One of the key problems digital marketing agencies run into is getting executive buy-in for their services. While the marketing department and others in a company may find value in digital marketing techniques, top executives may not see this.
There are many reasons for skepticism, but some of the key factors I have encountered are the following:
A new model. Executives are often a bit older than the rest of their staff, and don't understand how digital marketing efforts could prove useful. They remember when advertisements were the most effective way to get their message to end-customers. Plus, you can see an ad on paper, bright as light. The benefits of digital marketing are not always so clear.
High expectations. Executives may be reluctant to give a digital marketing program much time. Digital marketing can take time. It starts moving slowly but then builds momentum. Some executives get restless and cancel their digital marketing campaigns after just a few months. The industry has demonstrated, however, that digital marketing takes at least six months to show what it can do.
The what if factor. "What if's" play a dominant role. Many C-suite members are concerned about enhancing their digital presence because "what if" some end-customer makes derogatory comments about their products. This is both the blessing and the curse of digital marketing. Most executives don't know how to respond to such criticism. All that can be said is this happens to just about every company, and there are effective ways to deal with it.
Legal issues. Sometimes, a company's legal department puts the lid on digital marketing. Their big fear is that something might be said or posted that may violate copyright laws. For instance, can a quote from a respected influencer be used in a posting without their permission? What about links to other sites, such as newspapers and magazines? Attorneys have an entirely new set of "what if's," which become roadblocks.
The best way marketers can address these situations and get executives on board is to first, have some understanding. Marketing is changing very quickly, and it's hard for just about everyone—older executives as well as millennials—to keep on top of what's evolving. Patience and a bit of forgiveness will go a long way.
With the right mindset, marketers can follow through with these steps:
Be prepared. Executives like to see results. There are now lots of studies about the power and potential of digital marketing. Gather them and use them to make your case.
Acknowledge potential downsides. Let them know what challenges may come up, the biggest of which is giving the program time to blossom. Explain how these challenges can be addressed and why the marketing plan is worth the effort.
Start small… to a point. Many times, top brass are willing to start with a small program. That's fine if it is not too small or goes on too long. Especially when a digital marketing program is in its formative stages, the bigger the program is, the bigger the splash, and the more powerful it can be.
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Prepared for DS&P by AlturaSolutions Communications