The digital world is rapidly eclipsing the traditional in everything from the media to social interaction. People spend remarkable amounts of time online. Where to eat, what to buy, what to wear, how to do things; all of this and more is found in the digital sphere. If a business doesn’t have a website, chances are a large number of people don’t even know it exists. One of the most searched things on google is “restaurants near me.” There could be thousands of restaurants in any given location, but if one doesn’t have a website or any online presence, the possibility of being found by consumers becomes slim. Social media gives companies the opportunity to interact with their consumer base and to gain invaluable insight into the possible problems and advantages they might have. More and more often, consumers are getting their information about companies online.
So, it would make sense for the marketing world to accommodate for the changing landscape, to be agile. Agility is something that fits exceptionally well with the fast pace and rapid response of digital. Because digital is already immediate, it makes it very easy to include in agile marketing, which allows for change based on consumer response within the strategy and planning processes of a marketing campaign.
Digital is also good for integration. Digital is a sort of all-encompassing term for all the specific types of marketing done online. Social, content, and website design are all forms of digital marketing and are also perfect candidates for integration; i.e. including links to social media in your website or curating and creating content on a blog linked to your website. The integration process is almost seamless. But, don’t take that to mean that digital can only integrate with digital. A print flyer can be posted as a fun graphic on social media. A print piece, such as a billboard, can include branded hashtags to cultivate discussion on the web. Digital works well with all marketing forms to create a truly integrated process.
There are few businesses that can get away with not having a website. Unless you’re going for total secrecy or extreme exclusivity, websites have become a necessity. When people are looking for information about a product or a service or just a general idea about the business, they look it up online. Without a website, people won’t get the info. Having a website means a higher chance of people finding you. And ensuring the website is functional and visually stimulating will increase the possibility of more than a cursory glance.
Social media is the best way to interact with a consumer base and create a presence and awareness of your brand online. Old spice, Taco Bell, Denny’s and Target are brilliant at this. They don’t simply interact with consumers; they plug content and create conversation all at once. Old Spice and Taco Bell once had a twitter feud that was both hilarious and strategic. People talked about it for weeks. They knew their audience and knew exactly how to get their attention. When Target shoppers complain online, Target responds. In their responses, they’re fun and quirky and always keep their consumers aware of the type of company they are. Denny’s has a tumblr that almost never posts about Denny’s, but is one of the most popular tumblrs run by a company and thereby raises brand awareness and goodwill.
Organic is the amount of likes or impressions you get on your social media without any kind of boost. Paid is then the opposite where you boost a post by making it an ad to get more likes and impressions. Both are important because paid allows for much more visibility, especially on platforms like Facebook where they only show a post to all your followers if you boost it. Organic, on the other hand, means that people are authentically interested in what you have to say without any help from paid advertising. Organic gives consumers the impression that a company is just like them, putting out ideas and thoughts; it builds brand trust. But paid helps brands reach more people, so both are important.
Creating and curating content are brilliant ways to cultivate an audience and foster discussion while also showing them how knowledgeable and credible your company is–without sounding like an overly aggressive sales pitch. It also helps foster a good brand reputation by allowing the audience to see that the brand is concerned with providing valuable non-promotional information and resources. Consumers like a business that isn’t all about bolstering itself and instead is focused on how to best serve the consumers’ needs and wants.