The Digital Age of Marketing • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine

The Digital Age of Marketing

There's no cookie-cutter approach to social media.

With the dramatic increase in technology the past few years, brands have learned how to quickly adapt to the needs of the growing online consumer. While some may say all brands need to utilize the standard social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube, it's crucial that every brand look at its individual needs so an effective message and product is available for targeted consumers.

Digital marketing has become more important for brands to be successful; the use of digital marketing has enabled small businesses to compete more effectively with the larger names.

When developing an effective digital marketing campaign it's important to weigh the pros and cons of utilizing the available outlets. There has been a wide misconception that brands need to focus only on digitalization. While that is the way of the future, there are plenty of consumers who enjoy holding a newspaper, magazine or book in their hands.

Depending on the individual brand, digital marketing should be used as an enhancement for a marketing campaign. For example, many large brands such as Vogue use digital marketing as a way to enhance their brand; the editors tweet, post Facebook updates or even blog occasionally as a way to bring more life to their brand.

The goal of any brand is to be thought of by consumers in any situation that arises; many brands are achieving this by increasing personalization for consumers through videos, tweets, Facebook updates, blogs, promotions and local events.

While developing a brand or enhancing consumer experience might sound easy, there is a science to it. Many times brands that have tapped into the digital realm without a well-thought-out and effective strategy have done more harm than good to their image.

Content needs to be managed and crafted so that no matter what outlet is viewed, there is different, yet related and relevant, content available. Brands should not use more than three to five outlets, so there is always a well-managed and consistent brand message. When considering what outlets to use, brands need to take a hard look at what they can do effectively as well as what they can manage.

If using one outlet works for your brand, use just that one while getting started. If your brand can handle a few more, and someone is specifically in charge of the digital marketing strategy and development, go with a few more. While the outlets are the same for all brands, the actual development, messaging and strategy are different; digital marketing is not cookie-cutter.

Another way brands can take advantage of digital marketing is using QR (quick response) codes that take consumers to a specific landing page for a new product, promotion or event. Once the consumer is on the page, it's necessary they are also linked to the main brand website. While print materials are important, a brand's website is its most important marketing material.

Many brands are taking advantage of search engine optimization (SEO), a method of marketing that allows brands to be found online more often than others based on algorithms and keyword research. Once the brand is found, it's essential to offer relevant content, activities and a call to action. Many times brands achieve this through blogs that are written by a brand manager, executive, brand ambassadors or sometimes a combination of writers.

Taking the time to fine-tune the digital experience for consumers will increase the likelihood of satisfaction with your product or service as well as increase the likelihood of continual trust in your brand.

Megan Marrs is an entrepreneur, consultant and owner of Marrs Media Group, a branding and strategic marketing company in Valparaiso. She is a writer focusing on branding as well as business school, is involved with volunteering with youth leadership programs and is a graduate of Purdue University ('06) and Valparaiso University MBA ('11).


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