While working from home these days, I keep ruminating over the question: How can digital marketers keep up with new and changing technology? And perhaps working remotely will give digital marketers a quiet moment to step back to review and test the tools, technology, and trends that make marketing work, as well as audit any existing tools that may not be working so well.
Technology has transformed just about every aspect of the way we work, and marketing is no exception. The advances are all highly advantageous from a business standpoint, but it’s easy to let big changes pass you by when you’re focused on running the day-to-day.
Sadly, by not keeping up, you could be missing out on some seriously nifty stuff. Such features can increase your marketing engagement, optimize your efforts, simplify processes, build your bottom line, and even save you money in the process.
How Easy Is It to Leverage New Marketing Technology?
Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, big data, automation – you’ve probably heard about these approaches to digital marketing, and it all sounds great. Who wouldn’t want to put in less effort and get better results?
While the “idea” of these technologies is supremely attractive, the reality is that not everybody has the infrastructure or the mental bandwidth to get their heads around how to make it all work.
New Tech Requires New Skills
Companies today still spend inordinate amounts of money on technology that they never learn how to use to its fullest advantage. Many of these companies make purchases without taking a deeper dive to see if the processes and workflows will work for them. As a result, they end up with a digital tool that is too much for them.
One study, in particular, The Real Cost of Unused Software, highlights an average waste of 37 percent per company on unused software. Oddly enough, that number did not change over the four years they collected data for the study, which means that we (okay, maybe not all of us) are generally okay with throwing perfectly good money around for no reason.
Companies in the United States were on the high end of the wastefulness index while the UK was lowest at only 26 percent. Canada falls somewhere in the middle at 34 percent. No matter how high or low that number is, it’s still money that could be allocated to a more productive initiative, like training, for example. With a well-trained workforce, perhaps you will then see more value from your software purchases—just a thought.
If it’s too complicated, if you’re paying for features you will never use, or if you don’t generate enough data to leverage its full potential, you’re leaving money on the table, plain and simple.
However, there’s another side to that coin. If you are still using an older CRM or an outdated or sparsely-featured digital marketing tool, you might be missing out on features that will take your marketing efforts to the next level.
So, let’s look at how we can all stay ahead of that curve and get on the bullet train to digital marketing success!
Enabling New Marketing Approaches with Technology
While the goals remain much the same—capture your audience’s attention and convert them into paying customers—the entire landscape of how we do so has changed.
Case in point. Influencer marketing is huge these days, as are video marketing and user-generated content (UGC). However, if you want to leverage these approaches, it would be extremely time-consuming to do so without technological support.
Marketing technology that focuses on these strategies helps you search, sort, tag, and create amazing content quickly and easily. Most UGC platforms offer a legal clearance option as well, helping you manage the hurdles involved with using others’ intellectual property on the web. The advantage of having such tools means that you can harness the power of these new techniques without a lot of extra expense, technical expertise, or time spent.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
The retail industry has experienced a massive transformation as a result of IoT. From a marketing standpoint, IoT helps in the effort to personalize the shopping experience. It also tells the company a lot about the buying journey, helping company stakeholders make vital decisions about where to focus their marketing efforts.
For example, IoT sensors in the store collect information and push it to loyalty platforms and mobile apps. When a customer is in the vicinity, the system sends an offer based on past buying behavior, encouraging the customer to come into the store.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Okay, SEO is nothing new. But the landscape is continually changing, enough so that it is critical to ensure you are on top of the latest algorithms and best practices.
If you did a pile of SEO on your website a few years ago, not having made any adjustments since then is probably doing you more harm than good.
One significant example is long-tail keywords and phrases. Today, with the popularity of smart home tech and voice-enabled devices, your keywords and phrases require a different approach. Whereas a few years ago, your typical customer would type a few words into a search engine; today, they are speaking their queries. Your keyword strategy needs to take this into account.
To illustrate, here’s what we would have done a few years back (typing into Google search bar):
Red corduroy bellbottoms
Today, we’d be saying something like this, out loud, to our smart hub:
Hey Alexa, where can I buy red corduroy bellbottoms at a good price?
Do you see the difference? Although both contain the same keywords, a website that is optimized for long-tail will probably win out in the SERPs. And winning is always the goal.
Further to the SEO discussion, if you have not updated your website to a newer CMS, you could fall prey to one of many unfortunate situations. Cybersecurity is a significant concern these days, as is compliance with data privacy regulations like HIPAA and the GDPR.
Companies of all sizes must ensure that their web presence is safe and secure for site visitors. Otherwise, most will take their business elsewhere. Additionally, if you continue to host outdated web technology, you are leaving your company vulnerable to costly and crippling cyber-attacks.
User Interface, User Experience (UI/UX)
Your website’s user interface is another area ripe for marketing optimization. Aside from on-page strategies like keyword management, unique content, page load speed, and design best practices, you must ensure that your site is ready to convert. If it isn’t, all the money you are throwing into social media marketing and SEM is going down the drain.
Every landing page (the page your posts and advertising takes visitors to when they click) must be optimized for conversions. All the most relevant information should be right upfront and “above the fold,” so they don’t have to search for it. Get creative with your CTAs to ensure you’re grabbing their attention and directing them to take the desired action. Lastly, don’t forget lead generation. Add an email collection box to every page for visitors to learn more, request more information, sign up for your newsletter, ask a question, or whatever seems most appropriate.
These are just some of the broad strokes of today’s digital marketing technology and strategies. Ultimately, you know your company and its customers best, so your approach should be tailored to those needs.
If you are overwhelmed with the thousands of new digital marketing tools available to you right now, we can help!
Reach out today to schedule a call with one of our marketing specialists and discover what’s possible.
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