Digital

I love technology. When new tech stuff comes out, I immediately fall victim to the ‘wannahave’ mentality. For some it’s shoes. For me it’s gadgets. But too often, the adrenaline kick is short-lived: great idea, no real use. There go my Apple Watch, fitness belt, smart charger and pocket drone. My ‘uncool drawer’ is full of items like these. But hey – worst case, I’ve burned through a couple of hours of my time (and a few pounds worth of cash).

How do you make a room full of marketers ditch all rules and follow you blindly? It’s simple. Get on stage, say the word ‘digital’ 10 times and then follow it up with a flashy movie. Not a single marketing conference goes by without some guru trumpeting random digital assertions at their nodding audiences. What worries me more than my own habits is the digital wannahave mindset these talks create.

The rise of the ‘digital naïve’

Let’s face it: around the globe, marketers spend big bucks on digital marketing tools and advertising without any real strategy (let alone business goals). When challenged, people throw out buzzwords like ‘customer experience’ or ‘buying journeys’ in order to mask what is often a mindless digital shopping spree. It is puzzling. Don’t get me wrong: I believe digital tools are crucial for business success – in fact they may even transform your brand’s customer experience. But blindly jumping on the latest digital bandwagon doesn’t make anyone a digital native – in reality, that’s just digitally naïve.

It was refreshing to read recently that Procter & Gamble is cutting $100m from its digital advertising budget. According to the company’s finance chief Jon Moeller, that spend was largely ineffective.

Just to be clear, he did not say that digital marketing is ineffective, or that P&G will stop digital marketing altogether (they won’t). And for a firm that spends $2.45bn per year on US advertising alone, $100m is pretty much peanuts. What is marvellous about P&G’s move is the leadership message it sends: we tried this and it didn’t help the business, so we are changing course.

There is much to learn from the P&G case, and here is what I would advise you to take from…