By Jon Fox
A recent Gartner survey report revealed that 20% of U.S. marketers no longer allocate separately between traditional and digital marketing budgets, but instead incorporate digital activities directly into each marketing function.
Digital platforms allow for a level of two-way communication that was previously difficult to achieve with any broad reach. Brands have the opportunity to not only measure their consumers’ sentiment, behavior, preferences and needs, but to participate in and contextualize the conversations about them. The digital opportunity extends beyond data and sales to true engagement—driving loyalty, creating brand ambassadors and garnering a deep level of direct consumer insight.
Beating at the heart of this engagement is “emotional currency.” Digital platforms add value to a rich, never-ending emotional connection between people and the brands they love. Linking compelling human sentiment to the heart of a brand is the key to leveraging the digital landscape’s true connective value.
Emotional currency takes a consumer product brand like Goya and builds a multi-platform campaign that elevates the importance of family, sharing and authenticity. Or it takes a business solutions firm like CGS and creates a feel-good story of empowerment instead of a service story, instilling a proactive and positive belief in the customer through a thematic digital landscape.
Consider these five factors to insure digital marketing success:
1. Relationship Building: Get to Know Your Audience
While it is no surprise that the crux of any campaign is knowing the consumer, it’s more crucial than ever to understand how they interact with brands online. Participate in social listening to get a full sense of how the target audience engages with brand messages. Discover what they’re already saying about you and your competitors, and how and where they’re saying it. Then tailor campaigns to make it easy to consume your message, share your content and connect with your brand.
2. Engagement: Highlight Brand Awareness through Connections
Not all data is quantitative, and for the first time, marketers have real evidence of consumers’ emotional ties to brands. Emotional currency enables brands to understand and relate to people. This provides the foundation for digital campaigns that connect on a human level, make a true impression and engender genuine emotion. These sentiments can then be leveraged to measure influence and overall brand value. Through engagement metrics, relationship measures and real consumer stories, a true connection is revealed.
3. Loyalty: Establish a Relationship Between Connections and Transactions
By unleashing the power of emotional currency and taking a hard look at how digital channels can promote engagement, marketers can uncover the benefit of fostering loyalty. Through channels such as social media and mobile applications, many brands today have strong consumer connections, which can easily influence behavior. There’s a new immediacy to reaching consumers through the mobile devices in their pocket, or connecting with them over social platforms. This intimacy can be leveraged to drive deeply-seeded loyalty.
4. Performance: From Clicks to Engagement, Measurement Is Key
With management looking for guidance on how to allocate marketing budgets, digital marketers have the unique opportunity to illustrate the path consumers take in making brand connections. Whether it’s a share, download, video view or purchase, digital platforms offer a measurable trail through the engagement funnel. Benchmarks and KPIs should be established before launch. A/B testing can offer immediate, actionable insight. Beyond just clicks, seriously consider the notion of engagement to highlight brand ethos and demonstrate how consumers connect to brand messages.
5. Iterate and Evolve: Go Beyond Lather, Rinse, Repeat
Digital platforms offer instant feedback on what’s working with consumers and what’s falling flat. By analyzing qualitative feedback like posted comments and quantitative data gathered through measurement, marketers can act quickly to refine and strengthen their strategies and allocate resources with the greatest impact. Remaining nimble during active engagements and building off success for future campaigns allows digital marketing initiatives to continuously evolve.