By now you’ve heard of Digital Marketing. Your boss might have thrown it out during a meeting, your daughter might have taken that job title at some startup you’ve never heard of, but maybe you’re still unclear on what exactly digital marketing is.
We know, it’s such a buzzword these days, it sounds complicated. Big. Huge. All encompassing. But really, it’s just any marketing done via the Internet. Of course, that is kinda big, huge even.
Mike Granetz, Peaktwo’s CEO, and Chris Harris, our VP and Director of Client Services carved out a few minutes from their schedule to help the rest of us better understand just what digital marketing is, how it works, and why you might want to seriously consider investing in digital marketing for your business.
In non-tech terms, what is digital marketing?
Mike Granetz: Once upon a time we called it internet marketing, then e-marketing, and now digital marketing. Despite the name changes, it’s still marketing your products or services using online channels – web, mobile, email, text, apps, etc.
Chris Harris: Right, plus digital marketing engages wholly with your customers. Whether it be through web content, video, social, email, what-have-you, it allows you to reach a broad range of audiences almost instantaneously.
Ok, that makes sense, so how has Internet-based marketing changed over the years?
MG: Like always, technology is driving the change in digital marketing, and that’s forcing us as marketers to think differently about how we use run our campaigns. Every day it seems that a new tool with better features is introduced. Each with a slightly different way to help us extract data and optimize campaigns. Some of them have merit – others are just shiny and cool looking. Right now, paying for digital marketing tools is like flying the airlines, you’re paying for every checked bag, pillow, and peanut. What I’m hoping to see is the integration of some of these tools at a price point that is affordable for small and medium-sized businesses.
With the constant tech evolution, what’s going to be the next big thing in digital marketing?
CH: I’m a big fan of marketing automation. It’s been around for a while now, but it’s just starting to gain wider adoption and be accessible for small and midsized companies. Marketing automation allows us to customize marketing paths for individuals or groups of users – you can set programs up to track the clicks of users, which would trigger a direct, targeted message to said user(s). It’s pretty slick stuff. Clients love that it clearly demonstrates a return on investment. Something historically difficult to accomplish when you look at the spectrum of digital marketing.
MG: I’m watching the mobile streaming technologies – led by newcomers Periscope and Meerket (and established services like uStream). These are hi-tech, low access tools that allow brands to become broadcasters. This hints of major disruption technology to traditional video messaging outlets.
Ok so, to put it bluntly, why is digital marketing so important for businesses?
CH: Because it allows you to reach and capture responses from broad audiences in an incredibly short amount of time. Everyone is so plugged in right now; companies would be squandering a huge opportunity by not engaging in digital marketing. Let’s be honest, the first thing most people do when they hear about a new business or product – myself included – is pull out our phone/tablet/laptop and look it up.
MG: And, unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing gives us instant feedback. The data we have access to is amazing, and we get it in real time. We can pivot a campaign in seconds if we aren’t seeing the response we desire. Plus, digital marketing allows us to do more than sell, we get to engage with content, and even entertain our audiences. We can also create a thirst for information where customers actually want to have a relationship with a client, where they trust us. With that groundwork, they’re tolerant of the occasional marketing because there’s value in what we provide digitally.
Gotcha. But do ALL businesses – large and small – really need to be investing in it?
MG & CH: Ha! That’s a softball. It’s important for all businesses.
CH: [Laughing] Yes, for small and medium businesses, digital marketing is a cost-effective tactic with massive upside.
MG: Client’s used to say: “No one is going to buy our service because we sent out a tweet”. That was hard to argue with because they were right. But now, agencies can offer a more complete approach to marketing online. It’s not just about the tweet: that’s just the pipe, and there are tons of pipes. It’s about the content. How we share it, who we share it with, when we share it, how they react, and what we do with that reaction. There’s a lot to consider to be effective.
CH: True, but everyone can’t afford that totally integrated approach, so we use the available data in order to help our clients identify what channels, content, and audiences to focus dollars and efforts on.
MG: The biggest piece of advice I can offer businesses is to start slowly, regardless of your budget size. Educate yourself on what’s out there and then prioritize. Test and grow your program from there.
Ok, so digital marketing is awesome, check. We all need it. So, what would you say is the most essential aspect of digital marketing?
CH: It’s still the message. Send the right message at the right time and you have such an advantage.
MG: Yes. Content. No question.
Alright then, how did the two of you get swept up in the world of digital marketing, and how does it relate to the tech world?
CH: I got started in the digital marketing world about five years ago. I was managing projects for a web design and development company, which including an internet marketing department. I worked with that department throughout the website design and build to ensure we had the proper messaging on the site. It included everything from asset placement on pages (CTAs, buttons, forms) to the flow of the site and content creation. Now I know that was digital marketing. Previously, marketing and technology were separate departments who rarely interacted. Now, you can’t have one without the other – it’s totally ingrained in the tech world!
MG: Remember using PINE for email and Netscape for internet browsing? Yahoo was the gateway and the only thing to click on was “What’s Cool” and “What’s New.” It pretty much evolved from there.
Is there anything else we should know?
MG: I think you’ve got the gist – if Digital Marketing isn’t a part of your marketing mix, give it a try. It’s end-to-end brand building to lead generation to conversion. It finally provides what clients have been demanding for decades – proof that marketing has an impact on the bottom line.
Have a question for Mike and Chris? Just ask:
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