Type the term ‘Digital Marketing’ into your web browser and you’re likely to be met with a myriad of buzzwords that all make one thing abundantly clear: Everyone and everything is online. Digital trends are dominating the search engines of the World Wide Web – things like artificial intelligence, virtual reality and of course, the cloud. While companies are certainly moving towards bigger and better ways of doing things – these technologies serve only very niche markets and, in fact, have pretty low adoption rates.
Digital is an exciting space, not because of the technologies available, but rather because of the way it can be used to improve products and services – and the way consumers interact with them. Take shopping, for example: once you’d have to brave the confined walls of a shopping centre only to stand in queues and leave without whatever it is you went there for. Now you can purchase exactly what you need, from the comfort of your home, office, or wherever there’s a solid Internet connection.
While this is probably one of the more obvious tech benefits, it tells a much bigger story than most consumers, and clients for that matter, may realise. The digital space offers an holistic approach to communication. It not only enables you to shop online, it also has the ability to show you what you want to see because it targets specific audiences. Shoppers at some point, would have been met with online adverts, social media posts, and personalised emails encouraging them to experience a world where payment is cashless, and convenience, guaranteed.
This is made possible through valuable data and analytics. By analysing traffic information, marketers are able to gain better insights into their customers’ preferences to determine what influences their buying decisions. The result? Improved conversion rates because you’re interacting with your target audience in a more efficient way. This aids in the planning of a killer marketing strategy that’s likely to improve the success rates of future campaigns.
On that note – consider the way consumers used to interact with brands and services – a Verimark TV advert here; a catchy radio jingle there. While these may have been effective during sick days from school where there was simply nothing else on television, digital advertising has completely changed the way audiences interact with these offerings – and do so in a far more enticing and memorable way. While traditional marketing still has its space in advertising, a digital adaptation has become one of the most effective ways to amplify a message.
It’s biggest appeal? The fact that digital advertising is measurable. Sure, a publication can promise to publish your beautifully crafted piece of content, but once it’s out of your mail box and into theirs, there’s no way of tracking where it goes. Publish the same article on an online platform and you can monitor its success by looking at click-through rates and how long a consumer spends on the page.
Pair this with its ability to target specific audiences and you’ve got yourself, for example, customised social posts – not only do they adopt the tone of voice of the chosen consumer, they guarantee that only this consumer, and others with similar interests, see them. This is especially important during a time where nearly 3 billion people are active social media users. After all, remember, customers find you by way of search engines, referrals or social media.
Brands and services need to remember that communication is a two-way, interactive process, so marketers need to provide real, tangible value to their audiences if they’re to hold on to them and maintain a competitive edge. Every element of a brand’s message should therefore be digitised as part of the broader marketing objective. It’s no longer a matter of trying to predict where marketing is headed. We are living it. Right here, right now. We have to ensure we use the tools given to us if we’re going to have those meaningful conversations with consumers.