Digital media is omnipresent today and your target audience has access to information any time, on any device and at any place they want it. Gone are the days when the only messages people got about your products or services came in the form off glossy collateral sent out in neat packages from your company or got delivered personally in snazzy folders by your sales teams and consisted of only what you wanted them to know. (Yeah – we still do the glossy brochures today).
The reality of the digital data that is exploding around us is changing the landscape of how we can target and segment the market? And how we can engage in each of these digital channels? Not an easy question to answer when every minute – you have 2 million searches on Google, 204 million emails sent, 48 hours of YouTube videos uploaded, 28 thousand new blogs and posts on Tumblr, 648K content uploads on Facebook, multiple posts on Glassdoor and almost 100,000 tweets on Twitter. These alternate channels of digital information today are more effective in educating your prospects – not just capturing what you want to say about your brand but also what others may want to ‘chime in’ about their experiences and mind you – they have higher believability.
So how to manage these emerging channels, especially digital channels of marketing communication for best results? Customers are not only able to access information through these new digital channels, they are also aware of the digital data that they are generating and how it can be used to help provide interaction with the brand; they are expecting marketers to use that information to provide a better user experience to them
Essentially there are two ways to do this – deep or broad. The “deep” approach requires you to deepen your customer relationships by gaining a better understanding of your target segment – not just who they are or what profile segment they belong to but also what they care about? Pick how and where you want to engage with them. This could be a LinkedIn group or through a blog or on Twitter. Know what are they talking about? Understand their conversation. The “broad” approach on the other hand requires you to ensure that all digital channels are covered. Most marketers try to have a presence on every new channel – Linkedin to Facebook, to Instagram to SnapChat so as to ensure a wide coverage. The key however is to make sure that all touch-points are effective – essentially deep personalization in as many relevant channels!
These digital channels however also supply the answers and the means to engage customers effectively – through marketing automation tools so much (big) data becomes available that you need to be a left brained marketing analytics guru to take advantage of the information nuggets (devise scoring algorithms and corresponding nurturing programs and offering strategies) that can help you segment your prospects (e.g. create lists in Twitter by the hashtag keywords used by your followers and drive leads by running DM campaigns relevant to the conversation). LinkedIn allows segmentation by interest groups and forums but broadly every written word can be parsed using text analytics capabilities on content across channels that digital marketing tools can enable for you today. Digital marketing technology is actually disruptive but also a great leveler as beautifully explained in “Taking Down Goliath” by authors Rob “Spider” Graham and Kevin Ryan. Using these digital marketing strategies, small companies can create an equally compelling global digital presence without the need for massive budgets or hiring dozens of marketeers.
However, as this focus on leveraging the “conversation-segmentation” to target your prospects becomes critical to a successful digital marketing initiative – it is bound to change the complexion of the “marketing person” of tomorrow. Increasingly, in addition to the creative types and domain experts, you will need ones with relatively sophisticated analytics capabilities. Digital marketing is already hastening the trend towards more left-brained and quantitatively strong Chief Marketing Officers or who are also already being called the Chief Digital Officers…
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