Marketing is a field that is constantly evolving, and technology is accelerating that shift.
By WANJIKU KIMANI
“All eyes are online, so that’s where your business needs to be.” This is a mantra that has been repeated to managers and business owners ever since the onset of digital marketing. This field is rapidly becoming more complicated and keeping track of the latest developments is a full-time job. There are more ways of getting to clients that could not have been predicted 10 years ago. However, the basic tenets of marketing remain the same – businesses need to find the perfect customer and convince them to buy a product or service. These new technologies offer innovative ways of achieving these two goals.
Customer analytics and marketing strategy
Social media provides organisations with numerous potential clients. When running a social media campaign, companies should track and analyse the performance of their efforts – from sales to customer service and overall engagement. This practice is known as social media analytics. Analytics tools vary for each platform, though the most common are Google Analytics, Facebook Insight, Twitter Analytics and Hootsuite. By using data metrics to analyse the performance of previous campaigns, marketing managers can develop more effective campaigns.
When advertising on social media, reckless promotion across the Internet is ineffective as the information may not reach the intended audience. Organisations could consider using hyper targeting – a tool which eliminates wastage of resources. Build a customised audience on Facebook, as this will ensure that selected viewers fit your target and are more likely to see the adverts online. Facebook’s targeting options also uses customers’ browser history to show related adverts. Google too does promote hyper targeting with AdSearch which uses key word optimisation or paid adverts to rank a website in search results. This increases the chances of the organisation being seen by someone who is actively looking for a product.
Another tool that allows organisations to target a specific audience is multicultural marketing which works not only in terms of the standard demographics such as age, gender and race, but also considers lifestyle, education, family size and career. This lets the organisation know the culture of the intended market, over and above the race or ethnic group, and develop precise campaign selling points that compel a purchasing decision.
New technologies that allow businesses to find their customers are increasing daily, but the most key step is converting that lead into a sale once the customer has been identified.
Converting lead into sale
The art of marketing is essentially convincing people to spend money. In the digital space, influencers are cut for this job. Influencer marketing, as the name suggests, involves an influential individual who has a significant social media following. This following is made up of the target audience that an organisation needs to market to, and with relevant content creation, they can subtly create interest in their products. This form of marketing is unique in that influencers can be found across the internet, be it a chef with recipe videos, a business guru with widely read articles or a popular fashion photographer.
Marketing strategies have always included the use of giveaways and gifts as an enticement for customers to complete a purchase, but the digital sphere is changing the way this is done though Quick Response codes. Known as QR codes, these small blocks of code can contain data from text, to website URLs, videos and pictures, GPS coordinates or contact details et cetera. These codes can be placed on almost anything – magazines, food packaging, outdoor advertising or flyers – and the advantage is that the organisation can trigger a ripple effect by offering promotional information and other rewards to users who scan the code on any internet enabled mobile device. A study in Japan showed that most users of QR codes remained loyal to a brand after receiving promotional material and the organisation was able to provide more engaging services.
Another application of QR codes is in augmented reality (AR). Though this sounds like science fiction, it is in fact a digital marketing tool that influences buyer decisions by combining reality and digital technology in one format. By overlaying information either in video, text or picture format over real-life objects, consumers can view what the seller wants them to see. For example, if a furniture supplier needs to convince a buyer to purchase a couch, the prospective buyer can take a photo of the space where they envision the couch to be. By accessing the application provided by the company, they can get a virtual image of what that couch would look like in their house and make an informed purchase decision as a result.
The other version of AR works through QR codes and this is found on printed material. By scanning this code, customers have an immersive 3D experience where digital overlays provide additional information on top of what they are physically looking at.
These digital technologies form a link between todays` marketing campaigns and the customer’s real-life experience in a truly ingenious format. Indeed, major disruptions to traditional marketing practices are being witnessed everyday.
Wanjiku Kimani is a digital marketer and a freelance journalist based in Nairobi. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org