Three of the most basic principles that our country was founded on are freedom of speech, equality to all, and a free market economy. I can think of few things that encompass these rights so completely as digital marketing and technology. The advancement of the Internet and smart devices has leveled the playing field to support the entrepreneurial spirit eliminating the need for large budgets, specialized training and access to localized markets. As technology continually evolves and presents new ways to influence our lives, digital marketing will shadow its every move.
Reaching Out to the Masses
Bill Gates once explained, “The PC has improved the world in just about every area you can think of. Amazing developments in communications, collaboration, and efficiencies. New kinds of entertainment and social media. Access to information and the ability to give a voice people who would never have been heard.”
Technology has connected and reconnected people like no other platform in history. Shared interests or a common history are uniting people from down the street to around the world and this medium of expression is only starting to reach its potential. Social media is expanding beyond the old standards of Facebook, SnapChat, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram and several new sites are predicted to hit the scene with unlimited possibilities: Slack, Periscope and Yik Yak are catering to specific audiences therefore giving digital marketers opportunities for catered messages to potential customers. For example, Instagram and Yik Yak appeal more to teens while Facebook and Twitter still capture a more mature audience.
“Social media plays a significant role in marketers’ responsibilities to drive sales, as 93% of marketers were found to use social media for business,” sites Mediakix.com. “Furthermore, a majority of marketers who have used social media for at least two years has reported that social media has improved sales. The emphasis of social media marketing strategy is reflective of how social media reviews influence 67% of consumers in their shopping behavior.”
Many times the most influential, trusted, and successful advertising comes word of mouth, and social media gives everyone the opportunity to express an opinion. As this form of expression saturates our lives even more, digital marketers will no doubt cater to each unique platform with an equally unique user-base.
The Convenience of Mobility
In 1996 the Nokia 9000 Communicator model introduced the first mobile web accessed cellular phone. In just 20 years we have progressed immensely. Consider this: 80% of internet users own a smartphone and over 50% of smartphone users grab their smartphone immediately after waking up. Smartphones are getting smaller, more affordable, and with millions of applications available, they are able to perform innumerable functions.
Digital marketers have accessed this technology by meeting their customers where they are, wherever they are. In fact, Ramona Sukhra of Impact Branding shares that, “68% of companies have integrated mobile marketing into their overall marketing strategy; 58% of companies surveyed have a dedicated mobile marketing team; 71% of marketers believe mobile marketing is core to their business; and by 2019, mobile advertising will represent 72% of all US digital ad spending.”
In fact, many companies are incorporating apps to aid their customers who are on the go. From Michael’s to Kohl’s, digital marketers are promoting brand loyalty with preferred customer points, coupons, and alerts contained on a free downloadable app.
The Billion Dollar Industry of eCommerce
According to Business Insider, in 2014 nearly 80% of the entire US population had made an online purchase and 50% of them have made more than one. Great strides have been made in the last ten years concerning ecommerce and one of the greatest examples is Amazon Prime. Krystina Gustafson of CNBC reports that, “Prime is on track to add 12 million subscribers in 2016… That’s up from 10 million new members in 2015 and 7 million in 2014, despite a larger existing customer base.” Furthermore, “roughly 44 percent of U.S. households are Prime members. That penetration could accelerate to 50 percent by the end of the year, with the service ultimately having the potential to reach more than 60 million U.S. households.”
Amazon is clearly where technology and digital marketing intersect. They create both the online marketplace (along with their own tools like the Kindle) and the lure for millions to buy into their big business. From simple messaging, stellar customer service, easy-to-use transactions, admitting their mistakes, and overcoming criticism, digital marketers can learn a lot just from watching Amazon and how they combine marketing with the latest technological tools.
The Power of Data Analytics
Some historians cite the abacus as the first known computer. After all, computing was originally meant for mathematical calculations. While our modern day computers have endless possibilities, for many, this is still its intended function.
From scientific theories to economic predictions, data mining is a primary long term benefit regarding technology. “Big data creates a smog of numbers, and knowing how to tap into the right big data will define the differences between businesses that excel and businesses that choke,” says Rex Briggs, a bestselling author and founder of Marketing Evolution on Entrepreneur.com.“Big data is actually the confluence of three forces: real-time data, big data, and automation. Taken together, the change is the ability to discover, in real-time, which messages are working best with which people, in which context, in which media, and optimize accordingly.”
When you have a clear and concise picture of who your customers are, where they are finding you, their purchasing habits, what’s trending, and A/B testing results, the formula that you end up with could be greatly profitable. Tracking these findings is tedious at best, but with proper tracking (such as with predictive analytics), your risks can be minimized.
Technology and marketing undoubtedly go hand-in-hand in this modern symbiotic relationship. Technology advances many times as funding is available and funding is available through marketing which thrives on technological advances. As technology paves the wave for newer, more convenient ways to reach and please the buyer, there are more outlets and opportunities for marketers to promote the product. While we may not know what the next ten years holds for technology and marketing, it will undoubtedly be amazing… (and dare I say co-dependent?).
About the Author
Eleonora Israele is a senior analyst at Clutch, a D.C.-based research, ratings, and reviews platform for B2B services and software.