By: Michael Dean, Head of Digital, Fox Agency
Digital marketing is not new; in fact, it has been around so long that the industry had finally managed to remove the title ‘digital’ and focus on ‘integrated marketing’ or even just ‘marketing’. Until of course recent events thrust all things digital back into the spotlight.
What has changed and why is there such a big focus back on digital?
Well, without wanting to mention the c-word (COVID) or the p-word (pandemic), life as we know it has changed. It has changed everything, from how we socialise to how we work, and with this how we sell and how we buy.
But has digital marketing changed? Simply put, yes and no. Digital marketing as a discipline and a set of tactics hasn’t really changed, but business has changed, processes have changed, and customer behaviour has changed. Therefore, how we implement digital marketing has changed. I’m sure we all remember the start of lockdown one, how can we forget the horrendous tirade of poorly thought through posts and webinars thrust across LinkedIn by enthusiastic, but unskilled, salespeople and marketeers? The problem is that this is exactly what some people think of when we say digital marketing. ‘Can you just put out some social posts?’, I hear the cry. But, on what topic? For what purpose? OK, let’s take a step back to the original question.
Why is digital marketing vital for business growth?
Well ultimately, you might have the world’s best product, but if no-one knows about it, you don’t sell anything. You could go down the route of trying to tell the whole world in the hope that someone is interested, covering billboards and TV screens, but you do not have the budget. Alternatively, you could look to digital marketing. Here we can focus on your ideal target audience and get your tailored and personal message to them directly. We can deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. This is the power of digital marketing. In addition, everything is measurable. Long gone are the days of John Wanamaker who famously said, ‘Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half’. In today’s digital marketing world, we know exactly what is working and what is not and more importantly, how marketing is impacting business growth.
In today’s digital marketing world, you will hear phrases such as ‘modern marketing’, ‘revenue marketing’ and ‘marketing attributed revenue’ which basically means putting the business at the heart of marketing. Gone (hopefully) are the days of vanity metrics (likes, shares, impressions) and in their place we now focus on what matters to the business – growth and revenue. Every piece of digital marketing can be aligned to delivering return on investment (ROI), every digital touchpoint can be measured along the customer/buyer journey at every stage, through from prospect to customer win and beyond. Having all the data and knowledge at your fingertips gives the business, and the board, the power to invest in the right areas and to grow quicker than the competition.
But it’s not magic!
It all starts with understanding your business, your customers and how/why these circles should match. You can’t underestimate the importance of the customer-first approach or the Wii-FM (What’s in it For Me) model, but don’t forget you are running a business so focus on the overlap; where can you add value, where can you solve someone’s problem, how you can help someone achieve their goals. Align these and you will see growth.
So, what are the latest digital marketing trends that are going to help me align with my customers and grow?
Let’s start with a foundation and build from there. Fundamentally, digital marketing revolves around data, the more usable and clean data you have, the better your success. A single source of data that you can call the truth. To keep things simple, we will call this your CRM (customer relationship management platform), it has all your prospects, customers, pipeline, sales and activity. Over the top of this you need to lay on your MAP (marketing automation platform) which enables you to convert anonymous visitors to named people and to track engagement and insights which is vital to knowing when someone is ‘in-market’ and when they become ‘sales-ready’. Layer over your organic and paid channels to build your integrated marketing stack. Now you are ready for the latest trends!
Video has evolved and now it is personal(ised)
Cleverly crafted videos which mention your customer, their interests and products/services relevant to them is probably the biggest impacting trend today. Like when emails become personalised, video now talks to the individual one-to-one. Even without automation, sending a personalised video instead of a long email or a dull PowerPoint is extremely powerful. It feels personal and it feels like you care about the individual and allows you to be real. Taking it back a step and keeping it simple, a 30-second video on social will drive engagement, a two-minute talking-head video explaining the hows and whys illustrates your expertise, and a simple animation can explain the unique benefits of your solution. So, video in many formats is one of the latest trends in digital marketing. And it doesn’t stop there, how about data visualisation and storytelling, and influencers?
Our industry is constantly evolving
While the fundamentals remain the same, new methods and mediums are coming to the fore constantly. Don’t get left behind, get onboard and enjoy the ride as you grow your business through digital marketing and implement the latest trends to deliver value.