Ways Digital Marketing Has Changed Business Forever
Digital marketing has changed business, shaping brand communication, customer experience, and even how market research is done, are you taking advantage?
Once upon a time, brick-and-mortar stores were the only way for us to experience brands, with in-store clerks as our main touchpoint for communicating our needs or forming an opinion about a business, and the end service or product the key to forming our expectations. With the rise of all things digital, that level of personal interaction has been replaced with everything from email newsletters, chatbots, social media accounts, and AR for an enhanced digital shopping experience.
Then again, precisely because of this extraordinary shift in how we run businesses, that personal touch has become one of the greatest assets any brand can use. Who knew that digital would make all things personal such a valuable commodity?
In so many different ways, the digital revolution has indeed altered the world of business forever, and it continues to be the most disruptive, innovative factor for brands to grow and exceed their current capacities. As we’ve entered a new decade, one that will be marked by numerous digital advances in marketing as well as branding and customer experience, let’s take a closer look at several of the key manners in which digital has altered business forever.
1. The overwhelming relevance of content
Although branded, printed brochures, product catalogs, and flyers still have their place in any marketing and advertising strategy, digital outlets have become by far the most utilized in any industry to increase brand awareness, relevance, and engagement. Not to mention the impeccable ROI some of these digital alternatives have. If you take a look at content marketing as one example, consistent content creation across a variety of digital platforms is one of the key factors of business success today.
2. Erasing borders in every sense
On one end of the spectrum, e-commerce growth has empowered brands to have a single operation center, outsource production and shipping if necessary, and sell their products to the entire world, hassle-free, over a single platform – their own website. However, digital expansion allows companies to sell via other vendors and channels, too, expand in any way, shape, and form, and selling digital services can be global from the get-go.
On the other side of that very same digital spectrum, businesses can now completely restructure their hiring strategy thanks to digital tools such as project management platforms, communication software the likes of Skype, and the like. Effectively, businesses can now hire anyone living anywhere in the world, allow their employees to work remotely, and still have a productive work environment that thrives on talent diversity.
3. Business-wide efficiency with tech
Software integration and tech-based solutions have made some of the world’s most complex operations infinitely simpler. Take the hospitality industry for example. In cafes, bars, and restaurants, customers can come and go in a matter of minutes, their ordering habits can affect how you tailor your menu, and the competition is fierce, to put it mildly. Simplifying their operations with the help of cafe POS systems, which stands for point-of-sale, allows these businesses to prevent ordering errors, customize their menus and orders, and collect customer behavior data to offer a better service every time they come back.
Plus, another digital feature of these systems allows more payment freedom to customers, which is a great perk every single cafe visitor appreciates. Going beyond “cash or credit” without wreaking havoc on your accounting department is possible with such streamlined solutions.
4. Instant interaction
Sure, customers still use phones to call customer service, share their concerns or complain about a faulty product or a subpar service. In fact, 48% of customers reported wanting to use the phone to get in touch with a rep, but the trend differs among generations, nations, as well as companies themselves. Millennials, for example, prefer live chat over all other forms of customer service, while almost 80% of Americans use Facebook, which has become a prevalent way to boost customer communication.
Either way, phones might not be “dead”, but digital channels are slowly taking over as the more preferable options for modern-day customers. They are easy to access, eliminate waiting times (especially in the case of chatbots), and they are far more convenient for today’s busy users. Simply put, digital might not make phones redundant for customer service, but it surely does present a potent source of alternatives to increase customer engagement as well as satisfaction.
5. The use of data
In order to sell a service or a product more effectively in every single oversaturated industry, companies need to understand precisely what their customers need and want, and how they can solve certain problems for them. This is where data analytics empowers any brand to make smarter campaigns, design better, more user-friendly websites, and be the solution their customers need.
Their social media footprint, their browsing preferences on your website, their shopping history, their interest in specific blogs or videos – all of this information helps brands offer more customized products, send specific email newsletters with topics each customer will actually enjoy, and the like. With social media listening tools as well, brands now have the power to monitor and manage their online reputation with brand mentions and following the use of different keywords in the industry to join important conversations.
6. Changing the meaning of personalization
Ever since digital has taken over, with more companies joining the playing field, customers no longer have that feeling of being “special” in the eyes of their favorite brands. To circumvent this issue, companies now use a range of digital tools to actually inspire that very same feeling of customers being appreciated, recognized, and valued.
In addition to loyalty programs, brands use comprehensive personalization methods within their marketing strategies. From audience segmentation, collecting data, content personalization, and targeted CTAs, brands can now use swarms of online information to fuel their campaigns and target each individual customer more successfully.
7. A new way to build bonds
In the non-digital times, sales reps were perhaps the final form of brand ambassadors that would work alongside companies to sell and resell their goods in the community. The modern-day equivalent of this brilliant way to enhance your trustworthiness and grow a network of loyal customers? Affiliate marketing, one of the most beloved ways people support their favorite brands as they, too, reap the rewards of this mutually-beneficial bond.
Add to that, we have social media influencers as the most recent form of brand advocacy that helps businesses make a name for themselves through authentic support, honest reviews, and user-generated content. This is one of the simplest, yet most effective ways digital has enabled brands to humanize themselves and establish a stronger presence in their market.
Digital innovation is at the very core of how businesses grow, boost their own standing in their industry, and preserve their reputation. Various digital and tech-based tools are used on a daily basis to make customers happy, simplify communication, and make each brand more available to their target audience. As we move forward, we can safely say that the digital revolution has not yet shown its culmination, so we can expect numerous other improvements to shift how businesses operate in the years to come.