Digital Marketing

Digital Adopters and Digital Natives – You Need Both for Effective Digital Marketing

  • July 30, 2020

Like so many out there, I have been on travel lock down and have spent far more time in the digital world – from web share video meetings and webinars, to viewing LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube content. On my daily morning market catch up, I have found it fascinating to see who is taking advantage of digital mediums like LinkedIn to promote their products and ideas. While it’s no surprise to see channel evangelists like Jay McBain from Forrester offering up regular content, I was surprised to see unique and digitally savvy content from who else? An insurance agent. This particular Agent was doing a really nice job of offering value. His pieces were well designed around thought leadership – offering readers unique insights and clear benefits. Even more fascinating is that this person has no digital marketing background and is close to 70 years old. I’d like to introduce you to today’s Digital Adopter, for he clearly is not a Digital Native but is creating real impact.

I know all of this because this successful Insurance Agent was my first business mentor. We met many years ago, before laptops and email became second nature. As I reviewed his digital content, my first thought was that Pat was doing really well in his business – specifically with regards to his execution of a sound business marketing strategy. My second thought was that if a 70-year-old agent/partner/dealer who can’t even spell Oktopost can effectively push digital marketing, there is a tremendous amount of potential for so many channels that are facing partners/dealers/agents that are seemingly “aging out.”

We all seem to be having so many conversations about how to identify either the digital adopters or the characteristics of a digital adopter. How do we KPI them? How do we enable them? How do we help them connect to the buyer and the “new normal” buyers’ journey? In this case, I reached out to Pat on LinkedIn and asked him these questions. Well, I actually sent him a message on LinkedIn about doing a podcast around his new digital prowess. As I spent time explaining exactly what a podcast is and what it entails, I realized that Pat knew a lot about Insurance and his customers, but maybe not so much about digital marketing. Furthermore, what he understood better than anyone is his audience buyers’ journey, how it had changed, and more importantly, how he needed to evolve to create meaningful customer connections. So, he did what so many other Digital Adopters are doing –
he had hired a digital native – described in Webster’s Dictionary as “a person born or brought up during the age of digital technology and therefore familiar with computers and the Internet from an early age.”

Perhaps that sounds like an easy fix, but not always. The individual (Digital Adopter) who has enlisted the help, has to have the willingness and humility to actually listen to the digital native – even when what they’re recommending seems foreign. Pat found someone who loved what she did – helping people – and had a passion and talent for digital marketing. He said they make a great team; he is a natural storyteller and she knows how to get that message to the audience in a way that closely aligns with their unique buyers’ journey. Together, they discovered not only how to reach their customers, but how to make it work financially by leveraging the CoOp and incentive budget that was available from the Insurance vendor.

Creating and executing effective digital marketing strategies sometimes can be that simple, but in many cases, it can be a little more complex with a large group. I recently spoke at a partner conference where there were over 200 top partners dedicated to a Fortune 500 accounting software vendor. I asked how many of them wrote weekly blogs or any other content on thought leadership (forget webinars and podcasts). Two people raised their hand. I’m fairly confident that any reseller these days can find a talented content marketer who can ghost write great content on a reasonable budget. That’s exactly what I did when I was a partner years ago and was able to engage our internal company team, while also garnering successful results.

So many partners/dealers/agents have so much to say, but they just don’t know where to begin, what platforms to use and what digital marketing technology to leverage to make it all happen effectively. I figured it out as a partner, but only because I listened to those Digital Natives that worked for me. From podcasts to blogging and everything in between, I learned from the Digital Natives around me and am grateful for their guidance and expertise. Similarly, Pat, the Insurance entrepreneur, now understands the value of that digital expertise and its critical impact to the bottom line. If you want to hear more on how Pat crossed the digital divide, I invite you to listen to our upcoming podcast on 360insights Channel Edge

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