The key to success in digital marketing = Happiness

I posted a version of this article originally on my Blog in 2011.  I am excited to share that the LinkedIn Pulse Publishing platform is certainly worth the investment of time and commitment to good content.  I am thrilled and humbled by the feedback I have received from this article both on LinkedIn and Twitter.  I look forward to ongoing contributions.  The response is inspiring!





This is a fast paced digital world we live in and we as marketers are always looking for new ways to get customers to buy.

Why is this relevant now in the age of an exploding digital media landscape where consumers are living online and across multiple devices like never before?


Perhaps we need bring marketing and advertising back to basics and take a queue from our favourite MadMen Ad exec. Don Draper says: 

“ Advertising is based on one thing:  Happiness. “


Bring digital marketing back to the basics.  There is content coming at us fast and furious – whether in search engines, on social networks and news portals.  We are witnessing a digital media convergence where more and more media is available online across multiple platforms, and to add to that we are accessing digital content across multiple devices. How do we really make consumers happy now?  Is it still as simple as delivering on a promise and providing a product or service that makes your customers Happy?

I think so!  Now, how do we engage with consumers who are changing their online user behavior as quickly as Facebook changes its profile layouts?  We are marketers are constantly second-guessing where we are allocating our marketing dollars, seemingly because of the following fears:


FEAR of missing the next big thing.

RESOURCES – both financial and human.

CONFUSION about what tactics to focus on as the online world shifts again – and again – and again.


My advice? Bring it Back to Basics:

  1. Know Your Customer (this will make them Happy)
  • Check your website analytics for top referral traffic and keywords used to find your website, then continue to build on the content that is attracting and engaging your customers to ultimately buy from you.
  • Use a social media monitoring tools like Hootsuite or Sprout Social or free tools like Google Alerts, Facebook insights, Twitter analytics or others to “listen” to your customers and understand how to make them Happy.
  • Allocate time and resources to understand changes in how your target audiences are researching and transacting online.  Read and educate yourself about digital marketing tactics that work to make customers happy.  I know a few things that work.  Price transparency and the delivery of a brand promise.  Pretty back to basics right?
  • Most importantly, if you’re taking the time to ‘listen’ to your customer’s online– be sure you act on that information. Simply monitoring the conversation without adjusting your strategy, or communicating with your brand ambassadors will not help you understand how your consumer wants to receive your messages now and in the future.
  1. Keep Your Eye on the Prize. Understand Your Objectives
  • What are your objectives in your digital marketing campaigns?  Are you looking to increase sales? To build a new audience? Launch a new brand? Increase brand engagement?  It will make both you and your customer happy if your advertising is delivering the right message, at the right time, to the right consumer.  Win win win = Happy!
  • With all of the new tactics available to marketers today, it is more important than ever to set specific and measurable objectives for campaigns. This makes me nostalgic for the Mad Men days really.  This whole marketing thing has become a little bit mind numbing.
  1. Stick With What Works.
  • If you have already developed an active Twitter following and you’re seeing ROI (in sales and or website traffic etc) keep going!
  • Continue to build on what works to make your customers happy. Build a team of Tweeters to help in building and engaging your audience further or in providing CRM – think about what would take a successful campaign to the next level.
  • If Google AdWords campaigns worked well last year to drive targeted traffic during need times, or to sell specific packages or products – build on it and do it again with a new twist, or put some dollars towards other search channels such as the Yahoo/ BING network that might provide a smaller reach but more conversions.  Don’t be afraid to test new channels.  Consumers are spending a great deal of time online, therefore advertising budgets need to adjust.
  1. Search is still king.  Your customers are Happy when they find what they are looking for.
  • Focus on making sure you have a strong web presence across all online channels that help to guide your consumers to transact.
  • Ensure you have taken care of the basics like search engine optimization, good creative and content, Google Places optimization, a good mobile version of your website etc. and then you can focus on other channels to build your traffic.
  1. Integrate. Integrate. Integrate.
  • Make sure you integrate your campaigns online and offline.
  • Your brand’s digital footprint should have a consistent tone, creative brand message, and should always drive your target consumers to transact. This is key and is sure to make them Happy.  Ensure that all your brand web assets are navigating customers to act.
  1. Test + Measure and then Adjust.  This makes stakeholders Happy.
  • Measure performance in analytics and benchmark against past campaigns to continue to improve advertising efficiency. Make sure you have defined KPI’s in place such as increases in unique website visitors, increases in time on site and of course –  sales.
  • Did you launch a new Blog that has increased traffic to the website by 20%? How do you grow it from here or how do you encourage more transactions on the website as a result of the Blog traffic? Test, measure and adjust.
  • Have your efforts on LinkedIn increased leads to your sales department?
  • What can you do to ensure you grow these successful marketing channels?
  • Do the tactics outlined in your Marketing Plan work to build on what you have already started?

Keep it simple – stick to the digital marketing tactics that will help you achieve your objectives and don’t worry about all the noise.

It can get overwhelming to look at all that is available to us today. If you execute marketing programs efficiently, with the proper focus on measurement of ROI, which is very do-able in the age of digital media, you may have the confidence and extra resources to be able to adjust and try new things.  This will make you a Happy marketer!

To take a lesson from Mad Man, Don Draper – Budget + target demographic + medium = time for a scotch.  

Just make them Happy!



Alicia Whalen is a digital + social media marketing strategist, author and speaker specializing in the travel and tourism industry. Alicia has spent over a decade driving successful digital marketing campaigns and educating tourism professionals about how to embrace digital and social media. She is the co-founder of and the digital marketing conference for tourism  An avid tweeter and lover of travel, technology and the Ah-Ha moments.  Connect with Alicia on TwitterLinkedIn or at 


Chicks…and Butterflies?

As Week #1 as the newest Chick comes to a close, I’m reflecting on the irony in being asked to write a piece for the official Chick blog on the topic of “The Social Butterfly”.  While I‘m typically more of a behind-the-scenes kind of gal – the opposite of a social butterfly in the traditional sense – just thinking about writing a Blog is actually causing me to have butterflies; huge-winged moth-like Jurassic creatures are literally wreaking havoc on my insides.

Can I write anything of relevance using more than 140 characters? (I’m a seasoned Twitter-er.) What if no one reads this?  What if everyone reads this?  Do I have anything important to say?  What if there is criticism, and I‘m attacked by the grammar-hammers?  And, more importantly, what if The Chicks think I suck???  Lot’s of what-if angst…

[insert deep breath here]

In Chick-dom we refer to “The Social Butterfly” as most commonly found between the age range of 15-25 and being big influencers on buying decisions.  Social butterflies “fly” or “flit” from site to site based on popularity or what’s cool amongst their peers – wherever the nectar is the sweetest.

Butterflies are sharing their experiences through sites like YouTube, MySpace and Facebook.  This group has grown up online and is comfortable sharing personal information and interacting with other online users.  I know this from personal experience with having a 15 (going on 25) year-old; as I’m constantly amazed at how they can chat, text, take photo’s and video’s, and put together a Christmas list (with links to the products and their websites) – all at the same time (yet the simple task of cleaning her bedroom is simply overwhelming!).  This is the same kid who put together a Powerpoint presentation at the age of 12 on why she should be allowed to go to a bon-fire party with no parents.

My point being that butterflies are multi-taskers and have a zero-tolerance attention span.  They do their research online and value the opinions of those within their online community through ‘word of mouse‘.  As marketers to said butterflies, we need to go where they are.  Must-haves include the capability for uploading media, personalizing their space and being able to invite their friends to visit; we need to accommodate the thirst and inherent need to socialize.

In January 2010 a Facebook Fan Page for “If you remember the L’OrealKids FISH SHAPED SHAMPOO BOTTLE” was created and to date there are almost 1.2 million fans.  Fans have uploaded pictures of L’Oreal products, and pictures of themselves holding L’Oreal products.

The page does not look like an official L’Oreal page, and the page creator goes by the name “Tanner Be”.  Tanner Be might be just a highly creative teenager with a lot of time on his hands, or he/she might just be a cleverly-disguised digital marketer (hey…we do what we have to) for L’Oreal.

This is a perfect example of a brand “being social”, whether intentional on the brand’s behalf or not.  This also illustrates the glaring fact that you need to brand yourself, or someone else will most certainly do it for you.

Get your butterfly nets out, and remember to have fun along the way!

Try Google Real Time Search – A Chick tutorial

Check out Google Trends to see what real-time search is going to look like. This is really cool – and a little scary! It looks like a live newsreel within search results.
Wow this is the future of search. A total game changer for us in the Search Engine Optimization world.
Try a real time search by clicking on Google Trends and then clicking on one of the trending topics. You will see a live feed of results happening real time associated with those hot trending topics. (would not want to be Tiger Woods today!)
Google’s Blog says that it will be rolling this out across all search moving forward.

Google Goes Real Time

This just makes me want to search all day to see what’s different!

Yes – my inner geek talking here. It is fun watching Google and Bing battle it out for who will be the first to incorporate Twitter and Facebook real-time results and garner the consumer adaption first (which is really the key here). This  is a great outline of the landscape in PC World – as of today anyway.

Let’s see where this Blog post ends up in new live results.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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