I get asked all the time what are the most critical things a marketing manager needs to do first when thinking about digital marketing. If I can sum it up in one sentence it would be:
Find a way to map your customers interaction with your company from beginning to end.
Now for some definitions:
- Map - everyone leaves a digital trail and it will be your job to find it. A good map uses practical understanding to explain important visual points. You need to figure out how to measure as much as you can, from any angle. Your measurements are your map. For example, how many people are calling your company from your website? A simple solution is to create a unique phone number to track this. The best solution is to have all those calls automatically feed into a CRM solution for ultimate tracking.
- Customers - these are the people you know and the ones you need to get to know. I categorize them as anyone who takes both explicit and implicit actions with your company/brand.
- Company - why do you need a definition of this? Sometimes people think their company only consists of the places (both digital and in meat space) that they have defined. Today its a different story, your company consists of Rick from Accounting who lists his place of employment on his Twitter bio then goes out and mocks a customers rant. That's part of the deal, like it or not.
- Beginning to end - this is also referred to as the funnel. Each business has its details on this but generally you need to be able to figure out your customers journey so you can track it along the way. Remember that tracking isn't controlling, it's just understanding your customer and how they decide to buy from you.
So why do I consider this the most important thing to take care of with digital marketing? It's simple, if you cannot create metrics around your customer journey, then you will never know if you are having an effect on it.
Want to run a Google AdWords campaign to get more leads? Great, but can you map that all they way to revenue?
Are you in need of better conversion rates on a landing page? Then make sure you know how many people get there and how many people fill out that form.
You get the idea. This is the most fundamental piece of digital marketing that I can think of. Without it all the other bells and whistles won't make a measurable difference.