Companies rushed to integrate data and technology into their strategic communications to reach their markets when the COVID-19 lockdowns forced customers online for everything from toilet paper to durable goods.
Investment in digital marketing slumped somewhat in the immediate aftermath of the panic, but it remains a critical and growing channel.
The 2022 CMO Survey found that companies spend over half of their marketing budgets on digital channels. Nearly three-quarters of companies said integrating digital with traditional brand marketing and advertising significantly contributes to overall company growth objectives. And digital marketing start-ups raised almost $25 billion in venture capital in the first half of 2023.
In a program like the online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Strategic Communication from Avila University, students learn about digital marketing strategies and how to respond and adapt to new technologies and changes in the field.
What Are Key Digital Marketing Strategies?
In an article from Forbes, Tony Pec cites seven key trends shaping the future of digital marketing, including:
- Virtual and augmented reality enables customers to “try on” products using their devices to overlay their digital photos with interactive marketing elements on web and social media apps. The technology allows customers to see, for instance, how furniture would fit in their living rooms.
- Artificial intelligence analyzes customer data to optimize personalization, enrich the customer experience and automate tasks such as email campaigns.
- Voice search technology, such as smart home devices, influences search engine optimization (SEO) for precisely targeted content delivery and interactive brand experiences, such as games and video content.
- Short-form video creates engaging, concise content on TikTok and other social media platforms for brand engagement.
“The future of digital marketing is exciting, and businesses that are willing to adapt to new trends will have the best chance of success,” Pec predicts, adding that innovative companies are market leaders and growth organizations.
What Is the Best Content for Successful Digital Marketing?
Even as customers continue migrating in droves to online shopping, Bennett Conlin, writing for Business News Daily, says integrating SEO content and social media remains the king of strategic marketing communication. Savvy digital marketers, however, avoid sales pitches and instead engage shoppers looking for authentic, relevant content that helps them learn how a product or service will enrich their lives.
In the post-graduate education space, for instance, Avila University employs blogs to engage prospective students on how businesses benefit from digital marketing strategies covered in its online curriculum. Conlin also notes that social media platforms are evolving in the marketing mix, predicting that the global market using them will grow to 6 billion in 2027 from the current 4 billion.
“Sharing about topics that interest your customers is a great way to build brand awareness and customer loyalty,” Conlin says, adding that social media enables companies to listen to their target markets for insights that allow them to adjust to changing trends.
How Does Influencer Marketing Tie Into Digital Strategies?
What was once called “celebrity endorsement” is now influencer marketing. Hubspot reports that 90% of marketers who use personalities and industry experts to pitch products will increase or maintain investment in the strategy. Nearly 20% of survey respondents said they will use it for the first time this year to expand brand awareness and engage target markets.
Understanding those markets is critical to the success of influencer marketing. Several huge brands injected themselves into the culture wars on the wrong side of their key customers with disastrous outcomes.
Bud Light, for instance, turned off its base, resulting in a $395 billion revenue loss for its parent, Anheuser-Busch, in 2Q23. The blowback cost the brand its long-time status as America’s No.1 beer after its VP of marketing tried to reposition its identity from one she described as “kind of out-of-touch” to a more inclusive brand.
What Is the Role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Digital Marketing?
Just as it has done in virtually every aspect of business, AI is disrupting marketing.
AI’s ability to learn without human intervention and process incoming data in real time enables marketers to identify market patterns and trends as they emerge, accelerating and refining decision-making processes and crafting precisely targeted campaigns that resonate with consumer segments.
“This revolutionary approach is transforming the landscape of marketing and sales, driving greater effectiveness and customer engagement from the very start of the customer journey,” McKinsey & Company states. Avila University’s online M.A. in Strategic Communication program equips graduates with skills and insights that advance their careers in senior digital marketing roles overseeing the creative brand strategies that engage markets and increase sales.