The Digital Marketing Industry’s Biggest Problem: Itself

Wondering why a promising campaign flopped? These industry “trends” might be to blame.


Digital marketing has overcome other marketing methods in record time. However, even as advertisers divert more of their budgets into digital, questions about its transparency and efficiency remain.

The problem isn’t digital marketing per se, but rather the status quo of the industry. Be mindful of its faults so your business can outsmart them on your next campaign.

• Surprise! Fees

In some instances, the fee structure of certain media and communications agencies hasn’t changed much since the real era of fictional Don Draper. However, with the introduction of mobile and digital technologies – the industry has evolved faster in the past two decades than it did in the previous century. The industry is still playing catch up, and, as a client, you have to be aware of billing methods to avoid misunderstandings.

Regarding fee structures, commonly used ones include the traditional commission system, hourly rates, project-based fees, or a combination thereof. Whatever structure your agency or consultancy suggests, know that new marketing methods allow for a degree of transparency that old systems didn’t account, and that openness should translate into your charges.

You can avoid being blindsided by unexpected charges by paying close attention to your contracts’ terms and maintaining clear communication with all your partners at all times. Additionally, seek out the many tech-forward collaborators in the market that are equipped with the knowledge to deliver transparent results and equally clear contracts.

• The programmatic problem.

Programmatic was supposed to make up for the shortcomings of traditional marketing, but it’s got some serious issues itself.

According to the 2017 ANA report: The State of Programmatic Media Buying, only 40% of marketers are comfortable with the transparency of their programmatic media investments. That same report found that a whopping 76% of them are concerned about brand safety.

Simply put, a large proportion of programmatic media advertisers are questioning where their money is going; and the significant majority is deeply concerned about their brand’s image within programmatic placements.

The programmatic supply chain is both complicated and unrestricted, giving way to ambiguity and fraud. Your media budget goes from you to your agency, to a demand network, to an ad exchange, to a supply network, until it reaches an unknown publisher…and who knows what happens after that.

To boot, almost everyone and anything can pose as an actor within the supply chain, which leads to an exorbitant amount of ad fraud such as click farms, ad stacking, and bot traffic.

If your business engages in programmatic media buying, consider that more of your media spend may be going to middle-men than to media. On top of that, the media placements you do get are possibly fraudulent or insignificant.

• Creativity for the sake of creativity:

Quality content is key to ensuring the success of your marketing. However, creating content can get expensive – and “creativity” turns into a shot in the dark unless it’s backed by data. Brands have a tendency to do things just because they can, not because they should. (Like spending USD40 million on a “tone-deaf” soda ad featuring Kendall Jenner, for example.)

To avert comparable blunders, make sure your concept follows your data. Remember Spotify’s 2017 OOH campaign? Not only were the ads flawlessly written and designed – they were also clever and insightful. Powerful campaigns like Spotify’s are a great reminder that creative choices are most impactful when based on data.

• Businesses are siloed to a fault.

It seems logical that when one wants marketing to boost sales, one’s marketing team would appeal to the sales team for insight. However, different departments within the same company tend to have different objectives, ideas, and also be competing for the company’s budget. Be weary of flawed internal communications, as they can lead to many missed opportunities both in and outside of marketing.

• Wasted human capital.

Think of your most talented colleague or employee. Imagine how much it would hurt your company if they spent their entire day trying to make sense of data by staring at mile-long spreadsheets. Imagine how much it would suck to be that person. Perhaps you don’t need to imagine. Perhaps you’ve already seen or experienced this scenario yourself.

Businesses waste valuable time and human capital by having workers do things that could be automated. Remember automation has the potential to take care of “busy work” so you and your colleagues can work on the real work.

• We still haven’t found a way to add more hours to the day.

In any type of business you may be trying to do it all. Bookkeeping, customer service, and even order fulfillment. Sometimes, it seems like there aren’t enough hours in a day (trust us, we’re not that big ourselves). Other times, it feels like your budget just won’t stretch past a certain point.

Rather than continuing to spread yourself and your team too thin, consider using tools that add value to your efforts and money.

Bright, for example, centralizes your data and with that will help you create and optimize digital marketing campaigns using AI for as little as USD200. We will also predict what products and users you would need to target based on your first party data. And best of all, our talented team will help you in a daily bases so that you feel you have your traditional digital agency with the service you are used to.

Using Bright, a marketing agency in the US, scored over 400 new leads for its own client. Leads cost per acquisition was 30.4% lower than their CPA with other solutions.

If you think it’s time to ramp up your marketing and take the next step feel free to reach out at or hit the next link: