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How Digital Marketing Changed Advertising Forever

Long, long ago marketers felt the need to explain everything about their products or services in an advertisement. Yawn. And then along came the internet. At last we were able to isolate different parts of the overall sales process in different channels. And it became a lot simpler and cheap to do that.

This freed traditional channels to do what they do best, and not be burdened by carrying the entire customer conversion process in every advertisement. Television commercials could be used to make consumers fall in love with a brand. Radio could make a personal connection. Print could romanticize the brand. No selling here. We could use broad awareness channels to flag the customer’s attention.

Digital Marketing

"What evolved was the ablility for marketers to push the envelope of each channel while improving the overall performance of the campaign." 

Meanwhile, all the research materials, features and benefits were available on the web for those who wanted more details. We carefully seeded high-traffic areas with positive information about the brand. And then we would eventually give them a reason to buy that closed the deal. It’s a classic marketing funnel. We were asking each medium to do its part in the customer conversion process and in doing so, created a power dynamic. What evolved was the ability for marketers to push the envelope of each channel while improving the overall performance of the campaign.

Fast-forward to today, when the number of people (and time spent) on the internet rivals the averages of any mass media channel. So you now have the ability to create entire digital marketing funnels online. It cost less and gives you the flexibility to do some niche targeting—surfacing your best customers.

Digital marketing covers many different tactics: banner ads including rich media, page takeovers, websites, landing pages, retargeting, content marketing, social media, PPC or AdWords, search engine optimization (SEO), videos, podcasts, blogs and email marketing. The best way to choose which channels are right for your brand is to map each one to a different part of the marketing funnel. Test. Optimize or replace. Repeat. Broad awareness is typically measured by impressions. Consideration and preference are measured by dwell time, bounce rate, and engagement. Leads are measured in clicks and conversions.

At different phases of the customer journey, different channels are more effective. According to a survey done by Google, reviews and online research make up 37% of a consumer’s buying decision during the consideration phase, and 31% by the time of purchase. So measure everything. Buy as much broad awareness as you can afford while still delivering a positive return on investment. And always build the bottom of the marketing funnel first.

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