Digital marketing can it deliver in the short term?

I spent the weekend in Wales doing an adventure race, great fun, hard work and suffering a bit for it now, but not the place you would imagine discussing if digital marketing can it deliver in the short term?. However, while recovering on Sat evening I was talking to one of the other competitors and we got onto the subject of marketing and specifically the internet and its potential.

Over the past few months I have worked with a number of businesses with different views and strategies on how to use the internet to promote their business. Ordinarily, you would expect small businesses to be the ones that don’t commit to long term strategies with continued investment, but surprisingly, that is not the case. It seems to me that a high percentage of medium size businesses do not invest properly in marketing as whole and definitely in digital marketing. Consequently, there are no plans in place and activity is often ad-hoc with a lack of continuity.

The challenge with this approach is easy to see, the minute your business stops promoting itself on-line Google and other search engines stop picking you up, but they will be seeing your competitors. The result being the competitors continue to dominate the top of the ranking and you drop down, becoming less and less visible.

When discussing this with my fellow competitor, admittedly over a cold beer, he mentioned that a few years ago he had launched a consumer branch of his business and had invested in digital marketing to the extent they now have a full time digital marketer. And why, it was simple, he said “this activity is the best sales rep we have ever had”. However, he also went to great lengths to say that it was a rolling three year strategy and he believed that the breakeven point was about twelve months with the real ROI came in the second year.

This was music to my ears, but it did reinforce my view that if a digital agency approaches you and says they can deliver sales inside of six months, be very careful. It also demonstrated the fact that if you do commit to a strategy, if it is applied well, it will deliver in the medium term.

I’m interested in other similar or opposite views, let me know.