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Digital Media: Five things that need fixing

The speed of change in ‘digital media’ is overwhelming at times – even using that phrase feels outdated. So in an industry where meerkats and periscopes are always a minute away, what are the five things that need to be dealt with now?

1. Over-specialisation: As digital marketing became a thing, agency land went ballistic – new agencies sprung up, traditional agencies added an ‘@’ symbol for no apparent reason – and before long, CommBank has 3,000 agencies on their books. That trend is reversing, the market correcting itself, which makes me happy as an economist. Clients don’t want to brief 45 different account managers from 19 agencies, nor is this likely to return an optimal outcome for their business.

2. Data: and I’m not talking big-data FFS. I’m talking the simple stuff; done well, done clean. For 99% of businesses, Google Analytics is a perfect tool. Don’t shortcut on the setup, use a tag manager, and make the insights rain. Invest time – that’s people time – in drawing insights that can be useful for your business. Media agencies act as if their work stops at an impression or a click, whilst clients think changing a CPC bid or tweaking ad copy will make up for a truly awful website. Meet halfway, and invest in the partnership.

3. Measurement + Attribution: why will a business spend $500k each month on TV but balk at $20k on digital, only because the CPA is $2 higher than what they think it should be? Digital media is held to high standards because of its measurability, but when that measurement becomes so specific and so tangential to consumer-behaviour (think last-click attribution) we have a problem. Successful marketing does not occur in isolation. People are not funnels. And they have mobile phones too.

4. The funnel is dead. It’s rubbish. It’s only good for beer-bongs.

5. Local Talent: having just interviewed yet another Italian working out of London for a job in Sydney, it strikes me that something is broken. We have a swag of world class universities but the brightest talent is going into finance, engineering, consultancy. The marketing industry needs PR, especially digital. We are a sexy AF industry: we do brand-new things every day, we are afforded the perfect balance of creativity and nerdiness and we drink beers on a Friday. To be frank, we need people who are smart and want to work in marketing – not someone who runs out of ideas and finishes up with a degree in Facebook.

March 31, 2015 by Filed in Analytics, Data, Marketing, Online Strategy, PPC

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