Digital Lift

Andrew Dennis

There’s a big difference between being a rocket and being shot out of a cannon. Today, 95 percent of all digital marketing programs are the latter.

Too often, marketers treat digital marketing programs as discrete efforts that are launched into the world, typically without the planning, trajectory or sustenance needed to achieve and maintain orbit. And, many digital marketers build programs to suit their own tastes over those of their target audiences.

As a marketing executive, you are leading your team into a new frontier that is today’s digital world. You have the controls. You set your digital direction through various parameters – your strategy, team, targets and resources. You have everything you think you need to accomplish the mission. Then, you launch, putting everything you do on a digital trajectory.

It’s at that moment when the adrenaline is highest and you find yourself on course, hitting your marks and achieving your success. Or, you launch with a bang, but quickly come back down to earth.

When it comes to your digital programs, you’re dealing with volatile assets that require continuous course corrections and in-flight maintenance. Shiny and sleek on the outside, your digital marketing programs are full-on IT applications on the inside. And, for marketers, it’s one thing to pilot digital marketing programs. It’s another thing to entirely to build, deploy and maintain them.

Digital marketing strategies and tactics that are effective today must be constantly monitored, evolved and, ultimately, replaced. The same applies to digital marketing skills, experience sets and tools.

The digital universe is filled with underperforming programs that fail to achieve their trajectory. Simply put, the vast majority of digital marketing programs are not built to last. They’re more of a “set and forget” mode with a big bang at launch. They’re flashy, new, and met with a lot of excitement, but pretty quickly the reality and gravity will win, and they come back down to earth with a splash, just like that cannon ball.

Unfortunately, things like atrophy and lack of integration and refinement are the norm, and this approach is antithetical to achieving digital marketing success. So, what do these digital “rocket ships” do differently to achieve digital escape velocity?

They have a series of investments and focal points accompanied by a clear strategy and vision. They have an endpoint. They know the destination they want to reach, but they also do the blueprint and foundational work to know what it’s going to take to get there.

They also have the right leadership, the right team and, critically, have committed the right resources. It’s not just a commitment up to the point of launch. Successful digital marketing organizations spend as much post-launch as they do pre-launch.

Your digital marketing can reach escape velocity, too

Rare is the marketing organization that can consistently and intelligently execute these successful launches and sustain trajectory. The digital marketing organizations that tap their potential are seeing the results: the revenue gains, the market share gains and full-on digital marketing program success.

They build trust, which is the fuel of all things digital. Digital trust exists from the moment of a visitor’s first digital interaction with an organization, but is easily lost. And a brand without digital trust is a brand without consequence.

All of this working together, adapting and pressing forward, ensures their intelligent payload can reach its target velocity and altitude.

Digital marketing trailblazers are organizations with effective, optimized programs that serve as valuable examples to organizations looking to improve their programs. Identifying and using trailblazers as blueprints for digital marketing strategy and execution is a best practice. Conversely, an organization limits its progress by focusing on the competitor that possesses the perceived best digital marketing programs in the organization’s market.

Given the completely open nature of digital marketing, execution becomes the ultimate differentiator. In a market where every organization has free and detailed access to its competitors’ digital marketing programs, execution separates the winners from the losers. is an example of one brand that has achieved escape velocity. They are in the 5 percent who achieve rocket ship levels of digital success, but they’re at the extreme. They’ve made a commitment to continuous improvement. Each day, they run thousands of tests and make hundreds of adjustments and, in doing so, they’re fueling their digital and economic growth.

The impact of this is that every subsequent program is improved. But it’s not just the new launches; it’s the existing programs that also benefit.

So what do you do? Take stock of your digital assets. Invest in the mission – really invest in it – with the resources to get you to the launch pad, into space and orbital velocity that will bring real and sustainable success. Throttle up, increase lift in your programs, and own your digital space.

Excerpted from the book, "Digital Lift: Digital Success Principles for Marketing Leaders" by Andrew Dennis, CEO/Founder of NorthPage, Inc.