3.2 billion people are now using the Internet. (Davidson, 2015) 1.46 billion people bought something online in 2015, and that number is projected to grow to 2.07 billion by 2019. (Statista, 2016) Digital marketing is here to take those internet users, and turn them into customers. Marketing is about connecting with the target market segment at the right time and place. Digital Marketing uses channels that allow organizations to analyze marketing campaigns and understand what is working in real time, to more accurately connect. Digital marketing is done through many channels and with many tactics.
There are three main ways to ensure success in digital marketing. (SAS, 2016) Managing customer relationships is a large part. Communication through social media must be done very carefully, but is an effective way of maintaining customer relationships. Another is e-mail and online surveys. This leads to the second way. A company must initiate customer interactions, and respond to them as well. This is done through using various social media platforms. Thorough knowledge of how the specific social media site is used is paramount. Posting a ton of pictures at once on Instagram is not going to be as effective as just posting one well timed picture because the first will cause people to unfollow, or just ignore the posts. Responding to questions and comments is a large part of maintaining an online following. The third way to be successful is to extract value from big data. A lot of data can be gathered from customer’s online interactions with the company, and this needs to be turned into useful information about how to better connect with customers across all channels. (SAS, 2016)
There are three main challenges when it comes to digital marketing. (SAS, 2016) The first is where to market. There are so many different platforms to choose from. Texting, mobile instant messaging, mobile apps, podcasts, electronic billboards, digital television and radio channels, as well as social media is all under the digital marketing umbrella. (SAS, 2016) It is better to do a few well, then all of them poorly. Identifying the target market and knowing which platforms they use the most is the best way to connect. A second challenge is that there is a lot of competition because digital marketing is often very cost effective. It allows smaller businesses to grow quicker than before, and to take business away from bigger companies. The third challenge with digital marketing is that there is so much data, it is often hard to know what to do with it. Harnessing this data is very important because it leaves big clues to how customers interact with the company digitally. (SAS, 2016)
There are a multitude of tactics used in digital marketing. These include search engine optimization, content marketing, inbound marketing (also known as push marketing), social media marketing, pay-per-click, affiliate marketing, native advertising, marketing automation, email marketing, and online public relations. (Alexander, 2016) Companies have been using native advertising for years. Often seen in magazines when an advertisement looks like another article. It has now entered the internet in different ways. When clicking through the Snapchat Discover page an ad can appear that is relevant to the magazine or online news station story being watched. When scrolling through Instagram, an ad will appear in the form of an Instagram post from a company. Another large powerhouse of digital marketing is the SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This tactic is about getting the website to rank higher in search engine results. This is huge because it means that the website is very likely to be clicked on. Content Marketing is very popular, it is when a company creates content for the purpose of providing information, and hopefully, driving people to the company website. E-mail marketing is a good way to follow up and encourage current or past customers to buy again, inform them of sales, and alert them to knew products or services. Pay-per-click and affiliate marketing are often done in conjunction with bloggers and vloggers. (Alexander, 2016)
“Digital marketing allows marketers to see accurate results in real time.” (Alexander, 2016) The ability to see what customers think of the company or a new product, in real time, in invaluable. Ipsy, a monthly makeup box subscription company, has a reward system based on points. The main way to earn points is by reviewing every item in that month’s box. It allows them to see what products overall are a success, and which one’s customers do not like. It also allows them to constantly tweak what types and shades of products they give you, so that you always are delighted with your box. After reviewing, they offer more points to share your experience on social media so that other people can become familiar with their brand and spark interest in getting a subscription. They also use content marketing as a way for people to find their brand through tutorial videos.
Overall, digital marketing is “The promotion of products or brands via one or more forms of electronic media.” (SAS, 2016). Marketers use information gathered from data to create consistent customer experiences that help to move customers along in the buying cycle. Digital marketing works for both Business to Business and Business to Consumer relationships. Digital marketing allows consumers to find a company, and allows for contact between current customers and the company to build a relationship and create brand loyalty. Digital marketing creates a large part of a company’s customer base today.
Alexander, Lucy. “What Is Digital Marketing?” HubSpot Blog Homepage. HubSpot, 1 Sept. 2016. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.
Davidson, Jacob. “Here’s How Many Internet Users There Are.” Time. Time, 26 May 2015. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.
“Digital Buyers Worldwide 2015 | Statistic.” Statista. Statista, 2016. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.
Pulizzi, Joe. “Native Advertising Is Not Content Marketing.” Content Marketing Institute. Content Marketing Institute, 29 Aug. 2015. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.
“What Is Digital Marketing?” What Is Digital Marketing? | SAS. SAS, 2016. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.