You might have noticed some of the rebranding that has happened to major digital conglomerates over the last 10 years.
We know how the look has changed, but what about the experience? How have we evolved as consumers, marketers and as business owners?
Many of the changes to digital marketing came in 2007. This was the year the first iPhone was launched. We had seen phones that could browse online before, but this was the first truly internet integrated phone. As new smart phones were released the more users began to migrate their time to browsing the internet on their phone rather than the laptop or pc. In May 2015 Google announced that the number of mobile searches was now more than desktop, truly marking the shift.
The rise of users wasn’t the only by-product of smart phones; the behaviour has shifted to something altogether different. The phone is so engrained in people’s lives that we now see social commentary.
The behaviour extends to the annoying teenagers who never look up from their phones. Customers will be in store, and will check for reviews or even a better price. This is a great time to send a coupon to a known customer as they are in the store. We now have the ability to do this. Digital marketing has allowed marketers to reach highly targeted customers, at just the right time.
Trying to understand the customer and their behaviours has always been a big focus for companies. Previously, surveys, market research groups and staff feedback were key elements to understanding your customer. Digital marketing uses analytics and direct feedback from customers. Using the information contained inside analytics, we can build a profile of your clients, and tailor the advertising to suit them.
As people live more of their lives online, the conversation has changed between businesses and customers. Many customers seek out reviews and detailed information before deciding on a brand or company, and this makes online branding especially important. Once a customer has come on board, they will expect a two way conversation with the business using social media. Using clever and well timed advertising can really improve the brand online. The uncool brand of Queensland Police has been transformed since some funny posting on their social media pages started to get attention with Buzzfeed running a piece on it, and it’s one of their best ranked pieces.
These posts have helped boost their online popularity and seen the number of people following the page increase. Now when the QPS have some serious announcement, they have a big target audience.
I have seen the same in reverse, with a cool online brand that had built an online community around their offbeat product and cool messages. In 2014, Black Milk Clothing released an image on Star Wars depicting two women dressed in sci-fi character outfits. One woman is depicted in a somewhat provocative stance, while the other is an image of The Big Bang Theory character Amy Farrah Fowler. The tagline associated with the image reads, “When I attempt to be a geeky goddess…” with the caption of ‘Expectation’ and ‘Reality’.
This single post sparked an outrage with their often zealous followers. The company had casually posted not remembering that women had enjoyed the brand because it spoke to everyone and it didn’t conform to normal rules. This was all undone with this post, suggesting that women had to look a certain way, and thus losing its main point of difference.
Companies have now become aware that the conversation must be two way. Encouraging user developed content, often through videos posted online. The most famous marketing I have seen with this was the Beats by Dre ads, which offered their customers to be featured in a live billboard in Times Square if they took a photo with the headphones on. This made the brand feel like it belonged to the customer.
If you can achieve a similar interaction with your customers, you’ll know that you’ve truly entered the modern era of digital marketing.