Marketing 101 with a Digital Spin

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Type “marketing strategy” into Google (or Bing if that’s your thing), and you’ll most likely find something along the lines of “short-term and long-term tactics that contribute to the overall strategic goals of a company.” According to Business Dictionary, a marketing strategy is defined as an organization’s strategy that combines all of its marketing goals into one comprehensive plan. Most of us are aware of this definition, from days of sitting through marketing lectures, online classes or our own self-learning. However as traditional marketing has evolved, so too, have marketing strategies. The increasing dominance of the Internet and social media apps have forced the marketing industry to adapt. Here is a modern version of “Marketing 101” keeping the digital age in mind. Class is in session.

Don’t Be a Robot On Social

The first rule of thumb when creating any marketing strategy is understanding your brand. With the rise of digital marketing, brands have had to humanize themselves more than in the past. Brands who create accounts on social media have to think about more than their messaging – they have to strategize their “branding”. What is your Instagram aesthetic? What is your brand’s personality? How does it speak? Your messaging needs a voice. It needs to not only pique the attention of potential customers, but retain it. If they feel connected to your brand in some way, they’ll engage with it on social. According to Sprout Social, 83% of people prefer brands who are friendly. No one wants to feel like they’re speaking with a robot. Using a more humanized tone and keeping your responses personal will erase any assumptions of an uptight and old-fashioned business.

Put Yourself in the Consumer’s Shoes

Next in today’s lesson? Determining your target audience and evaluating competitors. Unlike traditional marketing, the digital age allows us to connect with people all over the world quicker and on a larger scale. While this makes it easier for us to engage with consumers, it also means our competitors can too. Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes: why do buy your favourite product? Does it interest you? Does it help you? Is it relatable to your interests? Is it unique? If not, how does it set itself apart from similar products? It’s important to reach out to specific target audiences in order to be effective. For example, marketing to teenage girls on Snapchat and Instagram will be more effective than on Facebook. Understanding how and why people respond to certain brands more than others will give your team insight into how they can market your product to niche consumers.

Creating Experiences Is Key

When creating a marketing strategy, it’s important to go beyond telling a story. Millennials have been leading the charge on expecting brands to mix the real world with the virtual world. Maybe it’s because they remember life before the Internet, unlike Generation Z? In any case, millennials are drawn to sharing their lives (whether it be travelling, a concert, a cooking class) more often than a new watch or car. According to CNBC, 72% of millennials prefer to spend more money on experiences than on material things. Creating an experience they won’t forget is key; this is where your creativity comes in. Think outside the box and strategize a way to sell not only your product but your business. A crafty hashtag and a pop-up shop can get your campaign more engagement than a standard Instagram post. Once engaged, millennials will spread awareness of your work on social quicker than you can count to three.

Keep Up-To-Date with Digital Trends

The Internet moves quickly – memes and trends seem up to pop up daily, and we quickly move onto the “next big thing”. The Internet has also created niche groupings and sites – you can now find your tribe of people, regardless of how obscure or strange your interests may be. To be a successful marketer in the digital age, it’s important to keep up with trends in all industries (not just your own). To understand consumers, marketers need to eat, sleep and breathe all things digital. If you don’t, you’ll be sharing news or memes that is out-of-date, or you’ll seem unknowledgeable about current trends. Smart marketers know that they need to be one step ahead of their consumers – we need to know what they’ll like before they do. Author, Nesh Pillay, Vice President of Marketing at EQ Works and Founder, Press Pillay Twitter: @PillayNesh

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