The latest on digital marketing

Five new marketing developments

I’ve recently written about new tech that is changing the foundation of digital marketing. Since then, additional digital marketing developments have emerged that can help you expand your customer base.

  • NEW REFINEMENTS FOR MULTI-CHANNEL MARKETING—How does a business navigate the rapidly expanding number of channels available to marketers? Placing the same content across all venues without calibrating for your specific target audiences doesn’t work. Bottom line—you need to build and engage audiences across the channels that offer greater engagement for your established and new demographic targets. The latest data management platforms now make this much easier to achieve.
  • DIMINISHED RETURNS FOR ORGANIC REACH MARKETING—For years, the standard Pay per Click (PPC) way to market goods and services lost ground to Organic Reach Marketing (ORM). Reasons for the switch–while PPC includes immediate tracking of clicks, research showed (and continues to show) lower correlation with actual sales than was assumed. Moreover, PPC could be costly, and ads had less credibility than ORM, which, when supported by solid SEO, generated unique published content that would surface to the top of search engine results. By 2016, social media platforms like Facebook had reached a saturation point with business pages competing for followers. As a result, many social media platforms began pushing paid advertising. FB organic reach, e.g., is now down to 2% and is expected to decline further this year. Other problems with ORM include slow-paced market penetration, the complex challenges of SEO and the absolute requirement of publishing only the highest quality content to catch the attention of new consumers.
  • MEASURES AGAINST AD BLOCKING WILL BE MORE EFFECTIVE –Marketers have been hit hard by ad blockers. According to one estimate, they will have lost $35B by 2020 if they fail to do something about it. You may have noticed that they’re already pushing back. For example, marketers are now ‘whitelisting’ websites so that content is hidden to viewers using ad blockers. Another key factor— ad blockers are most commonly installed on desktop computers. So, the big shift to mobile media consumption is making it easier for marketers to get through to a larger percentage of customers, including those under age 35 who are the biggest fans of ad blockers. For these reasons, internet experts expect ad blocking will begin to diminish in 2017.
  • MORE BRANDS WILL OFFER CHATBOTS—Though customers usually prefer to speak directly to a customer service rep, chatbots are gaining wider acceptance. A list of website answers to FAQ’s doesn’t cut it. However, chatbots require a lot of behind-the-scenes work to meet customer expectations.
  • BROWSER PUSH NOTIFICATIONS—Push notifications are can be a powerful marketing and customer engagement tool – when properly implemented, but are also a highly misunderstood technique.

digital marketing


Last Christmas season, IBM’s Watson Team provided the Mall of America with a ‘mobile concierge’ to guide customers through the mall. And Nordstrom recently launched its first chatbot on FB Messenger. According to a recent survey, 80% of sales and marketing leaders are either already using chatbots or plan to implement them within the next three years. Customer expectations are growing for improved chatbot technology to give them answers tailored to their exact needs and preferences.

Below, I’ll describe other important digital marketing developments, as well as outlining costly marketing mistakes you need to avoid.

Additional digital marketing developments

So far I have described several new digital marketing developments that could help improve your business—advances in multichannel marketing, a decline in organic reach marketing, more chatbots (that require the latest programming to avoid alienating customers), and ad blockers reaching a saturation point.

digital marketing strategy

Four additional digital marketing developments to avoid

  • TOUCHPOINTS, NOT CLICKS OR LIKES — When a visitor clicks your site it can be for many reasons unrelated to interest in your product or service. This single metric does not track what happens after the click. It’s a lot more effective to track multiple touchpoint indicators in your social media and direct customer communications. Doing so gives you a much better idea of whether a visitor is seriously considering buying a product or service. Marketers are becoming more strategic about the audiences they target. Instead of aiming for millions of views, new marketing tech allows them to narrow their targeting perhaps hundreds of thousands, yielding a much higher hit ratio. This benefits both consumers (who see ads that are more relevant) and marketers (who achieve higher conversion rates).
  • MARTECH (MARKET TECHNOLOGY) INDUSTRY CONSOLIDATION — In 2012, there were about 350 martech companies; today there are over 3,500. Industry analysts expect that number to decrease as large corporations like Google, Facebook, Verizon, Disney and Netflix expand their independent ad tech and marketing capabilities. The reason? First, this strategy helps companies track advertising and customer communication across multiple touch points (discussed above) which, in turn, generates higher ROI. More importantly, marketers benefit by controlling their own data via centralized Data Management Platforms (DMPs). DMPs help them zero in on likely customers while enhancing nuanced branding for different demographic groups.
  • PROGRAMMATIC AD BUYING — When marketers purchase ads programmatically they coordinate data for their in-house buyers, sometimes outsourcing all or part of the work to external agencies. Implementing this can be challenging, but is crucial to companies that want to take their marketing to the next level. Algorithms that filter behavioral data automate otherwise labor-intensive tasks like reading spreadsheets. Also, “targeted ad buys” and “site-based retargeting” help define customer pools that result in higher conversion rates. If you are thinking of developing a new ad-buying strategy, please Google those terms for additional information.
  • QUALITY VIDEO ABOVE QUANTITYCisco has predicted that video will make up 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic by 2020, up from its already enormous 70 percent share two years ago. When marketers first started using video, they tracked number of views instead of tracking conversions. But with so many video channels now online, brands need much better ways to measure success. One thing is certain: research clearly supports the conclusion that high-quality video generates higher ROI compared with production of multiple videos of lower quality. In a recent survey, only 10% of ad professionals said they were confident about the ROI they were getting from their video ad purchases.


So far I gave an overview of significant recent digital marketing tech advances that can increase your ROI. However, before you launch your next marketing strategy, be careful to avoid the pitfalls described in this final installment.

Rules of engagement

Never degrade your brand by, e.g.,—(1) uploading ads with oversized, aggressive banner ads, especially those not scaled for mobile screens; or (2) inserting fake arrows that misdirect readers away from legitimate content to pop up window ads. Bottom line—it matters HOW you gain clicks.

Common digital marketing mistakes

Despite the buzz about new breakthroughs in digital advertising, be aware—

  • Frequency (of clicks, e.g.) is only weakly related to increasing market share.
  • Consumers typically care less about brand differences than is commonly believed.
  • Unless you have a lot of money to invest, let other marketers be the early adopters of new breakthrough technologies like, e.g., Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.

Web push notifications

How to use Browser Push Notifications

Web push notifications are becoming a crucial part of marketing funnel – they help to bring immediate attention. This comes in to play when we talk about timing – and when to target a potential customer with the right message. When using browser push notifications, the timing of the message should be synced to the right point in the customer’s funnel journey.

Doing this will get you the maximum benefit out of this marketing technique.

web push notifications

Question the following assumptions

  • “Your followers will promote your brand”—Many marketers believe their social media followers will promote their products and services. This seldom happens. How many brands have you told friends about this week? This month? –To achieve better results, adopt a paid media strategy.
  • “Digital marketing makes traditional venues obsolete”—People still watch TV, read paper publications, notice billboards, etc. Your advertising strategy depends on your target audience. You often get the best results by reinforcing your message across a number of venues, not limiting yourself to digital. –Developing diverse content is great, as long as you have enough money to maintain high production quality across all selected media. For example, when you create a new video, be sure it’s been audience tested. All too often, people watch the first 4-5 seconds of a video and then click away.
  • “Capitalize on sensational breaking events”—It easily backfires when a company leader tweets about the latest terrorist attack, e.g., especially when widely perceived as capitalizing on the suffering of others. This tactic can also come across as a desperate attempt to seem relevant. Even worse, the flood of media information about such events creates so much ‘noise’ that such messages are seldom heard. Only organizations with big budgets seem able to break through such barriers (think Super bowl ads).
  • “Always tailor your ad content to specific groups”—The key word here is ‘always.’ There are times when one beautifully executed ad with broad appeal for a major network TV audience achieves better results than multiple ads tailored for different demographics on another venue.
  • “Programmatic ad buying is a no brainer”—While programmatic ad buying can save you time and money, it isn’t a panacea. The marketer is still responsible for choosing among different strategic options and implementing the campaign.

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