As President and CEO of marketing and public relations firm OgilvyOne Worldwide Asia Pacific, marketing expert Kent Wertime is a busy man. He is currently responsible for leading 16 offices in 12 countries in the region, and has written two books about marketing in the digital age. On the sidelines of the recent Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP) summit where he was a guest speaker, Wertime found the time to talk with Entrepreneur Online to discuss digital marketing and its effects on global business.Entrepreneur Online: There is a big buzz about social networking as the next big thing in marketing, but how do companies effectively use this new phenomena to gain an advantage?
Kent Wertime: Social media is very important to business, because customers now spend a great deal of their time on digital platforms. There are some marketing people who think that social networking is a fad, and this is simply not true; there is enormous potential in this platform, because there is a deluge of information readily available about what a company wants to know about their customers. The trick lies in using social networking to deliver a message, and keeping in mind that digital media campaigns are not the same as traditional marketing campaigns with gimmicks and slogans; nowadays, your strategy should be driven by substance above all else.
Entrepreneur Online: Some people have said that social networks are too informal, and that some viewers may see ads and marketing tools as invasive. Are there ways for marketers to avoid being ignored by their target audience?
Kent Wetime: The problem with that notion of it being invasive is that people tend to forget that social networking is still new to the market. It's not something that happened a decade ago, so it's still constantly evolving. Now, when you are trying to reach your target audience, you must know what specific data or feedback you are looking for first. After you have identified it, you must then tailor fit it to suit the needs of your intended receivers. It's important that viewers would want to click what you put in their browsers, and the trick is to make it a 'utility' tool, something they can use and cannot afford to ignore.
Entrepreneur Online: What are the advantages of digital marketing over traditional models?
Kent Wertime: I'd like to think that digital marketing leads to better brand management, specifically because the information you get is real time and readily actionable. In the old days, time lag from campaign to gathering results is long, whereas today you can get what you want in a matter of hours, minutes even.
Entrepreneur Online: Some companies are worried about the web, especially in terms of brand management and control of content written about the company. How does a company maintain control over its image?
Kent Wertime: In the digital age, there is no more control, only influence. I don't even think there was any control to begin with, even with traditional media. Now, with bloggers, social networking, and mobile phones, companies will feel the influence of customers even more. Image control as we know it is over. What a company can do is engage the digital audience, quickly correct incorrect things, and provide good content. Companies must 'involve' bloggers, take them on company tours etc. as part of brand management. You can never discount 'influencers', so companies must zero in on these people and make sure that the right content is provided to them at all times.