Precision

How to overcome the commoditisation of Digital Marketing

posted by Precision | 9th Aug 2016

How do you make the best profits from clients who need marketing? The answer used to be simple: sell them digital services.07-01

Not so long ago, digital was something new. Everyone was being told that they needed to get on the digital bandwagon. It was the new way to find the right prospects and clients, easily measurable and, in theory, much cheaper than print.

But there was a problem for many companies. They didn’t know what they should be doing. Digital was a closed book for many people in marketing — that’s where digital specialists and agencies came in. They knew exactly the right channels and apps to use so they could help their clients make sense of the new digital age.

For a while, this new order worked. Everyone was happy. Companies got good results. They were happy with their agencies. The agencies were able to charge high profits for their work. Everyone focussed on digital. Print became the unloved, expensive and forgotten relation to digital.

But now the world has changed: digital is no longer an easy route to high profits.
There are three trends that have happened over the past few years that mean that it is far harder to sell digital profitably.

Firstly, a lot more people are trying to sell digital services. The marketplace has become highly competitive and price-driven. If you want to sell digital services, you have to be prepared to do so on very thin margins.

Next, it has become a lot easier to do digital marketing yourself. Many companies have chosen to hire a cheap school leaver to manage social media rather than use an agency. The worrying thing is that these school leavers often achieve results that are as good, if not better, than many digital agencies.

Finally, it is much harder to get the same results from digital that people achieved a few years ago. Digital marketing used to make a company stand out. Now people are bombarded by so much e-communication that most of it just becomes noise. The average digital marketing communication is simply ignored.

This means that many marketing agencies and providers are struggling. They are fighting a lot more competition to win work at much lower margins. The clients that they do win are often less than impressed, simply because it so much harder to get good results from digital marketing these days.

So what is the solution?

You may be better off suggesting print marketing to clients
Print marketing has become increasingly rare. Companies that use print actually stand out from the crowd. Their marketing material typically achieves much higher prospect engagement. Traditional print, supposedly so expensive and ineffective compared to digital, is making a comeback.

Naturally, the print world has changed slightly. The most effective campaigns tend to focus on very targeted campaigns to fewer prospects. But the cost of the individual marketing piece has risen. Print has also become much more interactive. Ideally, it is connected to digital. This means that there are some good opportunities for agencies to add real value to the campaigns that they create for their clients.

Aren’t you biased in promoting print: after all, you provide printing services!
Let’s look at some case studies and research that prove the effectiveness of print. Recent studies by Fluent and Marketing Charts both show that print advertising is more effective than mobile, e-mail and apps. People are more likely to remember a specific advert if they have seen it in print rather than through an e-channel.

Research also shows that direct mail is also much more effective than we might think. Have a look at this page to see some startling facts about direct mail or just remember that 80% of adults have kept some mail that companies have sent to them in the last four weeks.

Remember that major brands are using print too. In the UK, key digital brands like Google and LinkedIn have been using print to interact with prospects and customers.

Isn’t print only for older generations?
Nothing could be further from the truth. Print is also highly effective in engaging millennials. Recent research from Direct Textbook shows that 72% of students prefer textbooks to e-books.

Research by USPS and AAPC show that mail is a vital communication channel to engage millennials in the US elections. 42% of millenials preferred direct mail compared to 20% that favoured online political advertisements.

Agencies that want engagement for any type of client should certainly be including print in their portfolio.

Isn’t producing print complicated?
In the past, agencies needed specialist print buyers. These buyers needed an extensive technical knowledge of all things print. They were an expensive resource.

The situation has now changed. It is much easier for agencies to manage print as more online print sites come to the marketplace. They have taken the pain out of buying print. Specialist knowledge is no longer necessary and it is possible to get instant pricing and complete guides on how to prepare artwork.

How do you make the best profits from clients who need marketing?

The answer is simple: sell them print.