There seems to have been a lot of talk recently surrounding a prediction made by Research leaders Forrester, that digital marketing will shortly cease being a sub-discipline and simply become known as ‘marketing’, as our marketing output becomes inherently digital.
The rise in the uptake of mobile devices has had a dramatic effect on society and is in turn creating a generation who expect everything to be available and delivered through digital channels to whatever device they may have, wherever they are, at any time of the day. Consumers are now ‘on the move’ 24/7, can access information wherever they go, and are much more likely to make a decision to buy whilst on the move (through researching on social networking sites, price comparison sites, the use of Smartphone Apps and the general experience had with a brand online). Digital marketing has grown out of the improvements in and introduction of new devices and platforms, so it is safe to say that it will continue to grow as we strive to develop the next generation ‘intelligent’ or ‘automated’ hardware and software.
This shift in consumer behaviour has posed many challenges for businesses who have had to rethink not only their marketing and sales strategy, but in some cases, their entire business model. It has also meant that consumers expect to see and receive marketing messages through digital channels. The key to success, therefore, would now appear to be the development of a sound ‘digital’ marketing strategy that compliments any other channel activity you may be doing. The strategy should not only incorporate multiple channels (mobile, email, social media, web etc), but consideration for the design and optimisation of content for multiple devices. This content should include not only optimised copy but engaging and interactive visual content that allows your audience to explore in their own way and tailor the experience to their requirements. Data will play a big part in driving the strategy, but so will the levels of expected engagement by consumers on mobile devices. By allowing your brand to come to life in an interactive way that was not previously possible, and exploring the senses of sound and vision, you can touch a consumer on an emotional level. This has been proven to make them more likely to strike an affinity with your brand and make a purchase.
Mobile technology has allowed marketing professionals to become much smarter about the way they promote a product, making the consumers life so much easier and giving them instant access to targeted information relevant only to their interests, or where they are currently located for example. In the Retail industry, mobile technology has created a double edged sword! On the one hand, satellite technology within phones now allows retailers to display location based information directly to the phone owner that may only be relevant to the store that they are currently nearest to. This can be used to drive potential buyers into a nearby store and in turn, increase sales. However, on the flip side, scanning technology now allows consumers to enter a store, scan an item and search for the cheapest one available online! This can result in them leaving that store without making a purchase. This has forced retailers to push their prices down and work hard to offer products that cannot easily be found elsewhere. The High Street is now competing for real estate against its digital equivalents, so not only could digital bury traditional marketing channels, but could also bury traditional sales methods too.
In B2B organisations, mobile devices now enable sales teams to demonstrate and customise their products on the move, eliminating the need to take the potential buyer to the product. This gives companies greater flexibility and allows a prospect to become more qualified and more likely to make a purchase before the organisation needs to invest in getting them to the showroom which might be at the other end of the country! This is particularly applicable to companies who sell large or complex machinery and invest a lot in its transportation to and from events or showrooms in order to demonstrate the product at exhibitions or directly alongside their competition.
Mobile devices, however, are rendered useless without suitable software and graphics. Digital technology has also allowed for much more advanced and engaging visual media to be created and displayed, adding to the impact of sales and marketing campaigns and facilitating direct interaction with a brand via mobile devices. Advances in mobile and online technology have made interactive media, 3d visuals and animations much more readily available than they used to be with fewer technological limitations and reduced costs of production. And you don’t need to worry about SEO! The limitations previously imposed by flash animations are no longer such a hindrance to successful SEO with the emergence of JQuery and HTML5.
Interactive product demonstrations, touch screen engagement and integrated video can make your brand stand out from the crowd in a digital environment and can be extremely cost effective, cutting ongoing printing and personnel costs and justifying any upfront investment required in their creation. Consumers now expect to be able to make informed decisions without necessarily needing to either contact a physical person, visit a store, or see a physical product. If your brand does not facilitate this in an engaging way, you risk loosing market share.
Increased interaction with your products online can be achieved through the development of digital brochures that can contain 3D product engagement, 360 degree animations, and integrated video and can respond to user commands. For example, a visitor to your site could create their own customised version of your product on their mobile and see what it will look like before contacting you or making purchase decisions. Machinery with highly complex components can be pulled apart and explored by the user in great detail without seeing the physical machine, and video can be used to explain complicated functions and highlight USPs (Unique selling points). Visual presentations create a long-lasting experience for the end user and improve client engagement and retention.
As well as brochures, video animations can be created to show virtual worlds / concepts for future developments of both environments and products. Particularly useful for promoting public visitor sites and helping them to understand and explore them in their own time, making their own informed choices what to see and when.
It is then also possible, via mobile and electronic devices, for the end user to share these experiences with their own communities, by text or email or via social networks. A decision can be made and action taken in an instant, and that’s how important the quality of digital assets and Digital Asset Management can be to your business. A good experience, and everyone could know about it extremely quickly. A bad one and you could have lost a lot more than one potential customer.
Allowing your prospects and customers to make their own informed decisions whilst on the move, giving them all the information they could possibly need and presenting it in an engaging and market leading way so that they cant help but want to know more. And if that’s not enough of a challenge, link all of that mobile consumer behaviour into your multichannel strategy so that if they do choose to speak to you or visit a store, their experience of your brand is seamless and continues to engage rather than deter. Your digital footprint is no longer just about having an optimised website and presence on the social networks. You need to allow the user to explore, discover and interact, as the battle to engage users in your brand as oppose to a competitors, advances at an alarming rate in a highly competitive and evolving market place.
If you’d like more information on creating an interactive brochure or any 2d or 3d video and animated content, please contact Philip Pauley on 01908 522532 or visit our website at http://www.pauley.co.uk. We can also help you develop and implement your ongoing digital strategy and offer advice on creating content for mobile apps and managing your Digital Assets (DAM).