The Digital Marketing Race: Using Verndale’s Latest Digital Marketing Survey Results to Get Ahead of the Pack

Company website? Check. Twitter account? Check. Blogging engine? Obviously, check. Email marketing campaign, mobile app, high level SEO and a Pinterest page? Hmmm…maybe keeping up in the digital marketing race is not as easy as it seems. With so many possible platforms, devices, and strategies, how can you put time and energy into all of them? And, more importantly, is this even worth it?

Verndale’s latest survey on digital marketing—given to mostly B2B companies —set the course for this year’s race to implement the most effective and comprehensive digital marketing strategies. Based on the findings, they declared a “digital marketing revolution,” as even those lagging behind are planning great strides for the coming year. Luckily, the results indicate that implementing every strategy is not necessarily worth it. Instead, it points out which strategies the top performers—which Verndale defines as the top 10% of their respondent pool—tout, and thus where you should focus your energy to see the greatest ROI for your digital marketing efforts.

The survey looked at the platforms most commonly used, forgotten, and in game plan for the near future for B2B companies. Everyone started the digital marketing race on the same basic footing, having at least a website—thank goodness—but from there the engagement and activity levels varied. The most common platforms were social media (75% of respondents have a Facebook page), email marketing, digital marketing analytics, and a blogging engine. Less common were microsites, mobile sites and mobile apps. With mobile set to become the most predominant access platform in 2014, according to Verndale, this is soon to change. 33% of digital marketers are planning to add a mobile site in the near future. Blogging is also a high priority—for those who do not already have an engine in place—and 22% plan to add one. As for social media, Pinterest, although rarely used now, is the most likely social site to be added in the next twelve months.

This brings us back to the age-old question—just because everyone else is doing it, does that mean you should, too? As we all look to improve and better strategize, the critical skill becomes getting the most bang for your digital marketing buck. Unless you have unlimited time and resources for digital marketing—and more power to you if that is the case—you just can’t do it all. Especially with greater importance being put on generating regular, high quality content, some major hurtles start to appear—namely a tight budget and limited staff. So instead of spreading yourself too thin, think quality over quantity.

The top performers are in a few secrets. The survey shows that there are strategies these digital marketing frontrunners have in common. Since these strategies obviously work (or they wouldn’t be top performers, would they?) they are great place to consider investing your limited resources.

According to Verndale, the top performers all have a blogging engine, a modern CMS and CRM in place. If you can swing it, these areas may be a good place to focus your efforts. These are certainly larger scale projects, so luckily there is another area the top performers share, which takes a lot less sweat—digital marketing analytics. They are all keeping track of how effective each of their digital strategies are, and in turn finding ways to improve them. Luckily, Google Analytics makes this easy and free. We have a recent post about Making the Most of Google Analytics, and it is worth reading if you are not already an expert.

Another way to get ahead of the pack is to sneak up from behind by focusing on the strategies others most often let slip. SEO, for example, is commonly forgotten and not high on the priority list. However, it is a critically important tactic (read Not Your Chemistry Professor’s Periodic Table) and earmarking some dollars for this area may give you a boost.

In developing your plan for this next year’s digital marketing race, remember the tortoise and the hare. Slow and steady always wins the race. Well, let me rephrase that—STRATEGIC and steady always wins the race. Focus your efforts on creating high quality content on the platforms that will have the most overall impact, and leave the others for another time. You can find more about Verndale’s survey on their website.

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