When it comes to marketing your products and services, the rules of play have evolved. Whilst not totally different to the rules previous marketers followed, the modern rule set has certainly gone through a few important updates. And for those who aren’t well tuned-in to the way modern marketing works, this can create a frustrating dilemma.
In this post, we’ll attempt to provide our readers with a primer in how to thrive as a marketer in the Digital Age. As you’re about to find out, there has never been a better time to work with a small to medium sized business. Competition may be intense, but the reality is that relatively few businesses and organisations are marketing their products as effectively as they could be. With that in mind, the companies that embrace the modern reality quickly ascend to a class of their own.
But before we go any further, we should note that we’re not throwing out past marketing tactics or labelling them obsolete. In fact, we intend to suggest that the baseline marketing tactics of today have changed very little from those of the past. The only thing that differs is the channels through which these tactics are actualised. But we’ll explain more on that in the next section.
Look for Ways to Update Old Tactics
Following on from the introduction, we’ll start with an illustrative example. In the past, one of the fundamental steps taken to get your business name out there was by making a point of getting listed in the local phonebook. Printed phone directories may be headed for extinction, but the underlying concept is still valid.
Today’s savvy marketers understand that there’s still much to be said for having their business listed in a directory. The only difference is that this directory should be digital in nature. Take a washing machine repair service for example. They can still make a point of having their company listed in local phone directories, though this should take a back seat to digital listings.
For example, Thomson Local provide a list of washing machine repair companies for cities across the UK. Considering the fact that a significant number of consumers will at least take a look at online offerings when seeking out a washing machine means that providers should make a point of getting listed. Every simple step to increase your online exposure is worth looking into.
And that’s only one aspect of this point. You can also update outdated direct mail campaigns with more modern and effective email marketing tactics. For example, you could take print catalogues online or replace printed ad campaigns with their online equivalent.
Understand the Limits of Automated Marketing
For the uninitiated, one of the most difficult aspects of making the transition to digital marketing has to do with understanding the role that automation plays in this paradigm. Whilst true that modern technology creates the appearance of ‘intelligence’, it’s still driven by algorithms. This means that digital marketing tools are no substitute for an acute awareness of your target customers.
Suppose you’re using social media marketing tools to advertise that aforementioned washing machine repair service. You can configure the marketing platform so that it automatically displays your marketing messages in front of certain users. But that is no guarantee that they will be successful.
Instead, you need to have a firm idea of what type of person may be interested in taking advantage of your washing machine repair services. You also need to know what kind of language will trigger them to make a purchase. Once you have a strong grasp of this, you can configure your ad campaign to target the right people and speak to those people in the right vernacular. It makes an enormous difference.
Create a Rich Experience for Your Target Customers
One of the real advantages of using digital channels to market physical products is that you can step out with more vibrant and immersive marketing messages. A print ad is fixed and decidedly un-interactive. By the same token, televised ads are essentially free-floating (not to mention, expensive). But digital ads are interrelated and connected. They allow for forward links and back links, and some can even be equipped with interactive features in addition to print, audio and visual content.
If we may return to our hypothetical washing machine repair service, imagine the value of offering your target customers content that is some way related to the services offered? You could provide them with video tutorials about how to wash their clothes more effectively. Or you might even offer them routine maintenance tips that they can use in addition to your more in-depth repair services.
When you are able to create a richer online experience for people who may be more interested in taking advantage of your services, then you’re essentially forging a relationship with them. They’ll be more likely to revisit your posts, submissions and website with the hope of learning more from you. This will ultimately translate into a stronger bottom line.
Spend Time Exploring Digital Ad-Spaces
In reality, the only way that you are going to become a better digital marketer is by spending more time in digital spaces where products like yours are being advertised. For example, the operator of our hypothetical washing machine repair service would do well to visit an online directory or two to see which companies they are competing with. By clicking through to read reviews or visit the various companies’ websites, they’ll learn a thing or two about the competition.
One of the undeniable benefits of the Digital Age of marketing is that it’s easier than ever to see what your competitors are doing. By all means, research their tactics and try to replicate those things that they are doing well. In addition to that, you can take solace in the fact that relatively few of those companies are spending nearly as much time researching your tactics. By performing your due diligence, you’ll be giving your organisation the advantage it needs to rise above the competition.