The progress of digital marketing shows no signs of slowing as companies across the globe continue to use it as their first choice - and quite often only - means of marketing.
But where is it all heading?
Technology is developing at such a rate that brands are struggling to keep pace with the latest developments, Gareth Miller, strategic director of Carswell Gould, discussed in our Marketing on the Couch podcast.
“There are so many digital hot topics at the moment, like live streaming, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR),” he says. “All these things are hot property in marketing but people are struggling to find a use for them. It’s a solution waiting for a problem but the jury is out on a lot of these things.”
Gareth cites the live streaming on Facebook Live of American President Donald Trump’s inauguration as an example of how a new marketing tactic from a digital giant can sometimes still only deliver underwhelming results. “Considering that Trump has something like 20 million followers on Twitter, there were only 12,000 people watching it on Facebook Live,” he says. “If you think that such a large world event only attracts 12,000 people to watch it live, it just reinforces how far there is still to go for live streaming.”
Gareth continues: “I think there is danger for brands putting a lot of time, money and investment behind something that is unproven. If it’s done well it may cost a lot of money, but if the content isn’t great and you have a lot of people watching it, then potentially it could be damaging for your brand.
“As an integrated marketing agency, we are well placed to look across the board and start with the end objective of the client and then put together a mix of things that go towards achieving those objectives.
“Often this is a mix of paid content and organic content; things that are sticky and provide something that people want to engage with. But you don’t want to be preaching to an empty church, so you may need to put a bit of money behind it on the advertising side.
“This means giving things a push both with traditional advertising but also with, for example, promoted posts and Pay Per Click, so people actually see the content. Hopefully, if the content is engaging enough, then people will share it.”
And the great thing about digital marketing is that it allows you the opportunity to adjust and scrutinise your results on an ongoing basis, therefore giving you the chance to achieve better results.
“Nothing is perfect to start off with and I think that’s the beauty of digital marketing - you can test everything,” Gareth explains. “So you can test, refine and test to improve all the way through a campaign. For example, you can pick up which colours work, which phrases work, which email titles work and make sure you refine it so you do the best job.
“We can now look at exactly what part of your budget is working, which we can tweak on an almost minute by minute basis. We can look at things like who’s viewing it, where they’re viewing it, how long they’re viewing it for. This way we can make sure everything we are doing is optimised and delivering the results that you’re after.”
Gareth adds: “You’ve got to have that single-minded vision and have the clarity about what that end point is, as well as what success looks like.
“At Carswell Gould we use a blend of tactics to achieve our clients’ goals and we live and die by the results we achieve. We’re very keen, therefore, on measuring everything and being able to say, ‘look this achieved a really good return on investment for you and please keep spending money with us'.”