A sobering tweet came across my Twitter feed a week ago before writing this review. TechCrunch reported that the first website, “a placeholder page written by Sir Berners-Lee,” is 20 years old.
That’s younger than MTV, below the legal age for a Jack Daniels if we were talking about a teenager, and an ultra-short period when compared to other industries such as automotive and modern steelmaking (both a product of the late 1800s).
So there’s valid justification for digital marketing still being experimental, right? Well, one book that takes the experiment out and puts results in is Digital Impact: The Two Secrets to Online Marketing Success  by eMarketer CEO and co-founder Geoff Ramsey, and McCann Worldgroup marketing leader Vipin Mayar.
I received a free copy while attending an eMarketer Manhattan mixer celebrating the book’s publication. I really believe this book makes an excellent marketing guide for small businesses as much as it does for managers in a corporation.
Learn the best techniques to integrate your digital marketing for the best returns
The ideas Mayar and Ramsey reveal to address digital marketing weaknesses center on two key frameworks: performance management (identifying the right metrics based on exposure, strategic and financial concerns) and magnetic content (essentially, the “content is king” message, but with five criteria that help frame how valuable the content truly is for the receiver):
- Is the content unique?
- Is the content useful?
- Is the content well executed?
- Is the content fun?
- Does the content make good use of the channel in which it appears?
These frameworks are applied to current digital media available to big marketers and small businesses alike – search, display, email marketing, social media, online video and mobile – each medium treated in distinct chapters explaining subtleties of its application. I really liked this approach, which creates a serviceable workbook great for anyone just entering digital marketing and operating with a specific budget. ROI calculations are shown in each chapter, where appropriate, along with education regarding qualified reach and other metrics.
I give a huge thumbs up to the two ending chapters, one on integrating offline and online marketing, the other on dashboard creation tips. There’s no deep discussion on organizational challenges, but that topic would take another book to cover (I personally recommend Avinash Kaushik’s Web Analytics 2.0 ).
Bring the right data to ask the right questions and get the right answers for business
The authors explain in a straightforward manner why a book like Digital Impact is needed. After quoting a 2006 statement from former Proctor & Gamble marketing exec Jim Stengel on how consumer engagement has necessitated changes in capabilities and skills, the authors note the troubles that plague marketers today.
“We have less savvy marketers using new tools in bad old-fashioned ways. Tweeting out a random message about product feature or a two-for-one offer is as scattershot a strategy today as many mass-market network television ads were 30 years ago.”
The book is peppered with the latest eMarketer stats, as well as cases and references from other resources. All of this rightly speaks to marketers and in many ways small businesses that still believe a website, let alone any digital effort, is separate from their business strategy. One section, for example, explains why mobile is often overlooked.
“According to Forrester, about half of all retail sales in the United States are influenced by online researching and browsing, a growing portion of which is taking place on the mobile phone. Make no mistake: The bulk of these digitally influenced sales will actually take place in a store, but the impact from shopping via handheld devices is huge and growing.”
The six middle chapters may come across to a novice as if everything is essential, but the authors show how the combinations are best deployed. The search chapter wisely blends SEO and social media, while a chapter on display ads includes tips that aid SMBs making a first attempt on a limited budget:
“While you may have budget limitations, many of the larger-size banner units, like skyscrapers, leader boards and supersized rectangles, have been proven with the right creative to move the needle higher for brand marketers. Larger, more impactful ads consistently perform better than smaller ones, on average.”
If you are using information in a battle to convince colleagues of what marketing to choose, Mayar and Ramsey are the marketing marines you’d want saying “Semper Fi” to you.
A must-have for any business that is serious about marketing
eMarketer has proven itself to be top-notch asset for marketing research; Digital Impact is similarly useful as an excellent small business aid. This awesome read imparts an understandable blend of utility and information for anyone who needs to get into the basics of measurement without a discussion of analytic solution features.