The commerce process has continued to evolve as technology has changed and access to information is now in the hands of the consumer. This customer-first shift has permeated through business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), government purchasing (B2G), and even how people engage with professional associations, non-profits, and community organizations.
There continue to be more and more ways for consumers to access information and engage with companies and organizations. While legacy/traditional/”old school” ways of doing things (print, brick-and-mortar, trade shows, etc.) have not gone away, how consumers engage with those media have changed in an increasingly digital environment.
Integration within all components is extremely vital to the success of the entire organization. Here are three things to keep in mind when it comes to #digitalmarketing:
1) Your prospects/customers do not think in terms of online/mobile/offline when doing their research and shopping.
These are not different strategies to your buyer. They think “I need help with this challenge” whether it’s a way to manage their company’s budget, buy a new computer or a new living room set. They want to do some research first to see what is out there, get some feedback from colleagues and friends, and talk to a sales rep at the company for additional details about the specific item they are thinking of buying – usually in that order. They are not strategizing about I will do this part online, I’ll do this part on my mobile device, I’ll do this part offline.
2) Everything has a digital component. It is easy to see how your e-commerce site or AdWords campaign fits in your digital strategy; but even your tradeshows and brick-and-mortar stores need to be integrated into your digital strategy. For tradeshows or other face-to-face encounters, how is the prospect going to remember and find you when they are back at their desk or kitchen table? If you have a physical store people come to, how can you incorporate digital technology into the buying experience, so they don’t leave your store without making a purchase? For print or radio advertising, how will they remember and find you when they are ready to continue their research and make a purchase?
3) Digital is woven into the fabric of your customer’s lives. Whether you are selling to Baby Boomers or Millennials, B2B or B2C, or a mix – your customers are simultaneously online and in the physical world. Millennials have only ever known this “hybrid” world and expect online and offline to be interchangeable. Even Baby Boomers are incorporating digital in everyday tasks – some becoming quite sophisticated in their use of technology themselves, others calling on help from colleagues and family members – but either way, they have the same expectations. Your marketing efforts must also have digital woven throughout to make the entire purchase process seamless.
How do you make sure this all happens? Digital marketing should not be a silo within the organization, however there should be a centralized, coordinated effort particularly for channels that touch all facets of the organization. In addition, digital marketing should be included in the planning stages for all marketing efforts and programs within the organization. Everyone should be using and coordinating with the digital marketing team as part of their role in the organization.