People are marketing to people, not to households or to a large group of people. Therefore, marketing strategies must change in line with the new digital society.
This changed the way people engage with consumers. Marketing efforts are no longer focused on attracting as many people as possible to a brand or offering. Instead, marketers must focus on attracting those most likely to buy a product or service.
Here are five ways that marketing in the digital society works differently than marketing in a traditional, paper-based society:
1. Customer engagement is now multi-channel
When people think about marketing, they often think about TV ads, magazine spreads, and billboards. While these channels are still important, they are just a small piece of the puzzle.
Today, customers are more likely to explore a company’s website before making a purchasing decision. Sometimes, they even visit a brick-and-mortar store before buying online.
According to HubSpot Blogs research, only 28% of consumers regularly rely on TV ads when researching a brand or product, while 23% use social media and 23% visit a website to learn about a brand or product.
This divergence in usage patterns reveals that customers are now performing multi-channel research before buying decisions. As a result, marketers must develop multi-channel customer engagement strategies that include SEO (search engine optimization), PPC (pay-per-click), and content marketing.
2. Customer insight is vital
In earlier years, marketers generally conducted market research, gathered data, and analyzed trends to form a marketing strategy. However, in today’s digital society, customers are more likely to have a voice in the marketing process. This is particularly important for B2B marketing, where customers can be the primary audience, but manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors will also see the benefits of a successful marketing campaign.
Customers must feel that their needs are being heard and understood by the marketing team. Marketers must ensure that each touchpoint with the customer—from the online shopping cart to the customer service phone call—is as frictionless and as streamlined as possible. This results in happier customers and increased brand loyalty.
According to HubSpot Blogs research, customers are most receptive to marketing messages when they feel that those messages are tailored to them. However, while marketers can study demographics, market shares, and other data to identify their best customers, none of these numbers can replace actual insight into what those customers want and need.
3. Mobile marketing is the key
With the explosion of mobile phones and tablets, it’s no secret that customers now have a powerful new tool to access the Internet and perform nearly all activities—from shopping to banking to booking appointments and reservations—from their smartphones and tablets. This is a huge shift from the pre-digital society, where customers typically used home computers to access the Internet and perform vital tasks.
As a result, mobile marketing is now a critical part of any marketing strategy. This is especially important for retailers, as 63% of online shoppers used their mobile phones or tablets to perform some kind of research before purchasing an item, according to HubSpot Blogs research. In other words, while customers may still leave reviews and answer questions about a product or service after the fact, they now have the power to choose what products and services they want before they even reach the point of making a purchase decision.
A crucial element of a mobile marketing strategy is to create highly-convenient user experiences. When customers have a positive experience on their phones and tablets, they are more likely to want to come back for more. This is especially important for retail stores, where customers may be accessing the website on their phones and tablets while shopping in-store or while cooking dinner at home. In those cases, the convenience of using a mobile device makes it easier for the customer to find what they’re looking for and helps build loyalty between the two parties—customers and brands.
4. Digital advertising blends with social media
According to HubSpot Blogs research, only 28% of consumers regularly rely on traditional TV ads to learn about brands and products, while 24% use social media and 23% visit a website to learn about a brand or product.
This blending of traditional and digital avenues for marketing is leading to a completely new form of advertising, which we call economic value (or E-V) marketing. Essentially, E-V marketing is a form of advertising that blends paid advertising with editorial marketing, where companies pay for expert opinions or take advantage of influencers to get the word out about their products. There is a lot of talk about the ‘next big thing’ in digital marketing, but E-V marketing is already well-established and offers a lot of benefits to companies that try it out.
5. SEO, paid search, and PPC are still important
While SEO, paid search, and PPC are essential parts of any marketing strategy, they are now more important than ever before. This is especially true for B2B marketing, where marketers must compete for limited visibility in a crowded market.
According to HubSpot Blogs research, while people are more likely to learn about brands or products online, consumers still prefer to see product demonstrations in a physical store before purchasing a product online. This reveals that while online marketing may have displaced some traditional methods of consumer engagement, there are still some important places for marketers to be and some things that remain important. Even in a digital society, customers prefer to learn about products and make buying decisions face-to-face.
So, while some tactics and strategies will change, others will not. In fact, the digital tools that we now have at our disposal can help marketers adapt to the new era and continue to provide value to their customers.