Expert Interview Series: David Saraiva of Lifeline Design About Mass Text Messaging and its Role in Digital Marketing
David Saraiva is the CFO of Lifeline Design, a digital agency and software developer based in Ontario, Canada. We had a chance to speak with David about the evolution of digital marketing and learn how text messaging fits into the overall marketing landscape.
Tell us a bit about your background. Why are you so passionate about digital marketing?
I’ve always been obsessed with technology and entrepreneurship. When I was five, I got a computer instead of a bike, and I would often try and sell furniture and other items around the house to guests (much to my parents’ chagrin). I feel very fortunate to have found myself running a digital agency all these years later.
Digital marketing is amazing because of the degree of control and measurement it provides. There is no cost barrier to entry like so many traditional marketing methods. The only barrier to entry digital marketing has is knowledge – and it’s all freely available online if you want to learn.
Since you make the declaration, “Traditional marketing is dead!” on your website, could you explain what you mean by that and why this is the case?
Digital marketing is to traditional marketing methods what YouTube, Twitch, and Netflix are to radio, newspapers, and TV. It’s just fundamentally better on a basic level, so naturally it will eventually overtake and replace the “old way of doing things.”
Take print advertising, for example. If I buy an ad in the newspaper or magazine, there are only a few ways I can track how successful that ad is, and they are imprecise in the best of cases. However, when I am running an online advertisement, it’s possible to know exactly how well it performed and track my return on investment to the very cent.
John Wanamaker, recognized by many as one of the pioneers of marketing, famously said:
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
The beauty of digital marketing is that’s no longer the case. It is very possible to know exactly what is working and what isn’t working. This lets you stop spending money on what’s not working and try something new, or expand the efforts that are working.
Are most companies finally starting to make the appropriate level of investment in their digital marketing efforts?
No, absolutely not. Many companies are starting to dip their toes in digital marketing, and some areas (such as pay-per-click marketing) are almost at a saturation point. Adoption of digital marketing has certainly come a long way in the last five years, but there are still great opportunities out there, especially in traditional businesses like architects, manufacturers, and other B2B companies who have relied on traditional methods of marketing
For those industries and sectors where the common belief is “Digital marketing isn’t for us,” I’ve got news for you: digital marketing is for everyone. And if you don’t take notice, you will be in for a rude awakening at some point in the future.
What are some of the main advantages of a content management system as they relate to marketing?
A CMS empowers you to make changes to your website quickly and easily. Iteration – that is to say, measuring results, making small changes, and measuring results again, with the ultimate goal of improving ROI – is one of the most important digital marketing activities that you should undertake. So anything that allows you to do that quickly and easily is going to empower your campaigns if you make use of it.
How precisely can today’s technology, tools, and analytics pinpoint the needs, patterns, and behaviors of an individual consumer?
It’s downright scary how much information you can collect on the average online browser. Concerns about the Orwellian direction of our society aside, this creates a phenomenal opportunity for today’s digital marketer just because you can track prospects’ behavior with a great deal of precision.
You’ve probably already started to notice some of this in your day-to-day life. If you haven’t been weirded out by getting an email from an online retailer about a particular product after looking at that product on their website, you will have this experience very soon.
The question is less “What can we track?” and more “What can’t we track?” That’s a shorter, easier list to make.
Can you compare the various benefits of email marketing, social media marketing, and text message marketing?
If for example, you know your customers are really big on communicating via text messaging, then group texting might be a great place to start. Or if your ideal prospect basically lives on Facebook, then start with social media marketing. There is no one-size fits all solution; you need to make sure your customers are on the medium you’re using, otherwise, you’re going to be talking to an empty room.
There is so much out there in the digital marketing landscape, and it is very easy to become overwhelmed. One of the most important lessons to learn is to ignore the voices that tell you, “You need to be everywhere.” A typical small to medium enterprise doesn’t have the time or the resources to be everywhere. Instead, these companies should start in once place, start generating value for their business, and then keep that success going and move on. If they try to do too much too fast, they will do a poor job at everything and see no success.
Do you have any suggestions for crafting a marketing text message with a compelling call to action?
Marketing (in any medium) these days is about relevancy. People buy products and services for two reasons. There is either something that they have and don’t want, or something that they want and don’t have. Sure, there are nuances and extra layers; but it all boils down to either wanting to remove a pain, or gain something they want and don’t have.
Your message needs to speak to that point and identify how your product or service will give them what they want. It’s much easier to align your offer with what your potential customers already want, rather than to try and convince them to change their position to your view of what they should want.
Another common mistake of those just getting started in marketing is to not realize that no one is as big of a fan of your business as you are. In fact, no one knows or cares about how great you are. I see so many advertisements that speak about how great a product or service is and don’t bother to even mention the customer who’s supposed to buy it or what he or she might want. Marketing is all about the needs and wants of your customer, not how great you are.
Being concise is also very important – more so with text messaging than almost any other medium. On your phone, one single sentence can fill most of the screen, so a paragraph seems like way too much information. To succeed in text messaging, you absolutely must boil your marketing message down to its most refined form. Cut out all the fluff and only include the most important elements.
In the future, what will be the components of an effective digital marketing strategy for companies who want to succeed?
Without a doubt, tracking and measurement. The last ten years or so, digital marketing has been a bit like the Wild West: not many people there, success (and spectacular failure) has been easy to come by, and success has not required a lot of sophistication. More and more businesses are waking up to this new reality, though; and as digital marketing becomes more and more crowded, it’s going to become even more important to track your results and ensure that you are always tracking and iterating your campaigns to increase their efficiency.
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Categories: Text Message Marketing Tips