Why honesty is the best policy when it comes to digital marketing

Why honesty is the best policy when it comes to digital marketing

11th August 2015

The State of Digital 2015 Summer Series continues today, giving young talent in digital marketing a chance to shine in front of our audience. Today, Rosie Arnold from Venn Digital tells us how one digital marketing campaign got her hooked.


Admitting that you don’t know what you want to do after University and three internships is brave.

We’re Sorry”. I didn’t know it, but those two words were the start of my digital marketing career. The summer campaign for the mobile network ‘Three.co.uk’ had me hooked. Apologising to viewers for the ‘holiday spam’ of ‘hot dog legs’ and selfies people were sending from luxurious destinations abroad, Three defiantly took their place as the supplier of free data roaming across Europe.

The supporting web page and social media hashtag #HolidaySpam encouraging users to share and apologise for their spam spread like wildfire as a result of their simplicity.

The key to this campaign was that it apologised for Three.co.uk being great at what they do, grabbing the attention of their audience and encouraging them to discover the reason behind the apology. In the place of sleek mobile phone shots came honesty, simplicity and a refreshingly personal touch.

The worry when you work in an all-singing, all-dancing, integrated digital marketing agency is that you want every piece of work to show the sparkly things you can do. While the beauty of great design is never in question, working from the copywriting side of marketing gives me a different perspective.

Taking the lead from Three’s honest, clever campaign I think simplicity can really work for marketing. When you’re writing for a user, it’s about intuition to create something that makes customers think and connect with your brand.

For me, the key is unique content. This is especially true from a copywriter’s perspective because although there’s a lot you can do with the 26 letters of the alphabet, less is always more when it comes to writing for people.

In the place of lengthy whitepapers, eBooks and cutting-edge interactives that anyone born before 1980 can’t work, should come no-fuss articles and PRs. Leaders like the Guardian, the BBC and even Forbes don’t need gimmicks because their content speaks for itself.

It’s clear that when time is ever-more precious, people want real information. Just like the big publications, digital copywriters have to write for consumers who want original data that challenges their perception and industry insights from a genuine voice.

We can all do better

It’s well known that the internet is a very saturated place which is no surprise given there are 3,158,735,348 (and counting) users. That’s not to say we should give up, it’s just an indication that to create successful campaigns, things have to change.

This has to start with our attitude; if something’s not working, this isn’t a failure, all you need is a more inventive plan B, until you get the results you want (after all, marketers love A/B testing).

Improvements need to made to everyone’s favourite: infographics. It is difficult to find a topic that hasn’t been covered, which means that despite your beautiful design and data, the chances of an infographic going viral are slim. I see no reason why infographics with succinct copy and great design won’t continue, but these should be limited to on-site brand pieces rather than the key to referral traffic.

Blogging will always be a fantastic way of putting regular content on site and defining your voice, but standards have slipped. Where we can do better is to make sure that every blog is unique. Churning out the same piece as your competitors isn’t clever and will annoy your readers (and Google) in the long run.

A good piece with unique industry insights, relevant news and original data can help to develop a relationship with your consumers and increase traffic significantly. With any content, to gain brand loyalty and get people coming back time and time again, you need to give them something worth coming back for.

Getting back to basics

A lot of digital marketing is about the foundations, the back-end that users don’t see (and as a relatively new copywriter, even I still don’t fully understand a lot of this).

What I do know is that us copywriters need to grow a pair.

Overcomplicated strap lines and lengthy H2s that don’t say anything aren’t good enough anymore. Copywriters need to be brave and scrap the paragraph about how ‘X’ website offers a personal service because your customer has been trawling through competitor sites all day and really has heard this all before.Why not connect with your customers by reassuring them with the fact you’ve done such and such in the last week alone or throw in a case study? Without this, your words are empty.

We need to get back to point zero.

To be good marketers, we have to focus on what makes a brand unique, asking the right questions to define who they really are. When you understand a brand, this will come out in everything you write, helping users to get a clear picture of who this company really is.

If you’re asking brands to be honest, then you need the same transparency. Instead of taking a client’s generous budget and throwing the kitchen sink at it, more marketers should take our lead. If a client has exhausted their content options and SEO is no longer doing anything, we’ll offer a different marketing channel to produce the best results in the long run.

By reinvesting budget into a PPC campaign or a responsive website, the company will reap the rewards by strengthening their relationship with consumers and building trust between you and your client.

Honesty, trust and respect secure repeat visits and increase brand loyalty- which is all a company wants from their digital marketing agency at the end of the day.

If you don’t believe me, have a look at the Oasis summer advertising and see why simplicity and honesty will always work in marketing.


About The Author

RosieRosie Arnold is a copywriter at Digital Marketing agency Venn Digital. Less than a year into digital, Rosie specialises in writing blogs, PRs and winning award submissions. Pretty much unflappable unless deprived of food.


Written By
This post was written by an author who is not a regular contributor to State of Digital. See all the other regular State of Digital authors here. Opinions expressed in the article are those of the contributor and not necessarily those of State of Digital.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.