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Discussions on Digital Marketing...where do I begin

~ with Lidia V

Lidia, will you kick this off with some clarity, what is Digital Marketing all about anyway?

Lidia V:

I would say digital marketing is the promotion of a product or service that is advertised by a particular brand using online technologies and digital channels. A few examples of digital marketing is being active on various social media channels through the posting of regular content, paid media advertising where a paid media budget is allocated towards paying for clicks (traffic) or impressions (ad views) to platforms like Google Ads, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, enabling us to ensure our ads are being shown to a targeted audience.

Others include SEO (search engine optimization) that follows disciplines to ensure your site is properly structured & tagged (on-site) for when Google indexes your site and displays it in the organic results of SERP’s (search engine results pages) and how much referral traffic one is able to obtain through the sharing of content/links, etc. Other forms of online advertising that many might be familiar with is affiliate marketing, influencer marketing and mail marketing strategies.

Candice R:

If we really think about it, many domains have gone through digital transformation and marketing has followed suit, a true transformation from the traditional marketing many of us grew up with, you know, the wireless and the box! Those mediums were for the wealthy brands, an exclusive offering and something the elite corporations could afford. But today Digital Marketing is so much more accessible for everyone and this is crucial as businesses today also includes the likes of the nimble startups and the growth of SME’s.

Sometimes we still think we need to turn to traditional marketing channels to get reach and uptake and forget how digital our way of life has become. Digital marketing is a necessity , as we need to ultimately get to our potential customers and clients where they are at, and you have nicely summed up in essence how Digital Marketing unlocks this capability.

How did you even come across this domain of Digital Marketing, what’s your backstory?

Lidia V:

I studied PR management and initially began my career working for a PR consultancy. I was very much exposed to the promotional elements of how to build a brand through securing media coverage. Back in 2006 when I started working, digital wasn’t such a huge focus yet in advertising so everything was centred on trying to obtain more news coverage for clients in printed publications, at events, through brand activations, outdoor media or partnerships with other brands. As my career evolved, I landed up joining a small B2B media agency who published trade publications, and this is where I took on an editorial role, producing content for some of our publications. In 2012, I started seeing how advertising spend started to slowly shift more from print into digital because it is more measurable and transparent, and websites started to become a necessity for businesses. With websites, came blogs and social media as well as paid media advertising. I started to take an increased interest in digital as that’s where things were shifting and joined a digital agency that had its own developers. Websites that were launched for clients then needed a marketing component and that’s where I started to gain more knowledge and apply the principles of paid media advertising for clients working primarily with Google Ads, Twitter and Facebook.

Candice R:

‘Measurable and transparent’, I appreciate your choice of words here as we are all seeking value at the end of the day, and being able to see where this lies and build on what we can actually measure means our efforts become meaningful rather than a shot in the dark. For me, Digital Marketing was something I stumbled upon and I am still learning a lot through experts such as yourself. I think many people can relate to my view of seeing Digital Marketing as familiar yet daunting. Many entrepreneurs give it a go and dabble in some areas but I am also learning that there is a whole lot of expertise required to get it right and convert ones efforts into actual results. It is definitely both an art and a science.

Is Digital Marketing something that CE’s should be considering?

Lidia V:

Most certainly. I think most CE’s are doing some form of digital marketing in order to attract new clients and grow their businesses.. I think the real question is whether they are doing it effectively, and identifying the right channels for their industries. What is working, what is not working and why are some important questions to ask when it comes to digital. Ultimately, even if you’re a solopreneur, you’re still building an individual brand and it’s very difficult to do this without any online presence in today’s connected online world. This is where we transact, meet new clients, partners and share valuable information with each other.

Candice R:

I resonate deeply with your comment on it not being a case of doing a form f Digital Marketing but rather a case of how effectively it is being done. I see so many CE’s sharing really great content for example and doing really great work and a lot of it gets lost in space. It is essential that all the effort we are putting into our Digital Marketing efforts really lands and converts meaningfully for your business. When it doesn't, one continues to stay one of the best kept secrets.

What are the benefits of investing in/doing Digital Marketing?

Lidia V:

I would say it is crucial for building brand authority and trust with your customers and potential prospects. It’s very important for potential clients to trust you before they decide to do business with you. The more social proof they can see online about your business, the more likely they will engage with you as a new service provider. Anything that provides evidence of your professionalism, quality of work, work ethic and service excellence will only help to secure bigger projects and clients.

Other benefits would be lead generation, especially if you’re trying to scale your business fast or achieve a % of growth in sales (especially if you’re after direct sales and run an online retail store) as well as customer retention through ongoing nurturing via mailers (communicating new offers, exciting promotions, trends, etc).

Another benefit would be measurable results as we share digital metrics that relate directly to your CAC (customer acquisition cost) and your CPA (cost-per-acquisition) as well as ROAS (return on ad spend). Other metrics that are more social media related would be your engagement rate, page growth, reach, etc.

The data that we are able to share with clients equips them to make more informed decisions about their online marketing spend and where to focus their attention based on the results they are getting. Some platforms are more effective than others for certain industries,, and we can test creatives with different messaging and visuals, landing pages and determine where the customer is getting the best return for their advertising spend.

Candice R:

There really IS a plethora of benefits. Going back to your point on building trust, we tend to do business with people we trust. We never really become an expert in what exactly they are doing for us, we simply trust them to do what they say they will. Digital Marketing, when executed well, enables us to become an authority in a particular domain, and to build trust based on our expertise that we share and how we position ourselves and our business brands.

What are the questions I should be asking myself, if I'm considering pursuing Digital Marketing for my business?

Lidia V:

What does my marketing budget look like and what can I do with this budget, i.e. what does it allow and where can I get the best return? What are my marketing objectives and what are my goals for my business in the next year, 3 years and 5 years and what type of online marketing is best suited to my industry/brand?

What are my competitors doing online and how can I improve on that? Am I focusing on local only or international business as well? Where do my customers hang out and how do they find my service online? How do I add value to my customers in the short and long-term and what are their expectations? What does my buying cycle look like and how can I make it shorter/more efficient?

Candice R:

These questions are essential. We need to remember that we do not have a business if we are not making sales . It is all about commercials and we need to put our Digital Marketing hat on to facilitate this.These are fundamental questions to doing good business and the answers can assist us in various aspects of our business, not just Digital Marketing, in the process, one may realise that a change in business model is required when you look at what competitors are doing, for example.

Final pearls of wisdom to share on this topic?

Lidia V:

Online marketing is a very exciting industry and is evolving all the time. Algorithms change and we generally adapt our campaigns and techniques according to these changes (sometimes things work amazingly well and sometimes we need time to finetune what we’re doing).

It’s important to also note that online marketing is not a magic formula that will guarantee instantaneous results (although sometimes it will). Having a long-term vision and patience for collecting data and understanding what that data is saying to us is key. We also need to learn to work with AI which assists in many of our tasks, and be able to adapt to change and make room for testing so that we know what is working and what is not.

Candice R:

Absolutely Lidia, it is exciting how having a Digital Marketing mindset plays into the hands of business, it brings us up to date with the digital times and it challenges us on how close we can get to our customers/clients/actually any audience we need to buy into our business so this includes investors, employees, vendors, collaborators and so on. Thank you for challenging us to think a little deeper today Lidia and ask ourselves what ARE we doing in this space.

~ From the podcast, "DIGITAL MARKETING...WHERE DO I BEGIN WITH LIDIA V", take a listen over here

Work with LIDIA V


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