When we started Wood Street in 2002 (12 Years August 1st, thank you very much!), we based our web design on the client’s printed collateral. That was the norm.

Back then, digital marketing was usually an afterthought. Companies would draft their yearly marketing budget and squeeze in a little extra at the end for a website.

Things have changed. Businesses today recognize the importance of the internet when considering their marketing plans.

According to a post in B2BMarketing.net, 54% of B2B buyers begin their buying process with informal research and 78% of the time it’s done online! And this number will keep growing.

To keep pace, businesses now think in shorter timeframes.

Some businesses are moving to quarterly, and even monthly marketing plans. Marketing based on print materials is impossible with a monthly marketing plan.

Is it the chicken or the smart egg?

EggMinder

Photo courtesy of postscapes.com

With mobile, social, and now the “Internet of Things,” marketers are forced to become agile in their decision making and implementation efforts.

I think the biggest mistake businesses make is that they focus too much on mobile, social and the “Internet of Things.” They aren’t thinking about the most important thing… their customers.

Who is the audience?

When you answer this question, the technology becomes less nebulous. It becomes the channel where your clients are spending their time.

Marketing to your audience for your audience!

Online First then becomes, by default, the primary marketing discipline, focused on your clients and not the technology.

Take a good look at your target clients. I’ll bet the following is true…

  1. They shop, or at least research, for products online.
  2. They look for answers online – via Google on their various devices, or through social channels.
  3. They depend on support, or at least start their support search, online.
  4. They make recommendations online.
  5. They post comments and criticism online.

Do you see the problem with the old model? If you start with print first, you base your marketing on a channel where nobody is home.

The old model is broken, the Internet did it!

Why would you build your brand using an old strategy? Wouldn’t it make better sense to start where your clients are?

For example, the following materials used to be thought of as print…

  1. Logo – now your logo needs to translate well on mobile, websites, favicons, and in social media (not to mention smart watches, smart locks, smart vehicles, and so forth)
  2. Collateral materials – your letterhead, business cards, and brochures now begin as pages on a website, social profiles or eBooks and White Papers.
  3. Advertisement – magazine and newspaper ads are now promoted Facebook posts and PPC (pay per click) on Google.

Taking an Online First approach with your marketing will save you time and money. It will allow you to track your successes and failures and adjust in real time.

I’m not saying that print is dead. Far from it. If anything, print is the new differentiator. Businesses who are able to use print in creative ways to back their online marketing are seeing big returns.

A 2010 study by the Direct Marketing Association found that $1.00 spent on print advertising expenditures can generate an average of $12.57 in sales.

Print is the new Wild West. Funny. What do you think about an Online First marketing approach? Where do your clients spend their time? Let me know in the comments sections below.

Jon-Mikel Bailey - Before co-founding Wood Street in 2002, Jon worked in sales, marketing and business development for technology and marketing firms. A popular speaker, he gives seminars on marketing, internet marketing, branding and web design to chambers of commerce, trade associations and colleges. He has a BFA in Photography from Frostburg State University and still shoots photos for Wood Street clients.

5 Responses to “Marketing is Now Digital First
  • I absolutely agree with your perspectives in this article, Jon. I really believe that online marketing is where all businesses should spend their marketing dollars. Everything else transcends from there.

  • […] you have not already heard it, you are probably way out of touch of the marketing world – Outbound Marketing is OUT and Inbound Marketing is the IN thing […]

  • Hi Jon,

    You hit the nail on the head on this one…

    “They aren’t thinking about the most important thing… their customers.”

    I’m a firm believer that before you even start with your marketing campaigns, you first need to profile who your customers are, what do they need/want, where do they usually hang out, what makes them tick, etc…

    It’s when you do this that your marketing strategy becomes way more effective since it resonates within your customers.

    Thanks for sharing this article. Keep ’em coming.

    Jimmy R.
    Freelance Writer
    http://guildofbloggers.com

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