Merging Digital with Real Life

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Dare a preteen not to look at their smartphone or use their laptop for a day. They probably wouldn’t last 30 minutes. In fact, I’m willing to bet most adults wouldn’t last an hour without having the urge to check their messages or social media. A quick Google search (or even a look around you) will tell you how much we (myself included) are attached to our digital lives. From sending Snapchats, getting real-time news on Twitter, or binge watching shows on Netflix, everyone is online in some capacity. Real life and digital are no longer two separate entities. They are one. As marketers, if you aren’t incorporating digital into your marketing strategies, then you’re about fifty steps behind everyone else. Marketing has definitely changed over the years, but it’s time to get with the program! Digital is here, and it’s here to stay. Hard as it is to believe, digital marketing was once a foreign idea. Marketing in general however, has always been around. As long as someone had something to sell, they had to market themselves, their brand or their product in some way. In the early 1900s there was a focus on printed ads, posters and billboards. As new mediums emerged, such as the radio and the television, marketers were forced to get more creative. While TV gave us visual moving stories, the telephone gave us telemarketers (ugh. Just kidding…we love telemarketers…but no, my parents aren’t home right now). Regardless of how marketers strategized and used new forms of media, they all had one thing in common: they spoke to consumers rather than with them. Thanks to the Internet, this changed. Marketing strategies today have become more personalized, and are accessible on our phones and desktops. In other words: digital reigns supreme. According to Digital Trends, adults spend 4.7 hours a day on their phones and check social media 17 times a day. CNN says adults spend over 10 hours a day consuming media, whether it be on their smartphone, computer, radio or tablet. In 2014, The Independent wrote that there are now more gadgets in the world than there are people. Let’s digest these stats for a second. Wow. These stats are music to a marketer’s ears. Consumers are basically carrying little billboards in their pockets, and the opportunity to engage with them is limitless. With everyone (yes, even your grandma) constantly in front of a screen, marketers can reach millions of people with targeted content. There is no longer a “one-size-fits-all” approach to marketing. We can research, strategize and customize content catered to specific audiences. Not only that, but we can track our content and adjust as necessary. Marketing is more trackable than ever before. Digital has allowed us to update our strategies for the best-possible ROIs. Google Analytics changed the game by allowing us to analyze and get real-time insights on how a campaign was doing. We now have the ability to see how effective something we put out is – from sales to engagement on social. Gone are the days of spending thousands on a campaign only to watch it crash and burn months later. With real-time tracking, we can see what isn’t working and change it quicker than Bolt running 100 metres. Marketers also have the ability to track digital trends and customize their content for higher engagement. According to Pew Internet, 95% of Americans have a cellphone or smartphone. Mobile is on the rise and it’s critical for marketers to ensure whatever they produce is mobile-friendly. Back to my bet: can you go an hour without checking your phone, laptop or other multimedia device? If you can, then kudos. If you can’t, don’t beat yourself up. Digital has become so intertwined with our daily lives, it’s hard to imagine life without it. You could go on a “digital purge”, but you’ll more than likely come crawling back. We’ll be waiting. Author, Nesh Pillay, Vice President of Marketing at EQ Works and Founder, Press Pillay

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