Evil digital buzzwords

At times, it may seem that marketing is changing so quickly that what was true yesterday is no longer true today. However, it is really just an illusion. The same way the television or radio are not dead, neither is the consumer of 50+ of age – on the contrary, they are getting stronger and the disproportion between their purchasing power and their use for targeting advertising campaigns is getting weaker. Neither consumption habits nor patterns of buying behavior have died, nor have they fundamentally changed in many respects. The Top Four Dumb buzzwords came into the selection.


Building your marketing strategy on the principle of digital first is like the first page of a detective story to reveal who the killer is. Instead of the word “digital”, mobile, social media and the likes can be less or more confusingly installed.

The choice of strategy and channel occurs only after you have decided which segment you target within the market you operate in and what your brand’s position is against the target segment. An honest marketer will first find out what the situation is in a given market/category and if the skeleton is hidden in the supply-side closet. Subsequently, through research, the marketer identifies how a company or brand stands within a given category; prepares a marketing strategy in which he/she decides on what segment will he/she target and how the brand stands against the selected segment. Finally, he/she quantifies marketing goals, an example of a nicely set goal is to increase Brand preferences by 15% in the biomother segment by Q3 2020 and to match it with an estimated increment in sales. Ultimately, the time comes to decide whether and what ad platforms on Google or Facebook will you use.

Jumping on all the new and sparkly is exactly what advertising, in the newspeak parlance “technology”, giants want from the advertisers, but it often has nothing to do with what companies/brands really need.

The strategy, as a result, should be quite simply explainable for non-marketers. However, this does not change the need to make considerable efforts in its creation. The effectiveness of marketing communication, unfortunately, is dropping steadily and dividing communication on digital and non-digital contributes to this. As evidenced by the annual Effie show, the most successful campaigns are those integrated ones, which are based on a marketing strategy.


Communication is just one of the components of marketing, and very often the least important one. If you have a quality product, the customer has no problem to get it, and at a price corresponding to quality, quite possibly with no communication bypass. Sure, with good advertising, it will go faster and you will outperform the business plan, but if communication is to compensate for the non-competitive component of the product/price/distribution, you’d better sharpen up. Someone who identifies themselves as a marketing specialist should be able to alert you to any shortcomings and work with them. However, it often happens that when you show your problem to a digital specialist, they suggest you campaigns in Google Ads. If you show the same thing to a social media specialist, they suggest addressing it via Facebook.

Usually, everyone considers themselves a marketing specialist, but not one usually understands anything beyond the servicing of their learned advertising platform. Communication will not save you and if product, price or distribution are getting jammed, the last thing the company needs is communication. Too much attention is being paid to debate over formats and channels. If someone describes themselves as a strategist and with a proud pre-label Digital, Social Media, SEO or PPC, there is no solution to the problem in sight.

So should companies ignore digital advertising? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It depends on a lot of things that digital specialists don’t know they don’t know. In presentations from Facebook and Google, they simply don’t know much else, and it’s often their only marketing awareness. If business doesn’t go as planned, communication and digital advertising may not help.


Customers do not have an emotional relationship with brands and do not create romantic ideas about them. The vast majority of consumers don’t care about brands, and if a majority ceased to exist over night, only 19% of consumers would mind.

Even those brands that are considered to be lovebrands, tend to have a low proportion of their sales generated by  the most loyal group of customers. Byron Sharp reports that for the Harley Davidson brand it is less than 10%. The level of loyalty to the brand is then much more significantly linked to market penetration, the larger the market share, the greater the loyalty to the brand. The emotional attachment to the brand didn’t change much about the results. The excess of communication activity towards heavy buyers and the neglect of communication towards non-customers then leads to a falling market share.

A classic example of an inappropriate approach to targeting is reaching out to fans on your Facebook page for engagement, which has been refuted many times by Facebook itself.

A strong brand is among the most important goals of and for every marketer and the ultimate mission of advertising is creating strong brands. However, you need to keep your feet firmly on the ground and not to create irrational ideas about the behavior and motivations of customers. Each brand should strive to achieve the highest possible values in standardized brand metrics. Anything beyond that belongs in the realm of illusions.


ROI is a metric that gives a nice picture of efficiency. But, as a rule, it provides a poor idea of the effectiveness of marketing endeavors. In terms of approaches, the ROI is equivalent of performance marketing, which generates quick results, gives an illusion of cheapening of the marketing investment, and creates the impression that funds are invested efficiently. Unfortunately, this is only true in the short term. In the long run, both an over-oriented ROI metric and performance marketing are both highways to hell. As anywhere else, a quick and easy way is usually the least suitable. Deciding purely on the basis of ROI metrics leads to short-term goals that will destroy the company and the brand, in the long run.

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?

Byron Sharp compared the situation in marketing to medicine in the Middle Ages – bloodletting had been a common practice for several centuries. Similarly, today in marketing, practices that do not rely on empirical knowledge are tested, and in the field there are active people who do harm to it and actually do not even have the qualifications for the performance of the profession. On the other hand, companies that don’t pop up on buzzwords, understand the marketing craft, and don’t get themselves bamboozled, get even better results then. And that’s not a bad vision.