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A digital marketing review is part of any marketing ‘best practice’ however it is often misunderstood.

As we head towards the end of January 2020, are you confident of where you want to be? Having time to reflect can be instrumental in helping you assess and leapfrog into February and beyond.

Let’s cut to the chase. You’re running and managing your business, as well as looking to grow and increase market share this year. You have experience. You know that marketing, especially digital, is a key part of your growth. You may even have an in-house team of experienced marketers.

So why are you not hitting the numbers? Why are KPIs so hard to reach and why does it seem the competition is doing better? More importantly, why have sales stagnated or even worse, started to head south?

You need some external expertise. You need people who do this day in, day out. Specialists in their field who will understand your objectives. Is it time to review your month now?

What is a Digital Marketing Review

Digital marketing reviews can come in a number of flavours. You can have a full blown technical and analytics audit or have a more strategic review that covers different aspects of approach and measurement.

So what is best? Do you need to be technical, strategic or both?

Normally, if you fall into any of these three categories below, you will almost certainly need a review however, it is always good practice to review at least every 3-6 months.

  • You’re using an agency and experiencing the issues highlighted at the beginning
  • You are running digital marketing internally and feel it could be doing better
  • Feel that your marketing is working though it could do with more tangible milestones

If any of these areas resonate, the need to take stock of where you are is paramount. The questions below will help you focus on planning your approach.

Here are three must-ask questions marketing professionals and their agencies need to ask themselves.

Question 1. What’s currently working well?

Worryingly, many marketing professionals as well as digital agencies that are involved in marketing, rarely ask this question.

Without both the marketing team and agency asking this simple question, it causes confusion and mistrust on both sides and in the long run, financial cost as you move along the project.

Remember – what worked well back then, may not necessarily be working now.

Though a simple question, understanding and quantifying what ‘working well’ means to each party is key.

So, how do we find out what’s working well? Three simple start points are:

  • Current success metrics or KPIs – drill down – How realistic are they? When were they set?
  • Google Analytics – this is the go-to tool of choice and if set up correctly will help determine success.
  • Think about what success would look like to you. Is it realistic, is it quantifiable and measurable?

In many cases, this first part of the process throws up many hidden elements that can then be addressed.

Asking these questions helps us to focus on what is working well and compare it to what isn’t. Resources can then be shifted accordingly and a deeper discussion can ensue.

Question 2. If I did nothing, what would it cost me?

When reporting to the board, stakeholders or investors, the age old question of Return on Invest (ROI) will pop up. There is always a need to demonstrate the costs that may be attached to staying where you are or the potential value of what a new move forward or change of direction may look like.

Another way of posing this question is, if I keep doing what I’m doing, how can I expect different results?

Some other areas that may help include:

  • What is the cost of doing the same thing this year as last year?
  • What is the impact on my time by doing these same things?
  • How does this manifest into my business practice?
  • What impact is this having on my customers?
  • How did I come across to prospects and customers last year?

The truth is, most people and businesses don’t ask the right questions. Those that delve a little deeper into this question can reflect on the areas that have been holding them back.

As Albert Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

In short, to do nothing is to stand still. In some cases, it is to go backwards.

Question 3. Why is that important to you?

Sometimes what is important may be a perception as opposed to reality. Sometimes it is easier to secure a budget and do the same things as last year.

In truth, if there is no continuing realignment of the business focus, then there is a sense of auto-pilot and you are in a marketing rut. As mentioned earlier, doing the same things and hoping for a positive outcome.

Stephen Covey, in his famous business book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People said, “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important”.

The reason to ask what is [genuinely] important, allows you to focus on the brutal reality of where you are and where you may want to reach.

If you have an internal team, there is a tendency to follow strategies, or mimic campaigns, that worked well a few years back. An example could be that historically, you won new customers through exhibitions and trade shows. The reason for following this pattern is sometimes:

  • We have always attended this show
  • This is our industry event – we have to show our face
  • Our clients may be there – and expect us to be there
  • We always win business at this show

Many agencies will take over an existing campaign and start charging the client more/less than what they were paying previously. The client may have a new agency because they want ‘better’ results – the agency will promise them (or allude to) better results.

This situation leads to a client’s objectives never ever being met and a negative spiral develops.

If we do not ask why, how can we truly understand the real objective?

Here is the dichotomy:

  • If you work with an agency, you will find that many agencies never have the guts to ask the real questions that matter.
  • In many (most) cases, sadly the client doesn’t know the right questions to ask – you only know what you know.

When an agency asks clients questions, they mainly concern themselves with the thrust of the campaign and possibly the goals the client is looking to achieve, trying to improve on past performance. The agency only knows what they know.

Smart clients and many good agencies will refer themselves to an independent specialist or digital consultancy.

This is not an easy process but a vital one. Some questions would be:

  • How have you arrived at these goals?
  • Have you tried another way of fulfilling your objectives?
  • Why do you believe that the current cost per acquisition is X?
  • What would a good outcome look like to you?

In many cases, we cannot take things at face value and need to justify our thinking and actions when it comes to what is important.

If it’s not a priority or you don’t feel it’s that important – it’s unlikely you want to move forward.

In conclusion, a review is important. Contact the team now and see how a review can help you grow your business.

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