Phil BurgessI often find myself telling colleagues, friends, interviewees, clients (family even) that what I love about working in digital marketing is that you get the chance to work across so many different disciplines. And whilstJack of all trades that leaves you open to accusations of being a jack-of-all-trades and master of none it’s so fascinating to be talking about brands and concepts one moment, mobile media planning the next, information architecture, web design, tech platforms, PR, social media, site optimisation, search marketing and content strategies in the next.

This is nothing new…modern marketers need to be adept at all these disciplines and many more in order to reach consumers in the media fragmented, multi-screened, post-digital, always-on world…I could go on! But my point, to those poor unfortunates that I’ve cornered, is that it’s digital where all these elements come together so perfectly.
That might seem a bit scary, too broad. It’s a bit less daunting though to think about the challenge in terms of stories and journeys.

Solving our clients’ problems means that we have to find engaging ways to tell the brand’s stories. Online those stories can be developed further making them more rewarding…persuading consumers to listen and giving them a reason to care. If we understand how these stories enhance and enable each step of the customer journey – from the initial consideration set, through the research process, onsite conversion and the post-sale experience, loyalty and recommendations to our social networks – then the opportunity to transform our client’s business is even greater.

Nike has gone for this in a big way in the form of their new marketing “hive”. The result being Nike+, a product that tells its own story about how we can be the best runner (best person perhaps) that we can be, as well a product that’s a service and its own marketing all rolled into one. Even if it’s slightly depressing on a Saturday morning to see the Facebook status of your friends smugly proclaiming that they have just run 10k with Nike+…it’s a brilliant piece of product design and marketing rolled into one neat and easy journey.

So how do we, assuming we don’t have access to Nike’s budget and RND resource, deliver a coherent strategy?

  • Ensure everyone is clear about how an activity helps build the brand story and/or enhances the customer journey
  • Stories and journeys both come with their own tactics, so you’ll need experts to help you implement and deliver great work
  • Be clear about the relationship between the two
  • Create KPIs that reflect them
  • Play nice, because integration is key…the consumer doesn’t care where the demarcation lines between different agencies or departments are, so if you’re not working on every element then collaborate with the relevant people. The client and consumer will thank you for it.

At STEAK we’re lucky enough to work with some great brands and we help bring those stories to consumers, as well as create and optimise customer journeys.

It’s pretty challenging to work across so many steps in the process, but also extremely rewarding. It’s why I like working in a full service digital agency. It’s also why being a jack-of-all-trades is no longer a criticism, but positively an asset.