I’ve recently completed Squared Online, Google’s very own Digital Marketing course. The five month part-time course included: independent learning, virtual collaboration, live lectures and Google’s best practices. It covered many topics but these are the points that stood out for me:
Clear communication is Key to Effective Virtual Collaboration
Throughout the course we worked in groups to deliver projects, which meant weekly Google Hangouts, at a time that all six people found suitable. Things inevitably got messy, people missed calls and life got in the way of getting things done.
Collaborating with people online is the norm for anyone working for a digital marketing agency, and Square Online helped me to step up my game. I learnt how to be more clear, concise and most importantly, patient in the way that I communicated with my team. Thankfully, my feedback from the group members reflected my communication efforts.
Businesses Must Adapt to Customer Journey Trends
Visualising my client’s customer journey is key when developing new content, a PPC campaign or analysing the user experience of their website. Micro-moments and the zero moment of truth are two things I now think about regularly, thanks to Squared Online.
- Micro-moments are the small moments which lead to a conversion.
- The zero moment of truth is the decision-making moment e.g. reading a great review online.
Consumers are now all-knowing, review reading, comparison experts. So being there at each moment a user completes a search query related to your business is essential. The way consumers are buying is changing on a huge scale and businesses need to adapt. I explored this further in a blog post earlier this year.
As the customer journey is predominately online now, getting people in stores is a huge challenge for retailers. But digital can help to increase footfall with push notifications from apps and social media. For instance, you can alert people when they’re near a particular store which’s running an offer.
Measuring Marketing Objectives is More Important Than Ever
My favourite module by far was the measurement module as it provided ways I could immediately help my clients. It covered developing marketing objectives, analytics and attribution. In a world with so much data, it’s essential to decide on what you want to measure and the Digital Marketing and Measurement Model by Avinash Kaushik is a great way to do this.
Deciding on your goals, KPI’s and targets (and sticking to them) helps you to measure success in a robust way. It also makes you focus on specific targets that will help you meet the long-term goals of your business.
Connect with your Audience with great Content
There’s so much content out there, which makes grabbing someone’s attention online harder than ever. Developing content that is true to your brand and your customer’s values is how marketers can make a difference.
This Content Matrix by Smart Insights is similar to the unpublished version Squared Online shared with us. It helps you to pair types of content with your marketing aims. Whether your aim is to educate or inspire your audience, this can help you do it in a meaningful way.
When users share anything online it has to align it with their personal values and how they want to be perceived by others. What you share is who you are, in a sense. It’s important to create content that people will identify with in order for them to share it.
The Digital Revolution is Stepping Up
Becoming an agent of change and causing “disruption” by innovating was at the core of the Squared Online curriculum. Squared Online introduced to me to ways marketers can use new technology, such as Augmented reality (AR) in apps and advertising, to inject some fun into the user experience. The impact AR can have became clear when a month after completing Squared Online, Pokemon Go was released and caused disruption in the gaming industry.
During my five months completing Squared Online, I was able to get to know my fellow Squares, discuss common problems that digital marketers face, and get creative with our project work. From branding to PPC, augmented reality to video marketing, Squared covered many topics but at it’s core was the idea that marketers need to be a driving force behind digital change and move with customer’s behaviours.