Digital marketing has carried with it various definitions, but in its raw sense, it is the use of a digital medium to market goods, products or ideas. Upon closer inspection, it is not merely sending out information. This content is targeted, the impact is measurable, and it is typically something the audience can interact with.
There are various approaches to digital marketing. However, data from CMOS show that three types of online marketing channels proved to be beneficial in 2018. It is worth exploring them as they can set the trend for the coming year. This information is from Statista.
Their data showed that content marketing (20%), artificial intelligence and machine learning (14%), and big data (14%) had been the most effective digital marketing techniques of 2018.
Social media marketing was fourth on the list, with mobile marketing being the ninth most effective technique. Last on the list was display. Below is an exploration of the top three techniques. They look at what each is, and how they apply in the sphere of digital marketing. Lastly, the article looks at the payoff of the uptake of these methods.
Content marketing is a telling name of this form of digital media. It is the creation of and distributing useful information consistently to both attract and retain a targeted audience. The bottom line is profits, but likewise to furnish the customer with relevant information that enables them to enact on your call to action.
What makes content marketing different from traditional forms of marketing is it goes beyond selling a product. The primary focus remains on the customer; the purpose is to convert them into loyal customers while fulfilling their needs.
A working example is that of the best tax experts Toronto has. In running a blog, they aid everyone who comes by with information pertinent to the tax topic at hand. When a visitor to the page deems what they read to be useful, they are more likely to interact with the tax experts. If it solves an issue for someone, then they will be sure to reach out.
Who uses content marketing?
Anyone looking to beat their competitors will use content marketing to get ahead of the curve. The reason for it is not because it is a trend. It is because it works. From P&G to the small business across the street expanding, content marketing saves companies money but at the same time increases their sales. Due to its effectiveness, those subscribing to the firm will remain loyal.
What makes it beneficial it that the average person would not consider it junk. In a world saturated with information, content marketing goes beyond merely selling things without considering how they view your brand. Another perspective that persons can adopt is to think of content marketing as an integral part of digital marketing and to be included in all facets of the same
Given that it is primarily on a digital basis, those who use it look to enhance specific areas in their marketing efforts. These include social media marketing, PR, SEO, among other tools that constitute for digital marketing.
Essentially, marketers use these channels to share educational and entertaining content in a manner that draws the audience. As previously mentioned, the end goal is leading people to buy into your brand, preferable for a lifetime.
What makes content marketing not work?
Not everyone who takes up content marketing goes the whole nine yards and wins. There are mistakes that those still sadly unaware of the potential of content marketing make. The first is a lack of understanding of who the target market or the audience is. The reason for this failure in knowledge is it throws everything about this aspect of digital marketing off.
What does it mean? Should you want to start a business in the fashion industry, off the bat, you know that there is no one size fits all. Without knowing who in this vast demographic would be interested in your products, you risk creating content that does not suit the personality of your top buyers. It is no wonder some ideas fall short because someone did not take time to research buyer personas or reader personas.
Other reasons but equally harmful to the success of content marketing include when the copy is not up to par quality-wise (typo, syntax, grammar, etc.) and not having a call-to-action. Therefore, while content marketing is ranked top in digital marketing, there are those still unable to harness its power due to an error in judgment. Perhaps as more catch on, the stats will increase.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning
Artificial Intelligence (AI) evokes memories of futuristic movies we have watched. They also remind us of Sophia the AI robot, the first robot to be granted citizenship. The reference most of us on this topic is raking in big box office cash or running a PR campaign about future technology. However, what is its role in digital marketing?
At a basic level, AI refers to the intelligence that machines show. In digital marketing, that appears in the form of analysis with the purpose of making predictions, targeted marketing, and buyer information. 2018 shows that marketers have increased confidence in the role of AI and machine learning, primarily due to the RIO. What does that look like for the marketing professional?
Areas AI applies in marketing
AI and machine learning are about being ahead of the consumer. It predicts the buyer’s decisions and stores that information for future contexts. An example is when running one’s website. AI shows visitor’s behavior- where they spend the most time and what their interests are. It is this information the software uses to offer suggestions for similar content based on their clicks or searches. That phenomenon is known as content curation.
It is machine learning that provides you with search suggestions when making a purchase. For example, if you are purchasing a 2019 diary, they might offer other stationary suggestions. Another example is when you select your interest in social media. If you had not put in makeup, once you do, your timeline will be awash with makeup suggestions from various brands advertising to you.
Let us shift gears. What of a marketing manager wondering when the best time to send out a tweet or emails is? AI has also helped marketers know the best time to post to get higher engagement. In email marketing, they now know what subjects lines will lead to a higher chance of a person opening the email, instead of marking it spam. It, therefore, aids in personalization since one has more awareness of what consumers prefer.
How does AI tie in with other areas of digital marketing?
Ultimately, the purpose of AI is to make marketing efforts accurate. With AI and machine learning, content marketing drastically improves. It also makes for stronger tailored customer service solutions, with chatbots being a primary example. Overall, it uses information gathered to make predictions that feed into sound strategies in a world where trends are dynamic.
AI is therefore not left to robots or self-driving cars. Digital marketing is one more industry that has not remained untouched, providing data beneficial to both brand and customer. Whether in email marketing, digital advertising, content curation, user experience, or searchers, only to mention a few, it is evident that artificial learning and machine learning is here to stay.
“I think this will work” and other like phrases are no longer what marketing professionals use to justify intuition-based actions. They require data to back their strategies and decision making. After losses in the initial stages, brands realized they have to get back to the drawing board. Perception and reality are different. However, with big data, you can move forward with confidence.
What is big data? Essentially, it is both the study of and the application of datasets. However, it is more than that. Summarized, it is the use of technology or software to gather, analyze and store information from multiple sources online sources.
The reason for the word “big” here is that this technology works in ways other traditional software cannot due to both the amount of information and sources available. Since these sources do not have a single format, big data technology gets used in processing it.
Use of big data in digital marketing
Just as with AI, big data helps companies enhance how they serve customers. From what big data produces, they can tailor their digital marketing content to be high informative and impactful. One way companies do this is using cookies. As you browse, they can pick up your habits and find ways to best tailor your internet or site experience. That eliminates guesswork as buyer persona and reader persona come to life using big data.
Part of the buyer persona companies can find using big data is the economic status. They are then able to accurately price their products or service if they want the ideal target consumer to make a purchase. Recommendations work the same way- from YouTube to Netflix to Spotify; big data allows these brands to tailor individualized recommendations for their millions and billions of users.
Ultimately, big data presents information to marketers in a way they can understand. Charts and other data presentations make it easier for them to create customer-centered decisions. The information is real-time and uses historical and present data to provide projections.
The heart of it is anticipating a customer’s needs. When a person perceives that a brand understands them and is keen to fulfill their needs, they not only turn into a valuable customer, but they also become loyal to the brand.
These top three digital marketing tools and others have proved themselves of worthy companions for marketing professionals. As with every business processes, everything points to profits. The ROI in these three digital marketing tools as made them preferred. Companies can work smarter in their digital marketing efforts based on data and not guesswork or solely intuition.
While technology is the basis of digital marketing, it is essential to note that there are aspects that work independently of it. Chief marketing officers should rely both on data and their experience in society. Data cannot take into account our human emotions, something that is fundamental in marketing. Tools that analyze consumer behavior should therefore also get coupled with the reality of today’s world, something technology will not always accurately or even be able to capture.
Big or small companies can benefit from content marketing, artificial intelligence, and big machine learning and big data. There are solutions for varying budget sizes; no one gets left behind. With the customization options available, one does not have to pay for more than they require.
There are myriads of tools available and therefore before settling for what other giant companies use, do some research. Smaller brands are doing almost the same. As with everything, expensive does not always reflect what you get out of something.
Call to action
What digital marketing techniques did your company use in 2018? How effective where they? What was the return on investment? Equally, how did your competitors fair on and what were their top techniques? These and other questions ought to guide you into formulating strategies that make your 2019 digital marketing efforts effective.