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3 Essential Lessons Digital Marketers Can Learn From Corn

by | Nov 6, 2015 | Digital Marketing

I’ll be the first to admit it is almost unfathomable to imagine any lesson can be learned from a corn stalk, yet lessons that could be describes as essential for digital marketers. None the less, it is true. Before, I discuss these three lessons, I will tell you my corn cob story.

Growing up in Wisconsin, one thing I could depend on every year was that if the corn stalks were knee high by the fourth of July, by September there would be no shortage of corn on the cob. Even if the stalks were not knee high in July, I was always confident there would be an abundance of corn on the cob sometime in the fall.

Most people will agree that in order for corn to grow, its seeds need to be planted in fertilized soil and receive an efficient level of sun and water. This knowledge leads to the assumption that if you plant corn seeds in fertilized soil and they receive plenty of water and sunlight, you will eventually harvest corn on the cob.

After failing to grow corn every year in my Arizona garden, it has occurred to me that despite having extremely fertilized soil and attempting to provide the perfect level of sun and water, maybe corn on the cob just isn’t going to grow.

Then, as remarkable as this may sound, several months after giving up my corn growing endeavor, I noticed something growing out of the intersection between our cement patio and brick wall. A few months later, I realized it was a corn stalk.

Lesson 1 – You can’t apply the same digital strategy to all clients, even if they are in the same industry. Every client and every client location must have its own customized strategy that considers variation in location and other demographics.

In my opinion, a decision to hire a digital marketer (or agency) who does not value the process of customization is one of the most destructive decisions a company can make. Not only can this waste a lot of advertising dollars, but it prevents what otherwise could have resulted in high profits.

Just because corn grew well in Wisconsin did not mean corn would grow in Arizona, even when applying the same conditions.

Lesson 2 – Sometimes direct search campaigns are not the best option. That doesn’t mean digital marketing is not the best option. To yield the best ROI, it is imperative to test, test and test various platforms.

Most advertisers will agree that in order for a digital marketing strategy to be successful, direct search campaigns such as Google and Bing are imperative (the fertilized soil). Many marketers also believe that if appropriate settings, extensions, and other functionalities are applied and data driven optimization is performed (the water and sunlight), direct search campaigns will always be a success.

Although this is true in many cases, there are situations where despite how well a search campaign is built and optimized, it will not produce results.

Lesson 3 – Best results will come from integrated marketing tactics.

You may have heard that today’s technology environment has resulted in a complete shift of how consumers make buying decisions. I somewhat disagree. Even though the means of how consumers obtain the information they need to make a purchasing decision, the concepts are still the same.

Once upon a time, advertisers exposed potential consumers to their products and services through print, TV and radio ads. Consumers then went into a brick and mortar store to evaluate and compare. Finally, consumers had verbal conversations to acquire opinions from people they trusted.

Today’s technology hasn’t changed the above steps, it has only made it quicker and easier to get to a buying decision. Advertisers expose customers to their products through digital ads, videos, and social engagement. Consumers conduct all their research online and depend on consumer reviews.

I had given up hope that my Arizona garden would ever grow corn. Then amazingly, in a crack between concrete and a brick wall, corn stalk started to grow. I’m not sure how the seeds ended up on the opposite side of the house from the garden (maybe it was the dogs or the wind). What I do know is that the corn stalk did not grow without integrated factors that I never would have considered important.

In summary, don’t assume you know what will or won’t work. Start with what you know, but continuously test new tactics, using an integrated approach that is unique for every client, location, and demographic.

If you have questions on how to ensure your digital marketing strategy is yielding the best results or how to get started, contact DirectiveGroup. We are always here to help grow your business.

“What the wise do in the beginning, fools do in the end.”
― Warren Buffett


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