Digital marketing or online marketing is the buzzword today. It is becoming a go-to marketing strategy in an age of rising social media and declining advertisements. Businesses are clamoring to ramp up their online presence and expand their marketing reach as they recognize that digital channels play a vital role in engaging, acquiring and retaining customers. But what exactly is digital marketing? And where is it headed?
Nuts and bolts of Digital Marketing
The digital economy or the online economy is growing 10 times faster than the traditional economy, with all companies worldwide predicated to have an online presence by the year 2020. There is also a concurrent shift in methods of marketing as digital marketing techniques such as social and email marketing emerge centre-stage. The goal of digital marketing and each digital marketing agency is to understand, connect with and reach out to audiences in an effective and cost-efficient manner. Digital marketing involves many aspects, such as:
Identifying the Target Audience
Identifying the target audience is a pre-requisite for successful digital marketing. As the old adage goes, study the audience thoroughly and a substantial part of the marketing will take care of itself.
Formulating Goals and Strategies
Digital marketing is founded on strong goals, ranging from business expansion to greater recognition, and putting the necessary strategies in place to achieve these goals.
Creating a Marketing Lead
The crucial elements of effective digital marketing are interest, desire and action. Once a potential customer evinces interest in a particular product or service, it is the job of a marketer to provide further information to reinforce the desire, schedule a consultation and convert the inquiry into a lead.
Marketing in a Micro Moment
Knowledge of the customers’ micro-moments is an important tool in the hand of smart digital marketers. With the help of smart apps, the marketers can familiarize themselves with the geographical location of potential customers, their choice of products and internet usage, and choose their marketing strategies accordingly.
Buying takes place when customers view the website. And a website would attract higher web traffic by providing quality content in the form of blog posts, press releases and articles; adopting search engine optimization strategies and exploiting the potential of social media to spread the word around.
Human beings are wired to connect, as evidenced by the success of the social media, marketing hubs and blogs. An effective digital marketing strategy engages with people by broadcasting a brand’s identity and purpose, and fulfilling customers’ need for a connection with the product.
Tech is the Future
Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages
Faster internet equals better digital marketing experience. Google is working at improving the loading time of website pages in mobile and hand-held devices, with its accelerated mobile pages project. The tech giant is also focusing on enhancing the user-friendliness and experience of its website via personal devices.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
There will be 2 types of digital marketing companies in the future, viz. companies that use AI and those that do not. Knowing what the customer wants to buy next, and when, is a key to driving sales. AI will provide insights based on the analysis of a customer’s thinking and past behavior. AI-based chatbots are already handling functions such as customer management and their usage is set to grow exponentially in the future.
VR and AR
Virtual and augmented reality is becoming a part of our daily lives. Facebook and Google Cardboard are offering 360-video publishing services, Snapchat is allowing the users to project their virtual self into the real world and IKEA’s virtual shopping application is letting prospective buyers to preview furniture in their own houses before making an actual purchase. And to think that digital marketers are just beginning to recognize the potential of these emerging technologies!
The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is heralding a new kind of digital marketing experience. Internet of Things is the networking of and communication between multiple internet-enabled, every-day devices. These devices facilitate the collection, utilization and sharing of data. The digital marketers of tomorrow can stay ahead of the consumer curve by harnessing the data for the purpose of customer engagement and customization of products or services.
Big Data is shaping the business of digital marketing due to its sheer scale and ubiquitous presence. Thanks to the advances in Big Data, proliferation of big data tools and predictive analytics, digital marketers are in a position to track customer behavior, discover new business opportunities and re-write the rules of the marketplace.
The companies that will stand out in the future will be those that tailor websites and mobile apps to offer a personalized experience to the user community. Amazon and Netflix are already customizing the individual user experiences and this is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Friendly User Interfaces
In this world of digital marketing, where digital interactions are surpassing human interactions, the user interface or the initial point of contact defines our interactions with smart mobile devices. A user interface that is appealing and user-friendly influences a visitor to seek further information and eventually make a purchase decision. User interfaces are no longer confined to the visual medium alone. Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana are examples of voice user interfaces that make it possible for a customer to interact with a product using natural voice control.
Mobile Marketing is positioned to transform the digital marketing landscape. With more than 50% of browsing taking place through personal phones, digital professionals are already looking at ways to promote brands through the mobile medium. Marketing campaigns are moving to hand-held platforms and digital ads are being optimized for the mobile medium.
To conclude, the world of digital marketing is changing at a gigantic pace, thanks to the transformative influence of technology. Digital marketers have to adapt quickly to a world where only the digitally fittest would survive.
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