Pure and simple

The other week I was called a digital marketing purist. This was as a result of my recommending that we run a survey in a phased manner on our organic channels to test engagement first. The idea being that we could then see which of our followers are the most engaged, and our greatest advocates, before running any targeted posts. We could also better judge how much we'd need to spend to hit our desired amount and possibly target specific groups that were under represented in the final result.

This isn't the first time I've been referred to as a purist though, and hopefully it wasn't meant as a criticism or that I'm out of touch! What I think the person meant was that what I'm actually doing is ensuring that our all marketing is 'clean'. This is especially important to me as digital marketing can be quite a muddy environment on which to advertise. I'm sure we've all struggled in the past to get full transparency from suppliers and agencies on how something is actually performing. Clarity of impact is very important if we are to learn from, and refine, our strategies going forward.

Sometimes, getting a true measure of success can be difficult, and this is even true of campaigns we're running purely in house (i.e. without any agency support). How accurate are the statistics we're being fed by Google Analytics - and similar - anyway? In revamping our social media reporting I began thinking that some numbers are so huge (tens of thousands) that they are almost meaningless. What really matters is hard conversions which can be directly tracked back to marketing activity.

This 'clean' way of doing things means improving the user experience and having more accountability, so consumers aren’t irritated and our brand doesn’t fear fraud or misplacement. Now that I work for a brand with a very good reputation the last thing we want is for any advertising to appear on sites which are inappropriate, or not in keeping with our values. 

One way in which I haven't been so 'pure' is in the launch of our new events calendar. The cleanest approach to this would be to write a full brief for our preferred solution and then get our developers to build it all in-house. This would mean that everything existed purely in our CMS and we would have full ownership of every element - a long road I've been down before! But in researching various plug-in solutions that are available (to help scope out some features) I found something which already fitted the bill of what we were after.

Tockify is a ready-built solution that took literally minutes to configure. So after signing up for their trial I ran some tests and was very impressed with how seamlessly it all integrated. This got me thinking that if something is already built that works then why try and replicate it? The small annual cost for a solution is literally nothing if you take into account the staff time in briefing, building and testing.
There's also our users to think about. In this case we were looking to colleagues to submit and tag up their own events. Again, if something is already about as user-friendly as it gets then why try to reinvent it?

In fact, we're all using plug-ins all over our sites already. No-one would attempt to build their own website analytics platform to avoid giving Google our data. It's just important to not go too crazy with this and slow your website down!

So, maybe I am a purist after all. There is a lot to be said for keeping things simple wherever possible to deliver quicker results (something I'm still eager to do as I try to impress my new employers) and clearly attribute and track what is working for us and what isn't. 
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