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3 marketing principles for succeeding in the digital age

The rulebook on marketing is being rewritten every day. Last year’s great new idea may already be history in 2020.

Let’s step back a moment and look at a famous example:

In 1940, after France was overrun by Germany, there were still French people who thought they should’ve won if it hadn’t been for those “damn pesky Panzer tanks”.

The truth is they were fighting using previous technology & tactics, and that was why they lost their whole country.

The same phenomena is happening today with famous brands issuing profit warnings, or going under every week, succumbing to the digital age. And we see it in every marketplace, from High St clothing stores, to banks, to national newspapers.

The startling thing is they were all convinced their plans to adapt were correct.

Today every business is affected. Only those who’ve truly grasped the meaning of the constantly-changing digital landscape will make headway.

So here are 3 principles that will increase your chances of finding new opportunities to win

- principles which will serve any marketer well in this bewildering yet wonderfully rewarding digital age of opportunity.

Principle 1: Learn to Earn

Everything today is about making data-driven decisions. Hunches aren’t allowed any more.

Yet few really know how to understand the bewildering flood of data.

There’s so much of it. And it often contradicts, or comes in different formats that don’t seem to connect. Try aligning Alexa data with Google data to see what I mean.

If you want to quickly test yourself, answer these questions honestly:

Do you know the difference between Bounce Rate and Exit Rate?

Do you know the 3 different types of Facebook ads, and the cost differences?

Do you know which keywords are driving your paying traffic, as apart from your non-paying traffic?

These are just basic questions, used as examples. You’ll have your own questions more relevant to your business.

The truth is that the only way to make data-based decisions is to understand the tools that spit out the data, whether cloud, xls or intranet based tools.

And this means learning how to use the tools well enough to know which tools work, and which don’t, and when, and why.

You could say it like this:

Which bits of which tools work for my business - and how can I consolidate them in a meaningful way that’ll generate the data that’ll drive the business forward?

The process starts with consistent learning as an everyday activity, backed up by regular courses, team reviews, mentoring, and seminars.

It’s only daily familiarity that’ll make the data more meaningful, enabling you to pick out the vital trends that matter to your business

- as apart from the deluge of irrelevant data that threaten to overwhelm us.

But once you can identify the right kind of data you need

- and then make the solid data-based decisions

- because you’re able to identify what matters

- and know what doesn’t matter

- do you have a chance of earning.

Learn to Earn rocks. Do courses. Read books. Meet experts. Keep at it every day. Formally dedicate some daily time for this.

The opposite equally applies: Ignorance will get you ignored. So be flexible, and keep an open mind.

2 - Tell to Sell

This sounds super obvious - Tell to Sell.

It’s like an old school sales motto, like the Customer is always Right.

But today Tell to Sell implies:

- you know exactly who you’re selling to, their exact persona, their exact market niche

- you know exactly why they might buy from you, and why they might not

- you know exactly where they’ll buy from you, whether website, social media or wherever

- you know exactly what your competitors are up to, and how to beat them

Only then can you formulate your proposition well enough to stand out and merit purchase.

This is what Tell to Sell means in the data-driven decision-based digital marketing age.

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3 - Discover to Win

Have you noticed how everyone is copying everyone else?

We’re all compulsive blog readers and youtube watchers.

The bloggers & vloggers are all copying each other.

This is absolutely true, as professional bloggers, the people responsible for a large chunk of the blogosphere, simply ask Google what the popular blog topics are.

Then they rehash existing high-ranking blogs to generate new informed copy (joke intended) and so win better SEO ranking.

The net result is that they’re all saying the same things.

The worst outcome is that we all believe it because it must be true if everyone says it’s true.

Running through all this mimicry, almost like a watermark, is the complete absence of new data and information.

Example: Everyday I read & hear “videos have to be short because audiences won’t watch for more than 60 seconds”. This patently isn’t true. It’s merely a generality. I have viewing data stats that confirm this.

Yet we still copy everyone else’s perceived wisdom or general truisms.

Conveniently this shared ignorance also creates an opportunity for the nimble.

The Discover to Win principle is how you can change the game in your favour.

Today it’s a marketer’s professional duty to regularly discover something new that will have a positive or even world-shattering effect in your marketplace.

There’s enough data out there for this to happen.

It means understanding the data from every source, and checking if it’s really true for you

- or if it’s only a blogger truism, a hand-me-down from 2 years ago, something that everybody’s still reading because Google keeps serving it up.

You have to find your own data, your own method, or data-backed trusted source to discover what’s really going down.

And this process of discovery has to be a regular event, a daily practice.

To win in your marketplace you have to keep discovering something new - new patterns large and small - if you intend to win.

Then adapt your proposition accordingly to make it more effective, more buyable.

Just for interest, here’s something new I learned watching a Panorama documentary about Amazon. It’s this:

After deep AI analysis of the trillions of customer data touch points, Amazon concluded that people are greedy, lazy & horny.

So you might as well forget whatever else you think about customers, as this is gold standard new Amazon data you can harness to win in your market.

Discover to Win in order to find out what is true, and how you can use it to achieve your goals.

Summary

You’ll notice that Learn to Earn, Tell to Sell, and Discover to Win all link together as marketing principles. They’re all connected.

They’re certainly challenging.

They require radical open-mindedness and flexibility.

But they offer you a compass in this very fast moving digital marketing age, a route to succeeding when others around you are not.

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