Improving Your Digital Marketing Skills – Dr Dave Chaffey – Nottingham Digital Summit

Posted on 21/06/2018 by Team Hallam

In our fourth talk at the Nottingham Digital Summit, co-founder and Content Director of Smart Insights, and Co-Author of Digital Marketing Excellence; Dave Chaffey has taken to the stage to talk about the ways in which you can improve your digital marketing skills so that you don't lose your edge.

Video: Dave Chaffey – Improving Your Digital Marketing Skills

Slidedeck presentation: Dave Chaffey – Improving Your Digital Marketing Skills

Dr Dave Chaffey – Improving your digital marketing skills – Nottingham Digital Summit from Hallam

Dave delivered a really interesting talk about how you can identify your skills gaps in digital marketing, to ensure you don’t lose your edge.With new technology released, it’s a case of identifying what to use, so that you can adapt your personal skills, and your business’ digital marketing strategy.

Dave talked about the five pillars of improving marketing that you should take into consideration:

5 Pillars of Improving Marketing

Understand Consumers

To understand your customers, you need to have clearly defined personas. One way you can do this is through LinkedIn, by adding in a pixel that will track who is visiting your page: their job title, the industry they work in, and whether they work agency or client side.

Content mapping enables you to identify the types of content to be used in each part of the customer journey.

Another thing Dave mentioned that’s crucial to understanding your consumers is their device behaviour. 76% of households have smartphones, but perhaps more surprising is that 24% of households don’t! You therefore need to take those who are “digitally excluded” into account – those who are less engaged with technology. That’s the only way you can figure out customer satisfaction.

From here, Dave stressed the importance of mobile-first v multi-channel. Whilst mobile is important, it’s not the only device to consider. Lots of people will switch from their mobiles to their laptops and tablets, then back again, so you need to consider how to best make that multi-channel experience for customers.

There are two things to think about here:

  • AMP: Originally introduced by Google as a tool for publishers, Accelerated Mobile Pages speeds up specified pages on your mobile website. This is important because a slow page speed will result in bad user experience. The average page load speed for a mobile website is 8-10 seconds, whereas AMP can reduce this to just 1 second.
  • PWAs: Progressive Web Apps  offer an alternative to traditional apps, which can generally be quite buggy and frustrating to use. PWAs can be downloaded onto your phone, but can be used offline. However, progression is limited for the time being, as Apple haven’t yet fully adopted this technology.

digital skills to master

Marketing Techniques

Dave stressed that customer experience should be at the heart of all of your marketing strategy, and the way to keep your customer at the front of mind, is to consider your customer journey, and map the lifecycle they would take. This consists of four steps:

  • Reach: Paid, earned or owned media, or a combination of all three?
  • Act
  • Convert
  • Engage

To make the best use of marketing techniques, you need to think about the skills you need to master. Research found that project management is the number one identified skill to master over time spent in a job, with Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the bottom, suggesting that despite the hype, it’s not going to fully take off just yet.

In terms of career progression, communications planning and strategy is the top skill of the list. However, you can view this list to look at skills you should acquire in order to give yourself an edge: note that these aren’t channel-specific, but more broader skills.

Another way to look at this is as a T-Shaped Marketer: for example, an SEO Manager will specialise in SEO, technical elements and content marketing; but there will be other elements of digital marketing that they understand, it just won’t be as specialised.

digital marketing tools

Marketing Technology & Master Martech

Dave explained how his team thought about 30 key activities marketers undertook on a daily basis, and then identified the technology to help with this. This resulted in a wheel of tools – the ones on the outside are cheaper and more cost-effective to use, whereas those in the centre are of a higher cost.

Of course, it’s important to remember that it’s not one-size-fits-all: different businesses will require different types and number of technology, so think carefully about what will be most beneficial for you.

Dave identified a couple of his favourite tools:

  • Hotjar: Great for improving customer experience, as you can gain direct feedback from what people think of a website, at low prices.
  • Ideal for A/B testing – although Google Optimize is worth utilising too. Smart Insights ran a two week test on, and saw a 10% increase in leads through three small changes.

For B2B businesses, Dave highlighted the success he found by using Intercom. This enabled his website to send pop-up messages to users on the website as opposed to emails. In fact, these messages saw an impressive 26% open rate.

Marketing Platforms & Best Practices

AI is a hot topic, and 73% of senior marketing leaders stated they were excited about the change that AI will bring. However, for it to bring change, it needs to be thought of how it can be utilised with other aspects of marketing, such as marketing automation (e.g. personalisation, and delivering the right message at the right time).

AI and chatbots such as Google Duplex and Assistant sound like great ways to provide immediate support to users, but there’s still a lot of work to do here. Dave stressed it’s more a case of seeing how this technology progresses.

digital marketing skills

Integrating Insight-Driven Marketing Plans and Processes

Dave highlighted three key areas for this point:

  • Opportunities: Define your opportunities through reviewing Google Analytics, and ensuring it’s set up correctly. You should also identify improvements to be made, and lead targets
  • Create Strategy: Reviewing all touch-points to generate ideas and map content to life-cycle communications, before creating a comprehensive communications mode
  • Prioritise Actions: Define the recommendations identified, identify quick wins and include them in your 90 day plans to make changes. Don’t forget to focus on long-term improvements too

We have moved away from traditional marketing campaigns to “always on marketing”, in order to optimise the customer journey online through continual footfall.

When it comes to content marketing, we need to progress away from whitepapers, PDFs and templates, and think about interactive content marketing projects instead.

Smart Insights have two free tools that you can utilise: one is where you can rate your business’ capabilities on a scale of 1-5, and you can then see how you compare with other members. Dave found that when he asked businesses if they had a digital marketing strategy in place, 50% said no.

The other tool you can use is the personalised learning plan, with 25 key skills identified. You can rate your current knowledge, in order to identify a skills gap, so you can work on that in the future.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand consumers – personas, content mapping and multi-channel experience
  • Marketing techniques – understand the skills you need to master
  • Marketing technology – aid your day-to-day tasks with relevant technology
  • Marketing platforms – keep an eye out for AI and see how it will progress
  • Integrate marketing plans and processes – identify your opportunities, create a strategy, and then implement it!


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Improving Your Digital Marketing Skills – Dr Dave Chaffey – Nottingham Digital Summit

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