In part 3 of our Masterclass on Digital Marketing with Ida Serneberg, Silvija picks Ida's brain about the ethical issues arising from digital marketing both personally and on a societal level. They discuss how technology, business, and marketing can interlink and the issues it could provoke and focus on the primary aim and dangers of constantly measuring micro metrics. Ida explores the technology and tools behind marketing messages.
Med Ida Serneberg og Silvija Seres
Velkommen til Lorn.Tech – en læringsdugnad om teknologi og samfunn. Med Silvija Seres og venner
SS: Hi, and welcome back to our Lørn masters-series with Ida Seneberg about digital marketing. Ida, we have already had two chats in this series where you actually attempting to teach me through a conversation about digital marketing. And the first talk was about basic concepts and definitions and the story of the subject. The second one was about some of your favorite examples and a kind of nice analysis of why you think they're interesting. And now we are going into section number three, which is going to be about bridges. So there are things to talk about when it comes to technology, there are things to talk about when It comes to business, and there are some things to talk about when it comes to society. And we talked about all kinds of new nudging that ads are doing with us in the digital world. Cambridge Analytica wasn´t mentioned but is perhaps the most well-known example. And you know. We didn’t know where to start thinking about the ethics of these things. Another idea related to ethics that I like to discuss a little bit with you is. There is a book called World Without Mind by a guy called Francis Foer, and he´s talking about echo chambers and fake news and how people who work in media have a really, almost sacred duty, to protect us from manipulations. Yet the business might want to manipulate us, so how do we balance that. So that´s the social ethics side. When it comes to business, I´d like you to teach me, you know, how do I measure the business effect of digital marketing. How do I relate them to something that creates value for my business? And the third, on the technology side, you already mentioned things like Google Marketing platform or Facebook ads platform. How do I start, what do I need to learn In order to start using these tools? So I don´t know which order we should take them, but should we start with ethics?
IS: Okay, sure.
SS: What is digital marketing doing to us as individuals and as a society?
IS: Yeah, so when I teach digital ethics, I always started with the ethical Faultline explained by Kerry James, Harvard Researcher. You can talk about privacy, property, participation and identity, and credibility. So there is no difference from the time before the internet, so credibility. You give credit where credit belongs, right? But all of these five things have become a lot more complicated in our world. Because I mean, credibility. How do you give credit when it´s a meme, for instance. That´s the one thing. Participation, the whole idea that consumer and producer relating in a blurred way like we heard the last time with the example of SHAME, creates a lot of new kinds of tricky things. When it comes to company, and all of the sudden I can make fun of your logo, or you can try to pretend to have some sort of image, but the co-workers know it´s not true, then they start participating in that. Identity. Identity is huge. Where is my identity begin and where does it end, and we talked about behavior data last time. We talked about geographical, demographic data, the data that can be used for the benefit to target me in a way that I don´t want to be targeted in. And property. Property is also connected to that, I mean, the property in terms of can be many things, I mean, now what we see now what some people are talking about, and I just recently read an article that was claiming that we will see now different internets in different countries, and the one thing that I should be aware of is the internet in the years to come will be different from the one that we know from today. So the open, free internet I don´t think is going to end, but we´ll see a lot of regulations connected to it. As a consequence of the fact that it´s been high after all for a few years. So, yeah. Those are some of the issues that are already being addressed. They’re being addressed through for instance GDRP 2018 we got that role. That was a shower from the EU saying every time you go online, you broadcast your information. And people don´t even, we´re not even aware of it. One exercise I do with my students at the beginning of the year, and I hope no future students is listening right now, because then it´s going to be a spoiler, but what I do is that I send them to a personality test online, and I say hey make this personality test. And everyone is doing that. And the test is not the personality test, but afterward, I ask them okay, so what did you consent to now. And what you're giving away every time you do these free personality tests online, you give away psychographic data. Something that was misused by Cambridge Analytica. Funnily, the one that I’m using, the one personality test I’m using, the on personality test is based in Cambridge. Probably on the same street where we had Cambridge Analytica, probably based on the same people who worked at Cambridge Analytica, and we´re very naive. And I think in the years to come, people will become more concerned about it, and I always tell my students: What kind of marketing do you want to have? How do you want to be exposed? That´s the kind of marketer that you want to be, so this is really important. I think this is one of my heart's major concerns, actually.
SS: Our personal boundaries and how we are being used are being directed in this new digital, social world. But okay, so we leave lots and lots of tracks in the digital space, and these are being used in good and bad ways to target us with information, and that information might be aimed to make us buy something, or maybe make us vote in a certain way or affect us in some way or another. How do I measure the effectiveness of this? How do I relate it to my business calls?
IS: Yeah, really awesome and good important question, because very often I get clients coming to me and my students and say okay, we need help with this and that, and very often it´s, I mean, I ask them what’s the aim with. Why do you need support, what can we help you with. And very often they say, well, I want to grow my digital visibility in Facebook and on Google, and I want to raise sometimes because they´ve learned that I need clear goals, they need to be SMART. Specific, measurable, all that. And then they say well, I need to grow my follower base by 200%. And that´s a micro goal, and I would strongly recommend avoiding all kinds of how many clicks did I get to my website, how many followers do I have. It doesn’t say necessarily a lot at the end of the day what you earned. So I think it´s really important to have a clear idea of what´s your primary aim. What’s makes. What are your primary business goals? When we put up digital marketing, it needs to reflect that, to begin with. Secondly, you also need to know why you are doing what you´re doing. So in order to measure why you’re doing what you’re doing, that´s a rather qualitative metric then. It´s rather to look at “Did I come through with whatever I wanted to do”. I believe in the years to come, that the way that we measure marketing is going to change radically, and I even saw now that some of my students are signing up for positions called qualitative analytics or working with qualitative analytics because it´s not enough to look at numbers. The number of followers, the number of clicks, the number of visits to your websites, but we need to go back to those good old´ focus groups. Sit down with your customers and ask them what´s your impression of this product? And then to really see if it´s reflecting what you're doing, and I have cuisine who works at a media auditing company, one of the biggest firms in the world. They´re working with global brands, and she´s always answering when people say I have a small company, I can´t afford to measure. Doing all this brand lifts surveys that Google provides you with. I can´t afford that. It requires a big budget. And her response is, well, there are other ways of measuring customer satisfaction. You can just ask them “How did it taste?”, right? So there is something about finding that good blend when it comes to measuring things. Not only being blind to the digital measurements, but try to find, and here we see the intertwined and the bridge between the digital and the analog.
SS: Can I ask you, Ida, because I’m wondering if we´re becoming a little bit too data blind. You know, we believe that now that we have everything digitally it means that we´re going to have lots and lots of data on everything and data will tell us all. That´s not how it works unless you really understand and communicate the vision. Data is not going to tell you anything unless you have a hypothesis.
IS: Exactly, and I think also it´s a little bit like the good old analogy about the guy who lost his keys, and you find him searching for the keys under the lamp and someone says why are you looking there? Is that where you lost them? He´s like no, but here is where the light is based. And that´s the same with a lot of ways we measure things in the online world. It´s not an accurate way of measuring things.
SS: It´s just a shadow?
IS: It´s just a shadow, yeah.
SS: And so. Data can´t tell you everything. You have to combine quantitative with qualitative, but when it comes to quantitative, I guess we need to connect those clicks and likes and followerships and so on with higher business goals as your saying.
SS: Sometimes I have a feeling we don´t even do that, I mean, there is a disconnect between the number of items you sell with the number of likes you might have.
IS: Yeah, I mean, I can only relate to my own business, so. The business I have outside of my company or my normal work, which is only based on the stories I share on LinkedIn. I would say that 99% of my business, even then when I say business, I mean just request from other universities or you asking me about doing this, I put zero money on it. Probably if I would be to go independent by myself, I would put up a bigger strategy around it, but at the end of the day what´s being measured is probably the number of requests that I get online. And that in the end leads to some sort of initiative and engagement for anyone else that would be independent, which leads to revenue. And why is that? I mean, again it goes back to just the story, the content that I create, does it reflect the end goal that I have? This is to be, in my case, is not about making money because I don´t make any money outside the normal. The position that Noroff necessarily, but is rather being that thought leader in a certain area for me. And if I want to measure my content, the effectiveness of the content, I have to look at the end of the day, okay, how many requests did I get in this time and that´s how we should relate to it. I never look at likes, I never look at visits to. What I do look at, is how many search my name on Google. That´s something you can do actually.
SS: Number of searches, that´s true. Listen, Ida, just five minutes on technology. If I need to learn to use a technology platform, we´ll go back to the tools of the trade later, but something like. Just teach me, you mentioned the Google ad platform or Google analytics or. So if you could talk a little bit about., that I think there are two types of technologies. One is the production technology, perhaps we need to learn a little bit about Tiktok or about, you know, the new ways of creating whether it´s video or other content. And then there is the distribution technology. How do you get this out? What are some of the basic tools here and explain how one of each works?
IS: Yeah, and If I can add one to it. Is also the basic communication tool that you have internally in your organization. I think that´s where you start. It´s about having an infrastructure that helps you coo-work. It´s often unseen. We often forget about it. It can be a google drive disk for everyone, it can be for someone in Dropbox, right? For someone, it´s more like the internet. I say this because if you want to be successful in digital marketing, you have to have an organization where everyone shares the same platform, shares the same common, not necessarily values, but you have a common ground where you can share your values and you can share your documents, see the process of everyone. So I would start there, and also have some sort of project tool. It can be Asana, it can be Basecamp. You need somewhere to communicate, it´s often Slack. What else do we have, Discord? I know that a lot of people like Discord. Teams obviously, so begin with. You need to have that infrastructure that is based on internal communication. That´s number one. Then we go on to, so you said like the distribution side, and you also have the production side. So the production, most of the time you have a website as a company. Not always, but you have some sort of, like, hub. So connected to that website you need to have a CMS. A content management system. It can be WordPress, it can be Drupal, Wix, Shopify, and so on. And you need to connect that one to some sort of analytics tool. Most of the time that’s Google Analytics. That’s the bare minimum. You need to know, okay, what’s my foundation. Very often, or not very often, but what everyone should have is Google Business Manager. Google My Business.
SS: Just to translate that. Because, you know, when you were in a physical store before, you could count the people that go into the shop, you could see how they behave Infront of different shelves. Now in a digital world, your webpage is doing the same as the shop, so basically you need to understand where people are going and where they are staying, right? And where they´re buying.
IS: Yes, exactly. And I mean, it does not necessarily have to be the webpage or the website. It´s important to remember that´s even already a little bit of yesterday’s news. For someone, it might be the app. If your Vipps, right, then it’s the app. In my case it´s also, I wouldn´t say my webpage is the number one core. My core is rather LinkedIn and my Google Business position. If you google my name, there’s a box on the right side. That´s my front page. And your front page, Silvija, is Silvija Seres and what is being shown there. So that´s probably, like, something that you also have to take into account. But in my case, it´s also Google Scholar. So Google Scholar is where scientists. It´s where, you know, on Google you have the normal feed where you can search, or you have the newsfeed, and you have the Scholar where you search for papers. I have a profile there as well, and this is a really important point because there you see that most of the listeners who are listening to me right now, most likely are not on Google Scholar, and should not be. And here we have a very important part of marketing today is niche. So what´s your niche? And the niche will decide whether you should be on TikTok or not. I should be on Tiktok, but I’m not. I´m afraid of TikTok, but most of my students are, so I should actually go out and explore there just to understand it. I would most likely never be on TikTok because that´s not my niche.
SS: Ida, I have to ask you that question now. So you mentioned TikTok, and you know, I´m also a little bit scared of both TikTok, and Instagram and Snap, and it´s just like, you know, I’m oversaturated with channels, and I’m afraid that I can start a new channel, but I don´t have the time or the bandwidth to keep up the good work, and it would just be a dead channel. Somebody was doing an interview with me, and they said, well, you know, we checked you out and it looks like you have a zombie Instagram account where there are about thirty pictures. Some swimming competition with your children, and then nothing more. And I said, yeah, you know, that was the time I used it, and I simply didn´t have the time to do it. So, I think many companies and many individuals are wondering about this, you know, is there like a limit, should they use five and stick to those five? Should I go on as many as possible, because we don´t have the resources to keep it up in all these channels?
IS: Exactly, and I think that´s a very relevant and important question. I honestly believe that a lot of companies are on Facebook without even, and shouldn’t be on Facebook. So Facebook was a core, it was a bare minimum a few years ago, but now we see that Facebook is moving into being a niche as well. So if you want to reach out to the young ones, Facebook is not the place to be. If you want to reach out to my brother, who is like 42, Facebook is the place. So it all depends on who is your customer. What do you want to, what kind of action, how do you want to nudge them, and how do they behave in that context, and how can you use it. And obviously, it´s also depending on your budget. If you´re Booking.com or if you´re Coop with quite a lot of media-spend, well then you have the resources to be available on the much, much more channels.
SS: Cool. Ida, we talked about technology in terms of different channels, different platforms and different creative tools, and different communication tools. We also talked about business in terms of how you define what success looks like with your digital marketing strategy and we talked about the social side of this, in terms of how do you make sure that it is respectful and ethical. At least at some very high level. I think we´re going to stop there and then soon go into our fourth session, which is going to be, well, so how do I start? Help me how to get a project started, and what´s my, you know, starting steps and starting KPIs. Sounds good?
SS: Okay, thank you so far.
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What are your education and hobby?
Master's degree in Social Sciences with a major in Media and Communication Studies (thesis on change management in a digital age)
Who are you, privately?
Coffee drinking book nerd
Who are you, professionally?
Passionate teacher and leader in higher education in digital marketing, ethics, social media, Informatics, and UX.
What is your “mission” at work?
To disrupt education and prepare the future marketers of tools and rules that are yet to be discovered.
Define in one sentence the subject?
Digital marketing: the art of persuasion in and with the support of digital technology.
Why do you find the SUBJECT important and interesting?
It is in and involves everything! Consider this: recruiting participants to a clinical study.
How do you move forward?
In today's world, everyone is a publisher, everyone needs to understand this.
What are the main pitfalls?
That you search for quick fixes! Long data is more important and crucial than big data.
What are the best steps to get started?
You must have the technological infrastructure in place - and you must start with OWN (organic data), a good foundation of stories, a narrative structure - you cannot pay your way out of a bad product or bad content.
How can success be measured?
You must measure long-term and short-term and focus on the bigger aims and KPIs of your company. Don't get caught up by clicks, likes, and other micro-goals.
Samle deg med en venn eller en kollega for å se om du klarer å svare på spørsmålet nedenfor.
How will you view your own behavior online now and how much information should a company use to target you?
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