Corporate Eye

3 Things Corporate Boards Must Understand about Digital Marketing and Branding

boardroomOne of the biggest challenges that marketers face today is securing adequate budgets to drive real results in the digital space. However, there is more to this problem than budgets. The problems actually start at the top with corporate boards who don’t understand digital marketing in 2014. As a result, companies are making the wrong investments and marketing departments continue to struggle.

For marketing results to improve in the future, corporate boards must understand the following three things about digital marketing and branding.

1. Training is Critical

Digital marketing changes rapidly. What worked a few years ago doesn’t work as well today (or at all). However, marketers aren’t given the training that they need to stay on top of this fast-paced discipline. An investment in ongoing digital marketing training for all marketers is essential and will give the company a significant competitive advantage.

Rather than simply increasing the training budget, it may be possible to shift training spending. For example, corporate boards should review current training programs to determine if some are outdated. This is a very real possibility in the marketing department. Training programs developed five years ago are almost certainly outdated and very likely to be irrelevant today.

Think of it this way—what worked in Facebook marketing last month has already changed (which is true since Facebook changed the layout of business Pages this month). The number one thing that board members need to understand is the critical importance of investing in the company’s human capital in order to improve digital marketing results and maximize returns on digital marketing investments.

2. There is More to Digital Strategy than Protecting Brand Reputation

Most board members still view digital as a source of worry first and a source of opportunity second (or third or fourth or even lower). They’re biggest concern is how the digital environment can put the brand at risk. As a result, the opportunity that digital presents can never be fully realized. Until board members accept the fact that you can’t stop consumers’ shift to digital for shopping, communicating, sharing, and just about every other part of life, those missed opportunities will continue.

3. Digital Provides a New Way to Improve Customer Experiences

Digital isn’t just about marketing, and boards need to understand that the value of digital extends beyond direct marketing. The opportunities to leverage digital to improve customer experiences and the overall user experience with the brand are numerous and should be prioritized.

Not only can the marketing department develop better brand experiences through promotions and content, but all functional areas of the business can leverage digital for improved customer experiences. For example, online, real-time customer service offered directly on the brand’s website as well as through social media can yield significant increases in customer satisfaction and positive word-of-mouth marketing.

Does your corporate board of directors fully understand digital marketing and branding yet? Have they taken the right steps to exploit the digital opportunity by understanding these three critical things? Leave a comment and share your experiences.

Image: Jennifer Lee licensed CC BY 2.0

The following two tabs change content below.
Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.