Do you really understand what digital marketing is? It seems intuitive to some, but others believe that it’s the latest in a long history of buzzwords that don’t really mean anything, at least for the long term. The reality is that digital marketing is quite simply promoting products or services or brands through electronic media (hence the digital!). So, if you have to plug it in to view it, it’s electronic media. This includes social media channels, websites, landing pages, blogging etc., built to consume on any electronic device – computers, phones, tablets, e-readers, smart TV’s etc.
The most significant way that digital marketing distances itself from traditional marketing is that it allows an organization to gather and analyze data from various marketing campaigns in minute detail and adjust campaigns and methods going forward based on those results (or lack thereof). More often than not this can be done in real time and we all know how impatient we are! If we want it, we want it now. At CX3 Digital we have partnered with SharpSpring to allow our clients to see exactly how effective their marketing spend is.
In the digital marketing world we can instantly track what is being viewed, for how long, do visitors return, sales conversions, what content is most engaging and working for us and what isn’t etc. Of course the internet is the most well known digital marketing channel, but SMS/MMS text messaging, mobile apps, electronic billboards, digital radio and TV etc.
Why is Digital Marketing Important?
Digital marketing is important because today’s consumers can access information about things they are interested in virtually anywhere and at any time. It is impossible for an organization to control when a consumer accesses information about your brand, product or service. It’s available 24/7 somewhere. The job then becomes to do your best to have positive, meaningful and relevant content and information available. Digital media, or the methods in which we share and consume information is here to stay, and will only grow. We use digital media for social interaction, shopping, news and entertainment. If you don’t, then you are not reading this now! Who among us hasn’t found a restaurant via an app, checked out their website and then perhaps looked at Yelp or a similar site to see what other people or friends think of the place before we invest our money in a new place? The truth is that we are more likely to weigh strangers opinions, and certainly those of friends and relatives more heavily than information coming directly from an organization or brand. Therefore, your digital marketing footprint may start with the content and information you provide, but will undoubtedly spread via social platforms and other digital media to your potential consumers friends and social networks. This can be great for you business, or bad. It’s a double edged sword, good brands will be rewarded, and the bad will be found out and relegated to history faster than ever before.
Customer Relationships Must be Managed Across All Channels
The importance of digital marketing and digital media are clear. That does not mean that other channels should not be managed as well. Any opportunity that you have to communicate with your potential customers should be undertaken with an eye towards knowing them better than any of your competitors. Knowing them well means that you will be able to communicate with them wherever and whenever they are most receptive to your message. We do that via the creation of buyer personas which are simply a specific demographic that outlines customer preferences and expectations, including how they like to receive information, who they trust and what a day in the life is like. More on buyer personas in another article. This information allows us to specifically tailor content to our desired audiences to achieve engagement, movement along the buying lifecycle, conversion and ultimately customers.
Some Challenges Facing Digital Marketing
- Information overload – There are so many digital channels available and an ever expanding number and variety of devices that use different specifications, user interfaces etc, and people use those devices in different ways and for different things.
- Competition is getting tougher – Compared to traditional media, digital marketing channels are inexpensive. This makes them accessible to businesses of any size. Partially as a result of this (and the above information overload) it is becoming more and more difficult to capture a potential customer’s attention.
- Increasing volume of data – Now that so much data is being collected from each of us during our digital journeys, it is becoming a greater and greater challenge to get a handle on that data. What we need is some subset of that data avalanche to help us make better decisions and tools are constantly being developed to help us sift through the haystacks for the needles.
The Keys to Digital Marketing Success
To get digital marketing right is not difficult if you know some key must-haves.
- Be aware that you must manage your consumer relationships across multiple channels, both digital and traditional.
- Reach out to your consumers and when they engage, respond to them, become more interactive versus passive.
- Find the right data from the mountains you will collect in order to make better decisions more quickly.