5 Ways Digital Marketing has Affected Traditional Marketing Practices

Marketing professionals have been dealing with major shifts in technologies and communication channels. The pace of change is relentless and whenever Google, Facebook, or some other service announces an innovation, it feels as though they’ve just invalidated everything we only just managed to learn. This makes it hard to remember that digital marketing merely provides new options for implementing strategies. Here are a few areas where we’ve seen marketing practices adapt to take advantage of new technologies.

 

  1. Cold calling and lead generation

    Sales and Marketing never stop adding to the funnel. From buying lists to cold calling, it’s hard work building a qualified prospect list. Not only that, but cold calling takes time.  
     
    These days, professional social media sites such as LinkedIn and special interest forums make it easier for Marketing to engage with prospects in a collegial environment, stay in tune with their most pressing concerns, and build trust. It’s a venue that assists both lead identification and relationship-building. The key here is to avoid overt brand building and stick to community building.
  2. Audience research for messaging

    Print campaigns are expensive investments. That’s why marketing teams used to invest in focus groups and market/audience research to test different messages and ad formats before launching a big ad campaign. 
    These days, pay-per-click (PPC) online ads incorporate tracking that allows you to see which versions of an ad perform best. It’s automated split-testing that you can monitor on a daily basis, making it simple to decide when and how to tweak messaging. Unlike print ads, you don’t need to wait months before knowing the results. Online marketing is a game of incremental improvements. 
     
    Furthermore, if you’re going to run a big offline campaign, you still can take advantage of online ads as a way to conduct a bit of stealth testing. For a new product launch, you may find it’s possible to test messaging without giving away information about the new product. Use online ads with tracking as a fast, low-cost to refine messaging. You may still want to run a focus group afterwards, but you can reduce the scope of research and testing by using online ads as a preliminary filter for your audience research and testing.
  3. Best bang for the advertising bucks

    When it came to print or broadcast mediums, the goal was to achieve the widest possible reach in your target market for the least amount of media spend. If all you could afford was one ad run, you’d end up with a generic ad for brand identity. 
    These days, between social media, local search, and big data, it’s possible to segment your audience and target them with micro-campaigns using more specific ad content that solves specific pain points. We’re not saying give up on building brand. We’re saying that with online marketing, some planning and metrics, it’s affordable to build your brand and also target audience segments. 
  4. Trade show prep and follow up

    The trade show is often a small company’s biggest marketing expense. Best practices say to prepare in advance: ping your contacts, send out flyers, free tickets to the event, or get your best spokespersons onto conference panels. Then after the show, the sales manager hands out the leads and the sales people follow up.  
    These days, Marketing can give trade shows digital support before, during, and after. Social media and content marketing help alert prospects that you’ll be at the event. Build buzz while on the show floor using real-time social channels such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. In addition to collecting business cards, add to followers and fans by having a PC available so visitors can “Like” your page or sign up for your newsletter/blog on the spot. After the show, Marketing can reach out again via social media and content marketing, to warm the ground some more before Sales makes that phone call.
  5. The print ad that says it all

    When print was all you had, all your messaging had to fit in a single, static print ad. The ad carried the burdens of promoting brand, message, benefit, and call-to-action.  
    These days, many companies use the print ad as an entry point to their website, where visitors can discover more information – and get tracked while they’re on the site. An effective print campaign can direct readers to landing pages, videos, or social media, where the company can continue the engagement with the visitor. You can take things a step further than the printed URL. Recognizing that a smartphone is never far away from its owner, some print ads include a QR code to make it easier to access additional online content. 
    It’s an integrated approach that changes the creative mandate of the print ad – you still need something interesting and memorable, you still need a good value proposition to motivate engagement.
     
    Digital marketing succeeds because people want immediate interaction. As a society we’ve become used to instant access. The average time a typical user is willing to wait for a web page to render is three seconds. TV viewers use DVR to watch their shows at a time convenient for them, not the network. Similarly, many radio shows succeed better as podcasts. The examples above are just the tip of the marketing iceberg when it comes to augmenting traditional marketing practices with digital tactics. 
     
    If you’d like Smartt to evaluate your current digital marketing program to see how you can get better results by integrating digital and traditional tactics, please contact us or attend one of our Digital Marketing Training Workshops and learn about the latest, best digital marketing practices.