Think about how you market your business. And think about whether you consider digital marketing or traditional channels to be more valuable.
Got any definitive answers? Perhaps, or perhaps not. The reason these questions are pertinent is because in 2018 – and actually for a great deal of time before now – there are growing schools of advocates for the ‘total shift away from traditional media to digital’ when it comes to allocation of marketing budget, and daily activity in marketing departments.
Take the advertising industry, for example. Until last year, in the United States more money was spent advertising on television than anywhere else, including digital channels. But in 2017 that all changed.
To be specific, last year digital ad spend reached $209- billion…TV ad spend was ‘just’ $178 billion. Huge numbers; seismic shift, and one that’s here to stay – this year digital spend is expected to grow by 13%; TV by just 2.5%.
And with that comes the implication that if you’re not spending significant amounts on digital and centralising your marketing strategy in this space, you’re not really in the game. And to a large extent that’s increasingly the case.
Some hard indicators of why Digital Marketing is a must
Consider the following SME-related digital marketing statistics compiled by Blue Corona in 2018:
1. Studies show that between 70-80% of people research a company online BEFORE visiting the small business or making a purchase with them.
2. Mobile usage per B2B worker is expected to increase from two hours a day to three by 2020, driven by millennials, Gen Z, and the increasing use of smartphones by older workers (Google, 2017)
3. Mobile drives or influences an average of more than 40% of revenue in leading B2B organizations (Google, 2017)
4. 50% of B2B search queries today are made on smartphones, and will grow to 70% by 2020
5. Mobile marketing can accelerate time to B2B purchase by 20% (Boston Consulting Group, 2017)
So the indicators are clear – you need to be a leader when it comes to technically-sound digital solutions, and innovative in your digital (and mobile-orientated) marketing strategy.
But, consider this…
Still a place for Traditional channels…for now
28% of SMEs still say word of mouth is the most effective way to attract new customers. And word of mouth comes from brand awareness as much as it does from customer experience.
That’s just one indicator that traditional marketing still has a place and that it simply cannot be ignored.
Traditional methods such as billboards, print adverts, radio adverts, brochures and television are still so much a part of society’s ‘visual expectation’ – we expect to see billboards at bus-stops, and hear adverts on the radio, for example – that to shun them completely could have a negative influence on your brand’s ‘Awareness’ value, particularly in local target markets.
So although traditional channels are harder to measure, there are ways to improve their efficacy – the key to understanding all the above is this: know your target audience, and know (in a measurable sense) what currently works for you.
Keep track of the numbers
If you’ve created a print campaign, ensure that it includes a discount code so that you’re able to track and assess how that’s worked for you. If it’s still bringing in revenue and creating brand awareness, stick with it as part of your overall strategy.
If putting yourself out on radio to give your business a literal voice has brought in new clients or customers, then why stop? But ask clients how they heard of your business or found you.
If standing at traffic light handing out flyers brings feet through the door, weigh the cost vs revenue benefits up and carry on if the numbers make sense.
But ensure that within all the above, you’re also measuring the impact of your digital marketing on your business – compare and contrast to isolate exactly which aspects of all your marketing are actually working best to deliver against your bottom line, and stick with that until it changes.
Be bold in your approach, and collaborative in your campaign planning
Another key here is in your planning: when you’re thinking about how you’re going to market your business for the coming quarter or financial year, use the following framework:
- Be bright, bold and brave – plan a disruptive campaign that combines imagery, content and engagement-triggers that really stand out
- Be unlimited – how can you maximise all the channels that you know work for you to deliver against this bold new campaign?
- What are the engagement-triggers that you will be able to measure the success of the campaign against?
- Create a campaign that uses a myriad channels across the digital and traditional spaces to hit each of these triggers
- Don’t lose sight of your consumers – if you’ve got a strong handle on exactly who it is you’re speaking to, and how they like to be communicated with, you’re already a massive part of the way to success.
Ultimately, don’t lose sight of the point of marketing: to engage your consumers effectively to get them to do what it is that makes your business viable and succcessful. Know the channels that do this for you, and stick with them.
Although by 2020 it’s expected that digital ad spend will make up more than 50% of all spend, an intuitive hybrid approach remains the key to a robust and purposeful marketing strategy.
For an assessment of your digital marketing platforms, or advice on how to increase engagement and awareness, contact Realnet today on +44 1223 55 08 00.