Digital Marketing Insights from a McKinsey Expert

2 minute read

If you read our recent Profit Minded post on digital marketing, you won’t be surprised by the insight from consulting firm McKinsey this week that “the era of the traditional marketing campaign is ending.” In an interview on the McKinsey & Company website, David Edelman, co-leader of the firm’s global digital marketing strategy group, explains the state of digital marketing, what companies get wrong, what they should be doing. For business owners, he suggests how to push your organizations to master digital marketing.

Edelman says: “There’s this broad array of ways that people have been taking the virtual phone into the physical world and using that to navigate better and to be dramatically more empowered. They’re learning more about not just price but about where things come from, what reviews are, what really is the difference between this one and that one, maybe seeing whether or not something might be better for them versus something else.”

When customers have that kind of access, the focused quarterly, monthly, or weekly marketing campaign loses its power. Instead of promoting unique products, think about promoting to your unique customers. Edelman says, “…most people sell a lot of things and could be a lot of different things to many different people. And what digital allows you to do is flip that model around and say for almost anybody, ‘There’s something about what we have to offer that should be connecting with them.’”

He explains:

“What digital allows you to do is have something for everybody and use the data that you have about an individual in a particular moment—because of the search term that they use, or because of where they’ve been looking on your website, or due to the social engagement they’ve had with your brand—to categorize them differently and have something for each of them. But that means having something for each of them and creating that range of content and offers. So instead of just having 2 or 10 things that you’re pushing out, it could mean having 100 things, 100 content objects, 100,000 different variants of your offers.”

Edelman recommends not getting bogged down in building your “integrated customer data warehouse” before you get started on digital marketing. Instead, he says, think about what small batches of data could be easily aggregated in order to promote a limited array of high value items to particular market segments.

He notes that your sales and customer service teams need to be aware that your customers are on a “cross-channel journey.” In other words, their shopping excursion might rely on their mobile device browsers and apps, their laptops, the telephone, and in person visits to your store. “You’ve got to be able to look at that in its totality and get people to work together and acknowledge the fact that these channels are all going to have different roles,” Edelman says.

The key for company leadership, Edelman says, is to recognize that using digital is about “changing the way you’re operating, because it is about using data, faster cycle times, more interactivity with more empowered customers.”

Watch a video or read Edeleman’s advice as well as other McKinsey content about digital marketing on their website.