How Digital Competency Defines Marketing Success in the Attention Economy

Digital competency sounds like marketing speak. It is not.

Today, as never before, barriers to entry for small biz brads are defined by your ability or lack thereof to shape technology to fit your business rules.

Over 37% of small business owners plan to spend more on digital the next 12 months.



Technical competency is a brand definer and is baked in to all marketing processes.

Your customers, regardless of markets, are embracing mobile and abandoning conventional TV, desktop and laptops. Mobile usage skyrocketed from 14% to 25% in the last two years.

  • You must get a grasp of technical infrastructure. Even baseline Hosting and Server provisioning is challenging for many. Click this link for a two page doc (Dropbox no reg required) outlining fundamental infrastructure issues.
  • Bigger brands like Starbucks and GoPro have integrated social technology and platforms with business rules. Social silos are disappearing; they must be integral with your business activities.
  • With over 1,800 marketing platforms you have a lot of choices.
  • Millennials are driving all markets and tech enables connectivity with this demographic.
  • Tech is married to disintermediation.
  • Platform algorithms define whether or not you get heard: LinkedIn’s Pulse is a sterling example.
  • Your customers want a unified experience across all digital touch-points.

Today Follower Counts on Twitter or Friends on Facebook are Somewhat Meaningless

It’s a Get Listed, Grouped and/or Aggregated Social Word - Getting Attention

  • Be Patient - “social success” does not happen overnight.
  • Share great content that is niche targeted: 80% news 10% brand promotion & 10% creative mix.
  • Recognize your a “media brand” and share “softer more mainstream content” on the week-ends and non prime time.
  • Inject some pizazz into your account: creative mix. Don’t be boring. Take risks.
  • Be real: bogus automation does nothing for you. In fact, it turns off a lot of people.
  • Don’t be too textual: 20% of all content shared should be visual. Snackable content drives mobile engagement.
  • Create your own lists and be sure to include your own account.
  • Social relevance is defined by content in context.


Eight Critical Issues to Address to Ensure Digital Competency for your Company

  1. Smart content rules the digital ecosystem: short, punched up, factual, informative and with a baked in sales funnel.
  2. Web analytics is one of the best analysis tools for understand whether your content is driving engagement.
  3. Influencer marketing drives brand reach. Over 56% of consumer purchasing decisions are made based on recommendations from others. Know getting to these people is challenging, requiring forethought, not hasty email pings.
  4. Put money in assets you control and own: your brand is renting on social media: all have their idiosyncrasies, demanding technical expertise and they are built to deliver ROI to investors or public markets.
  5. Strip down to get heard: logos, taglines, et al are somewhat passe. Today’s social drenched consumers don’t pay attention to many of these details. Get to market and forget the snazzy “marketing best practices” rules of the road.
  6. Don’t worship false agency Gods. Recognize collaboration is key to brand wins in the marketplace. Agencies, consultants, freelancers, “experts” don’t have all the answers. The good ones have some of the answers; but the key to driving success is collaboration.
  7. Reaching your targeted consumer’s home screen is the new SEO: snackable mobile focused content, native apps like Instagram, mobile push notifications and even short form email.
  8. Recognize attention spans have dropped to about 8 seconds on average. Garnering attention requires excellence in tech and creativity.

Why collaboration fails with agencies.

  • “You cannot get out of your own way.” See: #ego on both sides of the table.
  • Don’t give the agency enough time to come up to speed on your market. No one knows your customers better than you. Again, collaboration builds success.
  • Budgets are out of alignment with business rules and your market segment. Every market is crowded and barriers to entry are out there.

The Social Web Enables High Value Low Cost Competitive Analysis

Your competitors are anywhere and everywhere and what kills you are things you don’t “see on your radar screen.”

  • Don’t self-define who your competitors are. Use low cost high value web tools and services: SpyFu, Google Trends, Compete, or Buzz Sumo
  • Monitor competitor hires and the associated data referenced in these job descriptions. These will give you real insight about their marketing strategy.
  • Use Twitter lists to aggregate information about your competitors: their accounts, hashtags, who they are following and their exec staff activity.

Design Matters and Defines How your Business Connects with Consumers

Design just matters and defines the user experience for your customers, web site visitors, how others are engaging with you across the social web.

  • Getty images stand out for good reason. Cheap is not the same as quality. Invest in your visual content.
  • Nothing wrong with using Templates for web site design; but, customization elements are critical to making your design stand out.
  • Committees and egos kill more great designs than anything else.
  • For design, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder: your husband, wife, BOD member or next door neighbor may not be a good reference point for design analysis.

Mobile Moments and Engagement Define Your Brand as Never Before

In the ancient day’s of “everything Google search” consumers found your content in three primary ways: search results, referral vie email or they saw it on Facebook via their desktops.

Mobility now intersects any and all channels. Mobile users are bypassing content by accessing mobile apps on their phones and check their phones an average of 100 times per day.

The end game for digital competency is really getting your brand in front of that mobile user’s home screen and piquing their interest.

Your grasp of digital technology, content marketing, design and social platform selection and usage define your levels of engagement and success!