The internet is still a toddler. And digital marketing, which was born to take advantage of opportunities that exist for every business on the internet, is still an infant.
This is the basis of the problem. Entrepreneurs do not yet know exactly what and how they can gain from their digital presence. On the other hand, neither are marketers able to clearly identify their object and adapt it to the needs of a business.
Consequently, we are talking about a market that has not settled down and is full of pioneers, while the technology, tools and the rules of the game in general are evolving at a giddy speed, with whatever merits or drawbacks this may imply.
The reality, then, is that today’s entrepreneur is called upon to make decisions that
have a decisive influence on the development of his work, without having fail-safe criteria.
In this article we will list the challenges that a business faces in choosing partners who will undertake the digital marketing and we will mention the different specialties. The purpose is to understand the selection criteria and to identify expectations that every business should have from its online presence.
To understand the difficulty an entrepreneur faces when he has to decide
whom to assign digital marketing to, we need to identify the common mistakes and
weaknesses of entrepreneurs and marketers.
The challenges from the business side
Absence of business goals
As paradoxical as it may sound, there are many companies that buy digital marketing services, without having set specific and measurable business goals.
Obviously, when there are no goals, it is impossible to evaluate the result.
Lack of design
As a result of the lack of goals, it is very common for businesses to
implement their digital presence without any strategy. The words “I have to have a website” or “I have to upload a post on Facebook so they don’t forget me” are not strategies. They are not even tactics.
The budget of every business, small or large, is specific. The problem has nothing to do with
the height of the available amount, but by treating it as a fixed or operating expense while
it actually has to be a sales expense. In short, digital marketing is not something like the rent, electricity or accountant a business has to pay. It is like the salesman. It must bring income, otherwise it has no reason to exist.
Ignorance of the object of work of the digital marketer
What does a digital marketer do? Do you run ads on social media? Does he build websites? Does he do SEO? Does he formulate a strategy? Does he write texts? It is impossible to choose the right partner, if we do not know what we ask of him! Below we will briefly explain the roles and specialties.
The challenge from the digital marketer
Inability to adapt to business goals
Marketers, most of the time, are not entrepreneurs. They are “experts”. That means while they may know their subject matter well, they do not understand the wider business
strategy. Thus, their services may be perfect, but not profitable for the their customer.
What digital marketing includes
The objects and specialties of digital marketing are many. In fact, they become
more if we add the “peripheral” or “support” work. The important thing is to understand that digital marketing includes 3 stages, which must be performed in the correct order.
Stage 1: Strategy Development
It goes without saying that the marketer who will design and cost the strategy of an internet business must understand the capabilities, needs and prospects of the business.
The formulation of the strategy is not done empirically, but is derived from keyword data analysis, competition analysis and audience mapping and tracking. It is imprinted on a PnL (Profit and Loss), ie in an income and expenditure budget for a period of 18 to 36 months.
Stage 2: Construction
The construction concerns not only the website, but also the marketing automations and
analytics. Thus, in this phase the following specialties are involved:
Branding has to do with the business in general and not only with digital marketing. It expresses what the business does, how it does it, why it does it and where a business goes and defines the specifications which will shape the style, aesthetics and communication in order to adapt to the target audience.
Website Design and UX (User Experience)
Often, when talking about design, we have in mind the aesthetic effect. In fact,
however, the design includes the architecture with which we offer the information and
In fact, the UX of a website is not completed at the design stage,
but it continues even after its construction! That is, it includes its constant optimization of
its effectiveness, based on actual data recorded during its use.
It’s just what the word says. Construction! It is done by a web developer who will preferably but not necessarily have some basic marketing knowledge. The developer’s job is
to build a website and maintain it technically. He will execute the design that will be
requested, but is not competent to decide on the strategy of a business.
Construction of regional instruments
When we talk about regional media, we mean a company’s social media pages, bots,
live chat and more.
Installation of Automation and Analytics tools (MarTech)
It is the marketer who will decide the tools that will be used for
implementation of the strategy and recording of Analytics. This requires knowledge of programming, which can be important in larger projects.
Data Analysis & Visualization
The object of the data analyst starts from the composition of the tracking plan, i.e. the data that needs to register a business in order to make decisions. Subsequently, he monitors and interprets this data.
Stage 3: Execution of the strategy
Having now decided on the strategy and goals of the presence of a business on the
internet and having built all the infrastructure required, it’s time to implement the strategy. Depending on what it contains, you will need some of the following
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the actions that are performed in order for the
web page to appear as high as possible in the Google results for searches that have value for the business.
It includes the selection, study, production and distribution of content on the internet, aiming at attracting an audience.
It is the creation, optimization and monitoring of advertisements on the internet.
Social Media Marketing
It is the utilization of social media, with the aim of attracting an audience.
It is the coordination and execution of an email campaign, in order to activate the existing
customers and the public who have expressed an interest in a company’s product or service
The criteria and the selection process of digital marketing partners
The correct order
Before deciding on the marketing actions you will implement, you need a strategy. That, not
only is not a luxury, but it will save you significant resources, both in terms of money and
time. Next, you need to build or customize the infrastructure dictated by your strategy, i.e. website, marketing automation, peripherals and analytics.
Finally, you need the experts who will undertake the execution of your strategy.
The selection criterion of the digital strategist
The digital strategist will help you shape your strategy. The criterion to choose
this partner, is his ability to understand and deal with the project from its business and not its marketing side.
Depending on your budget and the stage of development of your business, you can ask for a
comprehensive study or just consulting, to decide on the general directions.
The criterion for selecting the partners who will build the necessary infrastructure
Website Design: Choose the one that will talk to you about UX and architecture and not the one which will be limited to the aesthetic result!
Website Design: Here things are more difficult because you are asked to rate the technical training of a developer. Keep in mind that a developer’s obligation is not limited to the construction of the website, but also includes its technical maintenance (unless you have
explicitly agreed on something different). Prefer the one who will ask you for a small monthly remuneration for technical support! Otherwise, you risk ending up with a
website that will cease to function after some time or will need to
pay multiple along the way.
Marketing and analytics automation tools: This step is not just about
installation of marketing automation tools (marketing stack) and analytics code,
but it also requires their choice, among hundreds of different solutions. For the selection
the right person is the digital strategist, who has a developer’s knowledge.
To install them, you need a developer with marketing knowledge! Their combination is the growth marketer.
The criteria for selecting the partners who will undertake the execution of the strategy
The people who will undertake the implementation of strategic planning in everyday life
need to have at least a basic understanding of your business goals. If they do not understand the strategy they carry out, resources will be wasted. It is important to agree on
KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), i.e. the indicators that objectively reflect the
Marketer’s performance and how you will monitor them.
Understanding their role
It is important for the marketer to realize that he is performing a part of an overall design and for him to be willing to work in a team.
Holistic approach vs project fragmentation
An important decision to make is whether to outsource digital marketing to an
agency that can take undertake it all, or if you will share the project across different companies and freelancers, who each have a different specialization.
There is no right answer to this dilemma. The aim is to have proper coordination
and supervision at all stages and for all specialties to be involved.
All of the above are great as exercises on paper, but they are not always feasible due to
their cost. So what happens when the budget is limited?
Here, too, the role of the digital strategist is crucial, because he is the one who can adapt
the strategy to a tight budget, by prioritizing marketing actions based on cost and
their expected results. That is why, in any case, the starting point is always the strategy!
What should a business expect from digital marketing?
Digital marketing is a revenue channel and its effectiveness must be measured in
financial gains through business development.
Even in cases where the revenue does not come from online channels and can be seen
as difficult to assess the contribution of digital marketing, there are always indicators that objectively capture its performance.
A business should expect from digital marketing what it expects from every investment: profit
Kostas Michalopoulos, Business Consultant PRAKSIS BCC and CEO Novogrowth