The internet is an amazing thing. It has really changed the spectrum on how marketers can promote their business to the masses. It doesn’t matter if you’re marketing a global fashion company from New York, or a small pluming company in Leicester – your audience need to know who you are and how you can help them.
Consumers have become a lot savvier in their approach to buying, predominantly due to the internet. This has in turn led to marketers needing to be far more creative than they were ten years ago. The smarter digital marketers will be aware of the new ways in which they can promote their business activity.
It has become difficult for marketers to understand where to invest their time, knowledge and money to derive the best return on investment. Five or ten years ago, the online marketing world was very different. Long gone are the days of paid search ads, and search engine optimisation on their own. There are so many forms of online marketing that exist in 2014. Search has changed in a big way.
Development 1: Social Media has enabled a new medium of promoting – Now that Social media has really taken off past the adoption stage, online marketing has been boosted in an immense way. When the first social media platforms emerged, I don’t think any of the founders really expected they could go from being a personal site of sharing information with friends, to a serious way of promoting and engaging a business with its consumers.
Development 2: Very targeted approach to customers – As mentioned, consumers have a lot more information at their fingertips these days, for example, the ability to price compare products online within a matter of seconds. There are trillions of websites online, so it has become more difficult to grab the attention of existing and potential customers. More intelligent SEO is needed.
Development 3: Different platforms; mobile and second screening – Long gone are the days where marketers just targeted people using desktop. The second screen phenomenon has really grown over the last couple of years and is one of the key trends moving forward. Marketers have had to ensure content is engaging on a plethora of platforms. Consumers have become very fickle and demand entertainment across different platforms. Watching TV whilst speaking to someone on the phone and playing a game on a tablet has become only too common these days. It’s a battle to engage with consumers now, but if it’s done properly, the results are incredible.
Development 4: The employees have changed – The complexities of this new era of online marketing have developed into personnel too. Given the need for new avenues of marketing, such as blogging and social media – new job opportunities have arisen. Freelancers often work within house teams to get the best of both worlds.
Development 5: The cost of digital marketing – There is always going to be costs. Online marketing will cost more in the budget than traditional marketing these days. One of the big costs are hiring the social media team. Some people seem perplexed when they think of social media costing money. For an individual to use it, yes, it’s free. However, when a business uses it as a way of promoting themselves, they need to get the right people running the pages for them and potentially opting in for some of the premium add-ons. Social media has evolved from being far more than a way to engage with customers, it’s now a customer service team in its own right; answering queries or attempting to deal with complaints.
What will we see in the future? As technology is moving forward quicker than anyone could have predicted, who knows what will happen next. Mobile and second screen are the two big trends moving forward. Digital teams are going to have to utilise these two trends to stay on point.
It’s likely that online marketing will progress at a monumental rate in the years between 2014 – 2015 and beyond.