Smarter Marketing Blog

Are you using digital marketing, or still renting eyeballs and ears?

“We want to create value for you by sharing marketing tips and timesavers” – O’C&K.

Build your own audience based on relationships.

In recent days I’ve been hearing and reading that the Irish economy is bottoming out of its economic downturn. Whilst the retail sector is still struggling, many of us SMEs are starting to think about long term plans.

One of the areas we should closely examine is digital marketing because online spending is the one sector of the economy that is actually growing year on year. It does appear however that investment in this area by Irish brands have not kept pace with the extraordinary growth due in the main, I suppose, to lack of positive sentiment and the usual cutting of marketing spend by businesses in a recession. This needs to be addressed ASAP because online spending is due to grow to 7% of all expenditure in the next three years. We all need to be ready to capitalise on this growth.

Renting eyeballs and ears is so last century.

In fairness though, some SMEs have at least started the online journey. Either through their own sources or from outsourced advice, it is slowly dawning on them that instead of borrowing audiences from traditional channels, being online is enabling them to go directly to customers and prospects. The changing marketing environment means that there is not a need to just rent eyeballs and ears with TV, radio, print and promotions. Now they can work on building their own audience online (and offline), based more on direct relationships. The online element is an opportunity to expose the real  brand  story by posting timely, useful, and sharable content for their customers and prospects.

A Valeria Maltoni blog here  (from an Economist Unit report#) has some interesting trends in this regard. The chart below “shows how most companies (57%) are still relying on their website as their main communication tool, followed by e-mail (37%). Only 27% are using social media, with just 13% using mobile apps. That mix will change over the next three years. Companies in the survey say social media will become their number-one channel (43%) and their use of apps will leap fourfold.”


In general, I think that we are moving in the right direction but the reluctance to fully embrace digital marketing here in Ireland seems to be that SMEs are not sure which horse (channel) to back from the plethora of options open to them. In addition, quite a lot of, self appointed, online gurus with no marketing background, sometimes are advising which technologies to use based on personal preference rather than what’s best for the SME. Choose your marketing partners carefully.

Tips and Timesavers.

Obviously, everyone with a smart phone and an internet presence effectively becomes a content creator, these days; however for all of us it is imperative that we adhere to the basic tenets of marketing.  – *know yourself, *know your customer, *know what they want and *know what your competitors aren’t doing – . Thereafter your brand story or marketing content should be filtered through your business objectives. That’s where a digital content strategy comes in.

Do you recognise some or all of these challenges?

  • You are engrossed in the operational side of the business not marketing.
  • Managing external agencies together with internal colleagues is not always easy.
  • Traditional mass marketing was easier – now relationship building needs different skills.
  • There is so much information available; it seems hard to know where to start.
  • Some online gurus are focused on the tools rather than the business objectives.

To conclude – I think the good news is that there are opportunities to grow your business using digital marketing. Also, it is starting to emerge that companies who embrace short and focused online campaigns as an integral part of their overall marketing activity will reap the rewards. Those that continue with big, mass market campaigns will be left behind by their own customers, who have completely changed their expectations.

If you have any other tips or timesavers please leave a reply below. If you’d like to receive similar content, just subscribe by clicking through the pink button, on this page.  Of course if you want to get in touch, leave your details and perhaps we might meet for a chat, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K

3 responses to “Are you using digital marketing, or still renting eyeballs and ears?”

  1. We R Movers says:

    I needed to thank you for this fantastic read!! I definitely loved every bit of it.
    I have got you book marked to look at new things you post…

  2. Ignacio says:

    Hi, find your article very good. I like how it is structured. Nevertheless, how is the current marketing for the Irish SME? How do the owners can select a marketing agency? If you have one , how can the owners asset and measure the performance of digital marketing and the marketing agency as well ?.

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