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The seven deadly sins of Digital Marketing

Marketers are still making basic faux pas when it comes to a digital strategy.

Having started my digital career back in the bubble years of the late 1990s, I have seen, and sometimes been involved in, some pretty serious work-related digital sinnery.

As the saying goes “we live and learn”, and given the pace of digital change, we have to learn very quickly. However, here we are in 2015, and yet we still see some very avoidable mistakes:

1.Treating Digital as an Add On

Giving your digital agency the brief about a month before the campaign launches is not acceptable. Digital is not just a box that needs to be ticked, it can often be the central consumer awareness and engagement platform.

So if you are a client marketing body, give your digital agency a break and brief everyone together. You just might find yourself with a killer idea centered around digital engagement.

2. Ignoring the Next Step

You’ve spent money on building digital assets (websites, Facebook pages, Instagram accounts), and you’ve probably spent money on media to get people there. So why not take the opportunity to continue the conversation by eliciting some contact data, email addresses and phone numbers? Data can even be collected from within interactive banners.

3. Live Chat is Dead!

How many times have you been greeted on a web page by a picture of a smiley looking representative asking, “How can we help?” You open up the live chat box, type in your question and are then left hanging.

If you’re in charge of website strategy, live chat seemed like a good idea at the time, offering consumers a 24-hour written response option, but somebody has to be there. If not, remove it, quickly.

4. Launching and Leaving

Website, Facebook page, Twitter, Line, Instagram…

“We need them all” is the battle cry from the digital department.


It’s understandable that marketing directors want to cover all the bases and make sure all consumer touch points are available. And it’s also understandable that agencies are all too often keen to play along with this money making, scattergun approach. But the end game will be lots of unkempt, deserted online shop windows for brands.

It is much better to launch fewer assets, keep them updated, and be more skillful in leading consumers to well-tended social media accounts.

If you are going to abandon an online asset, remove it properly with a professional take down, including warning messaging, just in case there are a few consumers still lurking around.

5. Not Doing Mobile and Tablet Optimization

There can’t be any excuse for this anymore. We’re constantly being bombarded with data about the latest mobile Internet figures. So why do so many sites still hide up in the left corner of tablets or appear as postage stamps on phones?

If you’re an agency, this is a business opportunity. And if you’re a client, grab the glory and take the task in hand or suffer the consequences.

6. Measuring Everything and Doing Nothing

We’ve all been trained and seen the latest sparkly interactive reports and dashboards, but be honest, how often do we really dig into all the data being thrown at us on a daily basis?

That’s because these things need time and skill to understand, let alone interpret and glean insights from.

So to gain real perspective and action from digital measurement, be prepared to invest in people and time to make measurement actionable.

7. Posting Pictures From Google: Fail

We’re so used to searching for information, images, videos, and general content for our personal consumption that when it comes to the web and work, we forget about that little thing called the law.

It’s common practice in Southeast Asia to post photos on a company’s Facebook page, for example, without asking prior permission from the owner.

This is a grey area, but even if you credit the source of a photo when using it, you’re still on shaky legal ground and may find yourself at the mercy of an IP lawyer.

To save yourself from worry, pay for pictures or seek written permission.

I’ve only listed seven pretty common sins here, there are, of course, so many more. It would be interesting to hear what other people regularly encounter. Leave your comments below.

by Nick Annetts