Imran is a Senior Examiner for the Diploma in Digital Marketing awarded by the Chartered Institute of Marketing.
He is experienced in the rapid development of rich e-learning content which is being used to educate business professionals in over 50 countries as well as working with senior management teams to develop staff training programs for Digital Marketing skills with various companies including Hewlett Packard, Bell Pottinger and 3M.
1. We hear a great deal about Social Media Marketing today. Should this be the main focus for a company’s Digital Marketing activities?
It definitely should be one of the main tools or channels in the mix as that is where the gravity of the internet is. There are lots of networks and if you Google “Social Media Map” you will see some interesting visuals showing all the social media networks on the internet!
The main ones include Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and some of the upcoming local networks. Before jumping into any of these tools it is worth researching or monitoring the buzz on these networks which will give you customer insight into what is relevant to your products, market and business activity. For example, Linkedin has a Q&A and groups section where you can see what people are talking about, Facebook has an advertising area where you can view detailed audience profiles and Twitter search & trends can show you what people are tweeting about.
2 What advice would you give companies to ensure that they achieve the best results and returns from Digital Marketing?
Key advice is to segment as much as you can!
Target your audience using customer insight tools – always follow through with relevant messaging specific to your audience at each point of the campaign. If you are targeting specific keywords/audiences, the ads have to be relevant, the landing pages have to relevant, the sign-up/register has to be relevant, the email follow-up has to be relevant and then close the deal!
3. Should Digital Marketing be treated as a separate and specialist area within the marketing function (like SEO) or is it better treated as something with which all marketers should be involved?
Everything is Marketing and the word Digital is the latest word being used to describe the explosion of new ways and tools to reach customers. There is a big issue at the moment as there is a divide between Marketers and Digital/Technical people. Digital is being treated as a bolt-on and may have worked in the early days but right now it is not working as everything needs to be joined up. So the digital activity has to be at the core of marketing and other functions in a business.
4. As a Senior Examiner for the CIM, how strong are Marketers skills in the area of Digital Marketing today? What can they do to further improve them?
There are some Marketers already out there who launching amazing online campaigns and generating brilliant results on the money they are spending. Marketers are all at different levels in terms of general digital marketing skills and also at different levels in terms using different digital and social media tools.
The main reasons why some Marketers are struggling is an information overload and not having the right mind set. I think it is important to have a clear understanding of what you are trying to do within the business and then utilise the appropriate digital tools.
For example, you may be trying to generate leads, convert leads into sales or build relationships – depending what your aim is, there are different digital tools you could use at each stage.
Useful websites to increase your knowledge in Digital and stay up to date;
Useful Customer Insight tools;
It is really important to get a foundation of digital marketing knowledge which allows individuals to quickly grasp and leverage the opportunities in Digital. The CIM digital marketing qualifications are the best in the market place right now to gain this foundation.
5. Finally, how do you think Marketing Education and Training will evolve with the continued growth in Cloud Computing and Mobile Technology?
I am looking forward to seeing the growth in both these areas as I think they will play a key role in joining up a number of business and marketing functions. Mobile is big and will be big every year for the next few years.
We are living in a world where content is being produced at rapid speed, we are consuming a lot of information and to stay on top we must be able to learn and respond on the go – advances in both software and hardware technology is really changing both production and consumption of information so it is important that everyone has an effective, on-going content strategy in place.
Peter Rees DipM FCIM FRSA MCIPR, Chartered Marketer
PR Strategic Marketing Ltd.