Three tips for smart digital marketing

When it comes to digital marketing, there’s a lot more to it than just posting on Facebook, tweeting via Twitter, or shooting creative videos for YouTube.

There is a whole slew of creative marketing campaigns out there that have leveraged emerging technology, like near field communication (NFC) and mobile, geo-targeted ads to reach out to consumers.

Marketers who use technology in innovative ways don’t necessarily have to be selling something, said Kristie Painting, general manager and vice-president of sales for Olive Media. Often, it’s great when they have their names associated with an amazing campaign or fresh way of using technology, she said. Painting was speaking from a breakout session at Digital Day 3D, a conference geared towards digital marketers.

And while some of these campaigns seem tailored solely towards marketers armed with big budgets and lots of ad spend, those marketers still stuck to basic principles of building consumer relationships that basically any marketer can follow.

Here’s a quick roundup of three ideas for marketers who are launching their own campaigns.

1. Try to make your campaign as involved as possible.

One of the most difficult tasks for today’s digital marketer is getting consumers on board with a new campaign as more than just a one-time thing. While it may be easy enough to capture a consumer’s imagination with a really flashy ad, marketers need to aim to get consumers to engage and then stay involved with their campaigns.

Take the example of Samsung, which leveraged NFC to promote its new Galaxy phones. By setting up posters in urban areas, owners of Galaxy phones were able to use NFC to get free music and e-books. That encouraged them to continue to use NFC whenever and wherever they saw the posters, Painting said.

Abercrombie and Fitch also ran a campaign that garnered a lot of consumer involvement. Its customers tend to be millennials. Recognizing many millennials reach for their smartphones as soon as they get out of bed, the major fashion brand built an app that gauges users’ local weather and puts together an Abercrombie-approved outfit that will work for their location and temperature. The app can create different 240 outfits.

As the weather constantly changes, users were encouraged to check in with the app almost every day, Painting said, meaning Abercrombie and Fitch marketers were changing consumer behaviour in an effective way.

2. Showrooming is a reality retailers and brick-and-mortar storefronts will have to adjust to.

Many marketers and retailers hate the idea of showrooming, when customers come into a physical store to see a product, only to try to buy it online for a lower price elsewhere. But there’s no getting around it, said Adrian Capobianco, the managing director of digital for Cundari Group Ltd.

“This is something we have to deal with,” he said. “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”

For example, Jamieson Laboratories did just that when it built an app for customers entering vitamin stores and not knowing what to buy, especially when shelves were stocked with all kinds of different vitamin combinations. The app takes down a customer’s information, like his or her age, gender, and other data. Then it creates a personal recommendation for the types of vitamins he or she should take.

This encourages consumers to buy vitamins at the physical store. For marketers, it becomes a question of getting around the showrooming phenomenon, Capobianco said.

Still, it’s important to not lose sight of the fact that technology can’t be the heart and soul of these campaigns, he added.

“Here’s the impact for us as marketers. There’s no shortage of technology we can leverage,” he said. “What we need to keep front and centre is not let the technology drive the experience, but let the consumer needs and the consumer experience drive the experience.”

3. Take advantage of mobile ads and geo-location.

For small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) who want to turn marketing efforts into sales very quickly, mobile ads targeted towards users’ location can be very handy, Painting said.

“Text messaging, like the location-based stuff, is really scalable and about targeting the right consumer when they’re close to a store, or finding the right connection with a consumer and closing the loop when they’re close to the store,” she said in an interview after her session.

For example, frozen yogurt chain Pinkberry was serving relevant ads to mobile users who ventured near their stores. It would send them not just the nearest Pinkberry location, but also offers like $1 off the newest flavour of yogurt – ensuring it was targeting people at the right time and right place.

SMBs should also aim to build mobile-optimized Web sites, Painting said in an interview after the session. All too often, businesses just haven’t given any thought to their mobile sites, but responsive web design can make all the difference as to whether a consumer will buy something online through their mobile device, she said.

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Candice So
Candice So
Candice is a graduate of Carleton University and has worked in several newsrooms as a freelance reporter and intern, including the Edmonton Journal, the Ottawa Citizen, the Globe and Mail, and the Windsor Star. Candice is a dog lover and a coffee drinker.

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