Promoting your business

The digital age: benefits and challenges

Marketing today is changing dramatically, rapidly and unpredictably. Thanks to the digital revolution, it is no longer practiced in the same way it was 10 or even five years ago.

The world has transitioned into a heavily digital environment and marketing has had to adapt to this change.

Websites, mobile and e-commerce have changed the way people seek out products and services and the way they purchase them.       

Today businesses are interacting digitally with their customers and collecting vast amounts of consumer information in the process.

This is because we now have a consumer-led economy and marketing is no longer just about brand – it’s about customers and their experiences. In this digital era, customers are becoming more demanding and have higher expectations than ever before. They also have much more choice.

This has resulted in the focus of marketing changing. Businesses have had to change the way they market themselves and sell their products and services to take advantage of the latest digital technology and consumers’ shopping habits.

Consumers are now the primary attention of a best practice digital marketing strategy, which aims to nurture, engage and establish relationships with potential buyers.

Where traditionally businesses strove to create buzz and drive awareness around their brands, the aim now is to build compelling experiences around the brand that keep consumers engaged, conversing and collaborating.

Marketing has been taken over by data and science. Technological advancements in the digital industry are seeing consumers increasingly access information-rich content via devices connected by wireless or cable to the web. And a variety of communication channels allow people to maintain rich connections with large numbers of people.

Digital marketing continues to evolve as technology continues to advance. And in its wake is a whole new world of algorithms, apps and devices, not to mention the application of capabilities, processes, structures, and technologies. Quite a challenge for the person responsible for marketing in a business to master.

Digital media is so pervasive that consumers have access to information any time and any place they want it. Today, consumers are no longer exposed to just what your company says about your brand, but what the media, friends, friends of friends, relatives, and peers are saying as well.

And in the digital age, they are more likely to believe them than you.

People want brands they can trust, companies that know them, communications that are personalised and relevant, and offers tailored to their needs and preferences.

The digital landscape is vast and though some elements of traditional marketing may still have a place in a business’ overall strategic marketing mix, this landscape has undeniably rich benefits and efficiencies for all businesses that conventional marketing could never deliver.

Brand marketing is highly competitive and for your business to remain viable in today’s fast-paced world it’s imperative to take advantage of the benefits digital marketing offers.

 

What are the benefits of digital marketing for your business?

Digital marketing connects you with consumers on the internet and enables you to provide real-time customer service, so it’s up to businesses to harness this power of digital marketing. It enables you to tailor your content to suit a particular target audience should you want this. On the other hand it’s highly interactive and can reach a wide, varied and infinite audience. This includes the ever-growing mobile customer.

Because you can have plenty of direct contact with your audience you’re able to gather some very valuable consumer feedback. And compared to traditional marketing, digital marketing enables you to measure results much easier and it delivers higher conversion rates, more sales, and higher ROI from your campaigns.

It’s a level playing field – digital marketing enables you to compete on par with your competitors, including large organisations.

And digital marketing is a step in the right direction for preparing your business for the ‘Internet of Things’, which revolves around increased communication embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity.

What are the challenges of the digital era for your business?

There are challenges now and ahead for all businesses given the frequency and speed of change, particularly with digital technology, and the fast uptake by consumers.

And while technological expectations and capabilities race ahead, if you wear the marketing hat in your business you may find that you‘re struggling to keep up.

Yes, you have available a varied range of tools, from call reports and email blasts to embedded devices like wearables (devices that capture personal behavioural and performance data) and beacons (small low powered transmitters that communicate with Smart devices in a predefined radius). And you have the ability to collect a considerable amount of data

However, the reality of capturing it all, extracting the essence of it, turning it into intelligence you can act on, and attributing the sale to some discrete interaction, may be quite difficult in practice.

Customers in the digital age can also be challenging. They no longer have the ‘9 to 5’ mentality – they expect your brand and services to be available around the clock.

Theoretically this isn’t far-fetched. The foundations of the ‘Internet of Things’ and real-time personalised mobile messaging – the two trends predicted as having the most impact on marketing by 2020 – are already in place. But realistically this is a little more difficult, given your customers’ varied practices and expectations and the overall lifetime journey they may have with your brand.

Digital marketing is all about you managing the end-to-end customer experience. And this isn’t straightforward, because each customer dips in and out of different areas of your website making every customer’s journey different. Your challenge is to make the experiences across the whole journey brilliant for each and every customer, each and every time.

What is the digital marketing future for your business?

It’s not just a challenge to the status quo – the old rulebook has been discarded. To survive and compete, your business, no matter its size or the industry in which you operate, must be digitally active, agile, responsive and flexible. Increasingly organisations are looking to those responsible for marketing in the business to drive revenue by acquiring and engaging with customers. And this inevitably brings immediate challenges, opportunities – or both – for your business.

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