Today’s consumer is more connected than ever, with more access to and deeper engagement with brands. Thanks to the proliferation of digital devices and platforms, information can now be quickly delivered to consumers through a variety of connected devices.
The effects these changes have had on a brand’s ability to reach consumers cannot be overstated. Search engines have made product information ubiquitous, social media encourages consumers to share, compare and rate their experiences, and mobile devices have added a “wherever, whenever” dimension to the sales process.
This shift has divided businesses into two distinct categories: those businesses that adapt and take advantage of these new opportunities; and those that ignore the trends and continue pursuing outdated methods.
Below are a few of the other reasons why digital marketing should be a central focus for any business looking to reach and engage today’s consumer.
Your Customers are Online
First and foremost, the digital world is where your customers live. Today, people shop and research in a whole new way compared to just a few years ago. Consumers primarily shop and gather information through search engines like Google. In fact, the average consumer conducts dozens of searches each day — and, rather than listening to a sales rep, reading a spam email or watching a TV ad, most people prefer to find the information themselves.
Social media usage is now standard practice in our daily lives. Almost two-thirds (64%) of social media users say they use social media at least once a day via their computer, and almost half (47%) of smartphone owners visit social networks every day. With the rapid adoption of mobile devices, social media has developed a symbiotic relationship with today’s consumer.
To be successful in this new marketing environment, you must adapt and engage your customers where they want, when they want and how they want. For today’s consumers, this means the digital world.
Your Competitors are Online
If you do a Google search for the type of products or services you offer, it should quickly become apparent that your competitors are online. If you don’t see your business among those results, this should be a major cause for concern.
Your Customers are Looking for You
At this exact moment, your customers are searching for you online. Today, nearly all consumers (97%) use online media when researching products or services. Further, 50% of smartphone users who search for local business visit the store within a day. This means that your customers are trying to find information that you could provide them, and then they’re taking action. This presents a tremendous opportunity for businesses.
Your Customers Expect You to be Online
Today’s consumers want their information fast and when it’s convenient for them. They have also developed very high standards for service quality. Failing to meet those rising expectations often leads to lost business.
Conversely, consumers are also looking to establish long lasting relationships with brands. This means that, while their expectations are high, the reward for meeting these consumers and engaging them on their terms can be substantial.
Today’s consumers also expect to be able to interact with brands when it’s convenient for them. The digital world provides businesses the ability to be available around the clock. If a customer has a question about one of your products, for example, social media provides a digital platform that enables you to receive and respond to those questions 24-hours a day.
Another benefit of digital marketing is the ease with which results can be tracked and monitored. Gone are the days when you had to wait until your marketing campaign concluded or rely on expensive customer research to see the results. With the proliferation of affordable online tools, you can now monitor your results in real time and continuously make adjustments to ensure you’re always using the most effective tactics possible. This can result in tremendous cost-savings and much more efficient use of budgets.