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How Marketing Has Changed

Old school marketing pros have decades of practiced advantage over the newest self-styled digital marketing gurus, but to survive in the digital age, you have to be aware of prominent digital marketing concepts. Let’s take a look at the main concepts you need to be a master of marketing in the digital age.

Inbound Marketing is Prominent

Inbound marketing is a concept of the digital age. The earliest incarnation of this method is Seth Godin’s “permission marketing” concept—he wrote about that back in 1999. Since then, marketing giant HubSpot fully developed and expanded upon the idea, calling it inbound marketing. Besides search engine optimization and search engine marketing, inbound marketing (a related concept) is the most unique and innovative trademark of marketing in the digital age.

With inbound marketing, the idea is to let customers come to you. Since digital advertising and digital marketing aren’t bound to the same rules of marketing prior to the digital age, the digital age is a playground for inbound marketing. Thanks to search engines, it’s possible for customers who need your service to access your marketing materials by coming to you—and that’s because they look up what they need in search engines like Google. For example, “nail salons near me.” Google is smart enough to geo-locate them and point them in your direction (if your site is search engine optimized, that is).

Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing

Search engine optimization (or SEO) has taken hold in the age of digital marketing. Inbound marketing uses it: after all, the search engine is the tool customers use to find you. Getting noticed is the tough part, and in the digital age, that requires some technical expertise and a lot of heart.

In the beginning, SEO was pretty technical. If you looked up “nail salons,” content mentioning “nail salons” a lot would pop up. That doesn’t mean the content was particularly informative (or even on a page that was safe or coded well), but it meant that it mentioned the topic you were looking for a lot. As you can imagine, that resulted in a lot of spam and content creators simply jamming keywords everywhere. It didn’t provide a great experience for the user, which is ultimately Google’s goal. Spammers would also jam keywords into the meta information, or text-based data on the back end which allows a search engine to determine the subject of your page.

That meant spam ranked well in the SERPs (search engine results pages), and that wasn’t a pleasant experience for anyone. Great content got buried under spam. In 2012, Google rolled out an algorithm update called Panda, and that changed marketing in the digital age (for the better). Panda targeted spammy, low-quality content and the sites that hosted it, ranking them lower than the useful results. Google also aggressively targeted certain industries like gambling, which tended to be especially spammy.

This meant that it became increasingly important to produce quality content that people wanted to read. Unless it was particularly newsworthy, your content suddenly had to be something people actually wanted to read—and Google has only persisted in this direction since. The emphasis on quality is a hallmark of inbound marketing in the digital age.

Drip Marketing Strategies in the Digital Age

Drip marketing is the practice of maintaining a top-of-mind presence with prospects and customers by providing them with useful information and sales messages over a long period of time. This long-term strategy pays off. Think about it like a faucet: if you leave a bowl under it in the sink, one little drip doesn’t make much of a difference. Leave it there for a few days, and you can’t help but notice the full bowl.

This marketing premise works the same way. In the digital age, it’s particularly effective because it harnesses the power of email advertising (opt-in subscription lists) and digital ad retargeting practices. It’s a key long-term strategy for advertising in the digital age.

Spam Sensitivity and Bespoke Affinity Advertising

Many grew up in the age of junk mail: unwanted snail mail that came into our inboxes long before the time of spam in our Eudora email bins. We still get it—those ad circulars in particular—but our sensitivity to spam is higher than ever. Between bots and password phishing emails promising to enlarge certain body parts, we have less tolerance for advertising in general.

Unless it’s very customized…

While generic ads targeted towards specific demographics are still the norm on TV, that’s not the case when it comes to advertising in the digital age. We’ve become used to very custom advertising, formulated by affinities.

Affinities are likes and interests. This goes beyond demographics, and what’s more important: Google tracks them. If you have Google Analytics set up properly, it will reveal analytics to you. From there, you can create an entire buyer persona. Instead of finding out that your typical customer is a 55-year-old man making $75,000 per year, you’ll get more information about him. Maybe you’ll discover he likes football or travels frequently, or enjoys superhero movies.

Apply that to a digital marketing campaign. Since digital ads on platforms like Facebook allow you to customize so heavily, you could invest in several different ads and target them appropriately. By the time Fred the Football Fan gets a sports-oriented ad for your technology product, Facebook has filtered his interests to align and deliver the advertisement to this specific audience.

Take it a step further: get Fred’s email, and you can add him to your email list, which could include an affinity segmentation. Imagine how happy he’ll be when you send him BBQ recipes before the big game.

That certainly beats a mass-targeted mail flyer or a door hanger. Plus, those things are noticeable ads; a Facebook ad is an integrated part of the Facebook experience and a typical one.

Need Help With Marketing For a Digital Age?

It’s time to upgrade and uplift your marketing strategy with a foray into the digital age. We can get you started on that path, revamping your strategy entirely or working closely with your offline marketing strategy. Whether you’re ready to integrate or begin anew, we have solutions for you. Give us a call today.

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