Keeping pace with the world of digital: Richard Badley, SMRS

 

Here, Richard Badley, head of planning at SMRS, offers some insight into how organisations can develop a digital strategy.

Digital marketing is becoming dauntingly complex. Channels, devices and how we, as consumers, are connected is constantly evolving. I have been eagerly watching product launch after product launch at this year’s CES show, and it feels a little like the internet of everything is actually becoming everything.

Whether you are looking for a virtual assistant to manage your life, give you praise, and wish you goodnight. Or a fridge with a ‘virtual door’ that allows you to see inside and orders your food based on empty shelves. Or a bin that scans barcodes as you throw away empty packages - ensuring a replacement arrives on your doorstep as soon as possible. Or for the more personally aware, a connected hairbrush that analyses your bouffant and makes recommendations on maintenance, care and quality. It’s all there. And all connected. And all tracked.

Scary or exciting? Personally I am not decided. One thing is for sure – all of this is changing faster than it has for a long time. But it also comes with its own challenges. What do us marketers make of it all, and how do we know when these developments should influence our own planning? In other words, how do we keep pace with the digital world?

I can’t help but feel that this explosion of tech is behind the two most common questions we get asked: ‘What can we do to be innovative and use new channels?’ or at the opposite end ‘What about traditional media?’

One thing is for sure, the marketplace isn’t increasingly digital. It is digital. So communicating your brand digitally needs to be a high priority. Getting this right in a constantly changing and connected world isn’t easy. But it can be done. And the results can be incredible.

Here’s a little look at some of the most important things to consider.

Insight

If you want to get the most out of digital, this should come first. You need to know more than just who your audience is. You’ve got to know where they are. What media they use. How they access information, what they search for and what information they digest. And importantly, what drives and interests them. If you can get to the heart of all this, you’ll be well equipped when it comes to digital strategy and activation.

Agility

Digital isn’t a one-channel market. There are all kinds of platforms, used and seen by all kinds of people. Your story needs to strike a chord and feel relevant across every channel it appears on. But you also need to flex. We can’t plan, activate, wait and measure anymore - we need to be brave and agile in how we manage our presence in the market.

Content

Consumers today have extremely high expectations. They are surrounded by content. This comes not just from media or publishers, but from the myriad of self-publishers or influencers making a name for themselves (PewDiePie has more followers on YouTube than over 150 countries have as their respective populations!). So we need to be giving content some serious time. Real stories, delivered in a way that captures and holds attention, no matter how busy the marketplace. And it all needs to be underpinned by a robust strategy, activated across social, broadcast and specialist channels.

Targeting

Great content will only work if the right people see it. And by ‘right’ people, we mean a clearly defined, detailed audience profile. Individuals who share your values, regardless of whether they are looking for you or not. This is where programmatic advertising can really come into play and make all the difference.

Of course, digital isn’t fully risk free. It’s dangerously easy to spread yourself too thinly. If you set out to try and say everything, everywhere, you could end up saying nothing. If you do succeed in sparking a conversation that you then don’t engage in properly, you can do more harm than good. It’s also a common trap to act first and strategise second – particularly when it comes to all things social.

You’ve got to make sure you’ve got the right resources and skills in place to handle everything you want to do, or it just won’t work.

But when digital does work, it’s a beautiful thing. You’ll reach a far broader audience – including people who aren’t actively seeking your offer. You’ll save money through proper measurement. And, above all, you’ll have an authentic, emotive, multi-faceted and living story out there – one that people can engage with, experience meaningfully, and really feel part of.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

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paul roper Date: Feb 2, 2017

Nice article. Thinking like this makes me wish I was back in the rec ads.

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