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7 lessons learned after 8 years of digital marketing

In those 8 years we learned that:
Perseverance is essential in digital marketing; we have learned to keep moving forward even in the most difficult times.

Originality, courage and intelligence are the keys to success.

Prioritizing our clients and our team is crucial; our clients provide our energy, but our team keeps the business moving.

What were you doing eight years ago?

Well, we were getting ready to set up the coolest entrepreneurial project, a digital marketing agency with all the ingredients such a project needed: seriousness, professionalism, resilience, intelligence and pretty much everything that comes under the umbrella of the famous German culture, but also the purely Romanian motivation to turn a dream into reality.

From then until today it has been good, and it has been bad. We have had hard times, when we could only see a faint glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, but we have also had exceptional times, when the road ahead was clearer than ever.

But we have always been a team, and this has allowed each of us to be extremely deeply involved in this project, to enjoy every success, to suffer as much as the others at every failure, but most importantly, to learn as much from every experience we have all had as part of this agency.

No matter what it was like, we were always careful to extract valuable lessons from every moment. To take a breath for a second, quickly put on an ad-hoc meeting and reflect on the moment.

Here are 7 of those valuable lessons we’ve learned over the past 8 years, moral as well as pragmatic lessons that today define our culture and the way we go about our business every day.

1.Before being an entrepreneur, our customer is human.

Sure, delivering superior marketing performance is perhaps the most important thing in working with a client, but qualities that go beyond the professional relationship, such as respect, communication, transparency and honesty, are equally important criteria that have not infrequently set us apart in the eyes of our partners.

Experience has taught us that the title of “client” can lead to dehumanization, a situation in which the business opportunity, with all its inherent cynical elements, can take control in the relationship with clients and thus lead to situations where we can end up putting the agency’s profit first, to the detriment of a healthy inter-human relationship.

In the last 8 years, we have not infrequently encountered hyper-defensive clients, people who had already encountered situations where they were seen as mere “cash cows” by other agencies. Thus, they ended up building a defensive shield which they displayed in their relationship with us, but which they later gave up, because they understood that we see the “man” in them, and that our professional commitment to their business is fully assumed and aims, before our profit, at their well-being as entrepreneurs and, more importantly, as people.

Our advice to you?

Respect your customers and treat them humanely. They, like you, are pulling hard to achieve something and deserve appreciation for the leap of faith they had the courage to take. Of course, there will always be clients who will try to get the most out of you with the least investment, but these are the exceptions, and even these are the ones you should treat humanely, because, in the end, any good you do is doing you, first and foremost, and each of these people teaches you something.

And while I’m on the subject of learning…

2.Continuous learning is essential.

Even now, 8 years later, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and Impostor Syndrome are still prevalent in our daily activities.

The incredible speed at which things change in the digital space forces us to constantly assimilate new information and always adapt correctly and quickly to new trends or evolving algorithms that practically dictate digital promotion policies.

What we have learned in these 8 years is that this state of affairs is intrinsic, and not of our own making, and if we really love our job and want to continue marketing without reaching burnout, we need to understand that change has to come from us, from how we reprogram our minds to perform more accurately in this environment.

We believe, therefore, that after all this time, we have managed to reconfigure our way of thinking so that we are always ready to learn new things and to readapt quickly and efficiently to new trends in order to remain competitive in the market.

Our advice to you?

Never stop being open to learning. Train yourself to become more and more curious, always strive to understand the professional opportunities that every relevant piece of information you come across can offer you and turn the need to always be up to date with the latest trends into your superpower.

And don’t worry, if you miss something and hit a snag, understand that…

3.Failure is part of the process.

As much as we would like it to be so, over the last 8 years we have come to understand that marketing is not an exact science, but it does require concrete, tangible, perfectly measurable results, and this can often lead to failure.

Of course, where you’re not guaranteed to get from A to B, you can iterate, you can test, again and again, until you reach the desired result.

But what do you do when clients don’t have the patience, or the budget, to iterate until they reach the desired result? Of course, you expose yourself to higher chances of failure. So failure becomes part of the iteration, so you need to learn to take ownership of strategies that don’t work and learn from them quickly to avoid them in the future.

Our advice to you?

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Make the most of every success in your career and learn to embrace failure as the wisest teacher. After all, we all learn best from experience, don’t we?

The market is wild, and sometimes you can feel complacent that you’ll never get where you want to be. So maybe sometimes you’ll be tempted to look for shortcuts to achieve success faster. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing to feel that way, but whatever you do, remember that…

4.Professional ethics are sacred.

Over the past 8 years I’ve met all kinds of clients; from well to do entrepreneurs with a long term vision and a desire to build something truly beneficial for their clients, to weekend businessmen whose only goal was to get rich overnight.

Well, this second category of clients has always stretched the limits of our professional ethics to the maximum, and not infrequently, conflicts have arisen due to the difference in strategic vision, and even to dimensions that have led to the break-up of business relationships, which has of course resulted in financial losses for the agency.

Our good fortune was that we had a clear set of professional values from the beginning, and had the strength to stick to them, regardless of the tempting financial opportunities offered by various entrepreneurs. That is why, today, after 8 years, we can declare loud and clear that these values have become the foundation on which our agency’s culture rests.

Our advice to you?

Stay true to the professional values that you believe positively differentiate you in the market. Entrepreneurship does not necessarily have to be a competition. And here, as in life, every entrepreneur has their own path; some reach success faster, others slower.

But one thing is certain: you will get there too, sooner or later. It’s a matter of consistency. On the other hand, think about it: what do you want, a meteoric rise that propels you overnight into a whole new area, on a shaky foundation that barely supports you because you don’t know how to hold yourself there, or an organic, natural evolution that allows you to build step by step, and gives you time to consolidate each step?

5.Process automation is essential.

As in any other business, success in digital marketing is defined by the accumulation of customers who trust you to hand over their business to your online promotion processes.

We, over the past 8 years, have had the opportunity to work with over 250 companies, in over 20 niches, actively developing professional relationships with at least 50 clients each month, thanks to an excellent retention rate that our professional culture and unique way of working with clients has provided us.

This undoubtedly means success for us, but also an enormous responsibility, and therefore a huge workload, which we can only sustain by accelerating our efforts, but without losing the quality of the services we offer.

Well, automation has allowed us to achieve significantly higher working speeds, to maintain and even optimize many of the processes carried out in the agency, while giving our specialists time to increase the performance level of our campaigns.

Our advice to you?

Automate all processes that can be automated. Today, almost all promotion platforms offer specialised tools for this, from the campaign implementation stage to the stage of reporting results to the client.

Leave all these processes to automated systems and give your people time to become better at what they do, to think of better strategies, to create more effective communication concepts and, last but not least, to analyze the data obtained from campaigns more deeply, because, just as important to remember…

6.Big Data Stays Big.

Information is power, and to deliver performance you need to have a clear understanding of the next steps you need to take.

We like to call the early days of our agency the romantic period of evolution, because almost everything we did, we relied on flair and luck. Today, however, we understand that digital marketing isn’t about who writes the most beautiful poetry, it’s about who best understands their target customer.

And we’re not saying there aren’t customers who like poetry, but maybe the potential customers we’re trying to reach with ads prefer a different kind of communication.

And if in the beginning the battle of data was mainly about who understands the customer best – you know, demographics, psychographics, etc. – today we have data that not only allows us to more clearly paint the customer’s personality, but allows us to track and anticipate almost every step the customer takes on their journey to conversion, thus having the opportunity to optimize campaigns in real time to maximize results.

Our advice to you?

Put data at the heart of your promotion process. They will give you everything you need to achieve exceptional results:

  • Behind the data will hide the most valuable insights for the strategic stage
  • Data will allow you to pinpoint the best tactics for campaign implementation
  • Data will help the creative team to locate the best performing communication formula
  • The data will give you clarity and a concrete action plan to optimise your campaigns.
  • And, perhaps most importantly, data will help you to maximise the efficiency of your marketing process, minimising the need for iteration and thus maximising the chances of success in a shorter time.

Yes, data is vital, but what about the fact that it means nothing to the end customer? Well, in this case you need to think creatively.

And how do you do that? By understanding that…

7.The creative process doesn’t die, it transforms.

Although perhaps counterintuitive, creative transforms out of the need to adapt to new digital promotion environments. Why not according to people’s preferences, you may ask?

Well, creativity takes people’s preferences into account, of course. But the digital ecosystem, however large, is a closed one defined by a clear set of rules imposed by the big digital companies that manage these ecosystems.

So, no matter how creative you want to be in social media, for example, if you don’t take into account what kind of content the algorithms think should get the highest level of virality, your creative product is good to throw away.

The last 8 years of social media marketing campaigns have shown us that people can be taught what type of content to love, and that no matter how creative you are, you have to adapt to the “house rules” to get the most out of your effort, no matter which social network you choose.

Our advice to you?

Stay creative. Even invest more in becoming even more creative. But always adapt your creative process to the digital reality imposed by algorithms. Develop unique, exceptional campaigns for people, but equally well aligned to the rules of the platforms.

A final tip?

Be you.

Be original, be bold, be smart. Be human. And, as much as you can, professionally speaking, put the good of your clients above financial interests, and the good of your team above all else. After all, customers are the fuel of your business, but your people are the engine that keeps your business going.

That’s what we’ve done, and here we are.

If you’ve read this far, thank you! And if you need a reliable partner, you know how to find us.

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