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Think strategically about digital marketing

We’re in the digital age, yet the Australian Bureau of Statistics says only half of Australian businesses have digital marketing plans.

Think strategically about digital marketing

There’s no doubt that technology and digital disruption have revolutionised strategic marketing. But in our ever-increasing embrace of technology, what does the future of marketing and brand development look like?

For businesses today, the emergence of marketing technologists and tech-based communication platforms has placed digital marketing high on the agenda. In light of this change, CEOs need to rethink their strategies and ensure that their digital platforms are key touch points for brand promotion and customer engagement. At the same time, they need to get back to basics with brand value and drive a people-focused — not a tech-focused — approach to digital marketing.

First, why go digital?

Across every industry, digital platforms continue to grow as a key communication and customer-engagement channel. Digital platforms are now the preferred channels for customers to assess a company’s brand value, to research product and service offerings, and to access offers, promotions and specials.

According to the 2016 Sensis report, 87% of Australians access the internet daily, with half of the Australian population using social media at least once a day. The most popular social media platforms today are Facebook (95%), Instagram (31%) and LinkedIn (24%).

Despite strong consumer usage of social media and digital engagement platforms, many businesses are lagging behind in their digital marketing and profiling. While nearly 80% of large businesses in Australia have an online presence, only about half of our small and medium-sized enterprises profile their businesses via digital platforms.

Carve out a distinct digital profile

When researching a business online, the first thing customers look for is a simple, straightforward and easy-to-navigate website. For most customers, a website is a sign that they are dealing with a legitimate business. However, relying upon a website to do the selling for you will not help you to distinguish yourself in the market.

In our tech-savvy business world, cost-effective and highly targeted digital avenues are on the rise. CEOs can supplement their websites and long-term marketing plans by carving out distinct and purpose-driven digital profiles, with people at the heart.

The challenge

With an overwhelming amount of noise on our digital networks today, it’s an ongoing challenge for CEOs to select the right digital platforms, and to reach their target audiences via these platforms.

Increasingly, businesses are becoming inundated with digital white noise. Even if a business promotes its brand successfully across the right-fit digital platforms, customers don’t always take notice or engage in a dialogue about the products and services.

Drive sustainable change grounded in core business values

To differentiate your business in a world of digital white noise, design a marketing campaign that’s aligned with the long-term goals of your organisation, with the right people on board to drive sustainable change.

When a company doesn’t truly commit to its core values and purpose, the lack of authenticity will inevitably be exposed, costing it customers and talent. To avoid this, ensure that your digital marketing strategies reflect the core values of your business, and encourage your people to live and breathe these values.

Here are some key questions to think about:

  • What does my brand stand for?
  • Are the core brand values of my business clear and consistent across all platforms?
  • Are there any strategy gaps in my marketing plan?
  • How might a brand refresh deliver better value to customers and drive business growth?

Place people and relationships at the heart of purpose-driven marketing

To avoid getting lost in the digital-marketing landscape of advertising, promotion, content, experience, social media, commerce, sales, data and management, it’s crucial to think about the people and relationships that drive these areas of business.

Purpose-driven marketing relies upon having the right people and strong relationships to facilitate it. Technology has an important role to play – but without authentic, motivated and highly engaged employees to sell ideas across digital platforms, even the best marketing strategies will fall flat.

It is important for CEOs to remember that people do the selling, not technology. Digital platforms are enablers for better communication between people – but they aren’t solutions in themselves. Today’s consumers want to connect meaningfully with brands. They want to place trust in your people and what they represent – that is, the core values that your business stands for. Recruiting people who believe passionately in your brand essence and core values is a sure-fire way to build a culture of purpose-driven marketing. In this world of digital mania, get on board and don’t be left behind. But don’t lose the human touch, either.

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