marketing stuff works for us and not for you is because we place a priority on it. We understand its intrinsic value and we don’t give up. We know which data to analyze and which metrics to watch. We instinctually know when something does or does not work.

I hear this comment every single time I speak to groups of CEOs, and it’s typically from the person in the room who is the most vocal about why nothing works in building his or her business.

Here are 15 reasons we are able to grow our real and thriving business with this “digital marketing stuff” and you are not.

  1. We’re not risk-averse.
  2. We’re curious.
  3. We constantly want to learn new skills and apply them to the growth of our business.
  4. We’re willing to test…and test again and again and again.
  5. We read, we learn, and we apply.
  6. We make marketing and communications a priority…even before sales.
  7. We know how to measure our efforts against real business goals.
  8. We have a team dedicated to the efforts.
  9. We don’t lump it in with sales, but it is integrated with all disciplines.
  10. We know it’s more than trade show attendance and pretty leave-behind brochures.
  11. We have access to the data, we analyze it, and we tweak.
  12. We integrate our efforts with the customer relationship management software.
  13. We communicate and involve one another.
  14. We brainstorm and develop new product ideas together.
  15. We’re patient; we understand it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and we’re willing to invest the time and effort.

I’m sure there are probably 150 reasons, but I have to get this published in time to go out in the RSS feed. So I’ll leave it open for you now.

Why does digital marketing work for some and not others?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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95 Comments on "Fifteen Reasons Digital Marketing Works for Us…and Not For You"

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briantudor
2 years 11 months ago

Great post! Anyone afraid of risk in marketing is not growing, but waiting to fold up shop. I can’t tell you how many times bosses or clients have looked at a 1 week dip in something like traffic and freaked out demanding a cut in budgets when the reality was the traffic from that week was more targeted from a campaign and produced higher than average goal conversion. Patience truly is a virtue in our business… that and walking the fine line of marketing as an art and science.

ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

briantudor Ah people. It’s a marathon!

PattiRoseKnight1
PattiRoseKnight1
2 years 11 months ago

Question – how many times have you said this not only on the blog but to companies? A million?

ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

PattiRoseKnight1 At least a million!

jasonkonopinski
2 years 11 months ago

You’re also not afraid to roll up your sleeves, get dirty — and break things.

ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

jasonkonopinski LOL! You and I are very good at breaking things. My favorite thing to tell a client is “we broke your site.’

jasonkonopinski
2 years 11 months ago

ginidietrich I usually blame you. It works.

ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

jasonkonopinski I get blamed for everything.

jasonkonopinski
2 years 11 months ago

ginidietrich So why fight it? 😉

Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes
2 years 11 months ago

ginidietrich jasonkonopinski Now I know why Ed Harris lost his hair and why RDJ went on a ten year bender. 😉

ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes jasonkonopinski I LOVE RDJ!

jasonkonopinski
2 years 11 months ago

ginidietrich Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes You don’t say.

Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes
2 years 11 months ago

ginidietrichjasonkonopinski More than Pinterest? 😉

ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes It’s a different love.

belllindsay
2 years 11 months ago

ginidietrich jasonkonopinski I blame her for everything.

ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

belllindsay jasonkonopinski See.

TonyBennett
2 years 11 months ago

It doesn’t work for people with MEGAPHONITIS WHO CONSTANTLY TELL YOU TO DO THIS AND THAT ACROSS ALL PLATFORMS.  Engage me, don’t sell me.

ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

TonyBennett Stop yelling at me!

TonyBennett
2 years 11 months ago

You must be confused.. THEY are yelling at you… Or it’s Lindsay… Or the voices in your head

belllindsay
2 years 11 months ago

TonyBennett It’s me.

jasonkonopinski
2 years 11 months ago

TonyBennett BUY MY CRAP. BUY MY CRAP. BUY MY CRAP.

ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

jasonkonopinski TonyBennett I AM GOING BACK TO BED

jasonkonopinski
2 years 11 months ago

ginidietrich TonyBennett CAPSLOCK THURSDAY.

John_Trader1
John_Trader1
2 years 11 months ago
I think the most prominent of your 15 reasons is patience. It’s so easy in a lightning fast society to expect immediate results from digital marketing when realistically, it takes time to cultivate and harvest results. Many C-levels are so accustomed to seeing results manifest quickly, and when they don’t, they automatically assume that efforts are futile. One addition I would make to your list is passion. If you aren’t passionate about digital marketing and just go through the motions, it isn’t going to work. You rarely stumble into success by giving a half ass effort and digital marketing requires… Read more »
Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes
2 years 11 months ago

John_Trader1 I have this conversation on a regular basis. I am consistently surprised by people who think that because it is online everything will happen with two clicks of a mouse button.
The marathon aspect is so very important, especially if you want to build things “right.”

yvettepistorio
2 years 11 months ago

John_Trader1 I like the addition of passion. I always ask myself, why do I care so much? And it’s because I have the “fire” as you call it. I want to be successful and I want my clients to be successful too. 
And seriously, if another person says to me after a month “social/digital marketing isn’t working” I”m going to scream…or just roll my eyes and walk away…

ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

yvettepistorio John_Trader1 Perhaps that’s partly our fault in not setting the correct expectations. Things online do happen more quickly than offline, but I like to use this blog as an example: We’ve been at it for nearly seven years. It just started generating revenue two years ago.

briantudor
2 years 11 months ago

100% agree with you on passion, but we have to remember to temper that passion at times because digital noobs, haters and traditionalists can get overwhelmed easily. Keeping non-digitals whelmed is the key to getting them passionate with you when they start to see the results.

John_Trader1
John_Trader1
2 years 11 months ago

briantudor Agreed Brian.

ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

John_Trader1 I’m not sure I agree many c-levels are accustomed to seeing results quickly. I don’t know of anything that happens quickly without a ton of hard work.

John_Trader1
John_Trader1
2 years 11 months ago

ginidietrich John_Trader1 I think it differs by industry,  public vs. private companies, and culture.

ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

John_Trader1 Sure, but do you know of anything that happens quickly?

John_Trader1
John_Trader1
2 years 11 months ago

ginidietrich The wealth accumulated by winning the lottery. I follow your point.

ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

John_Trader1 LOL!!

daniellenelson
2 years 11 months ago

Something I see over and over again, for digital marketing and soooo many other things: an unwillingness to do the work. YES it’s hard. YES it takes time. YES it takes effort. So what? You need to be willing to put in the work to make things happen. 🙂

ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

daniellenelson I guess it’s partly societal, isn’t it? We want to get rich quickly and lose weight fast and not work for anything.

kvjincpr
2 years 11 months ago

AMEN!!! You have written everything I was thinking!

ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

kvjincpr We should rant together next time!

patrickreyes
patrickreyes
2 years 11 months ago

PR, Communications, Digital Marketing Agency, whatever…as long as a premium is put into it, it will work for you. I just don’t understand why some are resistant to it. This piece of marketing is so measurable and your can create some very valuable insights and strategy based on data rather than guessing.
Hi Gini!

ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

patrickreyes And you can constantly tweak, based on what the data is telling you. People get pretty frustrated pretty quickly, but it’s so much better than even five years ago. We KNOW what’s working instead of guessing.
Hi PR!

patrickreyes
patrickreyes
2 years 11 months ago

ginidietrich Absolutely. What get’s me even more is when people ignore the data. HOW CAN YOU IGNORE DATA??????
Note: I figured I would jump on board the ALL CAPS bandwagon.

patrickreyes
patrickreyes
2 years 11 months ago

ginidietrich oops “gets”

ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

patrickreyes STOP YELLING AT ME!

Howie Goldfarb
2 years 11 months ago

ginidietrich patrickreyes hush you both. You should only ignore Big Data. Oh and any data found on an infographic.

LauraPetrolino
2 years 11 months ago
Oh holy crap! This article makes me want to run through the hills and burst into song, ala ‘Sound of Music’.  And then march through the streets showering the people with copies of it; with cannons firing and a marching band. But not just a normal marching band, one of those that does flips while playing the Tuba and stuff, like in Drumline. And then end the parade with a blimp carrying a sign that says: “The reason this digital marketing stuff works for us and not for you is because we place a priority on it.” And shoots out… Read more »
Howie Goldfarb
2 years 11 months ago

LauraPetrolino we are friends with some of the Von Trapp’s let me know when you want to come sing!

LauraPetrolino
2 years 11 months ago

Howie Goldfarb Howie!?! Seriously??? Don’t mess with my fragile musical loving heart!
I know every single song by heart still. When I was little my parents could not take me to a restaurant that had anything that might resemble a stage without me jumping up there and singing something either from the Sound of Music or Cats (not to mention at every dinner party they had, oh and a cruise we went on, and several other locations that I felt needed my performances…). 
Oh yes….

Howie Goldfarb
2 years 11 months ago

LauraPetrolino yes they settled in Vermont. Martin and Kelly Von Trapp own an organic dairy farm up the road and they make craft cheese. Martin’s brother has a greenhouse/garden place across the street from him. More familiar is the Von Trappp Lodge up in Stowe. I don’t think my in-laws now them. I think Martin is the grandson of one of the girls in the troupe. You know that ginidietrich was in an off broadway sound of music tour in 1992. She played Gretl.

LauraPetrolino
2 years 11 months ago

Howie Goldfarb ginidietrich No way!!! I also played Gretl in an off broadway (aka elementary school) Sound of Music! This is mind blowing!!! Everything just seemed to fall into place in my life!!
Howie, I’m coming to visit! The fact that they are on an organic dairy farm make this even better, so I can skip gleefully through the fields…
The hilllllllllls are alive with the sound of music……..
I need to start practicing!!

photo chris
photo chris
2 years 11 months ago

LauraPetrolino Is there a “love” button? I think there needs to be a “love” button- as “liking” this is just not strong enough.

LauraPetrolino
2 years 11 months ago

photo chris Hahaha! Obviously you are a man of exceptional and discerning character Mr. Photo Chris 🙂 Gold star!

photo chris
photo chris
2 years 11 months ago

LauraPetrolino photo chris ha! All true, except for the small point of fact that I’m a Mrs., and a mom. 🙂

LauraPetrolino
2 years 11 months ago

photo chris Hahahaha! Well that just makes you even more exceptional! Geez..I’m such a sexist pig! Sorry!

photo chris
photo chris
2 years 11 months ago
LauraPetrolino photo chris hysterical! I find that many times the ambiguity is fantastic entertainment. So, I clicked on your name, which actually WENT somewhere (I SO need to get on that!) and now I love you even more! 😉 You have a consulting biz named flying pig…. I work in sales and marketing for a wedding photography studio in Chicago and I am also a photographer. A few years ago, the owner wanted to draw a brighter line in the sand for tax purposes and paid for those who also worked in-studio to establish an LLC- something I threw a face down… Read more »
LauraPetrolino
2 years 11 months ago
photo chris Hahaha! OMG! What a small world! That’s such a great story! You know the funny thing about Flying Pig is it totally took on a life of its own, above and beyond what I expected. I have people from around the world send me flying pig statues, pictures of flying pig things they see, etc.  I LOVE it! My whole office is covered with ‘pig’ stuff that I’ve collected from people along the way. Some people have plaques and awards, I have pigs (and I wouldn’t want it any other way) Where else can we connect with you Chris?… Read more »
ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

LauraPetrolino If you could go ahead and do that and record it, I”ll use it as the Facebook question of the week video.

LauraPetrolino
2 years 11 months ago

ginidietrich hmmm….let me see what I can do. At the very least I can do a short individual scene from ‘Spin Sucks: the Musical’! 
Stand by…..
🙂

Howie Goldfarb
2 years 11 months ago
This is very similar to why social work for some but not for most. You have to commit to it. Not every industry and business will have the same impact using digital marketing than others. You have to look at the business goals and audience. I don’t think Airbus and Boeing will win new orders with a Facebook page or a digital ad campaign. But when a potential buyer goes to their websites to look at models there should be everything they need to see in an easily consumed format. Not like United Airlines Google’s ‘Who builds commercial jet planes… Read more »
ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

Howie Goldfarb I don’t disagree what digital footprint works for us may not work for Chobani or Boeing. What’s frustrating is when people automatically write off your expertise and the success you’ve had with your own business because it’s what you do, therefore it’d better work for you, but it’s not going to work for me.

Howie Goldfarb
2 years 11 months ago

ginidietrich you have my number right? Send them to me…the Closer.

biggreenpen
2 years 11 months ago

I have a very (LOL) methodical way of picking what I respond to here on SS: 1) if something doesn’t have comments it gets the nod and 2) whatever’s on top. That’s a challenge when the “on top” is about something I really am not very knowledgeable about. I actually left this post, thinking I had nothing to say, and returned………to thank you for elaborating on the four types of media………everyone else probably knows but I appreciate the level of detail. 🙂

ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

biggreenpen You know, that’s a great point. I’ll write a blog post about the four for you.

biggreenpen
2 years 11 months ago

ginidietrich biggreenpen I would really love that. Thanks!

ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

biggreenpen It’s on my list!

Howie Goldfarb
2 years 11 months ago

ginidietrich biggreenpen I thought Big Green Pen was above blog posts…leaping curbs in a single bound…..flying faster than a owl…..wait they fly really freaking fast…..a sparrow…wait a sparrow with a hurt wing…a sparrow with a hurt wing carrying jasonkonopinski …that is it faster than a sparrow with a hurt wing carrying jasonkonopinski

belllindsay
2 years 11 months ago

Howie Goldfarb ginidietrich biggreenpen jasonkonopinski Have you TRIED to carry Jason, Howie…??

photo chris
photo chris
2 years 11 months ago

I LOVE this: We make marketing and
communications a priority…even before sales…..
Exactly HOW do I convince my boss, who IS the CEO (and CMO, and marketing manager..and…and..and..) that not only is it NOT a sprint, but, that if you create the proper content, focus on a strategy for more than a second and a half, stop throwing around silly promotions, sales will not old be sold, but more easily??!?! Because frankly, banging my head against the wall is starting to hurt.

ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

photo chris You know, sometimes case studies are the best way to do it. Is there a company your boss respects? If so, show how long it took for them to achieve success and that it wasn’t overnight. I always talk about how we’re in year seven here and it took two years to see any real results. It may look like we’re successful to the outside person, but there is so much hard work that goes into this blog every, single day.

Andrew_Isidoro
2 years 11 months ago

Very good Gini. About time someone wrote a post like this. The number one reason I find that it works for me but not other businesses is bravery. I am brave enough to not be risk-averse (sensibly of course) which is where you reap the most benefits.

ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

Andrew_Isidoro Bravery is a great addition!

SarahPinho
2 years 11 months ago

Thanks for another interesting post. 
In your list of things that suck, you mentioned “New business prospects who want a bunch of stuff for free – including your high-level thinking on a business you don’t yet know intimately – before they decide to hire you (or not).”
I am dealing with this right now. I am a freelancer and have already spent some 14 hours talking strategy with a potential client, and they’re still not ready to sign. 
How do you decide when enough is enough and the potential isn’t worth the upfront investment?

ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

SarahPinho Hmmmm…I hate this answer, but I think it depends. We have two prospects right now in the funnel we’re really excited about. I’ve spent more time with both of them than I would normally, but the budgets they represent would make them our biggest clients and they’re both right smack dab in our core competencies. Typically I try to disqualify people immediately and try and try again. If I spend more than two hours with them (including writing a proposal), I take a hard look at whether or not they’ll be a good client. Usually the answer is no.

SarahPinho
2 years 11 months ago

ginidietrich Appreciate your thoughts!

Schickie
Schickie
2 years 11 months ago
SarahPinho ginidietrich I’ve found most creatives have a hard time with the “close”, as it’s a binary event of either signing them or walking away. It can be incredibly stressful as it’s a make or break moment.  As I work with lots of creatives I’ve found they aren’t particularly good at conflict or confrontation of which a close is closely aligned (at least emotionally). So turn the close into the benchmark for continuing the process. When they continue the conversation by asking for more ‘free’ stuff, this is your opportunity to first agree to talk more but add something to the effect of “This… Read more »
blfarris
2 years 11 months ago

Ohhh… You totally nailed it! And you laid it on thick. I. Love. This. I’m totally sharing this all over the place.

ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

blfarris LOL!! I was kind of on a rant this morning. You know exactly what conversations I’m talking about.

Karen_C_Wilson
2 years 11 months ago
My #1 reason? Because we’ve tried it, we’ve committed to it, we’re doing it and have the evidence to prove it works. The prospects and clients who tell me it doesn’t work aren’t committed to going all in. They’re commenting on something they know absolutely nothing about based on testimonials from others who aren’t truly marketing in the digital space.  I recently asked a (very cynical) prospect why they want to join twitter and other social media channels. They told me they didn’t want to miss any channels. This tells me that they use the spaghetti marketing method in all… Read more »
ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

Karen_C_Wilson Love this, Karen! My very favorite question is “why?”

Karen_C_Wilson
2 years 11 months ago

ginidietrich Wouldn’t it be nice if we could throw the question “why not” right back at them? Show me cold, hard facts that it doesn’t work. Give me a counter-argument – not cynicism – that shows me it doesn’t work. Then they can justifiably claim my business isn’t real. 
Good thing we both know that’s not gonna happen!

ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

Karen_C_Wilson Um, sometimes I do. Am I supposed to not do that?

Karen_C_Wilson
2 years 11 months ago

ginidietrich Clearly I haven’t been in business long enough yet. But I have no problem with it. I think it’s a good idea. Now I just need to get comfortable doing it. Though I did tell that one prospect I didn’t think they really wanted to use social media. It was kind of a proud moment.

jonmikelbailey
2 years 11 months ago

You wear sensible AND stylish shoes!

ginidietrich
2 years 11 months ago

jonmikelbailey I knew I liked you for a reason.

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2 years 11 months ago

[…] Fifteen Reasons Digital Marketing Works for Us…and Not For You, Spin Sucks […]

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[…] Fifteen Reasons Digital Marketing Works for Us…and Not For You, Spin Sucks […]

Frank_Strong
2 years 11 months ago
I’d say it had better work for you because comms firms can’t just be good at it — they have to be great at it. It’s a way to demonstrate the services you offer as part of the work flow.  I’ve done a few RFPs in my day and the first three things I look for are 1) corporate blog — do they market themselves effectively and can they do that for me? 2) social personas of the junior staff proposed for the account — – are they engaged because they love it or engaged because they have to be?… Read more »
TheSavvyCopywriter
2 years 11 months ago
Wow – your first 5 paragraphs sound EXACTLY like an experience I had with a potential client recently. Except he added in there that digital marketing (more specifically social media and blogging) is narcissistic. Interesting take on it, but I don’t see it. If your’e giving something of value away (tips, tricks, insight, new ideas, etc. etc. etc.) and engaging with people when they show interest or ask questions, that’s a conversation more than a one-sided sales pitch.  I love Karen_C_Wilson idea of asking ‘Why doesn’t it work?’ and putting the ball back in their court. I have the evidence that it… Read more »
ExtremelyAvg
2 years 11 months ago
Most people don’t understand how to analyze data. I worked in the marketing department of a large auto insurance company were a 15 minute call could save you 15% on your auto insurance. I analyzed data. Big freaking piles of data. When a person buys a new policy, the company will lose money on them for three years. That’s how it works. So, an important metric is retention of customers. A group of customers who stays for 1095 days is better than a group who stays for 1000, but not as good as one who stays for 1128, or 4,035.… Read more »
photo chris
photo chris
2 years 11 months ago

ExtremelyAvg “100 hours to develop code”  *FAINT* My congratulations to you for having the concept and carrying it through. Thank you for revealing the survey data! We send survey after survey here and get a fraction of them back and have always wondered if it matters!

ExtremelyAvg
2 years 11 months ago

photo chris ExtremelyAvg It was my job and it was fun. Admittedly, there were many times along the way where I had bits of code that didn’t work, so much of the time was spent getting it all sorted. Still, when it was done and the results came out, I got a few nice comments from my boss and the top brass.
It was one of the must rewarding things I’ve every done in my life as an analyst.

shelaghcummins
shelaghcummins
2 years 11 months ago

I love this post – thank you for the laugh. I think the number 1 reason you succeed at digital marketing is because… you actually do it. So many women in our community cut corners or want to take the easy, low cost way… with just a toe stuck in the water. To go swimming, you actually have to dunk your entire body in the pool – not just your big toe.
Bravo for doing things well and thoroughly with a little risk and research thrown in for good measure!

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[…] El marketing digital no sólo está de moda sino que es una auténtica exigencia para toda empresa que quiera sobrevivir en la nueva era 2.0. De todos modos, marketing digital no es siempre sinónimo de éxito, y no lo es porque lamentablemente sigue habiendo muchas marcas que lo están aplicando mal. Si es usted de los que ya se han tirado a la piscina del marketing digital y no está viendo, sin embargo, resultados, quizás es porque está cometiendo los errores que enumera a continuación Spinsucks.com: […]

dbvickery
2 years 11 months ago

My cobbler’s kids’ do NOT have shoes…my plumber’s pipes are leaking.
We need to work on your list of #15.

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[…] 15 reasons digital marketing works for us … and not for you […]

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[…] Fifteen Reasons Digital Marketing Works for Us…and Not For You, Spin Sucks […]

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