A Digital marketing first strategy recognises that the world has changed. Everyone carries smartphones around with them at all times, don’t they? A smartphone is, in effect, an extension of the human brain. Need an answer to a question? Ask your phone. Need directions? Use one of the Maps services. Bored? Listen to some music or play a game. Need to communicate with a colleague? Email, instant message or phone them, regardless of where you are.
We have become so used to smartphones that: A) We take them for granted and B) We are starting to expect a similar immediate response from the world around us. [Have you noticed that shop assistants are slow to respond, or is this just me?] [Soon, they will have direct communication to their digital infrastructure so that they can instantly find out if an item is in stock or what colours you prefer to buy].
We hail cabs via Apps and look for jobs within LinkedIn. An increasing number of households are starting to have AI capabilities (Amazon Echo, Google Home).
To what extent is this increasing digitisation of our society affecting small businesses? The answer is that ‘it depends’. Email, smartphones and websites are ubiquitous. A digital strategy, central database (CRM) and integrated e-communications system less so. This is surprising as the cost of customer acquisition via digital marketing is lower. In addition, the chances are that some of your competitors are currently working flat out to digitise their businesses.
What does a Digital marketing first strategy look like? It includes a written plan, management buy in and a holistic approach to online brand awareness, customer acquisition and retention. It sees things from the customers’ perspective (as marketing always has done). The perspective, however, has changed with the new way in which consumers and business decision makers research products and services and make buying decisions.
It takes into account online brand reputation, starting with the results of a search for your company / what you are selling. If you are not showing up for a reasonably wide range of search terms on page 1, you are missing out.
Once the customer has found you – they want to learn. To what extent do you offer customers the opportunity to learn about what you do, how well you do it and what your customers think of you? In my case, for example, I blog as often as I can and I have a community of several thousand business owners and marketers who discuss marketing issues via The Marketing Compass. I give talks and write e-books on marketing. I publish an e-newsletter and am active within social media (amongst other things) all of which mean that I have a constant stream of potential customers to talk to.
Regardless of the type of business that you own / work for, the principles are the same. Sharing knowledge, keeping track of contacts and customers via a database and making yourself visible in an interconnected world works surprisingly well. Interestingly, it does not cost as much as print based marketing.
My advice is to learn about the digital world and the changes which are coming.
“The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” ~ William Gibson, author
If you would like to discuss this subject with me, email me or call 01628773128 within the UK or +44 (0)1628 773128 if you are calling from outside the UK.