How can small businesses compete against 800-pound-gorillas? What can they do to gain a foothold in the hearts and minds of consumers?
Well, Kevin M Ryan and Rob “Spider” Graham purports that digital marketing and online advertising is the answer. Targeted at small and medium sized businesses, their book Taking Down Goliath acts as a 101 guide to the world of digital marketing, covering topics like email marketing, online advertising, search engine optimization (SEO), social media, mobile marketing and more.
Touting itself as providing “digital marketing strategies for beating competitors with 100 times your spending power”, Taking Down Goliath is roughly divided into three sections.
We are first given an overview of the digital advertising world as well as techniques used in planning online campaigns. Next, the book digs into the different digital advertising options. This is concluded by an appendix interviewing “Davids” – individuals who championed digital marketing in smaller challenger businesses.
Critiquing the “one-size-fits-all” used by Goliath advertising on traditional channels, the authors proclaims that digital advertising allows marketers to “speak directly to the people who most want to hear what they have to say”. Through digital channels, marketing is no longer one of interruption, but of listening carefully to one’s potential customers and conversing with them.
In planning for your digital campaigns, there are three areas worth nothing.
In developing a digital ad campaign, we should consider the following cycle:
Details of each step above are covered throughout the rest of the book.
In establishing digital campaign goals, there are usually two diametrically opposite campaign objectives:
Once this is established, suitable KPIs can be established. They include total sales, campaign ROI, conversion rates, cost per lead, cost per sale, revenue per click and so on.
Knowing who we’re targeting online is key. The two key drivers of human behaviour are to avoid pain/loss or to maximize pleasure/gain.
Messages must also be differentiated between Business to Consumer (B2C) and Business to Business (B2B) customers:
Once we’ve got our campaign framework in place, we need to learn the unique characteristics of each digital channel and platform.
The core of online advertising, digital display ads cover the following:
To succeed, the authors suggested the following:
Emails are considered the holy grail of digital marketing in today’s spammy media world. Here, we’re told to measure our email campaigns (deliverability, open rates, interaction rates, click-through rates), tailor emails to seasonal needs (eg holidays), and to personalise them as much as possible.
The perfect email has a recognizable sender, meaningful subject lines, and impactful messages that are KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) compliant. Email lists should best be organically created as a best practice in permission marketing. Finally, we need to be mindful of government legislation on consumer privacy (eg CAN-SPAM in the US or Privacy Data Protection Act in Singapore).
Search marketing covers two aspects: search engine advertising and Search Engine Optimization (better known as SEO). In creating paid search ads, we should consider the following strategies:
For SEO, we should avoid working with web spammers soliciting large quantities of links or other “black hat” SEO practices. Instead, we should embrace the metaphor of “planting a garden” and do the following:
In the exploding world of social media, marketers should pay heed to what consumers are saying on social media networks. To “market without marketing”, they can consider:
Considered a platform rather than a channel, mobile devices are the preferred means of engaging the web. Mobile marketing best practices include:
Tucked away in the Appendix section of the book, the authors provide profiles of different “Davids” in various industries who share their insights in digital marketing. While mostly anecdotal in nature, these narratives give us a fly eye’s view of the real life challenges and issues faced by digital marketers in start-ups, medium sized companies, and challenger brands.
Overall, Taking Down Goliath provides more of an overview of digital advertising rather than an in-depth digital marketing guide for emerging businesses. Written in a conversational and friendly manner, it is a fairly breezy read. While most of its insights are not new to those schooled in digital marketing and advertising, they may be relevant to start-up bosses or corporate managers who want to understand and apply digital advertising in their businesses.
Are you a Digital David? (image courtesy of Forbes)
This blog post was made possible with a review copy from Palgrave Macmillan. Readers of Cooler Insights can enjoy a 30% discount on books ordered from Palgrave Macmillan’s website using the promotional code PM14THIRTY. Just log on to their website and check out their wide selection of professional, business and other titles!
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