Introduction to digital marketing
The Internet plays more and more of an important role in everyone’s daily life. We check the news on our phones as soon as we wake up; we work on our laptops, and go shopping. In essence, we can no longer separate our lives from the Internet. To follow this trend, marketers are starting to use the Internet and digital media to organize their marketing strategy. So what is digital marketing?
* What is digital marketing?
Digital marketing is the targeted, measurable, and interactive marketing of products or services using digital technologies to reach customers and retain them. Online company presences is essential to digital marketing. There are several forms of the online presences: transactional e-commerce site, services-oriented relationship-building website, brand-building site, portal or media site and social network or community site. These sites are used to help develop customer relationships. In fact, digital media is the main element which supports digital marketing and multichannel marketing as well. The chart below shows the relationships among these primary definitions.
* What is digital media?
To adapt to the continuously changing environment and reach customers online, we can use three different types of media. The first is paid media, which means marketers have to pay for the media to convey certain information to visitors or potential customers, such as leaflets, posters, TV advertising, Google AdWords and other forms of displayed advertisements. The second one, earned media, refers to word-of-mouth through different kinds of social networking. Companies are putting more and more importance on this kind of media and investing resources to build strong relationships with their consumers, not only in terms of relationship but also in ambassadors. The third type is owned media, a company or a brand registers their own account of websites, blogs, mobile apps or social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.). Companies use owned media to organize their customers and release advertisements of their products as well. This technique is gaining popularity because it generates higher interactions and engagements with the customer than paid media. In most cases an owned media is targeting customers of the brand more efficiently.
The range of digital marketing platforms is in a rapid growth. The desktop support still remains important and has been dominant for years but it’s now obligated for a company to propose a mobile support because some businesses are now related with more mobile than desktop sessions.
We can define classic platforms as desktop browser-based platform, desktop apps, email platforms, data exchange or video-marketing. There is a shift from these classical platforms to mobile and tablet platforms: mobile browser, mobile and tablet apps. We can also talk about the apparition of new hardware platforms (gaming, interactive, smart-watch) which are bringing new kinds of possibilities to the market. Rules of the competition have been changed because of the growing number of SAAS (Software as a Service) which are bringing a service to their customers for free or against monthly/ annual fees and are using customer’s data to remain profitable (CRM, mailbox, cloud services etc.).
Introduction to digital marketing strategy
* What are digital marketing strategies?
The strategy of digital marketing is very similar to the process of decision making in traditional marketing, which includes segmenting, targeting and positioning. Effective digital marketing should be aligned with the company’s business strategy. The company or brand should use clear objectives for the development and contribution in all the digital channels. They should be consistent to their customers and potential customers. Compelling is also an effective way in digital marketing, which provides value proposition for the channel linked with customers. Furthermore, companies should do their best to combine online and offline products in a better way in order to support the customer journey during their buying process. In addition, it is important to have the right promotions according to the pertinence of online customers’ lifecycle.
* What do digital media provide us?
Applications are a successful way of digital marketing as well. Companies establish their applications in several ways such as advertising medium, direct-response medium, platform for sales transactions, lead-generation method, distribution channel, customer service mechanism, and relationship-building medium. Let’s take EasyJet for example, it sells flights online and makes users linked with it through searching engine. It organizes their own system and also cooperates with other third-party websites to profit.
Now that we know so much about digital marketing, let’s talk about its many advantages. The most important advantages are identifying, anticipating and satisfying. That means marketers should concentrate more on customers and link to other business operations at the same time to profit as much as possible.
* Different e-business models
Business and consumers constitute the market and can interact differently. For example, a trade between business and business is called B2B. Other models include: B2C, C2C, and C2B. Trading online makes the process easier and faster, and also enriches the commercial activities in the market. Nowadays, the government is also involved in e-commerce, which added even more models in marketing (G2C, G2B, C2G, B2G, and G2G).
* How to develop a digital marketing strategy?
The question to ask now is: How do we develop a digital marketing strategy step by step? Here are the methods as your reference.
- First, you need to make an assessment of your target market to find an opportunity, and then set your own goals.
- Second, you are supposed to choose a proper way to start and develop your plan.
- Lastly, attract users or customers to the online product that you created, manage and monitor the online activities and communications to see if there is a problem. Keep improving, developing and finally achieving your goal.
Introduction to digital marketing communications
30 years after the creation of the web, digital has taken a huge importance and has modified the way of using marketing communications: SEO, affiliate marketing, display, landing pages, etc.
* Relations between digital and traditional communications
Sometimes it can be difficult to measure actions and results from a digital campaign but marketing experts have published and improved some tools through the years to help marketers dealing with their digital strategy. One of these tools is RACE (Reach-Act- Convert- Engage), a framework used to simplify the approach to analyses performances and establish an action plan. This is a classical action plan summarizing 4 different kind of actions from the step 1 (reach customers) to the step 4 (Engage) following the random lifecycle of acquiring new customers. Obviously, digital channels are always more prolific when combined with traditional marketing channels.
* Key types of digital media channels
To implement that action plan, marketers can use different types of digital media channels that we will try to define quickly.
First, let’s talk about the classical form of channels that have evolve naturally through digital versions such as Online Public Relations (Social networks, blogs…) and online partnerships.
One of the most famous and used tools is the Search Engine Marketing (Search Engine Optimization + Search Engine Advertising) which is used to promote the company on the internet. SEO is used to promote a website and help it to appear in the first results on a browser for specific and strategic keywords. At contrary, SEA is using sponsored links to engage customers visit a website. Some others advertising techniques are available like Display advertising or email marketing. To finish the obvious one which has modified the marketing landscape is Social Media Marketing that is used to different purposes: presence, customer relationships, attract customers or identifying and address narrowly a specific target market.
How to define a social media tool? From a technologic point of view it’s basically a website service based on user-generated content and messaging. These networks are tied with the whole web permitting to its users to extend their power of influence and reach favor of sharing functions. Weinberg and Ekin have defined different types of social presences that can be applied through digital strategies: social networks, publishing and news, blogging, niche communities. Each of these websites is related with different objectives and results that need to be logically accorded with digital strategies.
* Benefits of digital media
It’s obvious that digital media is providing interesting benefits to marketers but they need to be used wisely and through different kind of actions. As on classical media, a clear strategy must be implemented to reach a targeted consumer by defining them in subcategories related with their psychographic, demographic or geographic criteria’s. Identifying well defined type of customers helps to reach customers with personalized methods. The first one that we can quote is interactivity. There is a shit from classical push media to modern pull media and that fact can be easily illustrated by showing that customers are now contacting companies and interacting with companies by their own instead of being directly contacted. This new way of interacting is due to psychologic studies that have shown that most of web customers are more open-minded and disposed to buy when they think that the decision is coming from them after having logical and rational reasoning. For example, inbound marketing has been developed through during the last few years to reach customers by using psychology.
Another important point is that these forms of media and their messages can be personalized to reach more efficiently customers favor of data innovations which permit marketers to adapt their messages.
We can illustrate it in terms of deploying campaigns by different kinds of benefits: accountability, testing with less resources, campaigns can be more flexible, target customers more narrowly and efficiently and also to control costs easily.
* Key challenges
After talking about all the benefits of digital strategies and media, and the evolution of classical media, we should wonder what key challenges digital communications will have to face in the future. A first point is that the environment is getting more complicated to understand and to compete with concurrence because of too many innovations in a short period of time. These techniques need to be improved and well implemented in the business eco-system. Another point is necessity to anticipate future and changing technologies. With the fast development of digital companies need to take a look about future and can’t stay passive because a competitive advantage gained favor of digital can disappears in a short moment because of the strong competition and new technologies. Other challenges that we can talk about are the need to deal with high costs of entry on competitive markets caused by massive investments in digital and also the changing comportment of users on the web (for example studies have shown that attention of a web visitor is getting lower year after year.
The science of getting attention from the customer can be defined as “customer engagement” and “repeated interactions that strengthen the investment a customer has in a brand”.
Another way to generate customer engagement is through “permission marketing”. Permission marketing is defined as seeking for the customer agreement before attracting him For example, when we are receive weekly newsletters from our favorite store because we gave them permissions to update us. To finish, content marketing is also using psychologic information concerning consumers to provide them interesting content for them and push them to be exposed to an advertising well integrated in useful contents for them.
To conclude this article, we can talk about the fact that marketing medias channels have been evolving through the years to become divided into two kind of channels: classical and digital. Digital channels are providing companies with new ways of communicating, attracting and selling to customers, this constantly changing environment requires more and more attention from companies to be competitive and aware of future innovations and challenges that they will have to face to stay competitive in a more and more changing world.