Decoding Digital Marketing

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Digital marketing – you hear people talk about it. You might even think you understand what it is. With this fairly new industry turning a big profit, I’m here to break it down for you.

Essentially, digital marketing is a form of marketing that leverages electronic devices – like computers, tablets, smartphones, mobile devices, digital billboards, game consoles, etc. – to reach and retain current customers, as well as connect with new ones. A recent study conducted by the Direct Marketing Association found that this industry was worth $62 billion in the U.S. in 2012 alone. And it will only be going up from here. With profits this big, regardless of industry, you’re bound to experience digital marketing as a consumer, and practice it in some form or fashion as a professional.

Digital Marketing

When taking a look at the overall industry, you need to consider: How can you prepare yourself to be a digital marketing professional when working on behalf of a brand, product or service?

I recently attended a panel discussion hosted by the American Marketing Association’s Rochester Chapter. The AMA is the only professional organization run by marketers for marketers in Rochester, NY, providing members with national education resources, seminars, networking opportunities and competitions. This particular panel discussion I attended explored upcoming trends within the digital marketing industry. The following are a few helpful takeaways:

  • Create easy content. When developing content, it’s imperative to create content that is searchable, snackable and shareable.
  • Put the customer first, brand second. Content should be customer-centric. Content is what ultimately engages customers and prospective customers. When creating content, you should not only keep the brand in mind, but also consider customer information needs and interests. This is where a little research can come into play and help you gain valuable insights on your target audience.
  • Determine what information goes where. Be cognizant of the content that you’re creating, and customize it for the designated social network and/or platform you’re sharing it on to offer the best user experience.
  • Don’t try to be the best at everything. So often, brands try to do it all online. They have profiles across all social platforms, not always taking into account if it’s the right platform for their brand. For example, you may join a network like Pinterest, which is primarily an image-based medium, and have nothing visual to tell. Be good at the platforms that best serve your customer and your purpose, and have intention behind your actions.
  • Add a human touch. If you’re engaging with your customers online, use a human tone when appropriate. Consumers are smarter and more informed than ever, and appreciate knowing there is a real person on the other end of the line, not a robot.

With all these takeaways, there’s no doubt that digital marketing is playing a significant role in how brands are building relationships with customers and enhancing their experiences.

Are there any digital techniques you use when connecting with existing and prospective customers?