Do brands still need to be convinced about digital marketing?
It's done. It's over. Digital marketing is an integral component of a proper marketing mix. In fact, I can selfishly argue that digital marketing is more important than most traditional mass media channels. That doesn't devalue what can be done with traditional advertising, it simply means that digital marketing - on its own - can be enough to build, sustain and retain a healthy client base. Yes, there are countless brands that have built massive businesses without the help of traditional advertising, by relying solely on the power of digital channels. And, we're going to see a lot more of them as time marches on.
The end of evangelism?
Hardly. That being said, I have often proclaimed that those who focus on digital marketing should no longer be in the business of convincing. That's an evermore important philosophy for us to embrace. When it comes to hunting down business for Twist Image, we will typically shy away from the potential clients who are asking us to come in and convince them as to why they should shift their advertising budgets to digital, or to convince them e-commerce could be a viable channel for them, etc.... Instead, we look for brands that are actively trying move their needle in a significant way, because they know, believe and understand what digital can do for them (and have been taking the channel a little bit too slowly).
Don't confuse emerging media for digital marketing.
Within the scope of digital marketing, there are many new and emerging platforms. You can look at platforms like virtual reality or programmatic to channels like Snapchat, Ello and even Pinterest. It's fine to question these new opportunities or to sit on the sidelines to better determine if your brand can have a voice within it. It's not fine to still be relegating small percentages of advertising budgets against channels like email, search, social media, content marketing and beyond. Again, digital marketing is no longer a question mark in marketing,
What about the influencers?
It feels like we have all but abandoned this model, because everyone can be some kind of influencer. This is true. Anyone can publish their thoughts - in text, images, audio and video - for the world to see. Still, the ability for individuals to build a direct relationship with their audience is profound, and it continues to grow on a daily basis. While YouTube may feel like HBO to the modern marketer, it continues to grow and expand into a form of television that could - depending on how the next few years unfolds - create an even more significant parade of celebrities than it already has. That platform has both become a mature marketplace for brands, and still amazes with new YouTube celebrities that are being created daily and earning millions of subscribers. From a brand perspective, working with these influencers and figuring out a way to be relevant within these communities - or better yet, develop your own content and build your own community - seems to be a strategy that is being abandoned for a more traditional advertising approach. You know, pre-roll and post-roll TV commercials that have hardly been re-purposed for YouTube, that most consumers are opting to skip whenever possible.
Don't make this mistake.
It's true, there is no longer a need to convince brands that digital marketing is critical for success. Still, a lot of what we're now calling "digital marketing" is really just traditional advertising in digital channels. And, that's where the real rub lies. Too many brands are confusing advertising in a very traditional way in digital channels as digital marketing. It is not. The right approach? Instead of thinking about how an ad might share a brand message with the world, step back, and ask a better questions. Something like: what is the problem that my brand solves? How can my brand help people and add value to their lives? What stories would most impact consumers and make them think of us? See, this is why digital marketing reigns supreme. Brands can now create digital products and services to answer these questions. They no longer have to just create another form of advertising to scream at people. Still, In an age when we no longer should be convincing people about how important digital marketing is, it still feels like we have miles to go until brands understand it.
Fact: digital marketing allows brands to do so much more than just advertise at people. Still need convincing?