Preparing for the next stages in evolution
Part of the transformation of many business processes within an organization given the available technology capabilities is in the area of advertising and marketing. Majority of customers already imbibe digital behavior in many aspects of everyday living, and organizations look into incorporating the same digital inclusion in their processes and operations in order to reach their target customers.
Specifically, advertising and marketing communications are no exception, and in fact could be considered as one of the more important areas where businesses focus their digital efforts. An overall framework that can be looked into at the macro level is Integrated Digital Marketing, a popular go-to strategy of organizations, to complement and supplement traditional marketing efforts in an effort to align with the changing times.
But what is digital marketing? In order to understand digital marketing and its impact in business, it is imperative to look into the six components that make this up, and which organizations spend time and resources to come up with an overall digital marketing plan:
1. Goals – An effort that requires understanding the organization and its direction moving forward. Has a strategy been formulated and already in place? Do we have executive sponsorship at the top in executing the strategies in order to meet the goals? What are the primary goals of your campaign? Is it to gain more customers, identify more leads or increase brand awareness? Knowing what the goals are would help in focusing efforts to achieve these.
2. Audience – Simply put, who are your target customers and what are their demographics? Are you targeting a specific location or a specific age bracket in promoting your product or service? It may sound simple, but work has to be done at the back end such as doing persona research, conducting empathy interviews, mapping customer journey experiences and even deploying usage, attitude and image (UAI) studies.
3. Messaging – An essential part in any digital marketing campaign, messaging looks into the value proposition as the key message, with the corresponding call to action provided. What makes your product or service unique that it should appeal to your target market? How are you different from the rest? Your messaging should capture this.
4. Channels – How will you be conveying the message and executing the campaign? What channels will you be using? There are a couple of ways to get to your target customers such as mounting events, doing a public relations (PR) project, utilizing social media and promoting or using your website.
5. Content – This is the way you work on your messaging to share pertinent information in order to create content that’s interesting enough for your target customers to stop, look and listen. Content can be done in a variety of ways such as image, video, audio and text. Video is a popular go-to as it is short and can capture the attention of your audience in a short span of time.
6. Monitoring – measurement of key metrics and analysis of what works well, and what doesn’t, and an input to iterate. This can be done by tracking the channels you used such as social media.
Now that we have understood integrated digital marketing, it is imperative to then look into the channels that can be utilized to roll out your digital marketing campaign. This is called integrated marketing communications channels. The are seven channels available for an organization to look into and consider:
- Personal selling
- Digital marketing
- Direct marketing
- PR and publicity
- Events and experiences
- Sales promotion
Of the seven channels provided, three key areas that we will touch on are in digital marketing, PR and events and experiences. These are the areas that most companies in the country look into and spend time and resources on.
The use of digital marketing has risen exponentially especially when the pandemic hit. While traditional media has always worked in a market like the Philippines, digital marketing is now gaining traction due to the shift to digital by customers. This is why organizations consider digital marketing in their overall marketing efforts: execution is also faster and results more immediate as access to information is usually at your fingertips.
Digital marketing requires having a set goal and identifying the available platforms that can be used – be it your website, social media platforms or search engines. In addition, it is equally important to monitor results and ensure that iteration can be done in order to be flexible and responsive on the campaign results. A campaign on one platform may work effectively but may not be the same on a different platform, and it’s important to observe this so companies can be agile and adapt accordingly.
MSMEs or micro, small and medium enterprises may find digital marketing intimidating especially if the business owner is from an older generation. To make things simpler, digital marketing is utilizing the power of the internet in promoting products and services. In other words, the use of Facebook or Instagram, or even a website, for that matter, is considerably applying digital marketing. This is a good starting point.
PR and publicity
To be “top of mind” is always the objective of organizations promoting their products and services. One way of achieving this is to remain visible – and this is where public relations can come in. Public relations cover thought leadership, advertorials and interviews (both digital and print), among others, with the objective of achieving and increasing brand awareness. It is also important to consider the different social media tools available depending on the type of audience being targeted. It is also important to think about how different generations may prefer different platforms, with the rise of short-form video content in TikTok and Facebook Reels as providing marketing practices via new channels to target to younger generations.
Events and experiences
Filipinos are highly sociable people. Activities such as events where people gather are always favored and welcome, and digital events are no exemption. In executing such events it is important to be able to (a) organize, (b) invite an audience, (c) execute, (d) monitor and (e) report to cover the end-to-end lifecycle of staging an event.
In the age of pandemic, we have seen how companies opted to stage virtual activities rather than face-to-face for a period of time – we have seen product or services launches and even webinars conducted via online platforms and streamed online as well for greater reach. This set up has led to the acceptance of virtual events, or at least an option available aside from face-to-face. However, this poses a challenge to marketers as there is now a need to take into account the engagement threshold i.e. the point at which the audience engagement is maintained and below which is lost. Obviously, the engagement threshold in face-to-face setting is high while that in virtual is low. This means that in holding virtual events, the marketer should employ more engagement tools such as polling, frequent slide motions, and videos. This keeps the audience engaged and focused, and thereby making the activity successful.
A question that is usually asked is, “which area should I focus? Traditional or digital?” Our response has always been to consider a hybrid approach, and observe a good balance of both offline and online marketing efforts in order to assess effectivity of each approach based on the target audience. As marketers, there is only one way to find out and this is to experiment on both options and react accordingly based on monitoring of the results. At this point, companies and organizations should take advantage of technology capabilities available in order to be flexible in capturing intended audience.
With that, organizations may consider these as part of their 2023 marketing efforts.
Kay Calpo Lugtu is the Chief Operating Officer of Hungry Workhorse, a digital and culture transformation firm. Her advocacies include food innovation, nation-building and sustainability. The author may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org