Not too long ago, retail store owners were satisfied with brick and mortar stores and physical media such as CDs and DVDs to gain brand recognition and sell their products. Thanks to the Internet, they now have digital alternatives to promote their brands – online target marketing. But is digital marketing (online target marketing) as effective as traditional marketing? Does it have the same effects on the bottom line?
To find out, we need look no further than our own backyard – Atlanta.
#1 Most Visited City in U.S.A. – According to the latest data from the city of Atlanta’s tourism office, more than 408 million people visited the city in 2017 – making it the most-traveled city in the U.S. A whopping 79% of those travelers came from outside of Georgia. And the numbers are increasing. Between 2016 and 2017, Atlanta’s tourist economy grew by 5% per week. This makes it the perfect place to test the effectiveness of online target marketing.
The Rise Of Online Target Marketing
While traditional marketing got a bad rap in the era of the Internet, there was still a demand for marketers to experiment with out-of-home (OOH) and in-home (IH) advertising. The Internet simplified everything and enabled advertisers to target the right audience at the right time with the right message. It made OOH and IH advertising more effective and allowed marketers to figureheads to discover new avenues of marketing and gain a competitive edge. Thanks to advances in technology and increasing consumer familiarity, it’s now possible to micro-targeting and brand amplification – techniques that were only available to massive brands with deep pockets. In other words, it’s the perfect storm for marketers seeking to experiment with online target marketing.
- Targeted audience: Having the ability to target the right audience is the key to success with online marketing. Thanks to social media, you can now engage with your customers where they are – whether that’s in the form of a tweet or an Instagram post.
- Multichannel marketing: Thanks to the rise of digital media, customers can now engage with your brand through a variety of platforms – from social media to email marketing. This makes it easier for potential customers to discover your products and brings them one step closer to making a purchase.
- Personalized customer experience: It’s not enough for your brand to simply exist in digital space. You have to provide a distinct experience for customers that goes beyond your products or services. The rise of digital nomads and the sharing economy has led to customers expecting retailers to provide a tailored experience that fits their needs. When a customer finds a product they like, but the site isn’t mobile-friendly, they may become frustrated and leave. On the other hand, if the site is well designed and responsive, they’ll feel more encouraged to come back and make a purchase. Essentially, you want to create a positive “retention” experience that encourages them to come back for more – regardless of whether or not they’ve been to the site before.
#2 Huge Opportunity In Atlanta
With all the opportunities that come with online target marketing, it’s no wonder why Atlanta is considered the epicenter of this market. The city is filled with entrepreneurs and business owners who are seeking to discover new ways to grow their companies. One of the main ways that Atlanta distinguishes itself from other cities is its emphasis on digital marketing and entrepreneurship. According to the city’s economic development corporation, entreprenurial activity (including digital marketing and publishing) grew by 37% from 2012 to 2016 (the year before Airbnb and Lyft arrived in the city).
In other words, with all the hype surrounding the sharing economy and the gig economy, it’s an excellent time to be an entrepreneur in Atlanta.
Traditional Versus Online Marketing
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of digital marketing, it’s important to understand the differences between traditional marketing and online marketing. Traditional marketing is usually considered “above-the-line” or “out-of-home” advertising, while online marketing includes all the various forms of digital marketing. Both are forms of marketing, but one is considered to be “traditional” while the other is considered to be “newer.”
Above-the-line advertising refers to traditional advertising – radio ads, print ads, billboards, etc. – while out-of-home (OOH) advertising refers to any type of advertising placed in public spaces such as the street or a bus shelter. Radio ads and print ads are considered above-the-line advertising while billboards, bus shelters, and similar types of outdoor ads are considered out-of-home (OOH) advertising. In other words, above-the-line advertisements are considered traditional while OOH advertisements are considered digital.
As for the difference between digital and traditional marketing, think of digital marketing as the engine that drives your business – the thing that gets you results. Without a strong foundation in place, all the flashy bells and whistles of digital marketing (including SEO, PPC, display advertising, and social media) will only get you so far. A powerful digital marketing campaign will quickly turn into a money pit if it doesn’t produce results.
On the other hand, traditional marketing, which is often considered the “heavy lifting” of a marketing plan, is the process of getting your product or service in front of as many potential customers as possible – whether they’re in a store, on social media, or in articles and blogs that appear online. Although online marketing focuses on digital space, advertisements can also appear in newspapers, magazines, and on television. Plus, there’s always the option to visit your local library and look for books on marketing to learn more.
When it comes to the effectiveness of marketing and branding, metrics like website conversions (i.e., sales, leads, and inquiries) are the obvious ways to measure success. While traditional marketing is considered more of a “set it and forget it” activity where you just kind of monitor the results (if any) and then try something new, online marketing is a bit more complex. You have to keep tabs on a variety of metrics to get a complete picture of how your campaigns are performing.
In short, while traditional marketing is often considered “set it and forget it,” online marketing is a process that requires continuous attention to detail and a dedication to getting the best possible results from your efforts – regardless of whether or not you’re actively involved in the marketing process. Because of this, digital marketers are typically in charge of following up with leads, analyzing results, and reporting on progress to upper management.
The Benefits Of Digital Marketing
There are a lot of advantages to digital marketing. To begin with, online marketing has the potential to reach a large audience – whether you’re targeting local consumers (i.e., those in your city or town) or international visitors. With so many options for online marketing, you can now target consumers in a way that was previously impossible to do. Simply put, with digital marketing, you can now micro-targeting and brand amplification – the two techniques that were previously used primarily by Fortune 500 companies with large marketing budgets.
Another huge advantage of digital marketing is its versatility. Thanks to advances in technology, it’s now possible to run multiple campaigns at the same time on one platform – from Facebook to email marketing – which gives you the ability to run A/B tests to determine which campaign is most effective. If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop for all your marketing needs, the vast majority of marketing platforms offer integrated marketing suites with the ability to run all your campaigns from one place – making it easier to measure the results of your efforts and determine which strategy will get you the best results.
Last but not least, the cost of digital marketing. There are entire departments within large marketing agencies that focus on analyzing data and using software to track the results of campaigns. The overall cost of getting started with digital marketing is much lower than it would be to invest in traditional marketing – especially if you’re working with a platform that offers free trials.
Despite all these advantages, there’s still some stigma surrounding digital marketing – mainly because people associate the Internet with cheap, dirty tricks. While it’s true that there are many unscrupulous marketers out there, these people don’t represent all of digital marketing and the tools and techniques that can be utilized to gain impressive results without all the shady tricks – which will be the focus of the next section.
How To Make Your Own Digital Marketer
Even though the stigma surrounding digital marketing has diminished, it’s still not easy for marketers to find a job in this field. It takes specialized training to be able to pull off the various tasks that a digital marketer is responsible for – knowing how to set up tracking parameters and analyze data to determine the effectiveness of campaigns is just one part of the puzzle. You also need to have a sound knowledge of marketing, sales, and website design.