Written by: James Ponds
Marketing has always been a fast-paced, ever-changing profession. After the turn of the century, digital advertising rose to prominence and many marketers thought they would need to throw everything they knew out the window. Others were intimidated by the language, platforms, and methods of new media. Now, however, as digital marketing has settled into our everyday lives, the path is clearer for marketers to be successful for their business or clients. The trick is to blend the old with the new and balancing where to innovate and where to apply tried and true practices. Here are some concepts that should help.
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Focus on Your Digital Strategy
Marketers do need to understand and evaluate all the major advertising channels to decide which platforms are right for their business. You may have pressure to have a presence everywhere, but here are two arguments to help you stand firm: First, not every platform is right for every business. For example, if you sell orthopedic supplies to senior citizens, you aren’t likely to get much of an ROI on Snapchat. Second, it is often worse for a brand image to spread themselves too thin and not be able to have a meaningful presence on a social platform than not to simply not be there at all. Choose the digital options that are right for your company. Digital banner ads and Facebook are broad, with larger platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn being useful for many (but not all) companies.
Leverage Traditional Media
Digital is important, but that doesn’t mean you should throw out the concept of a media mix. Consider and evaluate the traditional media channels of broadcast television, radio, and print. Use your relationships with your sales reps at these outlets to negotiate value earned or bonus weight by telling them that you need to spend on digital as well as traditional platforms. It’s also important to know that many media outlets, especially those owned by large corporations, offer digital and social advertising products to stay competitive. You may get a great deal and be able to deploy most, or all, of your efforts from one outlet!
Stay True to the Fundamentals
However much has changed in the marketing landscape, the fundamentals of marketing and branding have not. In fact, with as many channels diluting where people receive their advertising, they may be more important than ever. You need to take a multi-platform approach to each campaign, customizing creative for each platform. You must also start each piece of digital advertising with “mobile-first” design. That said, building creative that is platform specific does not mean your messaging changes, only its delivery system. This concept comprises size, resolution, and formats of creative. Branding fundamentals like your brand voice, logo usage, fonts, colors, and other brand-marks must stay consistent. Think about Target and Amazon. Do you ever see any ads from them on any platform that don’t incorporate their iconic bullseye or arrow graphics?
Always Monitor Analytics
Finally, recognize that you have access to more analytics and back-end data than ever before. A generation ago, if you would have told a marketer that they could see how many people watched and engaged with your ad, broken down by age, gender, and other demographic categories in near-real-time, they would have thought you were joking. Beyond digital, even ratings for traditional media that used to take months to be tabulated from diaries are now available sooner. This information is yours for the taking; you ignore it at your own peril.
In short, successful marketing in the 2020's depends on an understanding and analysis of the advertising channels available to you, a solid media mix, a unified but multi-platform approach to messaging, and evaluation of analytics. Incorporate these concepts into your strategy and you will set company up to succeed!