As it has matured, more and more companies are giving serious consideration to the role that digital plays in its overall marketing strategies and how to engage with the consumer throughout the entire buying process. Companies used to focus their efforts between up front brand marketing to attract consumers and promotions at the point of sale to try to close the sale. In their upfront information gathering, consumers used to seek out friends and family to get recommendations. Now they read online reviews, compare features and prices on websites, and discuss things via social networking sites. This new approach not only empowers consumers, but also allows marketers the opportunity to participate in conversations that consumers have as they learn about products and evaluate their choices.
Through its work with numerous companies, the widely respected management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, has found that the most successful digital marketers focus on four key sources of value when viewing their digital marketing activities:
- Orchestrate an Integrated Consumer Experience –Whether by receiving e-mails, searching for products online, or through mobile search, customers are interacting with brands more often as they move through the buying process. But even when doing so, different areas within an organization oftentimes end up managing the contact. Digital channels can unify this process and deliver a better, leak proof experience. By coordinating the consumer’s end –to-end experience, companies could enjoy revenue increases of 10-20%.
- Inspire Customers to Help Stretch Your Marketing Budget —It is estimated that traditional marketers spend about 60% of their marketing budgets on paid placement media, 20% on creating content, and the remaining budget on employees and agencies. It’s a slightly different allocation with digital marketing. By virtue of their social nature, they tend to spend about 30% of their marketing budgets on paid media and 50% on content. Customers carry more of the load as they decide what to look at, have a hand in the content, and pass the message on to their online communities. The net result is that digital marketers can spend less on marketing as a percentage of sales with little to no impact on performance.
- Adopt a Publisher’s Discipline to Curb Costs—For a company to fully support the consumer’s new buying process, it requires a vast and extensive range of content more than what was committed to advertising. In order to embrace digital marketing opportunities, companies have had to ramp up their publishing activity from static to dynamic content. Digital marketers are syndicating content and applications to flow across a multiplicity of websites and mobile platforms. Consumers are pulling content on demand (e.g. subscribe to alerts or become Facebook fans), tailoring their preferences, or having interactions triggered by their behaviors (e.g. what, when, or where they conduct a particular activity). Therefore, companies are now essentially becoming publishers and turning out content.
- Use Intelligence Wisely to Drive Performance —When a prospective customer is evaluating product options, the right message is quickly needed and in the right location. Whether it’s monitoring online conversations about your brand or needing to optimize your search, time is often of the essence. The ability to move quickly in the world of digital marketing requires smart investments in data tools, a group of skilled analysts, and processes that are flexible enough to facilitate quick action. Savvy digital marketers can explain what consumers are doing by analyzing their online behavior, and can interpret what they are saying by mining online discussions and soliciting ongoing feedback. Such intelligence provides insights throughout the organization and promotes the personalization needed to help consumers feel that a brand is their own.
If you are trying to get the most mileage from your digital marketing efforts and feel you need a little help, please contact us at 804-968-5131. We would gladly invite a “no-obligation” conversation to discuss your situation and determine if we might be of some assistance.