What’s the ONE thing Digital Marketers MUST Do in 2012

Just do ONE thing. I promise you it will have a massive impact on your marketing efforts.

I think the most typed words in January are “Happy New Year” and “Trends”. Come January everyone is predicting what to expect in the year ahead. It’s not even a week I have read some interesting advice and trends on what to expect in digital marketing this year. I found an interesting report which makes for a good sensible reading. I recommend it for digital marketers. I have also complied is a list of 5 good articles you may want to read on the trends in 2012 for Digital Marketing.

My recommendation to you? Just do ONE thing. I promise you it will have a massive impact on your marketing efforts.

But first here is the gist of popular trends on what to expect in 2012:

1. “Expect more facebook apps and mobile media” –The 10 hottest media trends for 2012 (iMediaConnection.com)
2. “If you don’t have a mobile website, get one NOW” –Hot new marketing trends for 2012 (FirstPost.com)
3. “Showing ROI will be top of mind for marketers” –Top 10 Digital-Marketing Trends For 2012 From (CMO.com)
4. “Multichannel Marketing will dominate” –Top 5 Marketing Trends for 2012 -(Marketingprofs.com)
5. “Brands should analyze their own CRM data” –2012: The trends every marketer should be aware of (eConsultancy.com)

While most reports are for US / UK, I read an interesting post from Medianama on why SMS or text messaging will decline in India this year. The rise of SMS Spam may have moved users away to BBM (black berry messenger) while IM chats, and mobile social networking are also getting popular by the day. The impact of the Do Not Disturb Registry on large companies has been to increase their communication via email. Did you know that, Email Marketing still generates the highest ROI (in the USA) for every dollar spent amongst all channels? In India too, Email Marketing is growing by leaps and bounds. I work at Juvlon.com and we are reaching a higher volume benchmark every single month.

If you are a sensible marketer you already know that your heart of marketing is your CRM database. Behind the mountains of online and offline purchase data, loyalty points system and CRM servers is the data about your customer or prospect. It can be a name of customer, with her physical address or her loyalty card number. In short anything that identifies your buyer uniquely. This unique identifier in the online world is the email address. I call it the most important address on the Internet. If there is one thing you should concentrate on in the digital marketing space in 2012 it is this:

Build your Email List.

I am not saying that because I am an email marketer. I am saying this because it is the one thing that identifies your user in the digital world; and by build I mean, BUILD not BUY.

Why is this simple data point, invaluable? With email you can

  1. Talk to the consumer directly via email marketing. Even simple personalization in the email, anniversary or birthday wishes builds a dialog with your reader.
  2. This channel is two way. Consumers reply to emails. You will be amazed at what insights they have and communicate happily, if you are listening.
  3. This builds a dialog, loyalty, brand equity like nothing else can.
  4. It’s not rocket science, does not need huge IT investments, and in fact is probably lowest in costs compared to say your banner ads.
  5. You can measure effectiveness immediately. You will know who opened who clicked instantly.

Did you know visitors who come to your website via email spend 30% more time on your website?

The key with having your own email list is that it helps you start engaging the customer, if you have her permission. Don’t spam. It will only spoil you brand reputation.

Email is ubiquitous. If you are a digital marketer, your consumers are online. It’s highly unlikely that they don’t have an email. Compare this to an FB or a twitter follower.

So yes, while you balance, SEM, SEO, Banners ads, affiliates, social media and all other channels, if you do just one thing your marketing efforts will reap huge rewards.

How should you go about doing that?  That’s a separate discussion. There are tools, techniques, advice on how to gather email data of your customers. That is the task that you should concentrate on.

So, my advice to digital marketers in India in 2012, is to do just this ONE thing: “build your email list”.