Brand Marketing: Why A Digital-First Approach Is Essential
Technology is changing marketing at a staggering rate. A digital-first approach is essential for any company or business looking to stay ahead of the competition and grow in today’s modern digital world. Consumers in all industries have higher expectations and mandate a more seamless digital experience. In the ever-changing marketing landscape, consumers expect instant gratification; they have a desire to receive answers to their questions, customer reviews, product pricing, and availability without any delay. These audiences are influenced by the digital experience they have with a brand; if your brand is not utilizing a digital-first approach to marketing, it will result in many lost opportunities because the consumer will find a brand that does.
Gone are the days of traditional marketing tactics. As we shift into a more digitally and socially connected society, it is essential to implement a digital-first approach to branding and marketing. By virtue, companies must ensure brand visibility across omni-channels with a focus on digital. A digital-first approach to branding will guarantee brand visibility when consumers turn to the internet to find answers to their questions. If a brand lacks visibility when searched, it will result in missed opportunities to engage with its audience. Research demonstrates that customers are more loyal to brands that engage with them across digital channels. According to Dialogtech, “Customer retention rates are 90% higher for omnichannel campaigns than for single-channel campaigns.”
I asked six experts in the marketing industry about their opinions, and here’s what they had to say:
“When someone wants a product or a service, people aren’t hopping in their cars anymore and going into a store. They’re turning to the internet to learn about what they want. And in some cases, people find things that they didn’t even know they need when they’re in front of their devices. That means if you want to get directly in front of your customers and potential customers, you need to be on the digital forefront.”
Leonard makes a good point regarding how the customer journey has shifted to digital. An effective way to establish and strengthen your brand is through content but creating great content will not expand your brand presence if no one can find it. Brands on the digital forefront are an authoritative source of information which contributes to brand recognition and drives sales by placing your products and services directly in front of your target audience.
Digital marketing has a vast influence on the way consumers make purchasing decisions, is a cost-effective method for communicating with large audiences and builds personalized experiences and customer relationships. Digital platforms are being utilized as the primary method of communication between consumers and brands to engage and deliver unmatched customer experiences.
“As the Marketing and Digital Services Specialist at the Town of Miami Lakes, I have taken a digital-first approach to our communications and brand development efforts. In today’s digital world, it is essential to create a well-developed municipal brand in all local governments. It is also essential for local municipalities to enhance two-way communications in today’s digital age via social and digital platforms. We accomplish this by utilizing social listening tools to develop trust and enhance all municipal marketing campaigns, thus ensuring brand growth within the community. Having the capabilities to provide a rapid response to handle dissemination of information digitally gains trust/credibility in the community and is vital to developing all local municipal brands. You must create engaging content for your residents to share, such as pictures, videos, and infographics about their community, turning normal residents into local municipal brand advocates by spreading brand awareness across all social platforms to the local community. It is essential for all local municipalities to be on the same digital and social platforms that their residents are active on, in order to inform and interact with their community and build their brand.”
Here, Brandon encourages the use of social listening tools in conjunction with digital marketing. Social listening tools allow us as marketers to listen to what people are saying about our brand, industry, or competitors across digital channels such as social media and the web. These tools offer us the necessary information to enhance brand interactions. They accomplish customer service roles, such as identifying customers’ needs to achieve satisfaction and provide accurate and valid information through the digital platforms our audience utilizes most.
“Every brand needs to connect and engage with current and future customers. A digital-first approach can help prioritize and target the right audience at the right time and on the right platform. The customers are online 24/7, and the digital strategy can tailor and react the way that a brand needs. Digital marketing is an essential part of building every brand because it allows for a very intimate and personal connection that is not possible any other way.”
Anna provides insights into Brand interactions present the opportunity for personalized and intimate relationships between a brand and a consumer. Utilizing a digital-first approach allows your brand to continuously be present and attuned to your customers at all times, wherever they are online.
Assistant Professor | Assistant Director Music Business Program – Frost School of Music University of Miami
“A successful branding strategy starts with an integrated marketing approach. Marketing today, in one way or another, is mostly digital marketing, and the use of a consistent brand message across social media, mobile, and web can allow you to reach your target audience effectively. But the purpose of digital marketing goes beyond that because now you can maintain your audience engaged anywhere, anytime over any device, maximizing the potential for brand awareness.”
Guillermo supports the notion that a digital-first approach is essential for any company to stay ahead of its competition and grow. Connecting with customers at the right time, with the right content, on the right platform, is difficult but not impossible. Digital marketing strategies can enhance your customer relationships resulting in your brand’s ability to provide consistent, personalized experiences that keep your customers coming back for more.
“Here’s why a digital-first approach is essential for brand awareness: nationwide TV ads cost a lot of money, and not everyone in your target audience is going to drive past your billboard. What they will do is Google how to solve their problems – and if your website presence is where it needs to be, that’s where you’ll capture your target audience. When people are in the research phase before making a purchase, they may Google anything from “Toyota dealership in Houston” to “best running shoes for women.” If you rank #1 in the search engine results pages for those queries, you can educate and convert the reader into a buyer (or even brand advocate).”
Kari provides insight into the primary purpose of implementing a digital-first approach, a digital presence. Digital marketing allows you to carefully target your campaigns to your target audience, where they are likely to look and is a more effective use of inbound marketing strategies in comparison to TV ads or billboard marketing.
Why A Digital-First Approach Is Essential
A digital-first approach is a branding strategy that prioritizes digital marketing over print marketing and other outdated strategies. Further, this means reducing your spend on offline marketing tactics such as print publications, direct mail, cold calls, and print advertising and reallocating these funds to a digital strategy. Customers are now highly engaged in the digital experience they receive from a brand. A digital-first approach requires brands to be available to customers in every capacity, at all times, both online and off, with online being at the forefront.
Having a digital presence involves growing a brand presence on all platforms utilized by your audience, which can include social media platforms, having a website, email newsletters, mobile apps, and more. In today’s modern digital world, brands must prioritize marketing efforts that meet the needs of their target audience. This means making the fundamental changes to not only create highly targeted content but also distribute this content across the digital platforms being utilized by your always-connected target audience. Your customers are already active on social media, and that’s where you need to be to engage with and provide the customer experience your audience expects. Research demonstrates that “Last year, 72% of internet users worldwide said a disconnected experience would make them change service providers or brands,” according to MuleSoft and Opinium Research.
Digital transformation is driving companies to embrace technology when it comes to brand marketing, and companies who fail to implement these tactics will suffer the consequences. Digital marketing has a vast influence on the way consumers make purchasing decisions, is a cost-effective method for communicating with large audiences and builds personalized experiences and customer relationships.
Along with saving you marketing dollars in the long run, a digital-first approach will also have a vast influence on your customer’s experience and customer service efforts, will establish and strengthen your brand, drive sales, provide a suitable means for two-way communication, augment brand interactions and information distribution, and will increase conversion rates by reaching your target audience at the right time, with the right content in the right place.