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The Role Of Digital Marketing In Brand Experience

Chris Cavanaugh/ EVP and chief marketing officer of the leading global provider of brand experiences, Freeman/Forbes

In the world of brand experience, the technology that helps us to advance our narratives is evolving at breakneck speed. It seems like every week we hear about a new device or application that promises to revolutionize the industry and open new doors to engagement. For marketers, it’s a pretty wonderful time to be alive.

However, there are some who see this digital revolution as a threat to the more traditional face-to-face elements of the events industry. Nothing could be further from the truth. As always, the key to keeping up with the technological revolution is to fully embrace it, understand its potential and figure out how to properly integrate it into your larger strategy.

I really like the term “brand experience” for this reason. Strictly speaking, a brand experience is about designing a sensory experience that brings a person into a lasting and meaningful relationship with a brand. What’s nice about this definition is that it doesn’t say “how” or “when” that relationship happens. It’s purposefully open-ended because the only thing that matters is that the relationship happens in the first place. How and when you get there is entirely up to you.

Start With Digital Marketing

While it’s tempting to dream big when it comes to technology, it’s important to remember that digital marketing is your workhorse. It may not be as eye-popping or headline-grabbing as a virtual reality experience, but digital marketing services are integral to the success and growth of your client’s event.

In 2016, we saw that the top five channels for marketing spend were email, social, online display and retargeting, mobile, and search. There’s a good reason for this: They all work. Email has evolved into a much smarter, more targeted channel, and more importantly, it’s a fantastic source of data. A sharp social media strategy can help you target specific demographics or interests (or even better, thought leaders) to grow awareness of and interest in your event. Display ads and a search can help you find people who are looking for you (and just haven’t quite made their way to you yet). And retargeting is a handy “second chance” tool that can help you recruit users who already visited your site and failed to register.

Individually, all of these elements create new pathways and channels to your client’s audience, help you to learn more about individual audience behaviors and needs and play a massive role in getting people to the event in the first place. Taken as a whole, they create an entire web of benefits that can generate revenue, grow attendance and improve overall engagement for your client’s brand experience.

Embrace The High Tech

Technology provides the perfect opportunity to fine-tune our offerings, enhance the way we serve our clients and find new ways to nurture the relationships between audiences and brands. It also provides us with incredible tools to tell richer stories and build more fantastic worlds. Unfortunately, too few of us are taking advantage of its massive potential.

In Asia, marketers are moving much quicker to embrace technology than their Western counterparts. According to our recent study on brand experience, the technology gap between East and West is pretty wide. On average, companies based in Asia are three times more likely than their North American or Western European counterparts to use virtual reality, interactive touch screens or gamification to drive brand experience.

Asian marketers are also growing their brand experience budgets at a much faster rate, and (not surprisingly) enjoying great results. That’s because those budgets are being spent on a more strategic approach to personalized technology. For instance, 42% of Asian marketers tap into sensory interaction as a way to personalize brand experiences.

By embracing technology, these markets have essentially figured out how to make brand experiences that are more humanistic. Imagine that.

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Be Creative

With digital marketing technology, there’s also a great opportunity to offer capabilities that are a bit more unexpected and fun. For example, we recently partnered with Marketo and Amazon to create a unique, AI chatbot experience for attendees at the Marketing Nation Summit in San Francisco. Working with their development teams, we created an Alexa-driven chatbot with its own distinct personality.

In addition to answering common event questions (“Where’s the general session?”), we also gave Alexa the power to provide intelligent dialogue, randomized responses to unique requests (“Tell me a fun fact about Marketo”), and iterative conversation. The chatbot provided a whimsical experience that not only engaged attendees, it also put smiles on more than a few faces.

It’s an exciting time to be in this industry. After all, our toy box has gotten considerably bigger. More than anything, we are getting to determine the direction that the industry is headed. We’re opening new avenues of conversation between brands and their audiences. We’re building relationships by engaging attendees before, during and after the show, effectively reinventing the category and redefining what branding can do.

The lines between traditional and digital are blurring and organizations are really beginning to embrace the idea of branding as an experience rather than a singular medium, channel or execution. At the end of the day, what we’re doing is creating and designing brand identities that aren’t strictly tied to physical spaces, digital technology or even senses. We’re creating brands that are experienced over time and in different ways.

Role of Social Media Marketing in Business

David Wicks/SocialMedia Today

Creating and developing a website is important for any business. Along with having a website, you need to expand your online outreach to social media platforms. Social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook are essential for maintaining a competitive edge. Companies that do not have active social media accounts risk missing out on numerous marketing opportunities.

Interaction with Target Market

One of the key advantages of social media for businesses is that it enables you to interact with your customers. Going through the tweets and Facebook updates that are posted by your customer base gives you insight into what they need. This is useful for helping your company formulate marketing strategies that address their needs.

Improve Responsiveness

Social media eases the process of providing and receiving feedback. If your customers have concerns or problems with what your business offers, they can let you know in a timely manner. Social media gives customers a convenient and accessible way to express what they feel and gives companies a chance to respond. With such platforms, businesses are able to view complaints and assure their customers that their problems will be dealt with.

Competition

If your competitors are already using social media accounts for marketing and engaging their customers, you need to ensure that you are keeping up with the digital marketing strategies that are being implemented.

In the competitive world of business, more and more companies are capitalizing on the benefits of social media. In order for you to be able to boost online traffic to your site and increase sales, you need to stay ahead of the competition while providing your customers with the best products and services.

Effective Marketing

The social networking nature of platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter generates interest among followers who are more responsive to them than a blatant marketing approach. You can use social media creatively to advertise your products and services without making your customers feel like they are overwhelmed by your marketing campaigns.

Advertisements strategically placed within informative posts are an effective way to spread the word about your business. Social media spreads awareness about your business while giving you the chance to constantly remind them about the products and services that you offer.

Find Customers

Hashtags and keywords are useful for helping you identify potential customers who are interested in what you are selling. After finding prospective customers, you can simply direct them to your account where they fill out more about your business.

Affordability

Managing your social media accounts is a cost-effective way to promote your business by using affordable social media marketing campaigns that strengthen your company’s online visibility. Social media does not require an extensive budget, which makes it fair for small businesses that are competing with well-known brands.

Database

DBA services provide service delivery solutions that are flexible enough to meet the diverse needs of different companies. Emphasis is placed on the management and support of databases from remote locations while catering to the specified needs of various customers. Services are available for different database environments to provide a dependable, secure and expert approach to database management.

Social Environment

A social networking forum efficiently creates a social environment for you and your customers. Such a forum enables you to acquire important feedback regarding your business. Social media serves the purpose of making it easier for consumers to find out and distribute information about different brands, products, and services.

A significant percentage of customers that relies on the internet to search for products have discovered specific companies through social media. If the opinions and reactions of your consumers matter to you, going social is necessary.

Informative

Social media is informative and gives you access to what your competition is up to as well as what customers are posting online about products and services. This gives you better insight into the market and various factors that affect your industry.

Online Presence

Social media has gradually evolved into an integral aspect of people’s daily lives. From sharing details about lunch to ranting about bad service, people discuss virtually everything about their lives. Several people visit social networking sites each day and businesses need to maximize their online presence.

Statistics indicate that the way people utilize social media and interact online influences their purchasing decisions. With more consumers choosing to make their purchases online, their approach to shopping has drastically changed. This makes it necessary for retailers to incorporate social media and adapt to the changes that have affected advertising and marketing in general.

Importance of Getting Social

Social media sites let you know what is popular. They also provide a platform for people to talk about pertinent issues and what they prefer. Social media was initially personal but has extended to the business realm. It plays an essential role in marketing strategies by increasing traffic and serving as a part of your SEO strategy.

Businesses need to work on their social skills and how they interact with their customers online for the best results. Success in social media marketing involves being strategic and innovative. Social media drives traffic with referrals and the additional advantage of taking up a considerable amount of time spent online. Marketers are becoming increasingly aware of the need to allocate time and resources to social media sites.

Communication and Branding

  • Communication is vital to the success of any business and engaging your customers regularly helps to enhance your image. Social networks allow you to interact and deal with your customers on a personal level.
  • When your brand gets involved in conversations, customers view it as approachable, responsive and accessible. This type of exposure positively influences how you are perceived and makes customers more receptive to the information that you share.
  • Both social profiles and websites can help improve your branding efforts. Your existing and prospective customer base will be able to identify your brands’ characteristics based on how you interact with social media.

Social Media for Business Growth

A significant amount of social media activity is carried out through mobile devices. Make sure that your social media strategy is compatible with mobile devices to guarantee a worthwhile user experience. Social media sites continue to gain popularity at a rapid rate and it is important for small and growing businesses to use them to advertise and market what they offer.

16 Reasons Why Your Business NEEDS Social Media Marketing

The Content Factory

Did you know that social media marketing has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing? Or that 84% of B2B marketers use social media in some form? No matter what you sell and who you sell it to, using social media as a marketing tool can help you grow your brand and pad your wallet.

At this point in the game, not having an active social media presence is kind of like pulling out a flip phone at a business meeting and then not understanding why your boss keeps giving Brad all the new accounts.

But some people still own flip phones, and some people dig in their heels and say, what is social media marketing going to do for me? Do I really need it? Yes. Yes you do — and here are some of the most compelling reasons why:

The Importance of Social Media for Web Traffic

1. Social media posts can be used to drive targeted traffic. Creating a new page on your site is like taking a really great selfie. You want the world to see it and bask in its brilliance, but you don’t want to beg for attention (or worse, pay for it). That’s why for selfies and landing pages, well-placed social media posts can make all the difference. We’ve seen a single link on Reddit drive over 20,000 visitors in one weekend and links submitted to StumbleUpon can take a page that was consistently earning a handful of visitors a day and increase that number to hundreds. Who wouldn’t want to capitalize on that?

2. Using social media for business boosts your site’s SEO.Search engine crawlers know which pages are consistently earning traffic and which are just floating out there, forgotten and ignored. A killer content strategy for SEO is the most important part of earning top spots in search engine rankings, but driving traffic to your optimized pages will cause them to climb much faster in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Quick case study: Astroglide is one of TCF’s clients, and in less than a year we got the website to rank in the top 100 SERPs for 15,000 new keywords – as a result, traffic to the website has increased dramatically. A solid and consistent presence on Facebook, Twitter, and other social channels was a BIG part of that success.

Social Media Is THE BEST Tool to Connect with (and Learn from!) Consumers & Industry Leaders

3. If you’re doing it right, social media will lead to real relationship building.Part of what makes things like Twitter and Instagram marketing so cool is the interaction you get to have with your customer base — you can read their tweets and status updates to get insights into their daily lives (and maybe adjust your marketing strategy as a result). What products are they buying and why? What are they doing on the weekend? What kind of posts do they love to share, and from what websites?

You can also use social media as a tool for connecting with complementary, non-competing businesses, thought leaders and tastemakers in your space, as well as journalists who cover your industry. Sometimes, becoming besties starts with a simple retweet.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to go the extra mile. When we saw that our client Astroglide was mentioned in The Celebrity Name Game by Rick Fox, we quickly jumped on the opportunity to create a gif and mention both accounts on Twitter. This resulted in interaction not just from Rick Fox, but from the Celebrity Name Game account as well!

4. Users are receptive to your messages.People view Twitter and Facebook as social networks, not marketing machines. As a result, they’re less likely to see what you post as an advertisement and will be more likely to hear what you have to say. This translates to serious web traffic when you link to your site and posts that market themselves as your friends and followers share what you’ve posted.

5. Social media ads allow targeting and retargeting.One of the reasons social media is important is because of the highly customizable nature of social media ads. Facebook ads, for example, allow you to target users by things like location, education level, industry and even purchase history and the pages they’ve liked. You also have the option to install a Facebook pixel on your site and use it to retarget the users who visit you — these people are far more likely to convert into solid leads and sales!

6. Social media can help you get noticed at events, and even generate earned media coverage.Whether your business is sponsoring a charity fundraiser or attending a major trade show, there’s no better way to leverage your presence than with the help of social media. In fact, we once sent a tweet during CES that lead to a client getting a feature article written about them in Wired magazine (check out our guide to marketing your business at trade shows and events to learn how you can achieve similar results).

 

The Importance of Social Media Marketing for Brand Image

7. You can respond to problems immediately. If there’s a problem with your product or service, you want to know about it right away. With the feedback you get in the process of social media marketing, you’ll be the first to know when there are issues – and you can take steps to resolve them right away. Study after study has shown that consumers appreciate companies that respond to customer complaints (and don’t hesitate to rant online to anyone who will listen when companies don’t take the time to make things right).

8. A strong social media presence builds brand loyalty.A report published by Texas Tech University found that brands with active social media profiles have more loyal customers. It’s easy to imagine why: when you’re engaging and interacting on social media (not just tossing your posts out onto the web hoping someone will stumble upon them) you become less like a corporation and more like what you truly are — a unified group of people who share a vision.

The Right Social Media Marketing Strategy Can Help You Slay the Competition

9. Your competition is getting social, so you should too. Did you know that 91% of brands are using more than one social media platform? This isn’t something you want to fall behind the competition on because it’s much harder (and more expensive) to play catch up than it is to get in on the game early. If your competitors get to your potential customers first, they’ll earn their loyalty and you’ll have a hard time winning them over. If you’re active and engaging on a variety of networks, you can gain those friends and followers first and your competition will be playing catch up instead of the other way around.

10. The social media marketing arena is a (fairly) level playing field.Some brands may have bigger ad budgets than others, but all companies start off on pretty equal footing when it comes to social media marketing. The people and brands who thrive and go viral in are those with the most clever, attention-grabbing tactics (and ridiculous gifs) and the most useful, link-worthy content. In short, they’re providing value to their target audience while also showing personality and being entertaining. If you want to get lots of traffic and really increase your sales online, you’re going to have to outwit, out a network and outwrite your competition while offering superior products and customer service. Isn’t that what business is all about, anyway?

11. When it comes to newsjacking, social media is king.Sometimes your brand is mentioned on a cable TV show. Sometimes it’s not, but you know just how to slide your product into the story to aim the spotlight in your direction. Facebook, Twitter, and even Reddit marketing give you a front row seat to the news that’s becoming viral right as it’s happening. Jump in at just the right time and you’ll earn some major media attention — and that’s something you just can’t do with a traditional ad campaign.

 

The Importance of Social Media Marketing for Sales and ROI

12. Social media marketing will get you more sales. Did you know that 70% of business-to-consumer marketers have acquired customers through Facebook? Or that 84% of CEOs and VPs say they use social media to help make purchasing decisions?

Not surprisingly, when you stay in front of your customer base, they’re more likely to buy from you when they need the products you sell. Social media marketing doesn’t just keep your company’s name in front of potential buyers, but it also gives you the opportunity to constantly give them incentives to buy. Try sharing coupon codes, with a unique code for each social channel – you may be surprised at which social network drives the most sales.

13. You’ll find customers you didn’t know existed.If you set up streams to follow keywords on Twitter (Hootsuite makes this simple), you can find people who are looking for the products you sell and direct them to your site. Using Twitter for marketing is great that way – telling people who want your products how to get them from your company is just an @ away.

14. Customers, you didn’t know existed will find (and buy from) you. In the process of marketing with Facebook, you’ll probably join a ton of groups related to your products, industry and customer base. By posting links in these groups, you’ll help influence customers to check out your site. Answering questions on Quora is another option. Post a link today, and two weeks/months/years later you might see a sale on it.

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