Digital marketing is a strategy. It’s not just simply a website, or social media, or Google; it’s a full platform that allows people to position their businesses within the communities they’re targeting. And it is enabling an unprecedented level of engagement between companies and their customers.
In fact, the greatest advantage of social media is that it encourages a dialogue. Traditional advertising’s mediums such as billboards and advertisements are a one-way communication – a monologue. Today’s consumers, whether in the B2B or B2C space, are on social media waiting for their brands to engage with them. Almost immediately. The speed of exchanging information has sky-rocketed over the past few years and whereas in the past consumers would wait a day or even two for a response, now they may wait an hour, and if they don’t get one, they’ll move to a competitor.
The key to successfully riding the waves of the digital marketing phenomenon is to be flexible and agile. That means that five or 10-year strategies will see companies left behind; this is the age of the two-year strategy, broken down into milestones of two weeks. The way digital marketing is managed within companies has also evolved and today’s successful digital marketers tend to have a chief marketing officer who is in control of digital marketing and IT because the two have merged into one – all to the benefit of the consumer.
Successful digital marketing demands that it must be embraced from boardroom level down – throughout the organisation. Too often it is pushed from the bottom up where it flounders and dwindles into an image-damaging half-baked effort. The chances are excellent that competitors are embracing it, and even in some instances global competitors, and maintaining and growing market share means a need for an effective digital marketing strategy.
The fact is that a brand is not a logo or a CI. A brand is how a company engages with customers and stakeholders, how it behaves, how it interacts and listens to its customers. It’s not about how much a company invests; it’s about the intrinsic value of what customers perceive they get from a company.
Successful digital marketing also features quality content rather than quantity. There is an endless amount of information and content clamouring for attention all the time. Companies need to be disruptive to stand out. Content is still king, but quality outweighs quantity 100-fold.
Content is about the engagement – it’s not about the likes. Putting a post out on social media means nothing if the consumer isn’t responding and engaging with a brand. The world of digital marketing is about being reciprocal, and talking to consumers the way they want to be talked to, on platforms they choose. It’s advisable for companies embracing digital marketing to use the tools and technology that are available now and that their customers are most comfortable with. As the customers’ preferences change, so too must the company’s digital marketing strategies.
Companies that understand their industry and their local and global competitors’ digital marketing strategies can develop a highly effective disruptive path and stand out, above the rest, in the market.