Ashley Cline is Vice President and Co-Founder of Ice Cream Social as well as VP of Client Strategy at Ticket Socket. Across her tenure in the field, Ashley has held nearly every role in the digital marketing space, giving her unmatched expertise in customer acquisition and email, search, and content marketing, and she’s here to talk about digital marketing strategy.
Our conversation with Ashley about digital marketing strategy began with a definition of the term and some exposition on the common mistakes she’s seen with the concept.
“Well first off, a big mistake in digital marketing strategies is not having a strategy to begin with,” explains Ashley. “A fair amount of businesses are platform-specific about marketing, thinking that their presence on a platform constitutes a strategy, but this is just a tactic. Another mistake I see, which echoes this platform-centric thinking, is clients putting all their eggs in one basket; just running Facebook ads, or Google AdWords, which can work for a while, but then those platforms change the rules and you’re off track.”
Without a diverse and cohesive plan to get attention across all platforms, marketers are left catering to the whims of distribution points, rather than focusing on understanding their target audience and engaging them in direct and meaningful ways.
The interview then pivots to discussing the power of word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing in the digital era. “Back in the day,” says Ashley, “people would gather at common places for common reasons and talk about common things. This is where the name of Ice Cream Social came from, because we wanted to replicate that exchange of ideas and leverage peer-to-peer and influencer networks to bring it into the modern era.”
Expanding on WOM, Ashley stresses the importance of incorporating straight forward brand guidelines and talking points in your WOM strategy, because if the people spreading your news aren’t saying the right things or going off script, it can be ineffectual and potentially damaging.
“When it comes to influencers, you need to give them very strict guidelines, assets, and verbiage,” explains Ashley. “Of course you want them to say things in their own way, but if an influencer brings attention to something that isn’t true or vetted, it can create a lot of headaches. You really want to give them everything they need to be successful, and since the influencer isn’t having to start from scratch, they’ll appreciate it as well.”
To hear us talk about Idiocracy, AI, and the strategic importance of play for marketers, and to learn more about how to craft a winning digital marketing strategy (particularly for events), listen to the show!