The digital world is constantly evolving, even while you’re reading this sentence.
As a marketer you need to bring your “a-game” to stand out in the overflowing sea of ads and social posts. You must stay on top of digital trends and regularly analyze your audience activity.
Our digital marketing team recently attended the Digital Innovator Summit in Chicago, where we gained insights from executive marketers and strategists of successful brands and companies.
Here are three main takeaways that we plan to incorporate into our marketing strategies, and that you, as a fellow marketer, can consider as well.
1. Maximize Your Audience’s Experience
Understanding your audience is a huge part of reaching your digital marketing goals — whether it be boosting sales, improving brand awareness, or especially (and more obviously) increasing engagement.
Audience insight is in fact so important, that every presenter at the summit emphasized on it.
Diane Sayler (@DianeSayler), Associate Director at Kellogg’s, stressed on pushing more engagement through timely posts and content with emotion. By infusing authentic emotion into your content that your audience can resonate with, you are ultimately creating a breeding ground for conversation and connection.
In order to exude emotion into your marketing campaigns you must understand the needs and aspirations of your audience. Go even deeper than their needs of certain products or services. With storytelling and using the correct tone and verbiage that your audience will understand and relate to, you are likely to receive a massive emotional response.
Rob Pinkerton (@rpinkerton), CMO of Morningstar, also explained how to ensure that you don’t filter yourself out of an audience. These are the five main points he alluded to:
1. Be honest. People are drawn to raw, truthful content because it feels more real.
2. Build fluidity and comfort in what you’re doing. Once you establish your brand, maintain a steady and stable image on every platform that is relevant to your brand and audience.
3. Maintain a sense of authenticity. Just as Diane touched on, Rob revealed that being authentic in your marketing campaigns appeals to your audience’s deeper feelings.
4. Always be listening to your audience. This one seems obvious, but it is often overlooked. Pay attention to what your audience is saying about your company and provide a response when necessary. Consistently use audience feedback to improve your product or service
5. Focus on customers who see YOUR value. People appreciate brands who appreciate them. If a customer shares an image on Instagram with your product, interact with them in a positive manner. Engaging with people who enjoy your company will increase your overall engagement.
2. Adapt Your Brand to Various Platforms
There are a multitude of digital platforms that exist today, and marketers should be using them to their advantage. This ties into the audience experience as well, because people go to specific social channels for specific reasons.
Learning the ins and outs of platforms that you aren’t currently using, and how they can help your brand, is a key step to take on your marketing path.
“Before reach was scarce and attention was plentiful. Now reach is plentiful and attention is scarce.” Seth Wotherspoon, Head of Industry Sales at YouTube, gave excellent insight on how brands can gain attention through YouTube ads.
It’s no secret that everything has turned digital, and that a lot of people now prefer to watch content online as opposed to traditional cable. In fact, according to a study from Fluent LLC, 67% of people reported using some sort of video streaming services and only 61% said they had a cable subscription service.
Seth dropped an interesting truth bomb on us: people now have a shorter attention span that that of a goldfish (which is only 8 seconds long). This means that we need to catch a person’s attention within the first several seconds or we’ll lose them.
Seth emphasized that people tend to pay more attention to YouTube ads than TV commercials due to the 3 types of video ads: a 6-second “bite” ad, a 10–30 second “snack” ad, and a 30+ second “meal” ad. Marketers should make use of the benefits of YouTube advertising to keep people focused and interested.
Brian Johnson, the Midwest Partnership Manager at Pinterest, focused on the efficiency and simplicity of using the platform to find products and make purchases.
Pinterest can greatly improve your online sales but can lead to in-store purchases as well. This is because through Pinterest, consumers are able to connect digital experiences to their real world experiences.
Let’s say you find a recipe that you want to try and pin it to one of your boards. You can open that pin while you are at the store and look at the list of ingredients you need to buy.
In terms of digital sales, users can click on a product that they are interested in, and it will automatically be added to a shopping cart on the provider’s website. Nowadays, people need convenience, and Pinterest satisfies that need. Consider making your brand or products more convenient, and you just might grow your audience.
3. Conduct Research to Build Your Brand
Researching and understanding your industry, your impact, and your capabilities should be a top priority in order to grow your brand to its fullest potential. It’s one thing to know the basics of digital marketing, but learning the details will take your knowledge to a whole other level.
Lindsay Lewis (@lincognito), the social media manager at Rust-Oleum, based her presentation around the idea of visual listening. You may be wondering how it’s even possible to visually listen to something. Well, if the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” rings a bell, then you most likely will grasp the concept.
Say someone posts an image on Instagram of their lunch with a Coca Cola bottle appearing in the background. Even though this user did not think to tag or mention Coca Cola in any way, the brand is still noticeable.
With visual listening, the company can spot images such as that example and use that for their research. They can take note of the hashtags used for those photos, along with other relevant products that appear in the images. They can then incorporate this data into future social campaigns so people can find their brand more easily.
Another aspect of research that most of the presenters spoke on was analytics and data. Rob Pinkerton explained that too many marketers get lost in the numbers — they’ll focus on a big exciting number and use that as an avenue to success. But in reality, it’s more important to focus on what the data is actually saying in terms of the consumer’s experience.
When analyzing your data, recognize what is working and what is not, in terms of social engagement, sales, and brand awareness. If you take the time to sort through each aspect of your data instead of looking at the bigger picture, you’ll be able to determine the necessary changes you need to make to be a successful marketer.
The overall takeaway from the Digital Innovator Summit is simply this: make your audience a top priority in every campaign that you pursue to gain and retain engagement and customer satisfaction. Revenue is a huge part of your strategy, but you cannot stray from the needs of your audience. Balance is key when it comes to digital marketing.
About The Author
Laura Wigodner is the Content Marketing Manager for Nex Gen Dynamics. Her lifestyle articles have been featured on Elite Daily, Medium, and Thought Catalog to name a few. She also writes professionally on Content Marketing, Social Media, Branding, and more. A Bradley University Alum with a B.A. in Communications and Creative Writing, Laura loves writing poetry and watching YouTube videos. You can find the Swiftie on Twitter and Instagram, as well as anywhere there is coffee because that is her lifeline.