There is no getting around it – the digital effect within modern commerce is certainly causing disruption, creating winners and losers. Success means finding a path through the overwhelming noise, detail, and options within today’s digital economy.
Finding a path starts with gaining an understanding of our digital economy and how to navigate within it. This is where we can turn to traditional marketing methods and tweak their usage… let me explain.
Consider the tools on offer, the speed with which we can now make a change, and what customers find important. From here, we can tweak a traditional marketing/sales funnel into the following steps:
- Engage // strategic ideas / sustainability
- Activate // creating connections
- Convert // measurable customer action and conversion
- Transact // reduce friction / path-to-purchase
- Retain // data-driven personalised experiences
Before we go too far, let’s examine why we’ve mixed things up.
The welcoming of digital toolkits and conversion tools has meant marketing teams can use and view data faster than ever before. Teams then review findings and extrapolate short-term findings into long-term trends. This can be helpful. However, it often results in companies ignoring their long-term representation – their brand.
These digital conversion tools have traditionally sat at the end of the funnel, driving conversions and transactions. This is where they belong and work best. The job of the brand is to fill the funnel – an area digital conversion tools can’t address.
Why brands matter
For most, ‘brand’ encompasses a company’s visual and messaging representation – however, brands are far more than these things. They influence the value of a company, articulate points of difference, and strengthen customer interaction and conversion. For example, in the 1980s brand value within a company was 17%, 40 years on brand now equates to 87%.
Brand messaging is an area where we see a big shift. Businesses often rush to tell their story and show themselves off. This can fail to connect, as customers must first associate, trust and interact with a brand.
Provide a great customer experience, then build the narrative.
Digital is often personalised, but not personal
By now, you have no doubt seen a marketing email addressed to you with your name or an ad tailored to your interests. Personalisation was great 10 years ago – nowadays we need to work a little harder. This is where brands should start to stand for something beyond their product alone – connecting the brand proposition to positive societal impact.
Start mattering to people
Going back to our traditional marketing/sales funnel, you’d be forgiven for thinking advocacy is a good measure of customer loyalty and retention. Advocacy can now be termed ‘social awareness’ in this modern society focused on societal change.
Social awareness is powerful as it pertains to the need for people to identify with positive societal change. This is why you will now see brands standing for positive change such as equality and sustainability.
Brands that understand the importance of social influence within an audience harness this social awareness to champion their brand. This social amplification grounds a brand in ideas that do much heavier lifting than the brand itself. Ideas that connect with people and allow people to connect with each other.
Measure what matters
Considering then that social awareness influences a brand – how do you measure that? It’s a fair question. Due to these influences, brand health can now predominantly be measured through brand awareness & affinity to what the brand stands for.
Due to this expectation of brands shifting to address positive societal change, engagement will also need to measure community and environmental involvement.
Brand Engagement Tip:
Understand what matters to customers, align these to trackable metrics, and use that to gauge how well the customer needs are being met.
Let’s not forget about short-term digital conversion metrics. These are still very useful. The digital economy is largely demand-led, where contact is initiated by customers. Use this to your advantage. Digital conversion metrics can be used to respond to changes in customer behaviour. Agility is on your side here. Marketers face today’s challenge lies in finding the balance between measuring short-term digital metrics and stimulating long-term brand growth.