The world of business and marketing has undergone a digital transformation over the last ten years. As such, the process of reaching and acquiring new customers has changed dramatically. In today’s blog, I am highlighting some of the significant changes I’ve seen in recent years. 

Online Presence

An online presence has become a necessity for businesses. Nowadays, as consumers, we’ve turned to the internet to research, listen, and find the goods and services we want to buy. For example, look at e-commerce giant Amazon, who went from a humble bookseller to a one-stop online shop in less than twenty years. Online presence transcends just a digital storefront: it’s a way of reaching customers and creating brand awareness. 

Consistent Branding

On average, it takes ten touch-points for a customer to trust and purchase from a business. Previously, customers might only look at one or two websites before making a purchase, but now that number may be as high as 10-20. Why is that number so high? It includes reviews, social activity, and how the business handles customer services. 

Digital Proficiency

Despite the increasing need to go digital, less than half of professionals consider themselves to be highly proficient in digital marketing, according to a study done by Adobe. The same study found that only 9% agreed that their digital marketing was effective. Digital marketing was barely considered a decade ago but now has shifted into being a primary focus, and businesses are struggling to be truly successful with their new marketing. While there is a need to embrace digital marketing, it’s a transition that has some companies worried. 

Increased Cost of Marketing

Businesses are putting a larger budget towards digital marketing, in part due to technological advancements but also due to hiring knowledgable people to manage the digital aspects of their business. In order to stay ahead of the competition, businesses need to look into new avenues of marketing such as paid advertisements and hiring freelancers for content creation. The internet has helped to grow the way that companies can engage with consumers, but with these opportunities comes a cost. 

Social Media

Social media is a game changer in the marketing landscape. Over the last five years, social media has been critical to generating revenue and brand awareness. People use social media to engage and interact online, and this is more than just a trend for businesses to notice and follow. One of the most effective ways to be successful is to go to where the customers are, and right now, they’re on social media. Many larger brands have taken to this, advertising on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. It’s difficult to browse social media without encountering at least a handful of sponsored posts (paid advertising) and business profiles. 

Credibility

Credibility is now more important than ever, but establishing credibility takes time. It may be tempting to strive for viral success and short-term engagement via something attention-grabbing, but the payoff there is limited. With visibility, it may be best to go wide, that is, try to reach as broad an audience as possible, but with credibility, it’s better to go deep. The key to becoming a credible and respectable business is to build a long-term relationship between audience and brand. 

Strategy

All the changes in the world of marketing over the last ten years means that strategies, too, must change and adapt. One of the most significant shifts is that away from a business-first approach to an audience-first model. Prioritizing the audience means creating content for the audience based on what they want as opposed to creating content that you want as a business. This relies on extensive audience research, like finding out where they hang out online, what times they are the most active, which niches occupy which platforms, and so forth. 

In essence, the process can be broken up into this sample framework that turns visitors into prospects and then finally into customers. Written and visual content is usually the first step in the marketing funnel that draws in the visitor. The conversations and engagements with the visitor build trust, and then they become a prospect. Engagement continues, and they get to know the brand, and through some promotion, you can gather their information that you can use in an automated nurture campaign. After going through the engagement and nurture process, the visitor has given their details and engages with your brand. As a result, they have become your customer. The next step is to promise to deliver on your service and hopefully convert them into an advocate that will champion your business for you.