#cong14 (2)

My good friend Eoin, who is the heart and soul of the #cong event asked me to shrink in 600 words the gist of what I will talk about in Ireland, and this is my attempt; this is the proverbial killing of two birds with the same stone, as my publisher asked me for a similarly-sized presentation.

Why is Digital Marketing like a bicycle?

Essentially because, like in a bicycle, you have two wheels who serve two very different purposes, but are both equally important.

The REAR wheel provides impulse, energy, velocity; the rear wheel is all about knowing how to manage a Digital project, be it large or small, where you break it down in phases whose progress you can easily measure, to avoid being swamped by the uncountable multitude of what you can measure (because in digital, you can measure everything).

Understanding how you break down a complex projects into its components is important, especially if you accept the fundamental law of Digital Communications which is that Brands do not control the medium (anymore), simply because the new crop of media is frictionless and only thrives on content or, to be more precise, on what Google perceives to be “good” (= worthy of Googlejuice). The new media needs advertising support, but instead of being directly paid as in the old times, such support is mediated by Google and therefore access to this financial support drastically depends on quality of content.

The Rear Wheel deals therefore essentially on how to engineer a sustainable system to sustainably produce content that Google will deem as “good” while at the same time retaining a strong connection with the Brand messages.

However, the Rear Wheel does not stop there, as Awareness must turn to Engagement and Engagement to Prospecting and – ultimately – to Sales.

People can and should be followed as they walk the so-called Customer Journey (which, by the way, does not stop at the sale, as we want to make sure every happy customer becomes an Advocate for our Brand); while the process can and should be measured in its overall yield, much more interesting is breaking this total yield in phase-related yield, setting target and success criteria, but also providing a sure-fire way to look at where the cogs are not working to perfection, what to improve and how.

This sort of Governance helps large Corporations to deal with the sense of uneasiness coming from the acceptance of the loss of control embedded in the basic principle, replacing it with a steering mechanism that may be perceived as more complex, but once it is understood, it’s really not complex at all.

And the FRONT Wheel?

The front wheel of a bicycle provides direction: it does not matter how strong we push on the pedals, without a sense of direction we’ll never get to our desired destination.

The Front Wheel deals therefore with the softer issues that often sink even the most successful Digital Marketing program.

Once you master the mechanical nature of the Rear Wheel, you may be tempted to reduce everything to spreadsheets and dashboards, forgetting that large Corporations are complex entities: a successful project may grind to a halt because we failed to involve the right company function at the right moment, asking them the right questions in a language they can understand and respond to. Communications, Marketing, Sales, Top Management and Customer Support need all to be involved so that the successful pilot becomes a team success that everybody can regard as their own and they can build upon.

Finally the Front Wheel is about the Team; who do you bring on board, who does what when, how do you rotate people and professionals in and out of the team, how do you lead it.

Hopefully the speech will make attendees curious enough so that they will want to buy the book, which premieres in Cong for its launch.


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