How Digital Marketing is Marketing in a Digital Era
Stephen Monaco - Marketing Strategist & Trusted Advisor; IBM Futurist
Consumer behavior has changed wildly in recent years. People have become digital junkies who voraciously devour information they find interesting – but systematically filter out everything that isn’t germane to them. Consumers literally crave information from companies they’re interested in, and are willing to give up a considerable amount of privacy in exchange for content that’s personalized for them.
Digital Marketing or Marketing in a Digital Era?
Marketers need to think about marketing in this Digital Era, rather than thinking about digital marketing separately.
Consumers’ attention is extremely valuable and has become a currency in this “always on” world where people are continually connected via computers, mobile tablets and ever-present smartphones.
Companies must deliver information that’s highly relevant to the consumer – the information they quite literally crave from brands they’re loyal to – because while they instantly tune out irrelevant information, they want all the information they can get about things they’re interested in and are passionate about.
Return on Engagement
Companies must engage consumers in dialogues that lead to meaningful relationships because it leads to return on engagement.
This can’t be emphasized strongly enough.
Before the advent of numerous marketing technologies, marketers relied on broad, generalized content based primarily on customer demographics. And communication was a one-way street – from companies’ megaphones – to consumers.
Consumers no longer tolerate contrived messages meant for mass audiences. Today, they want information to be specifically tailored to them.
They also expect to be heard from, and responded to in a timely fashion, which enables companies to gain the insight required to better understand consumers’ wants and needs on an individual basis.
Consumers also expect the information they want, when they want it and where they want it, which means marketing needs to deliver the pertinent information across multiple platforms.
Having this level of insight also enables marketers to deliver content germane to individuals based on where they are in the decision-making process during their customer journey.
People Are People
The brisk adoption of digital by consumers has changed their behavior and given them control over how they consume information. Naturally, people aren’t digital – they’re people – and they exist “offline” In Real Life (IRL).
People don’t enjoy their morning cup of coffee online.
Parents don’t feed their children online.
Children don’t cuddle with their puppies online.
They still readily purchase products and services and do the things they already did – shopping, doing their personal banking, looking for the best mortgage rates, etc.
It’s just that consumers transact with companies differently than they once did prior to The Digital Era.
Multiple Channels Includes IRL
Consumers are loyal to brands that provide unique, exceptional customer experiences, and the lines where these experiences take place are blurred between online and offline.
Since the steps consumers take during their decision journeys while making evaluations and purchases frequently include experiences that take place both digitally and IRL, thinking about digital marketing on a standalone basis cost companies opportunities – and those opportunity costs are significant.
Companies need to look at individual consumers holistically and market to them as such – people who "live offline" and are immersed in online activities.