With the upcoming Digital Marketing Workshop at Retail’s Digital Summit on September 26, focus on the evolution of digital marketing has come to the forefront of the conversation. Key speakers at the summit are slated to discuss important issues, such as learning how to use Live Chat, using proven customer acquisition tips, making email marketing campaigns more efficient, considering the importance of digital commerce programs, and how Google’s “Rank Brain” is impacting your search campaigns.
Marketing experts at the summit will also discuss recent innovations in the field, determining their success or failure based on customer satisfaction and the number of sales made.
According to Eight by Eight CEO Amy Africa, some impressive digital marketing strategies have included the addition of text message and email reminders through drugstores and pharmacies, voice-activated and online ordering through food moguls like Domino’s Pizza, online cooking classes through retailer Sur La Table, interactive and informative applications through large brands like Starbucks, and improvements in overall online presence through companies like Sephora and Williams-Sonoma.
Africa also notes that digital marketing is evolving quickly. She isn’t wrong. It is evolving so quickly, in fact, that more than a quarter of new innovations will become complete flops within six months of their introduction. But those numbers are less meaningful than they sound. Experts choose to see these failures as research – a way to help increase knowledge of what works in the modern technological age and what does not. These experts argue that the industry can only move forward through this research – whether it succeeds or fails.
Digital marketing strategists are learning how to refocus their budget into new platforms that will ultimately supply convenience for their customers. These strategies aren’t always effective, but they are innovative. The ultimate goal of modern digital marketing is to save the customer precious time and effort – which they can expend in other ways that are more valuable to them. Our recognition that time is of the essence is the crux of our improvements.
A good number of consumers will choose a pharmacy that provides text message alerts over a pharmacy that does not. Similar consumers would rather order their pizza through a smartphone application than call the store themselves. They would rather take online classes, search for clothes on Google, or pre-order their coffee. The fraction of consumers who prefer – or, indeed, even expect – these conveniences are growing every single year. As companies innovate, other companies must match their efforts. In a competitive industry, that is how we survive. And that is how the customer receives a fair amount of value when they make an informed purchase.
Determining whether these innovations are successes or failures is a decision generally based on comprehensive data. This data is provided through behavioral analytics companies such as SessionM, which focus on account-based management and ideal customer profiles. These companies, like digital marketing companies, are working on innovations of their own.
Through data collection, digital marketers can reach a target audience that has shown a previous interest in their product or a closely related product. This ability to zero-in on consumers has the potential to increase sales and provide even more data for companies to utilize. Through mathematical equations and intense data surveillance, digital marketing companies are constantly improving their strategies, creating new innovations, and targeting audience members. As our knowledge increases, our quality increases. And this cycle is ongoing.
Companies that refuse to innovate, history has shown, will eventually fall off the radar. The digital marketing community has already seen a sharp decline in brands that fail to take advantage of the new market, data collection, and social media platforms.
Consumers spend an immense amount of time on their smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. They expect consistent marketing strategies. They expect brands to appear through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, and popular applications. If a brand does not appear, consumers quickly forget that it exists.
Consumers are no longer in the business of seeking out companies for products or services. Instead they want and expect marketing with a meaning. They want to see digital marketing strategies that will improve their way of life – usually by adding convenience into the age-old marketing equation. Instead of focusing on a quality product or celebrity endorsements, consumers are transitioning into a self-indulgent era. They will choose whatever product is most affordable, beneficial, and convenient to obtain.
This puts popular food companies like Domino’s Pizza ahead of the game. Similar companies will be expected to catch up – and quickly. Consumers will consistently choose online ordering through Domino’s Pizza or Hungry Howies, rather than over the telephone or in-person ordering through another company. As long as the consumer is satisfied with the product, they will return for more. The same is true for dozens of other industries in America.
This emerging digital marketing pattern is eye-opening to long-time members of the field, who have always focused on a quality product or even quality customer service. While these points are obviously still important to consumers, they are taking the backseat to something altogether different.
In addition to these innovations, there is the overall growth of the digital marketing sector. Digital marketing and advertising is seeing a year-over-year lift of nearly sixteen percent, according to Carat’s forecast. The agency looked at fifty-nine markets across continents and predicted that digital advertising will see another year-over-year boost of at least fourteen percent in 2017.
Social media is also at the forefront of the conversation. Spotify has over thirty-nine million paying subscribers. This is more than twenty million subscribers over Apple Music. Much of the difference can be explained, once again, by convenience to the consumer. Apple Music is only available through iPhones, iPads, or other Apple products. Spotify is available through all popular platforms.
Between social media and digital marketing innovations, there is much to discuss and discover. Ultimately, companies that are able to meet the demands of consumers will win the day. What these companies will do to accomplish that feat, however, is still up for debate.
Pratibha Vuppuluri is the founder of KeyInsite, a digital analytics firm. She helps businesses accelerate revenue growth through digital channels.