Successful business growth requires an understanding of unmet or underserved customer needs, and quickly developing new offers and customer experiences that deliver on them. This is even more important in a competitive environment, where customers are smarter and able to research products in seconds, easily comparing offerings and reviews and unearthing any myths along the way. For sales professionals, this shift is proving a challenge as most of a customer’s purchase journey is complete before a buyer even reaches out to sales.
The vast changes through online have left many businesses unable to keep pace with evolving consumer behavior and the marketing landscape. For example, one recent survey found an astonishing 80 percent of marketers do not have a formal content strategy or distribution process to feed their growing bevy of marketing channels, and they lack any kind of formally managed content supply chain. Despite this, content budgets continue to increase.
Stop selling. Start helping.
In order to realize the most impact, companies need to act faster than competitors and do so in a sustainable, practical way. Digital marketing can help bridge this divide between what customers expect and what they get. It applies capabilities, processes, and technologies to cost-effectively exploit and scale digital channels. The pressure is on to put digital marketing in a position to enable brands to not just connect with customers but also shape their interactions.
A transformation of marketing is underway as we spend more time on our mobiles, tablets and laptops. The challenge for brands is to connect with customers through all these devices in real time and create campaigns that work across social media and e-commerce.
Three areas of marketing which have been transformed by digital are the speed, relevance and reach of campaigns. Digital marketing drives impressive customer engagement and establishes outstanding brand loyalty. It not only draws traffic to your online and offline destinations but also has the capacity to convert the visitors into prospects and customers.
Specifically, we see massive, digital-driven breakthroughs happening across four fronts:
1. Content marketing
Content marketing creates and distributes relevant, helpful content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. Having a deeper, more sophisticated understanding of a targeted market and being able to target that market more precisely is a rising trend in more effective content marketing. A brand’s success in content marketing depends on delivering the right content to the right people at the right time, and that takes more than an educated guess. Precision analytics allows marketers to track audience profiles, establish and target customer personas, and generate personalized content and recommendations. This move toward personalized content has been underway for years, but Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology takes it to the next level. Amazon and Google have already proven the value of creating personalized experiences through specific customer profiles, and advanced technology will enable companies of all sizes and industries to follow suit.
2. Advanced SEO
Understanding search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial to significantly increasing your traffic and brand awareness. People increasingly perform visual searches – search with pictures – in addition to text or voice-enable search. For example, Google and Pinterest allow users to take a photo of an item to find out where to buy it online, search for similar products, or view related items.
Every day, people use Google to conduct over 3.5 billion searches. In the U.S., 78% of people use Google to research products and services before buying. Once a website ranks in the first pages of Google’s search results, it gets more traffic, more conversions, and eventually, increased revenue. Getting to page one of the search results is vital. 75% of users don’t even click past the first page! The first three search results get 60% of all traffic from a Google search.
3. Social Media Marketing
The number of worldwide social media users is expected to reach 3 billion by 2020, which is a third of the Earth’s entire population. From Facebook to Instagram and Pinterest to Snapchat to WeChat, such social media websites and applications enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. In addition, social media is helping customers with product discovery. Brands are able to promote their products through social channels and customers are finding out about them before making a purchase. For this, engagement is more important than ever. Earning and sustaining the engagement of social media users requires an understanding of how audiences interact with content on social. Using trusted influencers to reach the right audience with carefully timed, authentic content.
4. Mobile Advertising
Mobile advertising is growing incredibly fast accounting for 30% of global advertising expenditure in 2020. Mobile advertising reaches a target audience on their smartphones, tablets, or other mobile devices. Already, more users search the internet on mobile devices compared to desktop computers. As internet users switch from desktop to mobile devices – and new users go straight to mobile – online advertising is making the same switch. The rise in mobile adoption has provided a more accurate understanding of how audiences behave. Location data from mobile devices uses information about a person’s or group’s movement or behavior. It allows in-depth segmentation of mobile audiences and facilitates real-time delivery of relevant content based on a device’s location. This results in better customer engagement and improves the success of campaigns.
How Businesses Can Evolve
Changes in digital technology are fundamentally altering the way consumers engage with brands before, during, and after a purchase. Customers expect to browse, research, solicit feedback, evaluate, and push the “buy” button at their own pace, and at the time and location or platform of their choosing. Costumers also continue to engage with brands online after a purchase and to share experiences with one another. Much of this customer journey is beyond the direct control of companies, and marketing organizations are sprinting to keep pace with these developments.
Digital marketing can offer detailed data on and analysis of consumer behavior, as well as precise results about a marketing program’s effectiveness, with a degree of detail and precision that where only a couple years ago impossible to get. The challenge is that these new technologies and consumer behaviors are raising the requirements for what will succeed in the market.
In this environment, companies need new capabilities to upgrade the speed, relevance and reach of their campaigns. Companies must digitally transform one or more of these three areas:
1. Value Proposition
Customers need to be able to easily pinpoint what is unique about a product or business in order to choose it over an alternative. Yet many firms struggle to define their unique value proposition and therefore experience a lack of clarity when it comes to digital marketing. Successful firms, on the other hand, are reimagining how they engage customers to drive loyalty through multiple experiences with the brand and to gain new customers. They use digital technology to analyze transactions, identify customer pain points, and interpret non-transaction data (e.g., social media) to sharpen their value proposition, achieve meaningful customer segmentation and to directly target advertising, promotions, and content along the customer journey to purchase.
2. Big Data
Brands and businesses have more access to data on consumers than ever before. Most businesses acknowledge that the ability to make data-informed decisions are the key to succeed in today’s competitive environment. However, about one in four companies are not using data to make decisions, and almost half say they still don’t have the right analytics in place to measure the effectiveness of marketing investments. These companies risk falling behind as their more data-driven competitors improve the pace and quality of decision making.
Those companies savy enough to harness the power of big data will definitely reap rewards. To track, analyze, and interpret customer behavior requires a wide range of data and sophisticated tools to analyze specific customer segments and their behavior to spot opportunities and predict future actions. For example, in marketing, big data is providing insights into better understanding who your customer really is, and which content is the most effective at each stage of a sales cycle, in addition to increasing conversion rates, prospect engagement, conversion rates, and customer lifetime value.
3. Marketing Technology
Marketing is rapidly becoming one of the most technology dependent functions in business giving rise to new opportunities and capabilities. Increasingly companies rely on automation for digital marketing efforts such as emails, social media campaigns, personalized retargeting and other such repetitive tasks to increase efficiency and focus on innovating ways to gain and retain customers. There are literally thousands of marketing technology solutions available from campaign management to programmatic advertising to social media marketing. To handle this glut of automation possibilities new roles have emerged. For instance, the new role of marketing technologist is setting a technology vision for marketing, aligning marketing technology with business goals, serving as a liaison to IT, and evaluating and choosing technology providers. Marketing technologists champion greater experimentation and more agile management of that function’s capabilities. And they are change agents, working within the function and across the company to create competitive advantage.
Beyond the power to boost revenue in the short term, digital marketing also provides key insights into your customers and their motivation. This customer focus will help sharpen your strategy and execution every step of the way.
Struggling to keep up with rapidly evolving consumer behavior? Is it time for your company to highlight your value proposition on mobile devices and e-commerce channels? Contact Upside Digital to learn how we can help your organization to succeed in the digital era.
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