The world is developing rapidly at an increasingly digital speed. The implications of this cut through all aspects of modern life; casting the net of our communities wider through social networks, making interaction more seamless via email and chat apps; altering daily tasks more instantaneously via online shopping and organizational tools, and streamlining business operations and logistics.
Life has become so vigorously computerized that recent research from PricewaterhouseCoopers indicates that by the year 2020, a generation will have grown up in an entirely digital world, who do not remember a time without computers, smart phones, or the Internet. They are also entirely dependent on this technology, for both social and business purposes.
The Web of inter-connectivity has spread to billions of people, touching everyone’s lives in some way. This has totally transformed how we all interact, work and consume.
Within this context, technology impacts three major areas related to marketing:
- Consumerism – The digital world has reshaped the way consumers interact. It has shifted focus to an instantaneous need for information, goods and services. This places a burden on producers to meet the needs of consumers, consumers in turn are more likely to give out information, to discuss topics online and to trust the opinion of their social networks when making purchase decisions.
- Digitization – Technology enhances the speed of greater technological innovation, continually expanding its influence and creating new channels. Conversely, as digital becomes more prolific, the cost of digital products and activities lessens. In doing business, shifting from the real world to the online world means reductions in brick and mortar costs that would normally monopolize budgets.
- Economics – The financial benefits of an increasingly digitized world have ushered in a wave of new technologies and modes of behaviors. Both businesses and consumers are rewarded for early adoption and efficient use of technology within their markets.
While opening up seemingly endless opportunities, digitization also creates a culture of also seemingly endless choices and thousands if not millions of competing messages. No longer rooted in the world of pen and ink, marketing communication must also be circulated across a variety of digital platforms. For business owners or producers this makes it increasingly difficult to differentiate your brand in the vastness of the Internet, let alone to convert potential customers.
Robert Rose, chief strategist at the Content Marketing Institute, outlines the perils of treating digital marketing as a “bolt-on.” Rose highlights the importance of not separating digital from marketing, but integrating it all to better interact with an integrated world. All marketing should have elements of digital naturally to compete in a connected world. [Tweet this]
Engagement with consumers and the ability for consumers to more directly engage with businesses and producers is a key to unlocking marketing success in a digital environment. This forces more real time interaction with customers. It also necessitates having technologies, information and even staff in place to enable instantaneous communication and connections.
Creating savvy and appealing content is only the first step in the marketing process. Following up that content with engagement opportunities and timely communication for consumers is the so called golden ticket for businesses. This is also predicated on producers’ ability to predict consumer behavior to engage with them at the right time in a dynamic way and to target voice to strategically reach the most valuable audiences.
Improving your marketing share of voice is also about understanding your competition, what their methods and channels for delivery are. “Knowing your enemy” so to speak allows you to learn their greatest successes and largest points of vulnerability.
Harnessing The Power Of Digital
While a rather daunting idea, digital can actually be exploited to work for you, with the right approach.
It is essential to flush out a clear and measurable strategy, with both quantitative and qualitative goals and deliverables. Having a specific idea of what you want to achieve makes it easier to both communicate your bottom line expectations to employees, suppliers and freelancers and allows you to develop a stronger message for consumers across digital platforms.
Relying on a diverse team of talent and content producers to handle your marketing plan refocuses your business and generates strength through cross functionality. The easiest way to achieve this is by unbundling jobs and utilizing digital talent pools of specialists. Taking your marketing tasks to the digital market allows you to connect with and hire the experts most suited to your strategy. They in turn bring a wealth of specialist knowledge and experience to the project. This comes at a lower financial cost to your organization while still allowing you to maximize return on investment.
Gaining an edge on the competition is challenging in a digital environment, but understanding the technological landscape and using it to work for you and your business can make all the difference in the world.
Courtney H has worked in journalism and communications roles across a diverse international spectrum. Most recently, she was a PR Manager for one of the Middle East’s largest retail and hospitality companies, managing the PR department of their international division.
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