Digital marketing is an umbrella term for the marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the internet, but also including mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium.
The way in which digital marketing has developed since the 1990s and 2000s has changed the way brands and businesses utilize technology and digital marketing for their marketing. Digital marketing campaigns are becoming more prevalent, as digital platforms are increasingly incorporated into marketing plans, and as people use digital devices instead of going to physical shops.
Digital marketing activities are search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), content marketing, influencer marketing, content automation, campaign marketing, and e-commerce marketing, social media marketing, social media optimization, e-mail direct marketing, display advertising, e–books, optical disks and games, and any other form of digital media. It also extends to non-Internet channels that provide digital media, such as mobile phones (SMS and MMS), callback and on-hold mobile ring tones.
Why Digital Marketing Is Important
Digital media is so pervasive that consumers have access to information any time and any place they want it. Gone are the days when the messages people got about your products or services came from you and consisted of only what you wanted them to know. Digital media is an ever-growing source of entertainment, news, shopping and social interaction, and consumers are now exposed not just to what your company says about your brand, but what the media, friends, relatives, peers, etc., are saying as well. And they are more likely to believe them than you. People want brands they can trust, companies that know them, communications that are personalized and relevant, and offers tailored to their needs and preferences.
Manage Customer Relationships Across All Channels
Digital marketing and its associated channels are important – but not to the exclusion of all else. It’s not enough to just know your customers; you must know them better than anybody else so you can communicate with them where, when and how they are most receptive to your message. To do that, you need a consolidated view of customer preferences and expectations across all channels – Web, social media, mobile, direct mail, point of sale, etc. Marketers can use this information to create and anticipate consistent, coordinated customer experiences that will move customers along in the buying cycle. The deeper your insight into customer behavior and preferences, the more likely you are to engage them in lucrative interactions.
Reasons why you may need a digital channel strategy?
1. You're directionless
I find that companies without a digital strategy (and many that do) don't have clear strategic goals for what they want to achieve online in terms of gaining new customers or building deeper relationships with existing ones. And if you don't have goals you likely don't put enough resources to reach the goals and you don't evaluate through analytics whether you're achieving those goals.
2. You won't know your online market share
Customer demand for online services may be underestimated if you haven"t researched this. Perhaps more importantly you won't understand your online marketplace: the dynamics will be different to traditional channels with different types of customer profile and behaviour, competitors, propositions and options for marketing communications. See online marketplace methodology post.
3. Existing and start-up competitors will gain market share
If you're not devoting enough resources to digital marketing or you're using an ad-hoc approach with no clearly defined strategies, then your competitors will eat your digital lunch!
4. You don't have a powerful online value proposition
A clearly defined online customer value proposition will help you differentiate your online service encouraging existing and new customers to engage initially and stay loyal.
5. You don't know your online customers well enough
It's often said that digital is the "most measureable medium ever". But Google Analytics and similar will only tell you volumes not sentiment. You need to use other forms of website user feedback tools to identify your weakpoints and then address them.
6. You're not integrated ("disintegrated")
It's all too common for digital to be completed in silos whether that's a specialist digital marketer, sitting in IT or a separate digital agency. It's easier that way to package digital marketing into a convenient chunk. But of course it's less effective. Everyone agrees that digital media work best when integrated with traditional media and response channels.
7. Digital doesn't have enough people/budget given its importance
Insufficient resource will be devoted to both planning and executing e-marketing and there is likely to be a lack of specific specialist e-marketing skills which will make it difficult to respond to competitive threats effectively.
8. You're wasting money and time through duplication
Even if you do have sufficient resource it may be wasted. This is particularly the case in larger companies where you see different parts of the marketing organization purchasing different tools or using different agencies for performing similar online marketing tasks.
9. You're not agile enough to catchup or stay ahead
If you look at the top online brands like Amazon, Dell, Google, Tesco, Zappos, they're all dynamic - trialing new approaches to gain or keep their online audiences.
10. You're not optimising
Every company with a website will have analytics, but many senior managers don't ensure that their teams make or have the time to review and act on them. Once a strategy enables you to get the basics right, then you can progress to continuous improvement of the key aspects like search marketing, site user experience, email and social media marketing. So that's our top 10 problems that can be avoided with a well thought through strategy. What have you found can go right or wrong?