Until now, digital marketing has largely been about the corporate websites that companies launched with the hope that these sites will peddle their products to consumers all across the world.
It didn’t work. Instead of attracting the consumers, these dumb websites annoyed them. Companies never understood and never tried to understand the subtleties of digital marketing.
Their lack of knowledge was successfully exploited by the so-called digital brand agencies that mostly metamorphosed from orthodox advertising and marketing outfits. Companies burned their bucks with these agencies, while the results ranged from depressing to disastrous.
But one thing emerged clearly in this chaos. That is, the use of digital media for marketing is not an option, but it’s an imperative for companies in the globalized business world.
While digital marketing is a dynamic subject, today if you want to leverage it for your business growth, your digital agency must cover the following 15 areas.
Here are the 15 digital marketing areas:
1. Brand Management
After understanding your brand and the surrounding ecosystem, the agency should make a complete marketing strategy for your company and provide custom brand management services. The work also includes creation of corporate kit, product kit, and media kit in multimedia formats highlighting your brand strengths.
2. Web Content
If your website is built with old static technologies, you must revamp it with the latest options such as Responsive Web Design (RWD), providing a smooth access to users on different front-end devices. Plus, the content on your site should always be fresh. Corporate and brand content creation and regular updation of your website and blog should be the responsibility of the agency that you hire.
3. Social Media Management
Although social media communication is a tricky ballgame, you should at least build your brand presence on popular social media sites like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Flickr, Twitter, and YouTube. Regular brand messaging on these sites can help you attract consumers for enhanced brand recall. Difficult job. But don’t ignore it.
4. Advanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
You will look foolish if you have a site of a dozen odd pages and start expecting search engines to show your site pages at the top of search results that cull out data from over a trillion pages on the Web.
Shady SEO agencies will promise you this kind of service, but the results will be dangerous for your site as well as brand. As contemporary Web search technologies respect content, insist on content-based SEO services, which are more effective than conventional SEO techniques.
5. Web Analytics
There is a slew of Web analytic services – including Google Analytics, Amazon’s Alexa, Compete, Quantcast, and others – that promise to provide you data on different parameters about the interaction on your site. Trouble is, none of them is reliable. You can test this by comparing their results for the same site for the same period of time. Their Web traffic estimates will terrify you. The same is true for social media analytic services.
However, your digital agency should be able to cut through the clutter and give you a qualitative analysis on the user interaction with your site to help you refine the company’s marketing strategies. The analysis will cover your company’s website as well as interaction with your pages on social media sites.
6. Digital Public Relations
While public relations (PR) is an important brand promotion activity, traditional and old-styled PR approach does not work in the new-media universe. Your digital agency must understand the finer nuances of PR and digital media channels to provide complete PR services including content creation and communications to promote your brand in the local as well as international markets.
7. Mobile Marketing
Today, mobile marketing is mainly limited to SMS, and mobile is still not a reliable medium for brand messaging because of various factors such as m-spam, geographical limitations, device form factor, and so on. However, your agency can provide selective and ethical mobile marketing services if it understand all aspects of mobile content and communications.
8. Competition Tracking
An important marketing need is to know what your competing companies are doing. Web monitoring can help you do that. But Web is like an information ocean. It’s not easy to track your competition’s activities.
Your agency should have sufficient knowledge of advanced digital tracking software tools to fetch information about your competition and give you qualitative analysis of the collected data. It can help you fine-tune your marketing plans.
9. Advertising Support
Online ad landscape is undergoing a seismic shift where most digital ad options are increasingly being challenged. So, it’s not advisable to go in for paid online advertisements particularly in the initial period of your digital marketing exercise.
However, depending on your brand requirement, your agency should be able to handle complete advertisement work including ad creation, selection of online media properties, ad delivery, payments, etc.
10. Campaign Management
Instead of spending money on individual, one-off ads, it’s always recommended to carry out sustained digital promotional campaigns. Although these campaigns are expensive, they are extremely useful for consumer engagement and for higher levels of brand recall.
Your agency should be able to conceptualize and do Web- and social media-based advertising and marketing campaigns. In most cases, these campaigns are supported by field activities.
11. Event Management
All of us know that physical participation in local and international exhibitions can cost you an arm and a leg, as traveling and display costs are very high.
Your digital agency should give you options to participate in virtual events that use digital platforms. Virtual exhibitions are not only cost effective, but they also have far greater impact on your potential buyers and other business partners.
Depending on the category of your products, the agency should be able to create exclusive e-commerce stores for you or use other established e-commerce platforms for you to actually sell your products in different parts of the world.
Initially, it will not be easy for you to attract consumer traffic on your e-commerce sites. However, if your agency has sufficient content creation skills, it can create relevant content to ensure consumer engagement which can be translated into sales.
13. Impact Analysis
Unlike traditional media, the biggest advantage of digital media is the impact measurement. You can measure – or at least estimate – the impact of your digital marketing efforts. It can help you calculate the return on investment (RoI) that you make on digital marketing.
However, the standard quantitative tools to measure impact may not be sufficient to give you the real level of impact. Your agency must generate quantitative and qualitative impact measurement reports for different digital brand promotion activities.
In today’s information-driven world, digital marketing can’t be a secondary activity for your company. Rather, you should adopt it as a complete and exclusive business process for which you need to usher in an enterprise-wide cultural change.
To help you achieve this goal, the agency should provide digital marketing training to your select staff so that they could become an effective interface between the digital agency and your company.
15. Export Marketing
Depending on your requirement, some digital marketing agencies can act as integrated sales & marketing partners for you. To handle your exports, they will work as an extended export arm for your company.
In this case, they will use traditional and digital channels to manage end-to-end work to market your products in different export markets in a revenue-sharing arrangement.
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The above 15 areas are explained briefly just to give you an indication of the scope of digital marketing. Actually, these areas are extremely complex and there are only a handful (not even a dozen) of agencies in the world that can handle all the digital marketing activities stated above.
But if you want to seriously leverage digital marketing, you can’t ignore any of these areas. The best implementation model will be a combination of in-house skills, consulting support, and digital marketing services. Try it.
By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society. Earlier, he has worked with the United Nations (UN) through United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as a digital media expert.