For years businesses have been marketing their products and services using tried and tested routes to market from above the line, through the line, and below the line, to direct and indirect. Carry on this way and the chances of them maintaining any success are rapidly declining.
Look around you and think about the changes in emphasis that your business has made in the way it communicates in recent years, and the effects they have had on the staff, the suppliers and customers.
For starters snail mail is very different these days thanks to the internet, email and telephone payment transfers. Business telephone use in terms of talking to someone else has declined, largely due to email, but more recently the phone has become the instant information provider wherever you are, whenever you want it and in whatever format you want it. And the poor old fax ? – do we still have these anymore?
Whatever business you are in it is a fairly safe bet that an increasing number of your target market rely on digital technology every day to research, evaluate and purchase the products and services they consume. Ignore this behavioural trend and you could be missing out on huge opportunities, worse still, you could be left behind and the gap widening each day with your competitors riding on the crest of the digital wave.
The consumers are still out there like in the ‘good old days’. They haven’t stopped looking, they haven’t stopped buying, they are doing what they always have done – communicating with each other, but now there is a difference. They don’t talk in the same way as before; they respond to different triggers; they are turned on in different ways (and turned off as well); and they choose where and when they want to be bombarded with sales messages. They can now communicate with each other over distance at a much faster speed, only this time it isn’t a telephone call or a casual chat down the pub to half a dozen people, it is online to half a dozen or 10,000 people.
You can use this new method of communication to your own advantage – Consumers are looking for an experience – how the marketing available to them in this digital environment can enhance the experience, and ultimately help them make informed decisions, comment, and inform others. If you are able to give them a good experience, they can significantly influence the purchasing decisions and trends of thousands of others towards you.
So then, can we all forget about conventional marketing and start using ‘new-kid-on-the-block’ digital marketing for promoting our latest product or service to the target audience? No, well maybe.
Every business should understand who their target audience is and whether they are likely to go online. If they are, or they could do in the future, then a digital marketing strategy is essential to reach, embrace or even enhance their online behaviours and experiences. However, most businesses will still have key target audiences that can be exposed to and respond to off-line marketing activities. So a truly integrated approach to the overall marketing strategy should consist of conventional and digital marketing to ensure that everyone is connected, relationships are built, messages are heard, and sales are made.
The world is changing and it is changing fast. If you don’t change with it, or you blink for too long, you could miss a golden opportunity.