Digital marketing is a broad term that encapsulates all of a brand’s online marketing efforts. Channels such as search engine marketing, owned websites, paid content on third party sites, email marketing, earned online media and social media used to attract new and retain existing customers all fall under the digital marketing umbrella.
Whether your business happens online or off, it’s important to reach customers where they are. In an age when a massive and ever-growing number of consumers are connected to the internet not only when they’re in front of a computer, but 24/7 via smartphones, the opportunity for digital marketing has never been greater. The pervasive nature of our online lives means a constant battle for the attention of consumers who get much of their information, entertainment, and social interaction online. This intense competition among digital marketers means success requires a high level of creativity and a comprehensive strategy.
Along with the challenges that come with digital marketing, there are also some major advantages. Compared to traditional media, digital marketing channels are relatively inexpensive. This allows brands to take more risks in terms of testing out new strategies and messages to stay ahead of their competitors. Perhaps an even stronger advantage to digital channels is the ability to get accurate and instant or nearly instant feedback on marketing efforts. Everything we do online is tracked in one way or another, so digital marketers can see which initiatives create action on the part of consumers and double down on their successful efforts or quickly shift resources away from the things that aren’t working. Brands have access to a wide variety of information about the consumers who interact with their content, ranging from simple information such as the type of device they’re using and which sites they visited previously to specific details on demographics, depending on the platform they’re using. The relatively low cost of any one digital marketing effort, coupled with this access to real-time information allows brands to remain nimble, regularly experimenting and shifting resources to find the mix provides the greatest ROI.
While this real-time feedback allows digital marketers to adapt strategies quickly, the rapidly evolving nature of digital media requires them to do so. The platforms themselves face constant pressure to grow and evolve along with consumer tastes and digital media consumption habits. This means brands have to constantly update their marketing strategy to optimize their efforts, take advantage of new opportunities and ensure they reach their target consumers. Long-term strategies need frequent evaluation periods to review the available data and gauge the effectiveness of their marketing initiatives.
Another significant challenge related specifically to digital marketing includes sorting through the mountains of available data. While feedback on marketing efforts may be available instantly, analyzing that information and determining what types of data are most useful takes time. Brands that conduct most of their business online, for example, may be most interested in their target consumer’s online habits, whereas brands who generate most of their revenue in a brick and mortar setting may be more interested in geographic data related to key audiences.
Understanding the opportunities available to digital marketers and the challenges associated with promoting your business online provides a holistic picture that should guide your digital marketing strategies. The ever-evolving nature of online media means the tactics that work today may be less effective tomorrow, but savvy digital marketers take advantage of all the tools at their disposal to stay ahead of the game and develop creative, forward-thinking strategies that produce results.