Learning how to swim in the digital deluge
Overwhelmed and confused by the world’s ever-growing array of social and digital channels?
Take heart. Even digital marketing natives can find it hard to keep abreast of the constant changes and advancements across new platforms and technologies.
Just ask Nicola Reade, a Senior Digital Marketer with more than 16 years’ experience working in-house, for agencies and, for the past 18 months, as the boss of her own digital marketing company:
“Engaging with social media without a plan can be like entering a black hole. If you don’t have a clear focus of what you want the different channels to achieve, you can use up valuable resources without actually producing any useful results.”
Such an approach makes Nicola the ideal facilitator for the University of Auckland’s forthcoming Executive Education course on Digital Marketing.
A member of GenX, Nicola admits she has never lived in a world that shuts off at 5pm. She understands acutely the digital marketing challenge of the “attention economy”: how to identify and understand which channels are right for you and your company, and how to use these channels to authentically connect with your target audiences. Nicola cites campaigns by Air New Zealand, ASB and Lewis Road Creamery as shining examples of successful digital marketing. Their content is on point, creative and native to each platform.
“Digital marketing can be a frightening area – it’s no longer just websites, texts and emails; now we have blogs, podcasts, live video, social media channels galore, and countless other new technologies – all of which can be confusing. Added to that, with social in the mix there is much more immediacy and need to communicate in real time with customers. While it is important to keep up with technology, we have to ensure we get the strategy right from the start. Get the fundamentals right and then you can see which platforms support your organisation’s goals,” says Nicola, noting that this year, global digital advertising spend is tipped to eclipse television ad spend.
Acknowledging that a lot of companies remain wedded to traditional marketing, Nicola is concerned that many business leaders feel “bamboozled” by so-called digital marketers trying to sell them new technologies without any real understanding of the company or its audiences. This can lead to scepticism about moving budgets around or dedicating resources to monitoring and analysing digital marketing campaigns. This is a lost opportunity, Nicola posits.
“Digital marketing is inherently flexible, which means campaigns can pivot in direct response to tracking of results in real time. As long as the correct success measures are outlined at the outset, change can happen as needed, to make every dollar count.”
In New Zealand, where significant populations live rurally, digital marketing can also target specific, personalised audiences, exclusively or as an addition to TV advertising.
As an industry expert who is actively working on a range of digital marketing briefs, Nicola is unabashedly passionate about her work. In leading the University’s Digital Marketing course, Nicola aims to help participants “push aside the daunting nature of the digital deluge” and become empowered through knowledge about digital marketing. Ultimately, Nicola hopes attendees will themselves become digital marketing champions.
“I hope people will leave the course feeling ready to go back into their organisations and make plans for how they are going to use digital marketing to push their companies forward and to bring their companies along with them on the digital marketing journey.”