Basics Before Digital

Just like life, the digital marketing world moves quickly, with changes every minute.

As 2019 begins, many business owners are just beginning to realize that potential clients of all ages are looking into the faces of their phones and that is where their businesses need to be seen.  Before setting up a hastily-constructed website and social media accounts, there are several factors to consider that, once defined, will make the dive into digital a more measured - and measurable – experience.
SMARTPHONES now alert users to the amount of time spent on the devices. In 2018, the daily average of time spent on a smartphone was just over 3 ½ hours. In 2019, its expected that Americans will look at their smartphones more than they watch TV. Within the time spent online, there is an endless supply of possibilities for those consumer eyes, and if the message isn’t short and engaging, users will swipe and click to the next eye-catching message.  Don’t discount laptops and desktop computer use – make sure your website/message is fluent and can be readily viewed in all modes – mobile and desktop/laptop.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE– think “Smart Speakers” ---initially thought to be ‘creepy’, are now mainstream:  39 million Americans use them and 65% say they wouldn’t want to return to life without Alexa and her virtual cousins.  This will open up brand awareness opportunities and the mode will be conversational.  The best use of AI in marketing is for analytics and determining return on investment. AI has become the friend of marketers; it can process and interpret data patterns and schedule interactions with intended audience targets.

SEARCH ENGINES like Google & Bing are the go-to referral services of the Internet and tend to favor local results.  They are traditionally word-based, but in 2019, expect search engines to blossom from word-based to image-based information retrieval.  If you’re familiar with Pinterest, then you might have already noticed the virtual search tool that allows a user to take a picture, share it with the search engine which then finds where an item can be found nearby or online.

VOICE SEARCH consideration is essential. You may not talk into your phone, asking it for advice on where to eat, shop or find a car, but a lot of potential customers are doing it.  Research indicates that in just two years, about 30% of all searches will be via voice. Know this:  voice searches have nearly replaced the phone book; you’ll have less time to make an impression, so picking your Adwords will be crucial.

VIDEOS - Customers will either ‘click and stick’ or ‘type and swipe’ with 8-10 seconds, so create for your target audience – pick educational, entertaining, endearing -- and get to the point. We’re not just talking about a video on your website or YouTube; Instagram is a popular social media channel for maturing audiences. Many of those in the target will watch on their phones or at work, so consider closed captions for all content.

Now that you know the tools, be brilliant at the basics so the exposure of your message can be optimized to the right audience and economize the marketing budget.  What are the basics? 
  • Conduct market research 
  • Determine the target market
  • Determine positioning
  • Conduct a competitive analysis
  • Determine a market strategy
  • Establish a budget
  • Set up timely reviews of metrics
Wait…what? Just want to sell your product and do the work you love? Hire a marketing company that can lead you through the process, so you can focus on the business of conducting business. Beware of any marketing company that requires your signature on a contract as it could bind your ability to adapt, to fine-tune an ongoing marketing plan. Insist upon regular reviews of your plan in action, to assure the strategy is working. Remember that not all trends will be worth following but be sure to consider them.

Here’s to all of us as we plunge ahead into the brave new digital world of 2019. We’ll see you online.