It’s Just Elementary Advertising, My Dear Watson

If you wish to use your skills of deduction, you’ll soon discover that while traditional media (such as print, radio, and television) is still kicking, there’s also the devious digital side of advertising that’s been giving everyone some trouble lately (not unlike Moriarty). Besides pre-roll, SEO, SEM, online banners, email marketing, web development, and web design, there are new elements to consider and incorporate into your advertising if you wish it to work effectively. To name a few that you cannot dismiss: online user experience, scheme tags for your SEO, deeper and deeper dissections of online consumers through Google Analytics and webmaster platforms, social media platforms, and many, many others.

Therefore, it does take a true Sherlock Holmes to figure out what’s happening and how to go about untangling the mystery of our clients’ advertising. After all, how do we know what they each need to succeed? Each is, of course, its own personal mystery, packaged for our curious minds to dissect.

Step One: Observe, Observe, Observe

First, we must take a step back. Don’t push your client into a plan of attack right away. A good plan takes time to develop, and each client is a different and unique case. Take a moment to access their standings on all platforms and be sure to pay attention to the little details. Where are they currently advertising? What are their competitors in the industry doing? What appears to work? What doesn’t? Look at their current results and analyze from there. How does their website look? Are they missing H1 tags or lacking a mobile-first site? Dig deep and draw your conclusions to find out their weak points. Don’t assume; use your carefully honed evidence to support the findings for your recommendations.

Step Two: Talk it Out with Your Watsons

There’s a reason why Holmes had Watson; his trusty sidekick was a sounding board for his theories, while also being a voice of reason. Advertising isn’t a solo job; it takes a team to bring all the elements together. Talk with your creatives, your digital experts, your media buyers, and your account executives. Ask for their opinions and listen to what they say. Ask questions. Use their experience and insider knowledge to your advantage. Poor returns on investment from say, email marketing results, might be the consequence of erroneous targeting rather than the method of advertising itself. Likewise, a poor SEO score might be easily improved by consistent directory listings, rather than a complete rehaul of the site. Figure out the simplest solutions and make them work for both yourself and the client.

Step Three: Deduce Your Approach

Each case, each client is unique, therefore, your solutions should be as well. Don’t make the mistake of falling into a pattern of prescribing the same list of ways to supposedly “solve” all of your client’s problems. There is no universal deduction that works for everyone. Choose the right path for your client, even if it might not be the easiest. Foster a relationship with them. Observe the results of your methods, talk to your Watsons, and revise for optimization. Don’t be afraid to question yourself.

Like Holmes’ detective work, our jobs are never truly done. We must continue to learn and adapt to the advertising landscape throughout the years to come, no matter how complicated or how arduous the process is, simply, because it needs to be done. Just as collecting DNA evidence wasn’t done in Holmes’ day, digital advertising was just a figment of our imagination twenty years ago. We must always keep learning; the day we stop is the day our solutions (and deductions) will ultimately fail. And that, simply, is an idea Sherlock Holmes wouldn’t approve of at all.