Marketing In A Digital World
Marketing has been around for as long as there has been an opportunity to barter one good for another. At its most fundamental form, the act of marketing is simply defined as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large” (American Marketing Association). And for the most part, marketing has changed very little over the centuries. For the vast majority of human history it was the simple act of persuasion, on a very small scale.
All of that has changed with the digital world. The first hint of a transition happened back when radio, television and billboard marketing exploded onto the scene. Suddenly new technology made it possible to reach far more people. Enter the era of Mad Men, and a fundamental change to how marketing was viewed. No longer was the goal to persuade a small, well-known audience. Suddenly marketers could reach thousands.
Traditional vs. Digital Marketing
And then the Internet happened. Thousands turned into millions, and the potential for finding buyers increased exponentially. Naturally, so did the competition. The digital age marks the most substantial shift in the field of marketing we’ve ever seen. We have instant access to more people than ever. We have more information to sift through than we know what to do with. And new tools and techniques allow us to predict buying patterns and customer needs like never before.
So what does it all mean? In a digital age, old marketing strategies are no longer as effective. Even the digital marketing strategies of five years ago are less effective in the constantly changing digital world. As marketers, we must be more nimble and innovative than ever before.
Here are a few areas where you can maintain the upper hand in the world of digital marketing:
Anticipate your audience’s needs
The ability to reach a wider audience doesn’t mean the basics don’t still hold true. As a marketer, it’s important to know what your audience needs. What frustrations, or pain points, are they trying to resolve? How can you present them with a solution?
What has changed is your ability to disseminate this information. Through search-engine optimization (SEO), the potential to reach a huge organic audience has never been better. By simply producing content centered around an audience’s major source of frustration, you’re able to appear in search results and guide the right sort of visitors to your website.
It is worth mentioning that the world of SEO is also changing. Ten years ago it wasn’t uncommon to find a website overflowing with the words a frustrated visitor was looking for. These days, search engines are smarter than that. They penalize content that appears to be “stuffing” keywords and prioritize content that sounds more human. Depth takes priority over keyword density, and search engines are becoming better and better at recognizing intent.
Take advantage of more precise paid advertising
Before everyone and their grandmother had a Facebook account, paid advertising found its home largely through newspapers, television commercials, and other static methods. There was some amount of freedom here. If you were targeting creatives, you could print an ad in the Arts and Entertainment section of a newspaper. If you were selling toys, your commercials would likely run on a popular station for children’s TV shows.
But with the Internet, paid advertising takes on a new level of precision. With the ability to target interests, lifestyle, and even browsing history, it’s easier than ever to know you’re targeting the right people. PPC (pay-per-click) advertising curbs the cost of running ads, making it more accessible. Marketers can rest assured knowing they are only paying for their ad when it is clicked on, so a marketing campaign that bombs won’t cost a small fortune.
Be present for your audience
We live in the age of information, where anything you need is at the other end of a laptop screen. As a result, our audience has grown more impatient. Digital marketing, these days, is often caught up in digital responsiveness. How quick to respond is your customer service team? How effectively can they solve a problem, answer questions, and resolve objections?
If you don’t have a plan for visitor engagement built into your marketing, this is an area that is worth paying attention to.
Stay relevant and unique in a more accessible marketing world
As the cost of advertising goes down, and access to audiences increases, the ability to jump into the world of marketing becomes a lot easier. The number of fish in the pond has grown exponentially over the past decade or so, which means it’s more important than ever to stand out. Stay on top of best practices, learn the new algorithms and strategies, and remain relevant.
The digital age has brought with it major changes to the way marketing is approached. In many ways, this works to your advantage. There’s more opportunity than ever before. But it also requires flexibility, as things are also changing faster than ever.
For more information about digital marketing trends, and how to stay on top of your game, Contact Creative Today.