By Sandra D’Souza – Curate Bee
The face of marketing has changed dramatically in recent years, and we can expect even more changes in the future as technology evolves and new possibilities emerge.
Traditional marketing techniques such as direct mail, print ads, and television advertising are still around but are increasingly becoming less popular options, particularly for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with limited marketing budgets.
On the other hand, digital marketing revolves around the internet and digital platforms and devices. It makes use of online channels to reach a wider audience and build brand recognition and is composed of several disciplines including…
- Social Media Marketing – communicating with customers and publishing content on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.
- Content Marketing – creating or curating content such as videos and blogs that are not directly promotional, but drive customer interest and action.
- SEO and SEM – search engine optimisation and marketing increases the visibility of websites in search engines leading to more visits.
Most businesses are now starting to realise the potential of digital marketing, but some still downplay or even downright belittle its role. This is certainly a short-sighted way of thinking. While traditional methods may still be effective currently, there’s mounting evidence that it won’t work quite as well in the near future for new generations of consumers. For example, research shows that millennials are increasingly being turned off by old-style marketing, with 84% of them saying they don’t trust traditional advertising.
As such, relying solely on traditional marketing methods is certainly not advised in this day and age of digital connectivity and interaction. So, why should you focus your efforts on digital marketing as we move towards the future?
People Are Spending More Time Online
The average Australian spends a whopping 10 hours every day using internet-connected devices including computers, smartphones, and tablets. Most of this time is spent on mobile devices, which have now overtaken desktops and laptops in terms of internet usage worldwide. This increased time online has had a knock-on effect on the activities that traditional marketing uses as advertising channels, with one in seven Australians watching no commercial television at all and magazine sales declining year on year.
This does not mean that marketing opportunities are decreasing, only that a shift in strategy is needed to take advantage of these changing habits. In fact, Australians are now watching more videos and TV show content than ever before, but choose on-demand and online content over traditional broadcasting.
It’s clear that SMEs need to take advantage of this growing online screen time and place their advertising where the most eyes are going to see it. Social media is one channel, in particular, you should pay attention to, with over half of Australia’s population checking in on social networking sites at least once a day.
Digital Marketing Offers Impressive ROI
In terms of return on investment, digital marketing is hard to beat. Print and television advertising are astronomically expensive compared to engaging in content marketing or maintaining an active social media profile, and in many sectors, digital methods have been able to offer a higher conversion rate.
If you own a small business, it’s likely that your marketing budget is limited. While bigger brands may be able to risk shelling out thousands or even millions of dollars for television advertising without a second thought, for smaller companies the result of wasting the majority of your marketing budget on an unsuccessful campaign could be devastating.
On the contrary, effective digital marketing campaigns can be set up with much smaller marketing budgets. For example, posting on social media is free, requiring only time commitment, and marketing emails can be sent out for just a few cents per recipient. Even if these campaigns are not as effective as hoped, very little is lost in terms of investment.
ROI will, of course, vary widely between different business sectors, audiences, and campaigns, but there is plenty of proof that digital marketing offers better returns overall.
Improved Personalisation and Segmentation is Possible
One of the limitations of traditional marketing methods is that it’s difficult to tailor and offer advertising only to a particular set of individuals or demographic. This is an area that digital marketing excels at, and it’s possible to segment and customise campaigns on a huge range of criteria including age, location, shopping habits, personal interests, and more.
Facebook ads are one example where this kind of highly targeted marketing can be very successful when done right. Users can be targeted by location, interests, and behaviour, and it’s even possible to “retarget” customers by sending them an ad for a product they’ve already shown interest in.
Naturally, this results in a higher success rate, with targeted ads being twice as successful as untargeted advertising.
Digital Marketing Offers Real-time Results
It’s notoriously difficult to measure the ROI of traditional marketing campaigns. While there may be a correlation between increased sales figures and a recent campaign, it’s almost impossible to attribute the trend to marketing efforts alone, especially when so many other factors are in play.
On the other hand, digital marketing campaigns have the ability to instantly track and measure success built right into the technology. You can start seeing open and click-through rates for marketing emails as soon as you send out the campaign, and it’s possible to view traffic on your website in detail, right down to tracking exactly where individual users click on your web pages.
Website analytics software such as Google Analytics make it easy to see how website visitors are finding your site (from search, social media, or links from other websites)—this offers valuable insights on where you should concentrate your marketing efforts going forward.
It Feels More Authentic Than Traditional Marketing
As mentioned previously, young people are becoming increasingly distrusting of traditional advertising, and dislike being marketed at directly. Digital marketing does not have the same effect. In fact, it might just be the opposite. 64% of Australians say they are more likely to trust a brand if it interacts positively with them on social media.
Not all businesses are taking advantage of these changing attitudes towards brand trust, as only 47% of SMEs have a social media presence and only 26% advertise on social media. With very little to lose from setting up an account on one or more popular social media networks and communicating regularly with your target audience, this is an “easy win” that every small business should target.
Authenticity is definitely the keyword here and it’s important for brands to show their personality online rather than posting as some faceless entity. Informal language, behind-the-scenes peeks, and candid photos all work well for engaging customers and building trust.
The Internet of Things is here
The “Internet of Things,” in which data-producing everyday objects including cars, wearable devices, and household appliances are connected to the internet, is still in its infancy. However, more and more of these smart devices are being produced which means this trend will only gather steam as we experience more digital innovations.
The rise of such devices opens up a host of new channels and marketing methods and some exciting possibilities for digital marketing. Some examples of how this technology is already being used for marketing and advertising include smartphone users being sent special offers from local shops and restaurants when they’re detected to be in a particular area; Amazon dash, which allows instant ordering of consumable products such as washing powder at the touch of a button; and ride-sharing apps such as Uber, which allow users to view nearby Uber cars in real-time and see when their driver has arrived.
There’s no doubt about it—digital marketing is not going anywhere and if trends continue, its possibilities and success rate will only continue to grow as new technologies open up new opportunities and consumers become increasingly connected to the internet. SMEs still relying solely on traditional offline marketing methods will need to change their strategies or risk being left behind by the competition.
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