It’s not about digital marketing
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It’s not about digital marketing

Digital marketing or marketing in a digital world?

There’s been a lot of debate recently about marketers putting too much emphasis on digital marketing as a distinct skillset, rather than thinking about it as another component of the marketing mix. Over the past 10 years, it’s become increasingly common for marketing departments, particularly those in larger organisations, to be segregated as the impact of digital intensified. Yet as our everyday lives become ever more digitised, shouldn’t brands have a strategy for integrating digital into their wider marketing activities to best serve the needs of their customers and consumers?

With access to an increasing number of touchpoints, the purchasing behaviour of today’s time-poor consumers mean that brands must consider all marketing from a digital perspective or risk losing significance. As everything now is just a click away, consumers have come to expect personalised information and services on-demand at anytime, anyplace, and often free of charge. Through social networks and mobile devices, they can immediately share experiences, recommendations and content with their peers, as well as crowdsource the ratings and reviews of others to help decide what products they want, how they want them and where they purchase them from. As reported by The Insider, it’s "the consumer, rather than the brand" that controls the interaction. This raises the question: how can brands keep up with the pace of change in terms of what their target market want?

For starters, they can’t just say that their product is great anymore – they need to demonstrate it. Using real-time data collected from consumers’ traces online, brands are having to build their marketing strategies according to what their target demographic want and need. For example, Wimbledon put content in the context of what was happening at their latest event by using the data it captured on the side of the court to build a narrative on its website, mobile app and social platforms.

Does this mean that data should be at the forefront of a brand’s marketing strategy?

I agree with Marc Mathieu, Unilever’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, who recently argued that the future of marketing will be all about data, and how it helps marketers to build brands and the relations they have with people in an insightful way. I firmly believe that, in order to be a success in today’s always-on world, brands need to exploit real-time data in order to understand the unique behaviour of consumers at that moment and be able to optimise campaigns. This way, brands can create quality, tailored content – from blog posts and thought-provoking tweets, to eBooks and video interviews – in their consumers’ chosen channel. So where does this leave digital marketing?

I understand that digital is still the focus for many brands. But I predict that marketers’ obsession with it will settle down in the next 10 years and that we will be able to keep up with the pace at which digital is evolving. Instead, brands will find that the new challenge facing them is finding talent that understands not only the core principles of marketing, but also social media, content creation, brand elevation and, most importantly, data analytics.

Anne Godfrey CIM Former Chief Executive Officer
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