Your business and digital marketing
Whether or not your business is suited to digital marketing depends very much on the nature of that business, where it is now, and where you want it to go in the future. If, for example, you’re a dairy farmer in rural Ireland, have a fixed contract to supply milk to the local co-operative, and have little, if any, scope or ambition to diversify and grow your business year-on-year, then digital marketing probably isn’t for you.
Likewise, if you’re a local butcher with an established client base in a thriving market town in the English Peak District, and simply want to maintain the status quo, then again you’ll probably do just fine without digital marketing.
If, however, you’re a Peak District butcher looking to diversify your product offering, broaden the scope of your business and want to start selling your quality organic produce to restaurants and hotels around the country… well then, welcome to the world of digital marketing.
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Digital marketing – yes or no
There are really only two key questions you need to answer when it comes to deciding whether or not your business needs a digital marketing strategy.
Is my audience online/is it going to be online? If your customers use digital technology to research and/or purchase the products and services you provide, then you absolutely need to embrace digital marketing now in order to engage with them and retain them. If they don’t, then you don’t. It really is that simple.
This can be a tricky one – but the answer is usually yes. Typically it doesn’t matter what your product, service or brand is: as long as you have established that there is a viable online audience for it, then you should be promoting it online. While some products and services are obviously more suited to online purchase and fulfilment than others, you will also find being marketed effectively through digital channels plenty of items that few people would ever dream of actually purchasing over the internet.
Laying strong digital foundations
The good news is that you’ve almost certainly already started the process of defining your digital marketing strategy. Before even picking up this book you’ve probably been thinking about digital marketing in the context of your business, about what your competitors are doing online and why, about how your customers and prospects are integrating digital technology into their lives, and about how you can best exploit these new and exciting digital channels to foster longer, more productive relationships with them.
Understanding the digital consumer
There is a notion that pervades marketing circles today, a notion of mysterious ethereal creatures who exist in a hyper-connected, multifaceted cyber world of their own. They are an enigma: they speak a different language, communicate in ways we don’t understand, and they are turning the world of marketing on its head. These are the ephemeral, wraith-like ‘digital consumers’, who slip effortlessly through the marketer’s grasp.
The first thing to realize about digital consumers is that there is basically no such thing. The customers and prospects you encounter online are the very same people who walk into your store every day, call you on the telephone, or order something from your mail-order catalogue. There’s nothing dark, sinister or mysterious about them. They are people – like everybody else.