Marketing has taken many shapes and forms over the years, but none of the twists and turns have had as distinct an impact as the rise of the Internet. In fact, it spurred an entirely new kind of marketing: digital marketing.
Now, every industry finds itself re-evaluating their marketing strategies and finding ways to adjust and leverage the new accessibility and efficiency that digital marketing offers.
The marketing that word of mouth provides in our local communities is still very helpful, but the digital marketing landscape is quickly changing.
Here are just some of those ways, and how best to adjust in this new era of branding and marketing.
1. The rise of precise, data-driven marketing decisions
In the past, there was a commonly used industry standard to describe marketers. It went something like this:
There are definitely two kinds of marketers in the industry
Those who use what's popular
Those who use what works, regardless of its popularity
While marketers have always paid special attention to "what the data says" to make informed decisions, we've often been reliant on qualitative data alone: focus groups, interviews, impromptu surveys at a trade show booth.
It is the only way to figure out what is truly sparking a conversation, and it is a fact that every marketer must consciously be aware of in their day-to-day strategizing.
... But let's face it, no matter how hard you try to use tracking numbers and attribution modeling to know what parts of your marketing plan are working and how to best distribute your marketing dollars next year, as a marketer you know better. You know that the attribution model is not 100% correct. You know that every piece of your marketing plan is integrated with another moving part. You look to the data for help, but still depend on your gut.
In your role as a marketer, qualitative data can be very helpful, and it's definitely important, but digital marketing has upped the ante by providing strong quantitative data that was previously unattainable. It's giving our long history with qualitative data a run for its money.
At this point, if you are still not in fluent in these newfound digital marketing methods then, unfortunately, you are missing out on a crucial part of the puzzle.
Brands and companies want to invest money in marketing in the best ways possible, and this means using data to build a strategy that is tailored specifically to your business.
2. Emphasis on purpose driven marketing
Why do customers buy Tom's shoes over Skecher look-a-likes? It's because they have shaped their narrative by incorporating giving back in some way. A customer feels like their purchase has purpose when it goes beyond sitting in their closet and instead makes a difference for someone across the world.
Giving your company a beyond-profit motive is an incredibly effective to way to share your story and connect with buyers. Brands that partner with nonprofits or charities, or choose to set up internal programs focused on "giving back" resonate with consumers.
Locally, organizations like the Police Athletic League, Fields & Futures & Oklahoma City Public Schools work together to achieve a higher purpose. Their brands are stronger because their story and mission resonates with hearts across the metro.
3. Interactive and engaging content is fundamental
Users are oversaturated with content now, so it is imperative to create something that really stands out from the crowd. Generally, interactive content tends to find far more engagement than other types of content simply because it allows users to immerse themselves in the content.
A recent article in Forbes touches upon this trend, and how best to use these strategies going forward. For example, BuzzFeed’s myriad interactive quizzes have been a hallmark piece in their content strategy because of its interactive element.
In that vein, think of ways to get readers to actively participate instead of passively consume. This may come in the form of surveys, infographics, interactive blogs, quizzes, brackets, and contests and giveaways.
Here at Bridges, we're using valuable, interactive content as a lead generating tool. Our client: Clean Slate Lawyers is a great example. Clean Slate Lawyers is a legal referral service specifically for pardons and expungements. We worked closely together with them to develop an Expungement Eligibility Quiz. By answering a few questions on their website, the user can find out if they're eligible for a pardon or an expungement at any time and place, without a lawyer.
4. Video content is gaining steam
From live streaming to on-demand mobile videos - it is clear that visual content continues to become an ever growing trend with a lot of potential for marketing.
A recent article in Forbes stated that mobile video views grew six times faster than desktop views in 2015. The same study actually found that 2015 Q4 marked the first time where mobile video views far exceeded desktop views.
We now live in an age where mobile video is becoming a fixture in the digital marketing landscape, so it is time to embrace it - not run from it.
5. Messaging that is targeted, personalized and multi-channel
Campaign Monitor states that Buzzfeed recently added over a million email subscribers in the span of twelve months. This is possible if the previously stated trends are embraced. Social media channels are rapidly focusing on revenue growth, which gives brands less control over how best to communicate with different demographics. This makes email one of the most critical components of marketing since it is the most malleable.
Looking at other media brands and their digital marketing strategies, this idea is reinforced. Publications such as The Washington Post and The New York Times have a robust amount of digital content development - all in the shape of e-mail newsletters.
2017, and the months to follow will see the rise of a few key trends. Brands will increasingly develop and refine their targeted and personalized email content and dissemination to grow audiences.
Furthermore, brands will use email and subsequent marketing content as a method to create a genuine customer experience rather than use it for aggressive marketing techniques.
E-mail is the center of the pillar, but the strongest marketing campaigns are multi-channel. Much like when you visit Amazon and those shoes you were eyeing have made it into your inbox and your Facebook newsfeed.
Ashley Quintana is a co-founder of Bridges. In her role, she develops, leads, and executes digital marketing strategies for the company’s growing client base, including a Fortune 500 subsidiary and an NBA basketball team. Ashley’s work can be found in the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Science, and she is an OKC.biz 40 Under 40 honoree for her leadership in business and community. She frequently speaks at universities, churches, and conferences on marketing, diversity, and business.