A few weeks ago, I applied for a few jobs in social media/digital marketing realm in multiple industries ranging from flat-out advertisement to marketing automobiles and soft-drinks. I have graphic design experience, PPC experience, marketing strategy experience and a hell of a lot of social media experience so I figured “why not”. I applied to a bunch of companies on LinkedIn, CareerBuilder, Indeed, Glassdoor, Monster and more. A lot of these are one or two click easy-apply types of applications so I didn’t really pay attention to the company, just the position. Click after click after click. I think I sent out over 100 applications in a span of 2 hours. And then I got bored. I started applying to companies and positions that I knew were too far out of my reach, especially with my level of experience. One particular company required me to answer a few questions but never did I think that I would run into a question so complex and so thought-provoking that I actually enjoyed drafting and answering it.
Where do you see the strategies and utilization of existing, as well as emerging, tools heading over the next couple years for digital marketing and advertising?
Jesus Christ what a sexy beast of a question. It made my lip quiver. It made me think to the point where I felt like my head was about to explode. Strategies of digital marketing? From existing to emerging? From the past to the current to the future? Shit. Let’s get to work, son. My point of view is coming from an extreme social media/pay-per-click/paid advertising/search engine marketing/media-buying/marketing background. My answer was just the same.
Below is word-for-word what I submitted:
Remember landing on a page and noticing that distracting flashing banner ad telling you how buying this product will increase your penis size? That annoying little pop-up ad that makes you watch the entire video with that misleading “click here to continue” link that only leads to more ads. The “traditional,” old-fashion form of digital marketing and advertising (i.e. the use of banner-ads, inline text ads, pop-up ads, frame-ads and unsolicited emails) have all become a nuisance and a thing of the past due to adblocking software.
Bidding for AdWords to fight for a spot on the first page, let alone the first 10 links on popular search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing have become extremely costly. Advertising on social media platforms such as Facebook leads to more “Likes” on their business page but rarely turn to conversions. In fact, it’s been proven that Facebook ads and like campaigns decrease the level of engagement from your audience. Many videos and articles found on the internet offers proof of how Facebook’s revenue is based on fake likes. The return on these investments rarely ever justify their costs as most of their results are ineffective. Through personal experience, advertisers who use AdWords on Google and Facebook are at the mercy of these advertising giants; they can charge what they want when they want, especially nearing the end of fiscal quarters. They can change policies at will and can potentially wreck businesses.
Digital marketing and advertising is becoming all about the user experience. Utilizing social media platforms, such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, Reddit, and Quora, to gain valuable insights and to engage customers in conversations through user-based content are much more powerful and genuine than paid marketing campaigns. It personifies and brings character to the brand; it brings a sense of trust – think Applebees and the Facebook user who interacted with their page. It’s been tested over and over that conversions jump exponentially once genuine human interaction is factored in.
Let me just say that I have no idea if this is the correct answer. To be honest, I don’t even know if I’m close. But before I end this post, let me explain my answer and what direction I should’ve steered this answer to.
I started off talking about the past forms of digital marketing, “distracting flashing banner ad telling you how buying this product will increase your penis size.” If you were around when the internet first came about, you know exactly what I’m talking about. AdWords…I think I covered it well enough. Social media…I think I covered it too. I talked about it being about the user experience, that engaging in conversation is key, that paid marketing campaigns is a waste of money (I don’t care what you say, PPC is a huge waste of time and money).
But now looking back at my answer without having the pressure, I can see a lot of gaps. I could’ve talked about the history of adware, spyware, malware, phishing, types email spam, Nigerian bank accounts…I feel like I should’ve gone into short-tail vs. long-tail keywords and negative campaigns then eventually SEO and SEM. And on top of all that, I should’ve gone into mobile marketing and talked about the emerging mobile ad industry, paid vs free apps with the in-app ads. I could’ve talked about targeted advertising based off of tracking software, cookies, user profiles and preferences….I mean, there’s so much more that I could’ve gone into.
But in the end, I gave it my all. Now that the pressure is off and I could think clearly, I can see the gaps in my answer and how I should’ve answer. I’d give it a 6/10. Maybe I’m being too lenient. Maybe not lenient enough. But I learned and gained a new experience that I can apply to something else in the future.
(Awesome question though).