Your Language Can Ruin Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Marketing is 80% mindset. That’s heresy to say, because people like me make our living helping companies and professionals be successful at digital marketing. But the challenge of getting clients is not actually a technical problem of know-how, it’s an internal company philosophy endangered by incorrect assumptions coded in inaccurate language. Our use of language becomes coded into our actions and where we spend our money, time, and involvement.


Your marketing language is the symbolic representation of your digital strategy. When we see companies with obsolete or ineffective digital strategy, we can usually find it in the words they’re using to shape their marketing goals and behavior. These words. while oddly dramatic, are strikingly demotivating.


“Drive traffic” – Stop treating prospective clients like cattle with automatic responses. It sends you looking for the right stick, and releases you from the responsibility to actually engage them. The kind of people you can “drive” aren’t the kind of people who make good clients. And the herd is getting thin anyway, since people are jaded about gimmicky, ad-like hooks designed to elicit the lowest level of buying response for your service. It’s only the clueless who are still responding to squeeze pages (those skinny web pages with lots of red “deal of a lifetime” text that scroll endlessly through rhetoric designed to create a sense of urgency, leading to a payment button at the end). If you start to plan your digital marketing with “how do we drive traffic”, you’ve already made some deadly assumptions. There’s no stick anymore; digital marketing is all carrot now. And that means you engage people at an authentic and human level, not a technical or manipulative one.


“Get found” – The passivity of that phrase is glaring. It assumes a) that search engines are the only source of clientele in digital marketing (which makes you ripe for the picking for expensive SEO techniques that were obsolete in 2011 and blind to the massive potential for social traffic), and b) that digital marketing is about being a phone book entry on the web (which is why a lot of web sites look like little more than elaborately fancied-up business cards). Getting found is an attitude from 1999, when the web was young and most people still consulted it like the yellow pages. Passive marketing is the lowest level of marketing effort, and produces only minimal results. It’s also merely website driven, so it’s an unbalanced pressure on your digital strategy – your website is a social hub, not a listing, and every company is social now, or it dies, fast or slow. If you and I were standing in a supermarket aisle talking, and suddenly I started saying I can’t find you, it’d be kind of awkward, wouldn’t it? Clients don’t find you these days, so much as you find, engage, and convert *them*. Be present to your company’s digital marketing as an ongoing, content-driven plan of engagement, and you won’t have to worry about “getting found”.


Effective marketing goals and digital marketing strategy involve the language of relationships – a language that takes full stock of the intelligence, savvy, and real depth of prospective clients. It’s the language of:

  • Reach: of consistently creating valuable content that people want to read, see, and share.
  • Reputation: of putting that content into multiple media channels that you brand.
  • Relationships: of actively creating networks of thought leaders, vocal consumers, and industry evangelists in the social sphere, and sharing each other’s content.

In short, effective digital marketing is relentless, alluring, and engaged. It is content-based marketing. it is multi-channel marketing. And it’s socially savvy marketing. Then there’s the other kind of marketing – the ineffective kind, which lives in outdated assumptions and demotivating language. Which kind of marketing strategy are you applying to your business?

MadPipe can help you craft and implement an effective digital strategy, and transform your business with a smarter marketing culture. Reach out to us.

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Daniel DiGriz

Daniel DiGriz is a corporate storyteller and Digital Ecologist® at MadPipe, which provides creative direction, marketing leadership, and campaign direction for firms that want a stronger connection with their audience. A Digital Ecologist® applies strategic principles from both natural and digital ecologies to help organizations thrive across multiple ecosystems. Daniel hosts podcasts, speaks at conferences, and his ideas have appeared in Inc, SmartBlog, MediaPost, Forbes, and Success Magazine.

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About once / month, corporate storyteller and digital ecologist® Daniel DiGriz weaves together interesting business stories, analytics, & examples for organizations committed to achieving their goals.


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