Often, when people discuss digital marketing, they spend most of their time speaking about factors such as search rankings and Share of Voice. They end up neglecting the most important factor in the success of a marketing campaign: people. It is too easy to regard a top three ranking for a particular keyword as the end-goal itself, rather than seeing it as a vehicle to genuine marketing success. At Share15 two weeks ago, we had two outstanding presentations that explored the importance of the human factor in digital marketing. They looked at the importance of cultivating brand advocates and influencers who can help spread your message and extend your reach. They also looked at the engagement of customers on an intimate level through automation and personalization. Here are some of the enlightening insights they had to share with us and the attendees.
Content, Influence and Human Capital
For brands to effectively influence buyers, they must have a strong reputation. According to this Influencer Marketing Agency, reputation is built by continually being a good resource for customers when they go online to learn more about a particular topic. This reputation also develops when you have credible brand advocates who are willing to tell others about the positive experience they had with your company. The importance of brand advocates cannot be understated. According to Nielsen, third-party reviews from friends and family continue to be the most trusted source of information for customers.
Consumers generally question the credibility of the advertising that brands put out about themselves, but they will often listen to those that they view as being objective. Cultivating a positive reputation begins by understanding the intended customer. This goes beyond having a basic idea of whether you are selling to large or small businesses. You want to understand psychological and behavioral best practices to comprehend what your consumers are looking for and what has the power to motivate them to purchase. You then create the optimized content that will help answer the needs put forth by the customer. The mission does not end with engaging content, however.
You must continue to place the needs and desires of the customers at the forefront of the business practices. Brand influencers, people who already have a strong personal reputation within your intended audience, can also be valuable advocates. When you find influencers who can reach thousands of people the impact can be incredible. Cultivating these relationships requires time and effort to demonstrate that you have something of value to offer the influencer and their audience. Mel Carson of Delightful Communications and Majestic, Peter Krmpotic of Adobe and Travis Low of Revana Digital offered some great insights into how brands can achieve these goals. Here were some of their intriguing ideas that they shared with us:
- just 15 percent of people will trust the messages they hear from brands
- you can find influencers through surveys, programmatic tools, cross referencing data and luck
- when speaking with potential influencers, have a plan and goal in mind and be able to explain what they can receive through the partnership
- when trying to target influencers, make sure you have content they can use and appreciate
- efforts to improve marketing campaigns are often side-lined by people’s opinions and fears, so have clear KPIs that can be used to measure progress
From the Majestic presentation
Email and Marketing Automation
Email continues to be a valuable tool for marketers, with well over half saying that email marketing generates ROI for their brand. It is also estimated that by 2017 there will be 206 billion emails sent every day to 4.9 billion accounts. Email is an efficient means to reach customers because of its popularity. By personalizing the messages that customers receive, you can maximize this impact and take your success even further.
Digital marketers also have to be aware of how customer expectations are beginning to change. Customers value individualized interaction with brands and they want to know that their interests and needs are being addressed personally. Marketing automation and email give marketers the tools to respond to customers in real-time based upon their behavior when interacting with the company's web properties. For example, a visitor who has visited the website a few times and visits the pricing page without making a purchase might receive an automatic email that provides them with a free trial or a discount.
As brands communicate more effectively with their page visitors through their understanding of behavioral marketing and automation, they can increase engagement and conversions. Dave Lawson of IgnitionOne, Tyler Altrup of Oracle/Eloqua and Rodrigo Fuentes of Listenloop explored this topic and provided attendees with an in-depth look at the power of automation. Here were a few of the incredible tips with which attendees walked away:
- email continues to have a positive revenue impact and is the channel of choice for 69.7 percent of Internet users
- email provides opportunity for lift across channels and across devices-- it is a linchpin
- marketers are slowed down in their automation efforts by a division between digital and offline interactions with the brand and a lack of cross-channel data consistency
- marketers must learn to adapt customer journeys to actual behavior
- to meet customers, brands must adopt hybrid or holistic approaches-- silos must be taken down
Digital marketing continues to evolve at a rapid pace. The technological capabilities and the influence of algorithm updates power much of this change, but marketers cannot neglect the human factor. Customers are the end-goal for companies, not rankings. By keeping people at the forefront through maximizing the customer experience and empowering automation and personalization features, brands can better serve their customers and improve their digital marketing success. Take our digital marketing quiz to test your knowledge.