Digital Marketing: The Next Holy Grail of Marketing?


  1. With digital marketing, the fundamental concepts of marketing still apply. You must know who your target market is, you must know how to reach them, and your message must resonate with the challenges and issues they’re facing in their business.  And if you’re reaching your target through social media, you must know the kind of social media they use.

  2. If the primary objective of social media marketing is to identify sales leads, it’s critical that you involve sales people in the front end planning, so they will participate and follow up on any leads that are identified as a result of your social media lead generation activities.

  3. Lead generation may not necessarily be the primary objective of social media activities. Social media can be used to build awareness, credibility or develop a profile of your company.

This ITAC/SMA Technology Marketing & Sales Think Tank was hosted at Arrow ECS Canada in Toronto, Ontario by Michael Gavarkocs, Managing Director. The discussion was moderated by Bob Becker, Principal, SMA.


  • Kristin Becker, Integrated marketing, Senior Specialist, Canada, Accenture
  • Kallia Mansour, Integrated Marketing Manager, Canada, Accenture
  • Doug Long, Strategic Marketing Director, Applanix
  • Mike Gavarkovs, Managing Director, Arrow ECS
  • Sylvia Bauer, Director, Marketing, CenturyLink
  • Azhar Khan, Director, Lead Generation & Marketing, North America, Interwork Technologies
  • Ken Tucker, Director, Sales and Marketing, Konverge
  • John Breakey, President, Promys
  • John Vuong, Digital Marketing Specialist, Prophix Software Inc.
  • Fred Nagy, President, Solutions In Context
  • Rupal Chopra, Account Manager, SPICE Technology Group Inc.
  • Rad Dockery, Marketing & Sales Executive, SPICE Technology Group Inc.
  • Joy Rotimi, Marketing Coordinator, SPICE Technology Group Inc.
  • Domenic Gentilini, Business Development Executive, SPICE Technology Group Inc.

Our Discussion

What is your most effective and least effective social media tool to assist with your digital marketing platform?

  • For us, email campaigns are working for the initial touch-point.
  • Consider mixing physical marketing with email, telephone and LinkedIn follow ups.
  • Success with digital marketing is not a short-term proposition.  Techniques such as email marketing and LinkedIn need long term analysis to see behaviours.
  • LinkedIn and Twitter can be effective together:
    • Twitter has broad target market, where LinkedIn is targeted.
    • LinkedIn is a great conversation starter. It is a lot of work to stay current, and it comes with a lot of unnecessary noise, so you must be very targeted.
    • Posting initially on LinkedIn, then have it re-tweeted can work. The challenge is how to merge the two.
    • Company branding via Twitter works. The media is on Twitter and may assist with pushing content. But tweeting arbitrarily can damage your brand very quickly.
    • Encourage Sales to re-tweet. Create an advocacy group with focus on Sales pushing content. It will initially be well received but it will quickly die down. For continually enticement, consider conducting contests per quarter.

How do you take social media’s awareness and engagement and convert that into a sale? How do you close that business? Is social media aligned with sales closed business?

  • Validation and follow up is key. If you are not sending your message to the right target, at the right time, and Sales does not follow up, you will not close the sale.
  • Once you have generated interest via social media, go back to traditional face-to-face engagement to close sales.
  • Start and hold conversations (via social media), sales will come. This works very well for well-established organizations.
  • Data analytics is key and can measure all social media platforms.
  • Consider marketing automation to prioritize who to target, when and where.

Other thoughts

  • Consider social media as another tool to help owning your marketing messaging end to end, including integrating marketing tools to assist Sales. It should be considered as a catalyst to grow your business, not a hindrance. Social media is also a tool to highlight your active support in your community.
  • Review your digital strategy and be specific on how you will combine social media marketing with traditional marketing.
  • Use social media to build and support your company brand so that Executives can become influencers.
  • Make it easy to push your content to Twitter, so that with one click, your target market can also help push out your content.
  • Who am I talking to and why? To be effective, you may need to generate multiple conversations at multiple levels, presenting different faces of your organization, then deciding which targets are interested based on these conversations.
  • Finding your audience and developing engagement can be a challenge. Content is the driver for the conversation, and you must be dedicated to the conversation to build engagement.
  • The growth stage of your customer’s/prospect’s company is critical –at certain times, you need to focus on brand engagement to establish presence and awareness, while at others it will be more important to focus on lead generation. That’s a big part of knowing your market.
  • B2B and B2C markets are working at different levels, but the practices in each market can offer insight for the other.
  • Traditional marketing always has a specific call to action. With digital marketing, a lead may be a request for general product information, but you must also consider how this information is going to be shared, and how you can ensure that the message comes back around to a call to action, even for recipients of shared information.
  • Look into more than just automation analytics, i.e. ‘click-through rates’. Analyze balance rate, time on site versus bounces. How deep did the visitor go into marketing message? How much time was spent on your website?
  • Identify the value of social media exposure on each platform. Understand its benefits and the relationships you develop.
  • While the Marketing team develops the message, it’s often Sales that must deliver it. However, Sales is challenged to keep up with amount of content to ensure it’s the right message. Consider one to two champions to take on this task versus the entire Sales team.

Posted By: SMA

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